By Ryan Muir
Marriage equality is often considered from an entirely emotional standpoint. Rarely is any thought given to the logical side of arguing regardless of the persuasion of the individual who is writing or speaking. As with any subject, thoughtful consideration should be given to the issue and all of the individuals involved.
Traditionally, the purpose of marriage as it pertains to the state is to encourage the growth of the national population. Therefore, the institution of marriage was decided on as a union between a man and a woman. In this environment the two participating adults could raise their biological children in a way as they saw fit and, in turn, their offspring would hopefully continue in the growth of the populous.
Because marriage is a social issue designed for growing a population, for thousands of years governments and religions alike have carefully restricted marriage to heterosexual unions. No matter how well intended or how committed a relationship, a homosexual couple cannot reproduce without the aide of a third party, who presumably would not be involved in the resulting child’s life.
One potential issue is the problems currently facing Americans of faith. On June 6, 2012 the Huffington Post ran a story about a photographer who was successfully sued for refusing service to a same-sex couple based on religious beliefs. Similarly, on July 7, Fox News ran a story about another same-sex couple that chose to sue a baker for refusing to make their wedding cake.
Perhaps things are changing, but businesses used to be allowed to refuse service to anyone. It now seems that if your personal beliefs conflict with what someone else wants, you could be potentially held liable for discrimination. Everyone should be treated with kindness and respect, but these recent events raise the question, are even religious institutions safe?
Your religious liberty is protected under the United States constitution, but to what extent? Can a church disallow openly homosexual individuals from membership in a religious organization without fear of repercussion? From the previous two secular examples it would seem churches might be at risk for legal action.
Perhaps there should be an additional standard set forth protecting those Americans of faith from repercussion for disallowing homosexual individuals in their organization, whatever the solution to the religious aspect of same-sex marriage. The rights of business owners and churches need to be preserved. It is hypocritical to take away one group’s rights while advocating for another.
Finally, much has been discussed about gay and lesbian couples wishing to adopt. This as much as any other aspect of homosexual marriage needs poignant consideration. If homosexual marriage becomes the law, we may then presume these couples will be allowed to adopt children much the same as heterosexual couples. The effects on these children should be considered with more research and proven before a law is passed.
Proponents for homosexual marriage decry these calls for a studied law, saying that we already know some heterosexual couples do not make good parents. While this is true, it is prudent to remember there have already been laws passed and procedures developed to deal with such situations.
The welfare of children is always paramount and is the top consideration of state and federal governments. Sanford N. Katz, in his book Family Law in America, states that the state is the ultimate parent. Katz is right, and many people have seen or experienced the State exercising its discretion in this regard. More specifics than the armchair view of good and bad parents studies, which reference the various domestic living conditions and their outcomes for children, should be considered.
Former Utah Supreme Court Justice and former President of Brigham Young University, Dallin Oaks, has shed light on this subject. In a recent speech given by Oaks he cites a study of single mothers and their children found in “Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 3rd ed from 2011.” This study found that the children of single mother homes were at a severe disadvantage when compared with their peers from a home with a mother and a father. Oaks then stated, “we should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender.”
There is simply not enough information regarding how, who and what same-sex marriage being legalized will affect. Many of the states have hastily rushed into a change in the marriage law. Not only are there many sides to consider about legalizing same-sex marriage, but there are always unforeseen consequences, both for good and for bad, and only time will tell the difference.