Ross Olson's Web Site

Social Issues: Letters

To the Duluth News Tribune

Is The Marriage Amendment Really Harmful To Children?

The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has decided to oppose the marriage amendment ("Doctors' View" by Drs. Jacobson and Scott, Duluth News Tribune, 10/5/2012).

Firstly, the authors basically say that it would make children of homosexual parents feel bad and deny them the benefit of being in a legally recognized family. Secondly the claim is made that research shows no difference in outcome for children from homosexual families and finally that adolescents wrestling with gender identity will be deprived of any ray of hope.

This all assumes that homosexuality is an innate fixed characteristic, something that has NOT been shown by research, despite the popular conception. Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who started the movement to remove homosexuality from the diagnostic manual as a disorder, later in life performed a study showing that people, especially those with strong religious convictions, were able to make significant change. The fact that he later retracted the study gives a glimpse into the way this issue is being treated by the gay community. This elder statesman of the profession was subjected to intense harassment and intimidation until he disavowed the findings. So much for tolerance!
This line of reasoning also assumes that gay marriage is equivalent to heterosexual marriage. In fact, nearly all long term gay male relationships are "open" with each partner free to cruise. A few unusually honest gay thinkers actually disagree with the marriage option because that is not the way males are wired. Physical and mental health problems are much greater than in the general population -- even in societies where they are accepted, like Holland.

And the data DO NOT show favorable outcomes for children of gay and lesbian parents. The "New Family Structures Study (NFSS)," a large study described by Dr. Mark Regnerus in very tentative academic language, shows that children living with married biologic heterosexual parents do the best in all measures. The gay studies will compare with divorced families or depend on small samples of volunteers who tend to be exceptional families.

Finally, the concern for young people is 180 degrees out of kilter. Because by normalizing homosexuality, young people on the borderline are more likely to begin habit patterns that will persist. It is not a secret to anyone who has actually examined the literature -- including studies by gay authors -- that 25% of adult male homosexuals admit that while they were over age 21 they had sex with boys under 16. And of the boys whose first sexual experience is homosexual, whether "consensual," seduced or forced, 60% will go on to act and identify as homosexual.

Every mature and completely honest adult will admit that they have had sexual desires that they KNOW should not be acted out. so the principle is established that everybody has to control themselves some of the time. Might it be possible that some might have to control themselves all of the time? What about a person who is only sexually excited by rape? By sex with children? Everybody will draw a line somewhere.

And in our sex obsessed society, someone needs to point out that sex is not everything. In fact, pleasure is not the highest goal. Rather, suffering makes the greatest contributions to character. Sometimes that is the catalyst that causes a person to think about the ultimate purpose in life, to turn in obedience to the loving Creator who transforms all things into good, even the distresses and the deprivations. And finally, there is always hope!


Ross S. Olson MD, Pediatrician

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