Sunday, June 17, 2012

Natural Marriage

The Ostrich Manifesto

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The core case against gay marriage is extremely simple:  If a mother's missing, that's important; if a father's missing, that's also important.  We should think of it this way:  When you were growing up, didn't you notice the psychological difference between your mother and your father?  Wasn’t some of the difference obviously attributable to the fact that one was a man and the other a woman?  There has been an ideology, a kind of religion since the Seventies that says that psychological differences between the genders were mere social constructs, but the advent of brain scanning devices and new research in social psychology are now shifting the balance back to show that nature shapes us to some extent after all.  All this has enormous significance in the area of child-rearing, which is far-and-away the most important reason why society should keep committing itself to giving economic benefits and social recognition to mother-and-father couples.

Social Psychology.  Studies in social psychology confirm the common observation that women tend to describe themselves more in relational terms, welcome more help, experience more relationship-linked emotions, and are more attuned to others' relationships (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Gabriel & Gardner; 1999; Tamres & others, 2002; Watkins & others, 1998, 2003). In conversation, men more often focus on tasks & connections with large groups, women on personal relationships (Tannen, 1990).  When on the phone, women's conversations with friends last longer (Smorda & Licoppe, 2000).  When on the computer, women spend more time sending emails in which they express more emotion (Crabtree, 2002; Thomson & Murachver, 2001). When in groups, women share more of their lives and offer more support (Dindia & Allen, 1992; Eagly, 1987.  When facing stress, men tend to respond with fight-or-flight; often, their response to a threat is combat.  In nearly all studies, notes Shelley Taylor (2002), women who are under stress more often “tend and befriend”; they turn to friends and family for support.  With children, women tend to coddle, men to challenge.

Neuroscience.  Imaging technology permits us to examine the brain without opening the skull. Behavioral differences between the sexes are the result of compelling forces set in motion before birth. For a woman, emotional structures in the female are larger than the male, while a male has about 20 times more testosterone than the female. So we're talking about hormonal influences and brain structure. All of these play important roles that make male-female relationships radically different than same-sex relationships.  It's wired right into the chemistry of the brain.  Progesterone, prolactin, and estrogen skyrocket during pregnancy, making a woman specially equipped to care for an infant, with the progesterone level going 40 times what is normal.  What has to be recovered is a rational and balanced sense of what men contribute and what women contribute.  The idea that men and women are psychologically interchangeable is being increasingly undermined by these findings. (Research by Dr. Louann Brizendine and many others)

Social Science.  Children lacking the distinctive love and authority of a father provide further evidence: Youth suicides   (US Dept. Of Health/Census)-5 times the average; homeless and runaway children  -32 times the average; children who show behavior disorders  -20 times the average (Center for Disease Control); high school dropouts  -9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report); youths in state-operated institutions -9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988); youths in prison -20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction).

Back to the Real Basics.  Marriage is not about endorsing an attachment between adults. It is about creating the conditions in which children can come into the world fully protected and with a fair chance of being loved.  Marriage is, above all else, a system of privileges bestowed on a man and a women because it's in the interest of society to have the maximum number of its members be raised with both a masculine and a feminine parental influence from the psychological standpoint.  No matter how well-intentioned a same-sex parent might be, the valuable, gender-specific contributions of either a father or a mother are missing.  Men and women are not interchangeable. 

The time has come to celebrate the psychological distinctives of men and of women and to stop denigrating either men or women by discounting or diminishing these.   Either the relevant and constructive aspects of brain structure and hormones exist or they don’t.  There is no middle ground.  Common experience, common observation, and common sense provide all the rationale needed for refusing the special support of marriage to any sexual relationships that are alternatives to male-female marriage.  The studies merely confirm the self-evident. To dismiss these as they pertain to child-raising is to play the ostrich and to be on the wrong side of history.  The stability of civilization depends on restabilizing sexual and family life.

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