Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
On Monday, we discussed how Pastor Robert Jeffress said that legal same-sex marriage would lead to legal polygamy, legal child marriages and the End Times. Question: if same-sex marriage will lead to the End Times, does it really matter what else it'll lead to? The End Times by definition are pretty much it, yes? By the way, he also said 9/11 was God's punishment against the United States because of legal abortion.
You might think Jeffress is an isolated quack, but he's perfectly in line was mainstream conservative dogma. In fact, the conservative Heritage Foundation published an article on its The Daily Signal website that rivals anything Jeffress -- or Pat Robertson, for that matter -- has ever said.
The article goes to great lengths to make the case that same-sex marriage will lead to a skyrocketing increase in, yes, abortions.
In a nutshell: A reduction in the opposite-sex marriage rate means an increase in the percentage of women who are unmarried and who, according to all available data, have much higher abortion rates than married women. And based on past experience, institutionalizing same-sex marriage poses an enormous risk of reduced opposite-sex marriage rates.
Yeah, it's all horsecrap. But in a sinister way, it's attempting to up the ante on the "gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage" argument by making it literally a threat, then tying in a third consequence: more abortions. In other words, the author, appellate attorney Gene Schaerr, is suggesting that more same-sex marriages mean fewer straight marriages, and the unwed women will have more abortions because that's what unwed women do. The unspoken assumption here is that all of those unwed abortion-having women would've, I don't know, inadvertently married closeted gay men who only ended up marrying women because they couldn't marry men? Absurd times a gazillion, but that appears to be the subtext here.
In order to back up his wafer thin premise, the Schaerr cited a cherrypicked statistic that allegedly shows a decline in opposite-sex marriages in Spain after same-sex marriage was legalized.
[I]n just a few years after it redefined marriage Spain saw man-woman marriage rates plummet 36 percent.
Schaerr clever presented a window of a few years, and entirely neglected the historic trend line that actually shows a steady decline in opposite-sex marriages since 1960, long before same-sex marriage was legalized. Elsewhere, Portugal showed a steeper decline in marriages during the decade before same-sex marriage was legalized there. Again, it's all horsecrap. But it gets worse.
Schaerr figures that in the next 30 years, around 1.2 million women won't get married due to same-sex marriage, resulting in almost 900,000 more abortions. Using the anti-choice movement's hyperbolic scare-language, this is basically a genocide thanks to the gays and slutty unmarried women. While it's true that unmarried women have the procedure more often than married women, there's simply no math that proves or even hints at the fact that more same-sex marriages lead to a statistically significant reduction in opposite-marriages.
Here's something Schaerr entirely overlooked. If the goal is to preserve opposite-sex marriage as a means of preventing abortions, where's the conservative crusade to ban divorce? It directly splits up opposite-sex marriages and returns women to the single ranks where they evidently have frivolous abortions as often as they have mani-pedis. Ultimately, there's as much validity to this study as there is to hurricanes being caused by same-sex marriage or 9/11 being caused by abortions. Actually, this is kind of worse because Schaerr disguises his hocus-pocus deception under badly cited numbers and charts, none of which are fairly represented.
And do I even need to point out the sexism?
Sadly, it's a safe bet that congressional Republicans, and especially anti-choice zealots in various state legislators, and not to mention more than a few of the presidential candidates (Ted Cruz) will quote this article verbatim and as often as possible until the traditional press gives up and stops challenging them on the absolutely ludicrous correlations and conclusions.
All told, the only thing that same-sex marriage will truly lead to is more married people, partnered in loving, committed relationships. Nothing else.