'Homosexual Families' Left Unprotected, Activists Say
Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - The nation's largest homosexual political activist group says "gay and lesbian families" are left "vulnerable ... without the security, benefits, and protections afforded by civil marriage in American Society."
The Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) "State of the Family" report scored all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 14 issues ranging from recognition of "homosexual marriage" or "domestic partnerships" to whether or not states extended the protection of their civil rights laws specifically to homosexuals or repealed sodomy laws.
There were no perfect "100" scores, because none of the states, nor the District of Columbia, allow homosexuals to marry members of the same sex. Vermont ranked second, due in large part to its passage in the year 2000 of a "civil union" law, which allowed homosexual couples to enter into legally recognized relationships.
Washington, D.C., placed first with 12 positive ratings. Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia, tied for last place, each receiving zero positive ratings.
The report was authored by HRC "Family Net" director Lisa Bennett.
"Same sex families are not, in themselves, radically different from heterosexual families," Bennett claimed. "They are inherently the same as their heterosexual neighbors. The radical difference is in how the law treats them."
Kenneth Conner, president of the Family Research Council, calls Bennett's claim "the nuttiest statement" he's ever heard.
"It completely ignores gender differences. And that's one of the problems with gay adoption," Conner explained. "It trivializes the contribution that each gender makes to the physical, emotional, and psychosocial development of children.
"Moms and dads both make important contributions," he said, "and complimentary and distinct and different contributions because of their differences in gender. And to ignore the fact that gender differences have important contributing roles is just plain silly."
Bennett discounts Conner's arguments.
"It is time to turn the discussion away from the tired old questions about whether one family structure is inherently superior to another," she said, "and to turn it to the more pressing and relevant fact that all families need equal protections."
Conner says it is disingenuous for HRC to refer to cohabitating homosexuals as a "family," or to say that "marriage" is anything other than the union of one man and one woman.
"Only if you're willing to say that words have no meaning and you can shape them like wax to mean anything you want them to," Conner said. "That notion that you can infuse words with any meaning you choose to is just simply nonsense."
While many of the items scored by HRC's "State of the Family" report could be characterized as "protections," the emphasis during the group's press conference to promote the report was on benefits.
"All same-sex families are denied more than 1,000 federal benefits," Bennett explained, "such as Social Security, family and medical leave privileges, tax benefits, disability benefits, low-income housing benefits, rights provided through immigration and naturalization programs, military spousal benefits, veterans spousal benefits, and many, many more."
Conner says governments establish policies and laws that promote and protect heterosexual marriage because they have "recognized that this institution is foundational to a healthy society."
"Government has subsidized marriage because it has recognized that the two-parent, [heterosexual] marriage-based family is the cornerstone of society," he argued.
"If you look at outcomes, we know for instance that children who are raised in a family where the husband and wife are united in marriage have much better outcomes than children who aren't," Conner said.
"They have fewer suicides, less academic failure, less criminal or delinquent activity, less pre-marital sex, and they're less likely to wind up below the poverty line," he added.
Elizabeth Birch, HRC executive director, argues however that, "GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered] people certainly make the best, or at least the best parents as anyone else in our nation."
Conner says Birch's statement, "is not supported by common sense or experience."
He refers to a 1997 report in the International Journal of Epidemiology, which, he says, found a greater incidence of depression and suicide among homosexuals, and a greater incidence of domestic violence among homosexual couples, and more sexual partners than similarly situated heterosexuals.
"All of those are indicators of unstable environments," Conner argued. "Children need healthy, stable environments, and those kinds of indicators are poor predictors for success for children."
HRC seems to believe, however, that if homosexual couples were given equivalent legal treatment, many of those factors would change.
Seth Kilbourn, HRC's national field director says he is encouraged that, of the nine state laws regarding homosexuality enacted in 2001, all but two were "gay friendly."
"As the report makes clear, however," he explained, "we have a long road ahead of us as we strive to achieve civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples."
But if homosexuals achieve that goal, it could cause irreparable harm to the family, according to Conner.
"By their own score sheet, the Human Rights Campaign rates Washington, D.C. as the number one 'gay friendly state' in the country. And we know from the D.C. experience that the rate of AIDS infection is nine times the national average," he said.
A 1999 report by the D.C. Department of Health found that "residents of the District of Columbia comprise 0.24% of the population nationwide, but they represent a disproportionate 1.6% of the AIDS cases nationwide. In 1998, the rate of AIDS per 100,000 population was 186 for the District compared to 20 per 100,000 for the entire United States."
"Now, why on earth, in light of that experience," Conner asked, "would we want to promote further incentives for people to engage in the behavior which is the number one mechanism for the transmission of the AIDS virus?"
E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.
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