Defending Marriage Is ‘Social Justice for Children’
As the U.S. Senate debates the “Respect for Marriage” Act, a social scientist said politicians must understand that preserving the time-honored definition of marriage is necessary to establish “social justice for children.”
The House of Representatives passed the misnamed bill, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and define marriage as any union “valid in the [s]tate where the marriage was entered into,” on Tuesday with 47 Republican votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he plans to pass the bill soon and already has two Republican co-sponsors: Susan Collins (Maine) and the retiring Rob Portman (Ohio). Four other Republicans said they are leaning toward voting yes: Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Ron Johnson (Wis.), and Thom Tillis (N.C.).
Many of them justified their vote, which violates the Republican Party platform, by citing their relationships with same-sex couples. But lawmakers overlook the most vulnerable party in any family: the child.
“We’re making decisions based on adults’ feelings, because if we were making decisions based on children’s feelings, we would protect a child’s right to life, and we would protect natural marriage,” Katy Faust told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” on Thursday. “The problem is centering this around adult feelings rather than children, their rights, needs, desires, and what maximizes their development — which is the home of their married mother and father.”
Changing the definition of marriage based on adults’ romantic attachments frequently excludes one or both biological parents from the child’s life. “When you make husbands and wives optional in marriage law, very quickly mothers and fathers become optional in parenthood law,” she told Perkins. For instance, a mere two years after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, the High Court allowed two women in a same-sex relationship to list place their names on a child’s birth certificate as the baby’s “parents,” eliminating any record of the father. Justices based their 2017 Pavan v. Smith decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, which says that no government can deny same-sex couples “the constellation of benefits that the [s]tates have linked to marriage.” Being named the father of your partner’s child is one such benefit, the justices argued.
Multiple studies show children flourish best when raised in an intact home by two married parents of different sexes:
- Children raised by same-sex couples were 35% less likely to graduate high school than those raised in traditional families. “Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15% as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes,” wrote the study’s author, Douglas W. Allen, professor of economics at Canada’s Simon Fraser University;
- Children raised by same-sex partners were more than twice as likely to suffer from emotional problems, according to a study from Donald Paul Sullins; and
- “ADHD was more than twice as prevalent among children with same-sex parents than in the general population, after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity,” and socioeconomic status, a 2015 study in the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research found.
“This is 100% an issue of children’s rights,” Faust told Perkins. “This absolutely determines their thriving, their identity, whether or not they are actually going to be safe and loved as all of us desire for kids.”
“Marriage is an issue of social justice for children,” insisted Faust. “And when we fail to defend marriage as it is properly understood, we fail to defend children.”
Faust is the founder and director of “Them Before Us,” “a global movement defending children’s right to their mother and father,” and the author of a book by the same name. Faust knows the pain of children raised without parents: She once worked in the world’s largest adoption agency for orphaned Chinese children. Today, the cries of American children denied the right to live with both their parents sound hauntingly familiar.
Children of same-sex couples are “speaking out, and their story is: ‘This has harmed me. I desperately longed to know who my father was. I was desperate for the love of a mother while I was growing up,’” said Faust.
Natural marriage advocates have long sought to highlight the stories of children whose best interests were sacrificed on the altar of the adult libido. Professor Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of The Ruth Institute, wrote the book “The Sexual Revolution and its Victims.” Her annual Summit for the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution and podcasts have featured the warnings of children of same-sex partners, divorce, surrogacy, and transgender parents.
“Those are the stories that now deserve to take center stage,” argued Faust. “We have to get very serious about defending natural marriage regardless of what the law says, because children's rights are at stake.”
Unfortunately, Christians have often been reticent to speak up for children in the same fearless, forthright way they advocated for unborn life.
Christians have adopted false notions of marriage or given in to pervasive social pressure to avoid speaking out. Many clergy have reduced their time in the pulpit or lack the conviction, or courage, to address the issue, said Virgil Walker, the executive director of operations for G3 Ministries.
Often, Christians believe that people who identify as homosexual are “born this way,” so calling their behavior sinful would invalidate a human being made in the image of God. “We have a high view of being image bearers of God — and we should also equally have a high view of the things that God calls sin and maintain fidelity integrity to those things,” Walker told Perkins on Thursday. The biblical model of family life “should be demonstrated by the men of God who are in the pulpits, who are speaking and preaching the Word of God. They should be the ones who are exemplifying the willingness to say and preach hard truths.”
“We’ve got to stand on the truth of Scripture and we've got to proclaim it,” Walker said, “because at the end of the day, marriage absolutely matters. Marriage matters.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.