By C. Gwendolyn Landolt National Vice President
REAL Women of Canada
CBC News Viewpoint ¦ May 18, 2004

However emotionally bonded a same-sex couple may feel, their relationship is not, and cannot, ever be a marriage. This is because their relationship is completely different from that of an opposite-sex married couple. It is completely false, therefore, to suggest that the relationships are equal – they are not.

They are different because when an opposite-sex couple enters into marriage, their relationship is much more than just a personal agreement between them based on their feelings for each other, which is the case with same-sex relationships, but it is also a public commitment to society to provide a home and role models for the rearing of children.

It is irrelevant that some heterosexual couples are infertile or choose not to have children. There is a vast difference between the infertility of some heterosexual couples, and the impossibility of all same-sex couples to procreate through same-sex bonding, except in cases when they require a third party outside of their union to assist in procreation.

Marriage is an institution, and one of its main purposes is to procreate – and specific incidents of infertility within it for whatever reason, are irrelevant.

Society has a vital stake in child rearing, and children thrive best in an opposite-sex environment where they learn their gender identity and sex-role expectations. They also have a right to live within a secure and stable family, which will not be the case with same-sex relationships, which are radically different from married couples in several key aspects.

These differences include relationship duration (as homosexual relationships last only a fraction of the length of time of most marriages – between two and three years). “Commitment” in same-sex couples is different in that sexual faithfulness is not a requirement. Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sexual partners in his lifetime.

As stated by the authors of a book, The Male Couple – McWhirter and Matheson, a psychiatrist and a psychologist who are homosexual partners – most homosexual men understand sexual relations outside the relationship to be the norm, and view adopting monogamous sexual standards as an act of oppression.

Gareth Kirby, managing editor of the homosexual newspaper Xtra West, stated (Sept. 6, 2001) that legal marriages are contrary to the homosexual culture:

…In our culture, we haven’t created the same hierarchy as has heterosexual culture. We know that love has many faces, and names, ages, places. … We know that a 30-year relationship is no better, no better, than a nine-week, or nine-minute, fling – it’s different, but not better. Both have value. We know that the instant intimacy involved in that perfect 20-minute …in Stanley Park can be a profoundly beautiful thing. We know a two-year relationship where people live apart is as beautiful, absolutely as beautiful, as a 30-year relationship where people live together. We know that the people involved in an open relationship can love each other as deeply as the people in a closed relationship …

The fundamental capacity for faithfulness is axiomatic to the institution of marriage. If homosexuals and lesbians truly desired the same kind of commitment signified by marriage, then one would expect them to take advantage of the opportunity to enter into marriage or civil unions or registered partnerships.

According to the 2001 census, only .05 per cent of same-sex couples cohabitate inCanada.Nova Scotiapassed legislation in June 2001 that permitted the registration of homosexual couples in civil unions. Yet, six months later, only 83 homosexual partnerships were registered, although there were 855 couples eligible to do so.

This lack of commitment is confirmed by studies in theNetherlandswhere same-sex “marriage” was instituted in March 2001. As of October 2002, only 2.8 per cent of homosexuals had registered their unions as “married.” Similarly inSweden, which has permitted registered same-sex partnerships, only two per cent of Swedish homosexuals have chosen to do so

It is well documented that same-sex relationships include many serious health risks, such as mental health problems, substance abuse, and a greater risk of suicide. Homosexuals experience a significantly reduced life expectancy. There is also a much higher level of violence in same-sex relationships as research indicates that domestic violence affects half of same-sex couples. This level of violence has been verified by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice).

Family studies also show that children reared by same-sex parents are more likely to experience sexual involvement with their parents, and to be homosexual/lesbian in orientation.

Homosexuals have a right to choose their lifestyle, but, it is detrimental to the rearing of children. As stated by researcher, Professor Bradley Hayton in his book, To Marry or Not: The Legalization of Marriage and Adoption of Homosexual Couples:

Homosexuals … model a poor view of marriage to children. They are taught by example and belief that marital relationships are transitory and most sexual in nature. Sexual relationships are primarily for pleasure rather than procreation. And they are taught that monogamy in a marriage is not the norm

[and] should be discouraged if one wants a good ‘marital’ relationship.

Further, if a legal marriage is to include parties other than a man and a woman, based primarily on personal sexual choice, then how can marriage be denied to those who want to marry a child, or a sibling, or more than one spouse? Changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples means we lose the ability to draw a line around the meaning of marriage at all. Once we start expanding the definition of marriage on the basis of equality and non-discrimination, how will it be possible to exclude anyone? When all types of relationships are recognized as a legal “marriage” – then marriage  itself becomes meaningless.

This all raises a very important question: if same-sex relationships are so different in values, structure, practice and longevity from married relationships, why are homosexual activists demanding legal marriage for their partnerships? Could it be to achieve validation of the homosexual lifestyle as being as normal and healthy as heterosexuality? Could it be to destabilize and erode the very nature of the institution of marriage?

William Eskridge, a prominentU.S.homosexual advocate, states that building a marriage law which includes gay experience:

… invokes the reconfiguration of family – de-emphasizing blood, gender and kinship ties and emphasizing the value of interpersonal relationships.

In effect, legal marriages for same-sex partners will force the law and public policy to realign marriage and family to accommodate same-sex experience and practices. This will bleach out the central features of opposite-sex marriage that now provides cultural affirmation, support and encouragement to married couples who make the tremendous sacrifice to give birth to and rear children – of such crucial importance to the future of society. Opposite-sex marriage is also the affirmation of the unique bonding that arises in a heterosexual relationship, which serves as the bridge between past, present and future generations. To deconstruct opposite-sex marriage to include same-sex partners is to lead to the unravelling of society. We already see this happening in Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands where there is noticeable reduction in commitment to opposite-sex marriage, and to the birth of children within such unions because of the public recognition of same-sex unions.