In recent weeks, the media has been littered with pictures of happy pro-gay activists alongside children, insisting that marriage should be open to the LGBT Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual - community. These activists scorn pro-family groups, Christian conservatives and even the president for calling for a federal amendment that would protect and limit marriage as between a man and a woman only.
Pro-gay advocates have argued that children raised from homosexual parents are just as healthy as those raise from heterosexual parents, and have insisted that America should follow in the steps of those countries with freedom and acceptance of homosexuality as a norm.
However, a doctor and researcher at the Stanford University-based Hoover Institution found that in countries where gay marriage has gained almost complete acceptance, marriage itself has almost completely disappeared.
Data from European demographers and statistical bureaus show that a majority of children in Sweden and Norway are now born out of wedlock, as are 60 percent of first-born children in Denmark. In socially liberal districts of Norway, where the idea of same-sex registered partnerships is widely accepted, marriage itself has almost entirely disappeared, said Dr. Stanley Kurtz in a statement entitled Death of Marriage in Scandinavia, March 10.
According to Kurtz, Same-sex registered partnerships have contributed to Scandinavian marital decline in several ways.
Within churches, there appeared a divide between liberal and conservative churches. In the liberal Norland County, the churches raise up rainbow flags as a signal that clergy in same-sex registered partnerships are welcome, and that the clergy who would preach against homosexual acts are banned. These banned conservative clergy are the only ones to preach against homosexual behavior and unmarried parenthood.
So the effective purge of conservative clergy from Nordland County (where marriage is now rare) has removed a vital cultural barrier against the practice of parental cohabitation, said Kurtz.
Kurtz also mentioned that within the secular realm, same-sex registered partnerships have reinforced the view that marriage is unrelated to parenthood.
When Sweden gave registered partners adoption rights in 2003, supporters of the change identified the acceptance of gay adoption with acceptance of single parenthood, Kurtz wrote.
Additionally, since the early 90s when registered partnerships were established, there has been a substantial rise in the out-of wedlock birthrates, for both firstborn and subsequent children. Kurtz said that in Norland today, nearly 80 percent of the first-born children are out of wedlock as well 60 percent of subsequent children.
Clearly, in a place where de facto gay marriage has gained almost complete acceptance, marriage itself has almost completely disappeared, said Kurtz.
The threat of having such a high percentage of unmarried parents is that such parents break up at two to three times the rate of married parents. Therefore, as Scandinavians separated the ideas of marriage and parenthood, family dissolution rates rose, and the growing Scandinavian separation of marriage and parenthood made it difficult to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
Yet the creation of registered partnerships has only locked in and reinforced the separation between the ideas of marriage and parenthood, thereby accelerating marital decline, said Kurtz.
"Children are dependent on adults," Kurtz argued. "That means they're dependent on their parents and they're also dependent on society to support institutions that will keep those children under stable and safe care. It's because we go through this helplessness and can't articulate our interests that society has a right and an obligation to support institutions that will help children."
Gary Bauer, president of the Washington, D.C.-based pro-family group American Values, agreed, saying that the Scandinavian experience reinforces the importance of traditional marriage and the need for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
"The move toward same-sex unions undermines the institution of marriage and makes marriage even appear to be outdated," explained Bauer. "So there is a real danger here that Americans have not yet fully realized."
Kurtz restated the controversial issue in his article: Few of us want to return to the 1950s in the matter of homosexuality. Yet many of us also worry about the effects on the institution of marriage of so profound a change.
The Scandinavian example shows that there are valid -- and secular -- reasons to believe that same-sex marriage will undercut marriage itself. As the minority warned, the Supreme Judicial Court has acted without considering the evidence. Yet it is not too late for the people to rectify the court's mistake.