Three other significant arguments are worth mentioning. First, that gay marriage undermines the sanctity of marriage in some way, and secondly that marriage is purely for the sake of procreation --which is impossible in a gay marriage, and that moreover children are likely to be disadvantaged by such unions. These last two arguments are rather contradictory, as the one argument generally suggests that gay marriages should not be allowed because they might result in children who had no opposite sex parents, and the other that gays cannot participate fully in marriage as it is a procreative union. Either gays will, or will not, have children! The truth is that: Children will be raised in these homes, so they will serve a procreative/nurturing role, and though one parent won't be biologically related, they will still be a parent. Marriage has never been defined purely by procreation because --with the exception of Nazi Germany-- infertile couples and those unlikely to have healthy offspring are allowed to wed, as out couples past the age of childbearing. When a ninety-year-old woman can marry a ninety-year-old man, when it is certain no children will result, how can it be less moral for two thirty-year-old women to marry when both might legitimately choose to be artificially inseminated? The answer then is generally that gay marriages are unhealthy for children. "Research [shows]... family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes... There is thus value... In promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents," (Gallaher) writes one intelligent social scientist. However, just as the fact that children with step-families, divorced families, and single families have higher risk childhood does not decrease the rights of heterosexuals to conceive outside of marriage, divorce, and remarry. One might as well deny the ability of heterosexuals to divorce and remarry as disallow gay marriages, for the latter is more destructive. Research has consistently shown that children in gay families do as well as children in other families with similar backgrounds (e.g. taking into account the presence of divorce, poverty, etc.). In fact, "Boys from lesbian homes show less aggression as well as slightly fewer sexual partners than those in heterosexual homes," (Stanton&Keeton, 4) which is precisely the opposite of trends in single-mother homes where boys are more likely to get involved in violence.
The last argument frequently fielded is one for the sanctity of marriage itself. Those who are most rabidly outspoken against gay marriage say such things as: "Marriage is a critical social institution.... Up to now, with all the changes in marriage, the one thing we've been sure of is that marriage means monogamy. Gay marriage will break that connection. It will do this by itself, and by leading to polygamy and polyamory..." (Kurtz, 2)
These individuals suggest that in places like the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legalized, straight marriages have deteriorated. Actually, this is false. "Divorce rates have not risen since the passage of partnership laws, and marriage rates have remained stable or actually increased... The average Scandinavian child spends... with both parents-more time than the average American child. Non-marital birth rates have not risen faster in Scandinavia or the Netherlands since the passage of partnership laws.... Cohabitation rates were higher in the partner recognition countries before the passage of same-sex partner laws." (Badgett)
There is no rational reason to suggest that gay marriage will harm straight marriages. One can hardly think that straight individuals will convert to homosexuality if it were only open to them. Nor are straight youth likely to see their gay contemporaries marrying and think to themselves that they would never want to do likewise. No straight woman will leave her husband merely because a gay couple moves in next door and has a wedding reception. Even were gay marriage laws to lead to the legalization of polygamy and polyamory, the majority of women and men would not want to choose such relationships, and the majority of those who would will already do so regardless of legalities (as shown in the remaining polygamist Mormon communities) and even persecution. Monogamy and marriage will, if anything, be strengthened by opening it to all who truly love each other.
Badgett, Lee. "Will Providing Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage? Evidence from Scandinavia and the Netherlands" a discussion paper presented to the Council on Contemporary Families and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, July 2004.
Bagemihl, Bruce. "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Gallagher, Maggie. "What Marriage is for." Children Need Mothers and Fathers. The Weekly Standard. Vol. 008, Issue 45. August, 2003.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC). "Answers to Questions about Marriage Equality." [pamphlet] Washington DC: HRC's Family Net Publications, 2004.
Kurtz, Stanley. "The End of Marriage in Scandinavia." Weekly Standard, Vol. 9, Issue 20. February 2004.
Stanton, Glenn and Keeton, Geremy. "Staying 'True to the Research.' On Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting." Social Research Analysis Pamphlet. Focus on the Family.…