I’ve written the occasional editorial myself, and I understand that the fact-checking process for a news item and an opinion piece are not necessarily equivalent. But just like any news article, a good op ed piece relies on solid, clearly attributed facts to back up the writer’s assertions.
In “Gay marriage harms society far more than it helps”, columnist Todd Carter makes several highly offensive declarations regarding the homosexual lifestyle which he believes are reasons why gays should not be permitted to marry, and he neglects to provide solid facts to support his statements.
Carter states that gays are “14 times more likely to attempt suicide” than their heterosexual peers. A panel convened in 1994, including members of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, among others, found no definite evidence of higher suicide rates among homosexuals or any connection between suicide and sexual orientation. Even if Carter’s statement were factual, where’s the convincing argument as to why gays should not marry?
Carter claims that homosexuals have a “higher rate of promiscuity” than heterosexuals, which would certainly make them more likely to divorce, therefore weakening the definition of marriage and consequently making it “psychologically easier for heterosexual couples to divorce.” The supposed promiscuity of gays is something that is promoted by the religious right, and I personally could not locate any reputable, objective source that would support such a statement. Though it seems redundant to mention, according to the US Census Bureau, nearly half of all first marriages result in divorce. In an age when pop stars can be married for a matter of hours and a divorce can be obtained over the internet, is marriage still that sacred anyway?
And regarding Carter’s allegation that allowing same-sex marriage will open the door to such ridiculous notions as unions involving “incest, minors, polygamy, or animals”: I’d say there’s an obvious difference between the union of two consenting adults and a union consisting of an infant, its mother, and six chickens.
Lastly (though I could probably go on forever), Carter’s assertion that homosexuality should not be condoned because it “is harmful to the people involved and to society as a whole” basically sums up the reason why some gays suffer from depression and related ailments. It is the promotion of such intolerance that negatively affects our society, not the idea of two individuals honoring their love by uniting for that they hope is eternity.