When the battle over marriage began, a decision was made not to talk about the problems associated with homosexuality, but focus on marriage between one man and one woman as they way things have always been and on benefits for society of traditional marriage. This strategy was initially very successful. The defenders of marriage won referendum after referendum, but in this election cycle things changed and marriage lost.
Public opinion has changed. One reason may be that in the years since this battle began, those pushing the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples have been free to push their deceptive propaganda about the nature of same-sex relationships with no rebuttal from the defenders of marriage. As a result, the younger generation has been taught to believe that persons with same-sex attraction (SSA) are—expect for one small difference—the same as those with other sex attraction, that they were born that way and can’t change, that same-sex relationships and same-sex parenting are no different than husband/wife marriages and father/mother families, and therefore it is only fair to let same-sex couples enjoy the benefits of legal marriage.
It is long past time to educate the public and particularly the younger generation as to what we know about SSA. First of all, there is no evidence that persons with SSA are born that way—no evidence of a genetic or hormonal cause. If there were such a cause then identical twins would virtually always have the same pattern of sexual attraction, but this is not the case. In a large study of male identical twins, in only 11% of the cases where one twin had SSA so did the other. If SSA is not genetic, what is the cause? There is no reason to believe that there is a single cause, but many persons with SSA experienced gender identity disorders (GID) as young children. They felt different than their same-sex parent or peers and identified with their other sex parent or peers. This has been linked to failures to securely attach in early childhood. If these problems are identified early and the parents are willing to make changes, GID can be healed, and subsequent SSA avoided.
There are those who argue that SSA is normal for some people and therefore GID, which often precedes SSA, is normal and children should be allowed to dress as the opposite sex and their classmates told to accept this change. Other therapists, who have treated children with GID, are convinced that these children have numerous problems in addition to GID and need help.
Change of SSA is possible. It is more common among women, who may be involved in same-sex relationships at one point in their lives and later marry a man. It may be more difficult for men, because men with SSA are more likely to become addicted to certain sexual practices, in particular masturbation with fantasy. This behavior sets up patterns in the brain which are extremely difficult to overcome, but it is not impossible.
Untreated GID can be the precursor of SSA and other problems. Numerous large, well designed studies have found that persons with SSA are significantly more likely to have psychological disorders, substance abuse problems, suicidal ideation, and to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse and violence. The relationships of men with SSA are more likely to be short-lived and are almost never faithful over time. The HIV/AIDS epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) continues unabated and has been linked to substance abuse and sexual addiction. MSM are also 44 times more likely to be HIV positive, and far more likely to be inflected with other sexually transmitted diseases.
While mentioning such things may seem harsh and judgmental, those who are friends with persons with SSA are not blind to their problems. They see the troubled childhoods, narcissistic attitudes, and the other problems. The gay activists are not unaware of these difficulties either, but blame them on ‘homophobia’ and ‘heterosexism’—society’s negative attitudes toward homosexuality and preference for heterosexuality. They want to believe that if society would only accept homosexuality as normal—including redefining marriage—everything would be okay. There is no reason to think this is so. In places where homosexuality is normalized, the problems persist. Normalizing disorder does not create order, but abandons the troubled.
Redefining marriage encourages same-sex couples to acquire children, which will by definition place children in a sub-optimal situation. Study after study has found that children do best when they spend their entire childhood living with their married, biological parents. Everything else is sub-optimal. This doesn’t mean that children in such situations cannot overcome obstacles, but they are at greater risk.
Every child separated from one or both biological parents experiences that separation as loss. Every child acquired by a same-sex couple has been separated from one or both biological parents. Every child acquired by a same-sex couple is denied the experience of living with a parent of both sexes, but what is worse, these inevitable losses are not the result of tragic circumstances, but the conscious, premeditated decisions of the very people on whom the child depends. Rather than understanding their child’s sense of loss, same-sex couples in defending their decision to acquire children may deny their child’s legitimate desire for a parent of the other sex. The child can come to feel that his or her natural desire is a betrayal of their custodial parents.
Given that persons with SSA are far more likely to have psychological disorders, substance abuse problems, suicidal ideation, sexually transmitted diseases, and disrupted relationships, children acquired by a SSA, who have already experienced losses intrinsic to their situation, face the very real risk of subsequent losses and traumas.
Persons with SSA have been deeply wounded. They feel rejected and alienated. Often they cover their pain with cynicism, brittle humor, and rebellion against the moral law. They are convinced that if society would only accept SSA as normal and allow them to legally marry a person of the same sex they would feel better. Unfortunately, our defense of marriage only makes them feel worse and more convinced that changing the laws on marriage is necessary for them to achieve peace.
When the psalmist wrote, “Mercy and truth are met, righteousness and peace have kissed,” he was recognizing that the reconciliation of mercy with truth and righteousness with peace is difficult and can only come about with God’s intervention. To persons with SSA our proclamation of truth and call for righteous behavior are taken as condemnation. Our defense of marriage resurrects all their past rejections. They want mercy and peace, but without truth and righteousness. However, too often we proclaim truth and righteousness without mercy and the promise of peace.
Allowing persons with SSA to call their relationships marriages would be an easy mercy and a false peace, we cannot sacrifice truth or righteousness, but we must find a way to reconcile them with true mercy and real peace.
How? First by prayer. How often have our churches engaged in public prayer for those tempted by SSA? I have heard prayers for the defense of marriage, but never for the healing of people with SSA. We must work to make sure that therapists, teachers and pastors are trained in the counseling of those tempted with SSA. We must welcome the strugglers into fellowship. Such a change will be difficult, but nowhere near as difficult as the one we expect of them.