Family Research Council

The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage

By Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies

Some advocates of same-sex "marriage" scoff at the idea that it could harm anyone. Here are ten ways in which society could be harmed by legalizing same-sex "marriage." Most of these effects would become evident only in the long run, but several would occur immediately.

Immediate Effects

  • Taxpayers, consumers, and businesses would be forced to subsidize homosexual relationships. 

One of the key arguments often heard in support of homosexual civil marriage revolves around all the government "benefits" that homosexuals claim they are denied.  Many of these "benefits" involve one thing-taxpayer money that homosexuals are eager to get their hands on. For example, one of the goals of homosexual activists is to take part in the biggest government entitlement program of all-Social Security. Homosexuals want their partners to be eligible for Social Security survivors' benefits when one partner dies.

The fact that Social Security survivor's benefits were intended to help stay-at-home mothers who did not have retirement benefits from a former employer has not kept homosexuals from demanding the benefit.[i] Homosexual activists are also demanding that children raised by a homosexual couple be eligible for benefits when one of the partners dies-even if the deceased partner was not the child's biological or adoptive parent.

As another example, homosexuals who are employed by the government want to be able to name their homosexual partners as dependents in order to get the taxpayers to pay for health insurance for them. Never mind that most homosexual couples include two wage-earners, each of whom can obtain their own insurance. Never mind that "dependents" were, when the tax code was developed, assumed to be children and stay-at-home mothers. And never mind that homosexuals have higher rates of physical disease, mental illness, and substance abuse,[ii] leading to more medical claims and higher insurance premiums. No, all of these logical considerations must give way in the face of the demand for taxpayer subsidies of homosexual relationships.

But these costs would be imposed not only upon governments, but upon businesses and private organizations as well. Some organizations already offer "domestic partner" benefits to same-sex couples as a matter of choice. Social conservatives have discouraged such policies, but we have not attempted to forbid them by law.

Imagine, though, what the impact on employee benefit programs would be if homosexual marriage is legalized nationwide. Right now, marriage still provides a clear, bright line, both legally and socially, to distinguish those who receive dependent benefits and those who don't. But if homosexual couples are granted the full legal status of civil marriage, then employers who do not want to grant benefits to homosexual partners-whether out of principle, or simply because of a prudent economic judgment-would undoubtedly be coerced by court orders to do so.



[i] One of the architects of Social Security, Abraham Epstein, said, "[T]he American standard assumes a normal family of man, wife, and two or three children, with the father fully able to provide for them out of his own income." Abraham Epstein, Insecurity: A Challenge to America (New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1933), 101-102; cited in Allan Carlson, The "American Way": Family and Community in the Shaping of the American Identity (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2003), 69. See generally Carlson's entire chapter on "'Sanctifying the Traditional Family': The New Deal and National Solidarity," 55-77.

[ii] See Victor M. B. Silenzio, "Top 10 Things Gay Men Should Discuss with their Healthcare Provider" (San Francisco: Gay & Lesbian Medical Association); accessed April 1, 2010; online at: http://www.glma.org/_data/n_0001/resources/live/Top%20Ten%20Gay%20Men.pdf; and Katherine A. O'Hanlan, " Top 10 Things Lesbians Should Discuss with their Healthcare Provider" (San Francisco: Gay & Lesbian Medical Association); accessed April 1, 2010; online at: http://www.glma.org/_data/n_0001/resources/live/Top%20Ten%20Lesbians.pdf 

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