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Gay Marriage: Getting the Conversation Right Is More Important Than Ever


Gregory K. Popcak - published on 06/28/15 - updated on 06/08/17

~ Same-Sex marriage does not provide the same level of security for the partners or children raised in those households.  Homosexual relationships do not appear to be as stable as heterosexual relationships even where gay marriage is legal. Therefore, children raised in homosexual households are, statistically, at great financial and social risk. This is not the most important concern, but it is legitimate.

~ Same-Sex marriage does not socialize partners to the same degree. The incidence of intimate partner violence is higher for both lesbian and gay couples than it is for married, heterosexual couples. This increases the risk of instability for children in gay and lesbian households. This is not the most important concern, but it is legitimate.


The push for homosexual marriage asks society to give benefits to a relationship-type that does not grant any benefits to society in return and, in fact, undermines many of the benefits society might otherwise count on from marriage. This makes it harder to not justify extending similar benefits to cohabiting couples or any other household arrangement.

Likewise, homosexual marriage also undermines marriage rates for heterosexuals. Marriage is “more expensive” (in terms of the effort and commitment it requires) than other relationship types. Because of this, the more society promotes other marriage-like relationships as equivalent to marriage, the less attractive marriage becomes especially among the poor and those without a college degree—the very people who benefit from marriage the most. We’re already seeing this. As cohabitation becomes more socially acceptable, marriage rates have decreased for these most vulnerable groups. Since it is extremely difficult to be in the middle class without being married, the lower marriage rates among the poor or lesser-educated means that these groups are becoming trapped in the under-class.

In short, the best case against same-sex marriage has nothing to do with religion, morality, bigotry, or disgust. It has everything to do with protecting the rights of children to have a mother and father and to be united to their mother and father and the need to insist that it is unjust to extend benefits to a relationship-type that conveys no benefits to society in return.

Homosexual persons do not deserve to be treated with scorn, disrespect, or bigotry. They are persons deserving of our love and respect just like anyone else. But extending love and respect to our homosexual brothers and sisters does not extend to redefining marriage so that it is socially and practically meaningless.

It is true that most couples are completely ignorant of the social and public dimension of marriage. Most couples just think of marriage as  a public recognition of a private, emotional commitment, but most couples’ ignorance of the facts doesn’t negate the facts. Society cannot afford to extend benefits to anyone or anything that does not work for the good of society.  People must be free to make their own choices about who they want live with, but society can only afford to encourage those relationships and institutions that demonstrably work for it’s good.

Dr. Greg Popcak is the director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute. For more information about Catholic counseling, books, and other resources, visit

This article was first published in Patheos and is reprinted here with permission. 

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