Why do people oppose same-sex marriage?

UPDATE: The research paper seems to have expired from the FRC web site, but you can see the whole thing here.

I found this research paper at the Family Research Council web site. The paper compares same-sex couples and heterosexual married couples, in the following ways:

  • relationship duration
  • monogamy vs. promiscuity
  • relationship commitment
  • number of children being raised
  • health risks
  • rates of intimate partner violence

Are there really significant differences between the two arrangements? Let’s take a look at the some of the data.

Relationship duration

% of Marriages Remaining Intact
% of Marriages Remaining Intact

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2001)

Length of Current Homosexual Relationship
Length of Current Homosexual Relationship

Source: 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census

Monogamy vs Promiscuity

% Reporting Sexual Fidelity
% Reporting Sexual Fidelity

Sources:Laumann, The Social Organization of Sexuality, 216; McWhirter and Mattison, The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop (1984): 252-253; Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex,” 170.

Rates of intimate partner violence

Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence

Sources: “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence,” U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: 30; “Intimate Partner Violence,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report:11.


Marriage is a relationship that has a specific purpose. That purpose is to bind together two opposite natures and to produce children that are biologically linked to the parents. The children gain the benefits of being parented by the two different natures, so they get two perspectives. The fact that the children are genetically linked to two parents helps to ensure the stability of the commitment, as we see in the animal kingdom where animals protect their young.

The goal of marriage is not to increase the happiness of the adults, or to “recognize” the love of adults. The goal of marriage is have two people enter into a relationship where they understand that it is not about adults being fulfilled. Marriage is about people having a goal of raising children, which are tremendously stressful to raise. Marriage requires self-denial and sacrifice in order to raise those children – that is the main point of it. It also requires fidelity and chastity, so that the environment is kept stable for the children over a long period of time.

Children benefit from the stability that is more common in traditional marriages than it is in other arrangements, including heterosexual co-habitation which is similarly unstable (50% greater chance of divorce, more domestic violence, etc.). Therefore, it is important to keep the concept of marriage separate from other kinds of relationships so that the focus on commitment for the sake of the children is clear to those who contemplate marriage. Society needs to give special recognition to married couples, in view of their child-focused commitment.

I apologize in advance if this post causes anyone any harm or distress, I am just trying to explain why people have that opinion. They could be wrong, but that is the case they make. Obviously, married couples fall short of the goal, but that is their goal.

Further study

Two much bigger challenges to marriage are big-government socialism and especially no-fault divorce. I also wrote about same-sex marriage and co-habitation before, in the context of European states like Sweden and Norway.

You may also be interested in a recent post about whether homosexuality is caused by a “gay gene”.

12 thoughts on “Why do people oppose same-sex marriage?”

  1. I’ve often said that my stance against same-sex marriage has more to do with its effects on society and the adoptive children within those unions than anything else.

    I don’t believe that love is enough to make it happen. Homosexuals for the most part aren’t monogamous even within a committed relationship, and two parents of the same sex cannot function as role models for opposite sex or even same sex children. The divorce rate in heterosexual marriage is bad enough when it comes to destabilizing our society, but the results of homosexual marriage and divorce could quite frankly be catastrophic.

    Thanks for the interesting post!


  2. I have heard of similar stats in other studies.

    For me I oppose same sex marriage because it is wrong/violates God’s law.

    The stats just give me reasons to offer those who do not accept God’s law.


  3. Great post. The research paper was especially interesting. In fact, I like it so much, that I am about to head back over to my blog and post a link to it back here.


  4. I have personal experience with this. I have a great friend who is gay and she and her partner of 20+ years raised her two children together from the time they were very young. To be quite honest, these two young adults are two of the most normal, smart, caring, compassionate people I’ve ever met. They really have their lives together. Neither of them are gay (not that that’s an issue). They both had lots of love, stability and were taught to be kind and compassionate and to never judge people. I’m very impressed with the way they have turned out.


    1. Hey Paula. Thanks for your gracious comment. The statistics show that this is a possibility for around 5% of the cases, so your friends are in that 5%. But traditionally married couples get the same outcome in 50% of the cases. So there is a difference.

      I was just wondering. In your view, is it always wrong to make moral judgments? Is every behavior that a person does OK with you? For example, if your next door neighbor felt that it was OK to insult his wife all the time in public, would that be OK with you? I would definitely judge that as abusive, and I would talk to him to try to persuade him not to do that. How about you? Would you judge him?


      1. “The statistics show that this is a possibility for around 5% of the cases, so your friends are in that 5%.”

        I don’t see how you come to that conclusion based on the statistics you are providing.

        Are you referring to the 5% of homosexual relationships lasting 20 years or over? You realize this is a statistic that includes all relationships, not married couples? It’s not comparable to the first chart showing heterosexual marriages. A comparable set of data would have to include all heterosexual relationships, not just married. In which case the number who remain in heterosexual relationships past the 20 year mark will likely go down significantly (unless of course it turns out that unmarried heterosexuals stay together as long or longer than married. It’s possible, but I highly doubt it, I’m sure you would agree).

        Then again, it’s possible you are referring to the third chart, which has a very similar problem: We are comparing fidelity among married heterosexuals vs unmarried homosexuals. Do you believe that the commitment of marriage influences fidelity? I certainly do. There is evidence (which you don’t present) indicating that fidelity among homosexual males is less than heterosexual males in committed relationships (a fair comparison since none are married), but nothing I am aware of demonstrating such a difference between heterosexual vs. homosexual woman.

        I find a similar disconnect between your conclusion and the data you provide. Most-in fact nearly all in my opinion– is unsubstantiated or in fact entirely unrelated to the data you provide.

        That said, I’m always interested in hearing people’s opinions on the matter, and appreciate you taking the time to express yours.


  5. Great post!

    Having children is not like buying pets. You buy pets so you won’t get lonely, and to make you happy, etc. Having children is about raising the next generation.


  6. Wintery Knight, what is your view on same-sex marriage? Also do you think that homosexuality itself should be banned?
    Because I dunno…I think that it is wrong, but that you can’t legislate EVERYTHING that is wrong. For example, I think lust is wrong, but I don’t think you should legislate on that.

    With the early church not concerning themselves at all with legislating Christian morality, we obviously have very few passages from the New Testament to work with. However, a key passage from my own personal reading is 1 Corinthians 5. Now I dunno about you, but that passage tells me that we can’t expect non-Christians to live like Christians, since they are still slaves to their sinful nature. Forcing to do one thing, or not do another thing (like engage in homosexuality)is not going to change their desires and so will be a very superficial dealing to the problem. There are a few more points I could say but at this point I will let scripture speak for itself:
    “9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

    12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”[b]

    What do you make of that? I think that practicing homosexuality is a sin, but that we should not legislate against it. I think that in the church we should be making sure that no Christian engages in homosexual activity or any kind of fornication. I think that we need to get rid of these double standards that we have for heterosexuals who sleep around or cohabit, and homosexuals. In the Bible, they are always put side by side and neither is worse than the other. Treat homosexuals like you would cohabiting couples, and treat cohabiting couples like Paul would.

    Also I would add that I would not like Muslims forcing what they believed to be evil acts onto me. For example, they would ban pork and alcohol because they see those as abominations. They would point to the huge amount of alcohol abuse in Western Nations, and the huge levels of drunkenness. However much I also find these things disgusting, I would not ban alcohol, and I would not want Muslims legislating their views onto me. Therefore I will try to have the same standards for them. The church should be focused primarily on the church, ESPECIALLY with respect to self-regarding actions.

    However, I am possibly open to changing my mind on this. What are your thoughts WK?


    1. I’m pretty busy right now, but I will just say that when it comes to SSM, the two things you have to think about are 1) do children have a right to a relationship with their natural birth-parents? and 2) what sort of changes would be forced on those who disagree with homosexuality on moral grounds if it were to become a protected class? That’s where my concerns are. So it’s the granting of additional rights and privileges (new definition of marriage, right not to be offended by other people’s free speech) that I oppose, and on rational, not religious, grounds.


  7. You wrote – “The goal of marriage is not to increase the happiness of the adults, or to “recognize” the love of adults. The goal of marriage is have two people enter into a relationship where they understand that it is not about adults being fulfilled. Marriage is about people having a goal of raising children, which are tremendously stressful to raise. Marriage requires self-denial and sacrifice in order to raise those children – that is the main point of it”. What????? Are you kidding????? If the two adults cannot recognize love or be fulfilled how are they going to raise a healthy child who will make a good choice for a mate. Also, having children is not necessarily the “goal” of marriage. There are many couples who simply never had or did not want children but they DID want each other.


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