New European Studies Show Homosexual Marriage Harms Marriage in General

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Proponents of gay marriage frequently argue that allowing for it would have no affect whatsoever on the institution of marriage itself. Former Harvard anthropologist Stanley Kurtz, writing in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, reports on various European studies that challenge this argument. Kurtz reports that in those countries where full homosexual marriage rights have been granted, marriage and indeed concrete family structures have been considerably weakened.

January 27, 2004
Volume 1, Number 25

Proponents of gay marriage frequently argue that allowing for it would have no affect whatsoever on the institution of marriage itself. Former Harvard anthropologist Stanley Kurtz, writing in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, reports on various European studies that challenge this argument. Kurtz reports that in those countries where full homosexual marriage rights have been granted, marriage and indeed concrete family structures have been considerably weakened.

These studies also show that the traditional function of marriage as the basis for stable family environments and parenthood is now no longer considered necessary. Rather, “same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood.instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage.gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.”

Kurtz sites studies from a number of countries. In Denmark, which has allowed legal homosexual marriage since 1989, sociologists Cecilie Wehner, Mia Kambskar and Peter Abrahamson write, “the concept of a nuclear family is.changing. Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family-neither legally nor normatively.” This transition in the definition of a family is similar in other Scandinavian countries.

Kurtz says the statistical measure of eroding family structures need not be based solely on the numbers of new heterosexual marriages, but also on increases in out-of-wedlock births and divorce rates. These factors have become more important as issues such as gay marriage and co-habitation have eroded the concept of family and the institution of marriage. Indeed, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway-all of whom have incorporated full gay marriage rights over the past ten to fifteen years-have seen jumps in out-of-wedlock births since they legalized homosexual marriage. This deterioration of the traditional family structure has ushered in an era where the majority of children are born outside of marriage.

Additional data, such as that from the most recent Statistical Yearbook of the UN Economic Commission, demonstrates the growth of this trend. In the two decades leading up to 2001, marriage rates decreased, divorce rates increased, and out-of-wedlock births increased in many countries, and the countries with the largest percentage fluctuations in these issues are also those most lenient with homosexual marriage rights.

While the data was specific to Europe, the same could be said for all developed Western nations, including the United States. Demographer Kathleen Kiernan classifies all Western countries into a three-tier system signifying incidence of cohabitation, out of wedlock births, and marriage. Kurtz notes that Kiernan’s “three groupings closely track the movement for gay marriage.” Only in the lowest incidence tier where societies are “most resistant to cohabitation, family dissolution, and out-of-wedlock births.has the gay marriage movement achieved relatively little success.”

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