Same-sex marriage: Why should Utahns even care?

Tuesday , September 09, 2014 - 10:25 AM

Guest columnist

On September 18 at 7 p.m. supporters of man-woman marriage will gather at the Utah State Capitol for a public rally where they will listen to family experts from all over the country about preserving the definition of marriage. The purpose of the rally is to thank Attorney General Sean Reyes and Governor Gary Herbert for defending Utah’s definition of marriage and taking Utah’s case to the Supreme Court. Because Utah’s case is the furthest along in the legal process, Utah will be leading 31 other states who are desperately trying to maintain their definitions of marriage. All eyes are on Utah’s case to see if the Supreme Court will leave the question of marriage to the states.

With all of the money and time being spent on this issue, it makes sense to ask, “Why should Utahns even care about same-sex marriage?” Many still think that the answer to redefining marriage is that we should just “live and let live.” If you’re still carrying the “live and let live” banner, here are some people you should talk to:

Brendan Eich — one of the founders of the Mozilla Firefox Corporation was fired from his position as CEO because he donated $1,000 to preserving the definition of marriage in California. Don Mendell — a school counselor in Maine with a 36-year career who essentially lost his position and had to defend his license before a board because he said that he believed kids should have a mom and a dad. Dakota Ary — a grade school student who was suspended because he said he was uncomfortable with an explicit homosexual photograph posted in his classroom. And finally, David and Tanya Parker — parents of a kindergartner in Massachusetts who was taught about homosexuality in his kindergarten class. They were not given the choice to opt their son out of the instruction. These individuals can tell you what “live and let live” may look like for your family.

If that’s not enough for you, ask a school teacher, a juvenile court officer, a welfare specialist, or a social worker what divorce, cohabitation, and other alternative family arrangements have done to the kids that are pulled around in these situations. While some children do just fine in a single-parent home, social science evidence shows that on the whole, children who grow up without one of their parents will have lower educational, economic, and social outcomes than children raised in an intact, biological home. There are actual, scientifically tested benefits to having both a mother and a father. Kids need a mom and a dad. That’s all there is to it. Who’s standing up for the kids in these situations (the only defendants that don’t have a lawyer)? Utah is.

True, defending marriage now won’t fix all the problems these other situations have caused, but redefining marriage certainly won’t help to keep kids in a home with both a mother and a father.

So if you really want to know why Utahns should care about the definition of marriage, ask kids. Same-sex marriage will force medical practitioners to help homosexual couples create children artificially from donors so that the adults can fulfill their dream of being parents. Homosexual couples will get the “right” to parenthood, but the children they create artificially won’t have the “right” to ever know their donor parents (not to mention their medical history or even half-siblings). Their right to know their own biological parents will be dismissed as an afterthought. If you think that’s a minor detail, feel free to read their stories at It’s not a minor detail to them.

The right of a child to have a mother and a father should be enough reason for Utahns to stand for marriage. Children are the ones who will be affected most by our public policy choices.

It’s time for Utahns to lead the nation in this important cause. This is the time to stand for marriage and children. Same-sex marriage is not inevitable. If you want your voice to be heard, a great first step is to bring your family to the rally on September 18. I hope to see you there.

David Hunsaker is a marriage advocate and a native of Ogden.

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