(By Adam Densmore, 1776 Scholar) While scripture is an ideal starting point for any conversation—especially one relating to social questions of right and wrong—Christians are called to think biblically but speak secularly. To craft a persuasive argument to a secular audience, we must begin with premises on which both sides of the issue can agree.
It is almost universally agreed that children should be protected from parental abuse or endangerment. Abortion seems to be a glaring exception to this nearly unanimously accepted principle, but that atrocity must be saved for another article. For example, adoption procedure includes exhaustive vetting of prospective parents; why? Because the state has a vested interest in ensuring that children have a nurturing and instructive home. So, from this standpoint, if it could be (as it already is) well established through science and observation that civil unions are institutions incapable of raising children as well as traditional marriages, and it is accepted that marriage is a partnership primarily formed around the ability to raise children, there is no reason a rational secularist would advocate civil unions being legally equal to traditional marriages.
Per a study conducted primarily by a sociologist at the University of Texas in Austin and cited by the New York Times indicates clearly that children raised in homes with gay parents are significantly disadvantaged. It was found that 10% of children raised in a traditional home were on public help programs, compared to 31% of children raised in non-traditional/broken homes (defined as single parents, stepfamilies, and families with a late divorce), and compared to 38% of children raised by gay couples. So, for a culture so absorbed with giving extra attention to children from broken homes, it is shocking how supportive we are of gay marriage equality. To reiterate: measured from a strictly economic/financial standpoint, and even ignoring psychological and emotional factors, children raised by gay parents are nearly four times as likely to require public assistance programs. Children don’t get to choose their parents, but are substantially disadvantaged when their parents are a gay couple; what kind of equality is that?
Further, if one were to make the overstated argument that gay couples are equally equipped to raise children, they would be implying either that males and females have no differences in regards to parenting, or that the father or mother (for lesbian and gay couples respectively) are not at each necessary in raising a child. No one has pushed the argument that males and females are the same, so we can assume that’s not a legitimately held position. Thus, proponents of gay marriage argue by implication that if two daddies is just as good as a father and a mother, the mother plays no important role in child raising; as with the inverse, if two mommies is just as good as a mother and a father, the father plays no important role in child raising. This simply is not true. Both the father and the mother play critical and unique roles in raising children, and it is atrocious to believe that households with two of one and neither of the other are equally capable of raising children; the data supports this conclusion.
Since it is well established that gay couples are widely less capable of raising children, and child protection is widely accepted as a state issue, there is no question that there must be a clear difference between marriage and civil unions. There is no reason that civil unions should be in anyway banned or restricted, but they must be kept separate from marriages.