This post was inspired by a lively Facebook discussion over the Chik-fil-A controversy.
Most ethical religions have promoted traditional marriage between a man and a woman for a variety of reasons. Aside from tribal interests, monogamous marriage strengthened the family unit, reduced sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and helped create a social safety net as the elders grew older.
As the institution of marriage went from purely religious to a government recognized contract, communities assigned a whole set of cultural expectations aligned with courtship, wedding and household structure. Central to the cultural institutions were refraining from sexual relations before the wedding and fidelity throughout the relationship.
Wrath of God!
We now know that the scourge of STD’s is biological and the health consequences caused by
infection is not the punishment of God. Regardless, the behavior promoted by cultural courtship practices helped prevent the spread of STD’s and kept traditional communities strong and sustainable. Also important in the maintenance of the cultural traditions were strong role models for the youth to emulate.
Because mom said so
Marriage, religion and cultural institutions are fought with repressive edicts and stereotypes. But no one can deny the importance of strong role models in the development of young adults. Many community programs and nonprofits work to foster positive role models for youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods. It is a well established and acknowledged fact that strong family units help children mature into productive and responsible adults. This is irrespective of whether it is a single parent, traditional marriage or same-sex committed relationship.
You are special just the way you are
The issue of positive role models and supportive environments is no less important for young lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Any child growing up in a vacuum of support and guidance has a greater probability to founder in establishing healthy relationships. The rise of STDs among both heterosexual and homosexual adults can be partly attributable to a lack of strong family environment.
Lost in the wilderness
The effect of marginalizing and denying same-sex relationships and marriage has manifested itself in generations of LGBT youth not fully embracing the concepts of monogamous relationships. The consequence of detachment from stable relationships has led to higher than average rates of STD’s in the LGBT community.
If Dan Cathy of Chik-fil-A truly cared about the social and physical health of our communities he
would endorse gay marriage as a way to support positive role models for our LGBT youth. Gay marriage won’t wipe out the incidence of STD’s in the gay community. But if we can inculcate a healthy respect for same sex relationships, like we have heterosexual unions, more people of all persuasions will select the path of committed relationships for their life.