In a column for the Christian Post today, Bishop Harry Jackson claims that children raised by single moms often “turn to lives of crime and violence” in order gain attention from father figures.
Naturally, Jackson connects this assertion to the debate over marriage equality, warning that legalizing same-sex marriage will create “broken relationships” within families that will “destroy children.” He even pushes the consistently debunked claim that marriage rates fall in countries that pass gay marriage laws because people “simply stopped bothering to get married in the first place”:
Is it any wonder that young boys turn to lives of crime and violence, when the purveyors of such lifestyles are the only men to show them any real attention? It is about as surprising as a starving child attempting to steal bread. And no social policy that fails to take into account the deep and legitimate need that every child has for both a mother and a father can ever be considered fair or just.
What does the internal aching so many children have for their missing fathers have to do with how marriage is legally defined? Advocates of redefining marriage constantly scoff at the notion that their policy goals could have a negative effect on anyone. “How does the legal union of two homosexual men affect your marriage?” they ask mockingly.
And of course the debate has nothing to do with my marriage or yours. It has to do with how future generations of adults will approach the very idea of marriage and parenthood. We already have nearly two decades of social experimentation in Scandinavia to draw upon. And it tells us that the broader the definition of marriage is the fewer adults bother with it in the first place. Since legalizing registered partnerships and gay marriage in Scandinavia, an overwhelming number of adults have simply stopped bothering to get married in the first place.
As I have pointed out many times before, words that mean everything, mean nothing. The looser we make the definition of marriage, the fewer people will feel bound to its obligations and constraints. And while broken relationships can hurt adults, they can destroy children.