Same-Sex Marriage is Not Good for Society

The legalization of same-sex marriage has been associated with a significant decline in heterosexual marriage leading to more children born in other household settings. Child maltreatment is much more common in these varied home environments.

The 100 scholar amicus brief (Gene Schaerr), using data from Europe and several states that have adopted same-sex marriage, noted lower opposite-sex marriage rates following adoption of same-sex marriage laws. In Spain, the rate of opposite-sex marriage plummeted 36% following the passage of same-sex marriage laws. Now then, if fewer children are born into intact married opposite-sex biological families, and more are born into cohabiting couples, we know from the Regnerus work1 that child maltreatment rates will rise. We know from the Adverse Childhood Experiences study 2,3,4 that child maltreatment leads to hundreds of billions of dollars spent annually on adult chronic diseases. We also know from intergeneration work on females, that child maltreatment has a huge impact across the generations.We know that child maltreatment is associated with increased rates of HIV acquisition, new HIV serotype acquisition, and non-compliance with HAART therapy in so-called sexual minorities.

If the incidence of same-sex marriage increases,and the incidence of opposite-sex marriage decreases, child maltreatment would be expected to increase, adding to an already troubling public health crisis, as it were.


May 2015 – Public Discourse at the Witherspoon Institute – Making Differences Disappear: The Evolution of Science on Same-Sex Households by Mark Regnerus


1MARK REGNERUS, How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research 41 (2012), 752-770. Elsevier Inc.

2VINCENT J. FELLITI, ROBERT F. ANDA, DALE NORDENBURG,, Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 14 (1998), 245-258. Elsevier Inc.

3ROBERT ANDA, The Health and social impact of growing up with adverse childhood experiences: the human and economic costs of the status quo.

4SHANTA R. DUBE, ROBERT F. ANDA, CHARLES L. WHITFIELD, et. al., Long term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 28 (2005), 430-438. Elsevier Inc.

5PENELOPE K. TRICKETT, JENNIE G. NOLL, AND FRANK W. PUTNAM, The impact of sexual abuse on female development: Lessons from a multigenerational, longitudinal research study, University of Southern California; and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Development and Psychopathology 23 (2011), 453–476. Cambridge University Press 2011.

6THERESA SWEET AND SETH L. WELLES, Associations of sexual identity or same-sex behaviors with history of childhood sexual abuse and HIV/STI risk in the United States. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome 59 (2012), 400-408. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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