As various marriage definition battles work their way through the nation's courts, state legislatures, and ballot initiatives it might be useful to take a hard look at several politically correct assumptions which are integral to efforts of the same-sex marriage lobby but which are rarely discussed. By not questioning these assumptions (or worse by having them assumed but unstated), incorrect initial conditions can be used to alter and corrupt the discussion and the resultant public policy.
The first primary assumption is that same-sex attraction is an unchangeable genetic given, that it is embedded unalterably in each person. The second is that the homosexual lifestyle is just like any other, that it's adherents are routine in other facets of their lives and indistinguishable from their neighbors except for their sexual orientation. It is upon the tacit acceptance of these two foundational assumptions that the entire house for gaining acceptance in the wider society for the homosexual lifestyle is built. If these assumptions are untrue or unproven then the weakness of the arguments (rising sometimes to the level of deception) of the homosexual lobby can be seen.
Let's consider these two assumptions in order.
Sexual Orientation Not So â€œHardwiredâ€ As You've Been Told
A number of peer-reviewed studies reported in academic journals have investigated the genetic and environmental foundations of same-sex orientation. An important subset of these studies compare identical twins who share not only identical genetic factors and prenatal experiences but also generally a consistent child-rearing environment. Often fraternal twins and siblings are often also evaluated.
The attached table (taken from Table 19.2 from reference 4) summarizes the findings of a number of such twin studies. Concordance occurs when both twins share a given characteristic (in this case a same-sex orientation). Thus a concordance value of 0.43 would indicate that 43% of the twins studied both share that characteristic.
Concordance Rates of Twin studies of Homosexual Orientation
DZ concordance (fraternal)
Sets of Twins studied
(MZ // DZ)
Notes on Method of Inclusion
40 // 45
Heston & Shields, 1968
5 // 7
Bailey & Pillard, 1991
56 // 54
Buhrich, Bailey, &
9 // 2
Bailey et al., 2000
312 // 182
Bailey et al., 1993
115 total pairs
Bailey et al., 2000
668 // 376
Combined Male/Female Studies
King & McDonald, 1992
25 // ??
Whitam, Diamond, &
61 pairs + 3 triplets
Kendler et al., 2000
756 twin &non-twin sibling pairs
The oft-quoted Kallmann study (1952) utilized some questionable data from correctional facilities and psychiatric institutions. Several of the studies (*) utilized gay press ads to identify twin pairs (which may skew the results as they may be more enthusiastic respondents than those in the general population).
While there exists variability in the results (based on factors such assample size, method of inclusion in the study, and other factors) some general conclusions are evident. It appears that twins who exhibit same-sex affinities are joined by their identical twin sibling roughly 20 to 40% of the time. This is roughly 2-3 times the concordance of fraternal twins (that don't share identical genetics). Thus, there is a genetic factor toward same-sex affinity but that linkage explains well less than half the observations of same-sex orientation.
This result is important because it means the majority of same-sex orientation appears to NOT be genetically related. Thus it is more strongly influenced by environmental, social, and/or a combination of factors. While there may very well be some genetic predisposition toward homosexual orientation, that predisposition appears fairly weak and is not dominant.
Another study(11) that reinforces the environmental influence on sexual orientation over genetic factors demonstrated that children of gay couples are more likely to be gay themselves. Between 16-57% of male children adopted a non-heterosexual lifestyle and 33-57% of female children did so as well. These figures are much higher than the roughly 3-5% of the population involved in the same-sex lifestyle. Thus their upbringing appears to have a substantial impact on their ultimate choice of sexual preference.
Even in a condition with a well understood and undisputed genetic basis such as sickle-cell anemia the condition parameters vary substantially even among identical twins.Thus even â€œin-the-genesâ€ conditions reflect significant variability due to non-genetic factors(6).
Several points are important here. The first is that since this research shows that homosexual orientation relates predominately to societal pressures, relationships, and other environmental factors (as opposed to genetics) then it is in society's right to decide whether such behavior is to be encouraged or not. Because it is not primarily (much less exclusively) triggered by genetics such behavior is not a civil or human right. Â Lastly the presence of a modest genetic predisposition toward something rarely causes us to give up, accept that the predisposition cannot be countered, and look the other way. Â We don't do this with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses or a host of other conditions that also have some genetic component. Â We routinely seek out treatments and promote behaviors, attitudes, and coping strategies that will lesson or minimize the impact of the predisposition. Â Central to these efforts is proper education. Â The misrepresentation of the causes of homosexual orientation disreputably fails to meet that important educational standard.
Even if we don't take such active preventative actions we recognize the negative impacts of conditions/choices like adultery, obesity, divorce, pedophilia, alcoholism, and single parent households on society in general and on affected children in particular and in large measure don't celebrate these behaviors. If we could control a so-far undiscovered â€œfatâ€ gene is there any doubt that we as a society would likely do so?
Society has historically applied various levels of stigma to these and other behaviors/lifestyles. Stigma can be warranted and is an effective and common societal influence on individual behaviors. That it is not always applied appropriately does not invalidate it's role (especially when facts and science agree). The homosexual lobby not only doesn't accept silent consent (recall â€œdon't ask â€“ don't tellâ€) much less any level of stigma as regards same-sex oriented lifestyle choices but rather demands it should be celebrated and normalized. The recent attacks on the Boy Scouts for prohibiting homosexual leaders is just the latest example. The following chart demonstrates this contrast:
No Health Impacts Due to Lifestyle Differences?
The other major pillar of the same-sex lobbying effort used to influence wider public support is the contention that there is no appreciable difference between homosexual and heterosexual lifestyles. Again academic studies demonstrate that there are real and negative consequences attributable to the homosexual lifestyle (8)(9). These include increased risks for STDs, mental health issues, drug /alcohol abuse, domestic violence and promiscuity(10). Even if the pressures of societal stigma (whether warranted or not) account for some of the negative health affects, it cannot be overlooked that the very nature of the specific mechanics involved in same-sex physical interactions comes with a higher risk of bodily harm and disease.
A study conducted in 2005 (7) indicates an 8 to 20 year negative impact on life expectancy for 20 year old gay males. This decreased life expectancy is no doubt influenced by the impact of AIDS. That these statistics may improve somewhat due to better AIDS diagnoses and treatment does not detract from the overall negative impact on life expectancy and health from this lifestyle. This impact is not vastly dissimilar to the 10-15 year estimates on impacts to life expectancy due to smoking.
When negative health impacts such as these are observed in other areas the society moves to restrict or limit such impacts. Non-smoking laws/prohibitions (as well as ever more complete bans on secondary smoke exposures), child labor and workplace laws, and even cell phone driving restrictions are all examples of society acting to protect itself against these negative factors.
It is inconsistent and inappropriate that substantial negative impacts to life expectancy and health due to a homosexual lifestyle would be disregarded when other similar impacts are consistently minimized by legislation.
That the peer-reviewed scholarly results considered above are not widely publicized or known ought not to surprise. We frequently see the same â€œpolitical correctnessâ€ working in other areas of academia to restrict research on and publication of findings which, for example, question human caused global-warming, that refutes the explanatory power of Darwinian evolution, and that reinforce the effectiveness of market economics. The resultant and intended blindness achieved by such restrictions is not helpful in developing proper public policy on any issue much less on controversial ones.
Another argument often encountered is that the inability of opposite-sex couples to have children makes that situation indistinguishable from same-sex couples. Alan Keyes addressed this point in a debate against Barack Obama in 2006 (1) when he argued that in principle heterosexual couples can have children while in principle same-sex couples cannot. Since society invokes marriage, in part,as a manner of defining responsibilities to those offspring, changing the definition of marriage in a matter which in principle ignores children makes no reasonable sense.
A related claim is that denying same-sex marriage shows the same kind of prejudice found in the former prohibitions against mixed-race marriage. Keye's argument clearly refutes this as a mixed race man-woman marriage can in principle produce offspring where a same-sex marriage cannot.
If the definition of marriage is relieved of any connection to procreation and the resultant family responsibilities that follow then it can't logically be limited to just two people. Three men, 4 women, any sort of polygamy, and even men and animals can then follow as valid â€œfamiliesâ€. Â Advocates of same sex marriage scoff at this and insist that only two people are appropriate for marriage. They do this by clinging to just the numerical aspect of the marriage definition (but not it's ingredients) from Christian doctrine when Jesus tells us in Mark 10:6-8: â€œBut from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.â€
Thus the supporters of same sex marriage maintain one part of human experience and biblical teaching (a 2 person marriage) because they know that the logical extension of their stance would not be supportable politically. At the same time they neglect the corresponding Biblical teaching that such a marriage consist of a man and a woman.
The above discussion highlights that arguments for same-sex marriage violates â€œthe law of nature and of nature's Godâ€ as written in the American Declaration of Independence. Either the Christian worldview allows that the Bible is true or it doesn't. Either Christ' words and other related New Testament counsel against same-sex marriage was intended for us or they weren't. There is no evidence that such counsel was intended to be limited in time or local in it's application as was, for example, the instruction about women speaking in church. As Christianity is at it's root about relationships, surely scriptural guidance on a relationship as important as marriage is of more weight than that on hair length or dietary instructions.
In conclusion the same-sax marriage community is unable to defend the two pillars foundational to their cause (that same-sex orientation is based on a non-changeable genetic basis and that the homosexual lifestyle is â€œequivalentâ€œ to any other) while clandestinely encouraging that these pillars be accepted as â€œgivensâ€ for the purpose of influencing the wider acceptance of same-sex marriage and lifestyle. Their effectiveness in this effort is seen in that these two fundamental questions are assumed and rarely considered in any discussion of gay marriage or homosexual lifestyle.
Their downstream arguments in support of same-sex marriage, that the practice is Christian, pro-freedom, and pro-family can be true only when the two underlying assumptions considered above are accepted. Without their underpinning such arguments lose their standing and weight. Where else does society award civil rights on a voluntary basis?
As societal and environmental factors such as family and relationships are the more important precursors to homosexual orientation then important mentors in the formative life of children may very well influence their sexual orientation. When these important positions of impact in young people's lives (such as teachers, coaches, mentors,etc.) are filled by LGBT persons, the resultant impacts may not be what the parents desire and may very well (as the above research shows) not benefit society.
As a society and as citizens we should not encourage (and should not be forced to encourage - is there a civil right there?) a lifestyle which embodies destructive health elements and influences (regardless of the enthusiasm of it's adherents) which violates our basic biology, which is based on false premises,and which peer-reviewed science demonstratesis not a certainty.
As Christians we know and can and ought to speak into the culture other insights. We are not surprised that science reinforces the agreement and consistency implicit in the words â€œthe laws of Nature and of Nature's Godâ€. We are aware that our spiritual enemy uses deception to confuse and discourage us. If someone thinks their situation is fixed and unchangeable then they are more likely to surrender to it. The resultant resignation (even if warranted and especially if false) harms the individual and impacts their other relationships and future. When that resignation is applied to forcing public policy then everyone is harmed.
Where From Here?
It is critically important that society in general, lawmakers, the media, clergy, educators, and those that embrace the homosexual lifestyle be FULLY informed about the science related to this issue. Only then can informed and defensible public policy decisions be made.
1) Alan Keyes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrD8zvCUtWc
5) 24 diseases study http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402124147.htm
8) Homosexual health risks http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2005/feb/05021709
9)The Physical Health Risks of Homosexuality , Family North Carolina Magazineâ€”July/August 2007 http://www.ncfamily.org/FNC/0707S3.html
10) Homosexual costs
11) J Biosoc Sci. 2010 Nov;42(6):721-42. Epub 2010 Jul 20.
Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals? A reply to Morrison and to Cameron based on an examination of multiple sources of data. Schumm WR. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20642872
12) Biology and Sexual Orientation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation