What's Wrong With Gay Marriage And The Traditional Family

Let me start out by saying that as a straight African-American male, I don’t profess to understand just what homosexuality is insomuch as human behavior. Most conservative Christians don’t believe that God would “make” someone gay by intent. And biologists, those scientists who have succeeded in mapping the human genome, are not fully able to explain or understand homosexuality’s place in human evolution; it simply doesn't jive with that linchpin of evolutionary theory that all living creatures tend to engage in behavior which contributes to the procreation of their species. Many who say that homosexuality is an integral part of the natural order often cite the occurrence of the same behavior in animals. Others say that fact doesn't fully support that homosexuality is “normal behavior;” hoarding is also a tendency which exists in the animal kingdom, but is considered a psychiatric disorder as of the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). However, my point of focus is the place of homosexuality within the traditional family.

I’m one of those older men who grew up with the understanding that traditional families consisted of men, women and children--that being a homosexual was some deviant behavior of choice; and that calling a gay man a “sissy” was a way of acknowledging his lower status in the social hierarchy. But as I matured, I developed the understanding that gay people—aside from their sexual preferences—are like everyone else. They have their own likes, dislikes, passions, hopes, careers, and aspirations. I've worked with them, have broken bread with them, and even laughed with them. They are people whom like myself deserve respect as well as the same legal protections from discrimination in hiring, housing, and otherwise fair treatment.

However, I'd like to state that I harbor rational-based—as opposed to religious-, personal-, or ideological-based—reservations with regards to gay people and the redefining of the traditional family unit. Whether you are gay, straight, conservative, liberal, radical, or reactionary, the truth of the matter is that every society in the modern (as well the traditional) world was more stable, more value-oriented, and relatively more peaceful when the traditional nuclear family was the center social unit of focus and support. And I’m fully aware that speaking out in any way with thinking or ideas which don’t promote or adhere to the liberal climate of ever-growing support of gay rights will probably find me on the receiving end of accusations of my being unreasonable, behind-the-times, misguided, or even homophobic...no matter how thoroughly I outline my rational thinking. But for better or worse, I’m an adherent of traditional institutions…proven institutions. And whatever you think, no social institution is as proven as the traditional nuclear family in promoting both familial and social stability.

What’s more, the traditional nuclear family—man, woman, and children/children—is the basic family unit upon how and which man has flourished as a species. Any attempt to revise the definition of what constitutes a “family” ignores both the near entirety of human history, as well as the importance of the traditional family as the basic unity of humanity as a species. Simply put, the traditional nuclear family was the vehicle for how man evolved from nomadic hunters and gathers to a fixed civilized species. And it’s conceivable that extending legally-recognized marriage and family to include units headed by gay couples would slow that progress to some extent.

To this point, the notion that gay marriage is a “Constitutional right” stands in the face of reason. The basis for this position is that marriage itself is not a “right,” but a social institution which is legally-recognized as a type of contract between spouses. No one, gay or straight, has any more a legal “right” to be married as they do a right to find a partner in life…or even a right to be loved. And putting aside the individual concern we might have for the happiness of gay relatives, co-workers, and friends, rational rather than passionate thinking supports the conclusion that the Founding Fathers could not have possibly conceived of the idea that two adults of the same sex would ever want to enter into sexual relations—yet alone want to marry. Granted, there was a great deal of flexibility written into the Constitution in order to adapt to changing social values when it was crafted, embracing the notion that gay marriage is a Constitutional right stretches this reality beyond all imagining of the Framers living in a period when homosexuality was statutorily (and biblically) prohibited and punishable by death (See: "Homosexuals And the Death Penalty In Colonial America").

And with heterosexual couples' inability to seemingly get along (as evidenced by their divorce rate and lower numbers of marriage among them), gay marriage is an idea which further erodes the institution of the traditional family. This is especially true among minority families, with some 73% of black and 53% of Latino children born out of wedlock (See: "For women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside of Marriage"). The last thing either of these socioeconomically disadvantaged groups needs is for any group to revise the structure and meaning of the traditional family unit when said unit has been decimated by sociological forces both within and without among these groups (the same unit which held these groups together under the trials of their individual experiences in America until recent times). The fact that blacks, as escaped slaves were documented as traveling hundreds of miles on foot in order to attempt to reunite this most basic of family units as each member was sold into slavery and taken away is an illustration of how unifying the traditional family was once in America. The upshot is that the dual attack of weakening heterosexual values toward the traditional family, and homosexual aspirations of legal recognition of marriage among their group are working in tandem to erode the institution of the traditional family.

The well-intentioned, but overly-progressive push to extend equal rights to include gay marriage as a legally-recognized “right” is nothing more than an attempt to revise the entire whole of human history. Man and his (various) civilizations were built on the basic unit of the traditional family unit, with little in the way of varying definitions since the most ancient of times. Whether you’re believer or atheist, gay or straight, no one can argue that most societies with a strong presence of the traditional family were more—for better or worse—orderly, lacked the runaway levels of socioeconomic pathologies we see exhibited in much of today’s America, and fostered a sense of similar goals and aspirations rather than the ideological discord we see evident in today’s America.

See also: "The Death of the American Marriage" and "What's Wrong With The Traditional Family."

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Comments 18 comments

Pamela-anne profile image

Pamela-anne 3 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Enjoyed your hub our world and ways are forever changing; the bible is a good example of something that has been revised many times through-out history. It has been converted into more recent English as most people do not understand the words and their meanings from the original version of English. Like many things they change with time; even the family dynamics are changing with time not always for the worst I guess depending on who and where you stand on your ideas of the family unit of today. The traditional family unit is no longer seen as the only kind of family unit in our society today but rather one type of family unit. I enjoyed your hub well written if it was a perfect world I too would want the traditional family for all but alas this is not our reality. Take care and God bless I say thumbs up for this hub!

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Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

Thank you.

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monas1418 3 years ago

Again, this is excellent and dead on!! Speaking from a woman who was born and raised in the black community via both parents, strong family ties an a strong work ethic, this being said the world as we KNOW!! is a changing, and has changed, I'm at a point in my life. I really dont care what they do, the reason being if you look at the whole picture, what the gay community does and been doing really WERE!! how does it affect us?? I say this because A family unit has to put something in their child(children) a value system. The STATS, are showing how gay families are raising chilren, and the children are doing better, than chilren from heterosexual families, this is something I did'nt make up, but why is that?? what are they doing? that heterosexuals families are not?? they are buying homes, working and paying their taxes, they are an intricate part of the WORLD!! they are really a group that is not going down lightly, sooo, the nuclear family your speaking about, really Sir, has dwindled.. Again your American Dream, might not be my American Dream, I always thought it's what you made of it. Speaking from a heterosexual woman, I totally agree, when I was coming of age everybody I knew was married and had an intact family unit, I'm 44 years old and guess what?? My generation are either married or divorced or they are thinking about getting divorced..Where's the nuclear family?? Or single and have never been married.. Again, wheres the family unit?? One thing about the Gay community, they know what they're up against, again all your Hubs!! deal with the here and now!!

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

Thank you. I'm never under the delusion that everyone will agree with me. When I write, I do so with full knowledge that most people will approach any issue with emotional influence, personally-held biases, or religious and/or political dogmas clouding their ability to approach things objectively. That having been said, I'm a firm believer that truth and clear thinking can be discerned by tapping into reason alone, and that we have to treat our hearts like the enemy in order to succeed. ;)

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monas1418 3 years ago

Beyond Politics, NOOO!! I understand what your saying I do, but I do agree with the nuclear family and traditional, but we cant be blind to what;s going on in the world we live in, its like the immigration issue (another hub) but they are here and working building communities, and they want to be here and they are not going anywhere.. so what do we do with them?? I'm approaching this issue openly and honestly, I'm just saying whether you agree or disagree, this is happening all around us and in the world!! I'm being reasonable not emotional, in the past three years, on my street three couples have moved in with their children. I'm serious!! Is this the new " Normal? or a regular Modern Family"? This is real talk bro!

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

Thank you for your candor. As I stated before, I'm fully aware that not everyone will agree. And I understand the chant, "We're here, we're queer..." Gay people, immigrants, others associated with change are simply not going anywhere, and are not willing to "go back" (as it were). However, my point is that not every change is progressive or works for the greater good.

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monas1418 3 years ago

I hear you.. Thanks again..

Amel 3 years ago

It is interesting that you write.... "the traditional nuclear family—MAN, WOMEN, and children/children—is the basic family unit upon how and which man has flourished as a species." It seems that you consider polygamy as a traditional family, with one man having several women. I would say the traditional family would be MAN, WOMAN, CHILDREN. I certainly see that polygamy as a greater menace to my concept of traditional family than gay marriage that would be the union of just two people.

It is well known that men tend to have as many women as possible while women tend to get attached to one man, and that is for reasons both biological an societal, but with the high number of men procreating out of wedlock children, considering polygamy as the norm will only compound the problem and, I repeat, much more than gay marriage could do.

On the other hand

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

I think you are reading too much into my thesis. I'm not nor have I ever been an advocate of polygamy. Besides the fact that it doesn't represent the traditional one man/woman/children mold of the traditional family, it's illegal. I speak of traditionally recognized legal marriage.

ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Beyond Politics

Beyond Religion, the gay marriage is a preference, as is smoking, and drinking, but it is not a right.

Smoking and drinking are still around because it is economics and revenue for the government, as is income tax.

The only solution is to make civil unions equal in rights to traditional marriage. As you stated, divorce is high in traditional marriages.

One of the problems is that marriage is an implied contract, and when a married couple divorces that state takes control of it. The state makes legal assumptions like community property, child custody and visitation rights etc.

Now if instead of an implied marital contract, we substitute a real contract, like a partnership. When the partnership is dissolved the contract and not the state dictates the process.

So if we replace the state and federal pigeon holing of marriage and unions, and have the federal government remove it from the income tax check box, and replace it with a tax bracket for the personal partnership we could have everything equal.

Marriage can then be a non state, government status at the choosing of the couple.

A gay marriage is an oxymoron, and it is a futile conjugation.

It is a tree without fruit trying to be called a fruit tree, no pun intended.

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

Excellent observation and proposal. On a side note, I always jokingly asked, if a teacher's license, lawyer's license, and driver's license could be suspended for transgressions/violations of duty, then why can't a marriage license? It's funny how some "licenses" are different than others.

Stacy 3 years ago

Oh my gosh! How refreshing to FINALLY read something written by someone who feels like I do! That the nuclear family is THE most important thing at stake! And, not some Bible-thumping zealot! Fabulous article - we need to save the family! We need to reverse the trend of no-fault divorce and "I just don't love you anymore..." and marriages on the fly. Where do we start? Sign me up!

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 3 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

Thank you. I think society would be a different place if people would use logic and reason rather than passions, emotions, and dogmatic ideologies to resolve our socioeconomic issues.

Chris Thompson 19 months ago

I read your Blogspot essay regarding same-sex marriage yesterday, and upon your suggestion, I read just read this essay. I see that we will likely never agree on this issue.

I appreciate that you did not delve too deeply into the evolutionary reason and many instances in the animal kingdom where homosexuality occurs, as I think that apart from stating that homosexuality happens in thousands of species, the state of homosexuality is not the question at hand in this. However, there is research that shows that there is an evolutionary reason for homosexuality in nature: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/why-are-t...

There is no such thing as a "traditional marriage". At the beginning of civilization, marriage was simply a property exchange, where the "property" was someone's daughter. It was essentially human trafficking, whether monogamous or polygamous. This is illustrated in both stories of the bible and in history books (I tend to refer to the latter more). Marriage has evolved throughout the civilization, but for the most part, it has been nothing more than a transaction with intent to breed offspring and to delegate house duties, depending on the social level of the couples. While a “nuclear” family is ideal for raising children, there have been plenty of studies to show that a same-sex couple is as capable of raising healthy, well-adjusted children as a straight couple. As I stated before, it has more to do with the two-parent dynamic and not the sex/gender of the parents. This flies in the thought that a gay-headed family would hinder civilization’s progress.






I fail to see the link between the idea of gay marriage and the erosion of heterosexual marriages and the abundant single-parent births. Heterosexual marriages are eroding because women have a bigger voice in marriages than they did before, which means the union is more egalitarian, and people do not stay in relationships that they see as toxic for the rest of their lives. Divorce rates were much lower in the past, partially because laws prohibited them, partially because certain religions frowned deeply upon them, and partially because there was a social stigma to divorce. In no way does gay marriage have anything to do with that. Furthermore, single-parent families are high in the brown and black communities because of lack of adequate sex education, high incarceration rates that take one parent away due to racially skewed enforcement of laws, and laws written deliberately racially skewed against brown and black people. Our history of slavery is a prime example of how rare a nuclear style family was among blacks. Many times, our women were raped by their own masters, and our men were studded like dogs or bulls. These were a bigger affront to the nuclear family than same-sex marriage. The example of the runaway slave who travelled miles to reunite with his beloved as proof of the strength of the nuclear family is not the best example to use if illustrating a logical or rational argument. His motivations were most likely purely emotional, and it is likely that a man who is in love with another man would endure the same tribulations to be with his beloved.

I will agree that marriage is not a right guaranteed in the Constitution, whether gay, straight, or otherwise. However, our government recognizes civil marriages and affords benefits to couples based on their marital status. To award one couple of tax paying citizens these benefits and not another couple of similar socioeconomic status who dutifully pay the same amount of taxes based on their gender is not only not fair, it is discriminatory and unlawful.

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 19 months ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

I never meant to imply a link between same-sex relationships and divorce. However, if I may point out that while homosexuality manifest itself--albeit peripherally--in the animal kingdom, so too does hoarding...which is considered a psychological disorder in humans, according to the DSM-IV, so thats really a valid conparison or validation.

Chris Thompson 19 months ago

Yes, DSM-IV considers hoarding a psychological disorder, but it also no longer considers homosexuality a psychological disorder. This is all thanks to advances in psychology, psychiatry, and physiology.

As I said, we will likely never see eye to eye on this issue, especially when gay couples are creating their own families with children to no detriment to society.

Beyond-Politics profile image

Beyond-Politics 19 months ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) Author

I actually read and researched the history behind the APAs vote to eliminate homosexuality from the DSM. An involved tale, but there were a lot of gay mental health professionals involved in influencing this decision and the subsequent vote (gay psychologists, gay counsrlors, etc. Hardly impartial). Also, the gay-rights movement was just getting started as an additional influencing factor. Lastly, the vote by the full voting body (not the decision-making committee) of the APA to remove homosexuality from the DSM was passed by a single vote...hardly a mandate. True, strides have been made in mental health overall, but my point is that just because homosexuality is "natural" doesnt mean its normal. Many human abnormalities are "natural," including cleft pallets, Down's Syndrome, my own Asperger's Syndrome, Progeria, and a host of other afflictions. But it doesnt mean those who have them are "normal."

Chris Thompson 19 months ago

"Normal" is a fallacy. If we were to consider the most common person in the world the standard, then "normal" would be a Han Chinese man, and yet if we were to believe what is fed to us in media, "normal" is a straight white Christian man.

Regardless, this chat was fun, and I mean that sincerely. Enjoy your day, wherever you are.

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