Is Gay Marriage Harmless? image

Is Gay Marriage Harmless?

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There is only one newspaper I read every week, and that's The Economist. It brings political, economic, global, commercial, scientific and ethical news together in a way that very few publications do, and I always find myself thinking more carefully about things after reading it. But occasionally, despite themselves, they get themselves in a terrible tangle - and often, their tangles reflect the intellectual mess in society at large. Thus.

On 2 May, their leader said this (emphasis added):

Same-sex marriage is not like abortion. There are no difficult trade-offs: allowing gay couples to wed has no effect on the health or stability of heterosexual unions. And there are no victims: anti-abortion campaigners can wave placards showing bloody foetuses, but campaigners against gay marriage will struggle to find anyone who has been harmed by it.

Leave aside the problematic second sentence, and focus on that last clause. Nobody is harmed by gay marriage. Simple.

Now consider this excerpt from their (excellent, by the way) leader on manhood on 30 May, a mere four weeks later:

Boys who grow up without fathers are more likely to have trouble forming lasting relationships, creating a cycle of male dysfunction.

Got that? Boys without dads have more problems. They are more likely to fall into a cross-generational cycle of male dysfunction - the central concern of The Economist‘s leader as well as its (again, excellent) feature essay - if they grow up without fathers. Single mothers do a fantastic job, but most of them will tell you the same: having a dad around is really important in a boy’s development.

So gay marriage harms nobody (May 2). Except that boys without dads have more problems (May 30), and one of the main achievements of the gay marriage movement has been to create boys without dads, not to mention boys without mums, girls without dads, and girls without mums (all of which, presumably, present challenges of their own). But campaigners against gay marriage will struggle to find anyone who has been harmed by it.

Apparently they don’t have to. The Economist has found plenty.

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