Surprise! I agree with Alabama’s first openly gay state legislator, Patricia Todd. Not her view that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage should be overturned. She’s wrong about that. But she’s right that you don’t get to make a moral argument about marriage and family, especially one that is based on “Christian values,” when you are sleeping around with your interns.
Long-term sufferers of my blog should very well have picked up on my theme by now. For those of you late to class I will throw you a bone. My opposition to gay marriage is rooted in the natural rights and well-being of children because, by their very nature, gay parents commit the child to losing at least one biological parent. Those kids also miss out on, in their formative years, daily input from both genders which naturally bring about different benefits to child development.
For those of us who talk this talk it is vitally important that we are not hypocritical in our walk. While I am concerned about the plight of children in gay households, statistically, children’s well-being is at risk by much greater numbers from divorce, co-habitation and casual sex. Regardless of what bans are lifted or what the Supreme Court decides in June, there is a great deal of personal responsibility we can all engage in that amounts to the Golden Ticket to thriving children and families.
In a nut shell?
As Frau M’s 86-year-old Mema would say: “Keep your pants on people.”
Somewhere along the way we mistook “sexual liberation” to mean separating commitment from sex. More than one of my friends bought into the whole hook-up culture nonsense and is now raising, nobly and admirably mind you, the child of a seven minute encounter. OK, maybe seven was too generous. These mothers deserve our support and encouragement, but, we also need to be the town crier when it comes to the message we send our community. Sex is super fun and it was made to be so in order to create the next generation. So, if you really do care about the rights and well-being of children you are required to conduct yourself accordingly and encourage others to not have sex unless they have made a meaningful, life-long commitment to the other participant.
Like Mema says, “Take very seriously what’s poked in fun.”
And then there is the red-headed step child of hooking-up. The ever-so-romantic financial/convenience driven outcropping of the hook-up culture; cohabitation. Or, according to Mema, “shacking up.” As with hooking-up, no matter how many “precautions” one may take, life finds a way, often into a relationship which is based more on a shared lease than a commitment. The stats tell us that the children of cohabiting couples are much more likely to see the dissolution of their parent’s relationship, subsequently live with their mother, then endure the “flavor of the month” (thanks again Mema) boyfriend types. If they are lucky these men are just boyfriends and not predators that seek out single mothers as a ticket to the child. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, a mother’s cohabitating boyfriend is the most dangerous person in a child’s life. Children born to cohabiting relationship will likely end up a child of a single mom and thus be at a higher risk for living in poverty, physical and sexual abuse. The numbers do not lie.
For those of you struggling to stay awake here is more help from Mr. Cliff Note:
Don’t shack up. Find someone who is quality enough to parent children with you and serious enough about you to make big sacrifices. Don’t be so dang convenient. You are worth more. Your children are worth more.
And finally, the shameful silent killer of any moral high ground we conservatives ever had on the matter, the big D. Divorce. Or, as Mema would say, “Why divorce when you can buy a shotgun?” Boy, did the big-name-nationally-syndicated-Republican-talk-show types blow it on this one. Many are happy to talk about “family values” and rail against gay marriage but scurry to the dark corners at the suggestion of returning to at-fault divorce laws. Far too many have bought into the no-fault divorce lie and are shamefully guilty of sacrificing the needs of their children so that they can tickle their libido. Many adults who choose divorce find that they are happier afterward. The children, not so much. We are told that divorce is like a bad cold: it’s a bummer for a while but you’ll get over it. The truth is that, for children at least, divorce is not a one-time event but rather the beginning of many upheavals and transitions. Dad moving out, mom getting a boyfriend, dad getting remarried and moving again. Mom’s breakup. Mom moving to a new place. Dad having a child with his new wife. Seeing mom less because she is struggling financially and is out working two jobs. All this on top of the emotional heartache of knowing that the two people you love most in life do not love each other. Divorce may offer some relief/escape for the adults involved, but it is something that kids need to deal with for the long-haul. How many of you still have to do two Christmases? Long. Haul.
Waiting to have sex until you are married is hard.
I paid a steep emotional price because I did it wrong in high school and could have easily been one of those single moms that I mentioned. In college my still-not-yet husband and I struggled greatly to remain chaste while we dated for four years. We made it. Barely. It was, how shall I put this? EXCEPTIONALLY HARD EVERY STINKING DAY but (withthehelpofGodalmighty) we did the right thing and, as usual, right is always the more rewarding thing.
Don’t get me wrong, marriage is no panacea. Loving your husband when he is distracted by work is hard. Patience and tenderness toward your wife is difficult when she brushes you aside because she has “too much to do.” It’s hard to not blather to your friends when he has pissed you off. It’s easier for him to keep his complaints to himself because he works and comes home, with little to no time to nurture friendships, let alone confide in them. Add some kids and the pressure increases exponentially because you now are surviving on one income and you are scraping by because payday is still three days out.
It’s hard. So many people don’t do it. Many “pro-family” advocates don’t do it.
We all should because our future depends on it. Because it is about the emotional health and well-being of my kids and yours. It’s about orienting our lives around the needs of our children, not making them fit into a life built on following our every sexual urge- be it the hook-up, affair or divorce. They need to see us struggling and overcoming obstacles in relationships that don’t allow for an exit strategy. They need to witness adults being faithful when there are so many opportunities to be faithless. Because it’s the best thing for kids. And if maturity, character, and long-term fullness is what we’re after, it’s the best thing for us too.
The real marriage movement will be one of self-examination. And if we ever hope to reach millennials with our message, we’re going to have to live consistently with it. We must make sure that our behavior falls into line with what we are preaching.
Or as Mema would say; “Put up, or shut up.”