marriage’ and homosexuality: some medical comments
JOHN SHEA, MD, JOHN WILSON, MD, et. al.
The media portrays the homosexual lifestyle and relationships as happy, healthy
and stable. However, the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a large number
of very serious physical and emotional health consequences. In addition, many
'committed' homosexual relationships only last a few years raising doubts about
whether children raised in same-sex households are being raised in a protective
Despite the impression given by the media, the actual
number of homosexuals is quite small. Essentially all surveys show the number of
homosexuals to be only 1-3% of the population. The number of homosexuals living
in 'common law partnerships' is even less, only 0.5% of all couples. This
contrasts with 70% of all households with a married couple. The pressure for
introducing same-sex marriages comes from a very small section of society.
1.3% of men and 0.7% of women considered themselves to be homosexual.
Recent studies in
many different countries show that the prevalence of homosexuality is less
than 3% of the population: In a US study, the prevalence of homosexuality
was estimated to be 2.1% of men and 1.5% of women. (Gilman SE. Am J Public
Health. 2001; 91: 933-9.) Another US study estimated the prevalence of the
adult lesbian population to be 1.87% (Aaron DJ et al. J Epidemiol Community
Health. 2003; 57: 207-9.) In a recent British survey, 2.8% of men were
classified as homosexuals (Mercer CH et al. AIDS. 2004; 18: 1453-8). In a
recent Dutch study 2.8% of men and 1.4% women had had same-sex partners. (Sandfort
TG et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001; 58 :85-91.) In a New Zealand study,
2.8% of young adults were classified as homosexual or bisexual. (Fergusson
DM et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999; 56: 876-80)
In 2001, there were just over 8.3 million families in
Canada, of which nearly 6 million (70%) were married couples and 1.1 million
common-law couples. The 2001 Census was the first to provide data on
same-sex partnerships. A total of 34,200 couples (or 0.5% of all couples)
identified themselves as same-sex common-law couples. (www.statcan.ca/Daily/
2. Health risks of the homosexual lifestyle.
The media portrays the homosexual lifestyle and relationships as happy,
healthy and stable. However, the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a large
number of very serious physical and emotional health consequences. Many
'committed' homosexual relationships only last a few years. This raises doubts
as to whether children raised in same-sex households are being raised in a
There are very high rates of sexual promiscuity among the homosexual population
with short duration of even 'committed' relationships.
A study of
homosexual men shows that more than 75% of homosexual men admitted to having
sex with more than 100 different males in their lifetime: approximately 15%
claimed to have had 100-249 sex partners, 17% claimed 250-499, 15% claimed
500-999 and 28% claimed more than 1,000 lifetime sexual partners. (Bell AP,
Weinberg MS. Homosexualities. New York 1978).
lesbian women is less extreme, but is still higher than among heterosexual
women. Many 'lesbian' women also have sex with men. Lesbian women were more
than 4 times as likely to have had more than 50 lifetime male partners than
heterosexual women. (Fethers K et al. Sexually transmitted infections and
risk behaviours in women who have sex with women. Sexually Transmitted
Infections 2000; 76: 345-9.)
Far higher rates
of promiscuity are observed even within 'committed' gay relationships than
in heterosexual marriage: In Holland, male homosexual relationships last, on
average, 1.5 years, and gay men have an average of eight partners a year
outside of their supposedly “committed” relationships. (Xiridou M, et al.
The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV
infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam. AIDS. 2003; 17: 1029-38.) Gay
men have sex with someone other than their primary partner in 66% of
relationships within the first year, rising to 90% of relationships after
five years. (Harry J. Gay Couples. New York. 1984)
In an online survey among nearly 8,000 homosexuals,
71% of same-sex relationships lasted less than eight years. Only 9% of all
same-sex relationships lasted longer than 16 years. (2003-2004 Gay & Lesbian
Consumer Online Census;
The high rates of
promiscuity are not surprising: Gay authors admit that 'gay liberation
was founded … on a sexual brotherhood of promiscuity.' (Rotello G.
Sexual Ecology. New York 1998)
Among homosexuals, highly risky sexual practices such as anal sex are very
The majority of homosexual men (60%) engage in anal
sex, frequently without condom and even, if they know that they are HIV
positive. (Mercer CH et al. Increasing prevalence of male homosexual
partnerships and practices in Britain 1990-2000. AIDS. 2004; 18:
1453-8) As a result, a large number of diseases are associated with anal
intercourse, many of which are rare or even unknown in the heterosexual
population such as: anal cancer, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cryptosporidium,
Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, HIV, Human papilloma virus, Isospora
belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C and others. (www.netdoctor.co.uk;
There is a
significant increase in the risk of contracting HIV when engaging in anal
sex. Young homosexual men aged 15-22, who ever had anal sex had a fivefold
increased risk of contracting HIV than those who never engaged in anal sex.
(Valleroy L, et al. HIV prevalence and associated risks in young men who
have sex with men. JAMA. 2000; 284: 198-204.)
The term 'barebacking'
refers to intentional unsafe anal sex. In a study of HIV-positive gay men,
the majority of participants (84%) reported engaging in barebacking in the
past three months, and 43% of the men reported recent bareback sex with a
partner who most likely is not infected with HIV, therefore putting another
man at risk of contracting HIV. (Halkitis PN. Intentional unsafe sex (barebacking)
among HIV-positive gay men who seek sexual partners on the Internet. AIDS
Care. 2003; 15: 367-78.)
homosexuals are aware of HIV risk, a large number are unaware of the
increased risk of contracting non-HIV STDs, many of which have serious
complications or may not be curable. (K-Y lubricant and the National Lesbian
and Gay Health Association survey)
condom use reduces the risk of contracting HIV by about 85%, Condoms, even
when used 100% of the time, fail to give adequate levels of protection
against many non-HIV STDs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Herpes,
Genital Warts and others. The only safe sex is, apart from abstinence,
mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner. (Sex, Condoms, and STDs: What
We Now Know. Medical Institute for Sexual Health. 2002)
Homosexuals have very high rates of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV
which pose a major burden to the health service.
Over 70% of all
AIDS diagnoses in Canada in adults over the age of 15 up to June 2004 were
in homosexual men (13,019 out of 19,238). 60% of all positive HIV tests are
found in homosexual men. This contrasts with just over 15% of all positive
HIV tests which are due to heterosexual contact. (Public Health Agency of
Canada. HIV and AIDS in Canada. November 2004).
observed dramatic increases in syphilis in many large cities such as Los
Angeles, San Francisco, but also in London and Manchester, UK are in the
majority observed in homosexual men. (Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC). Trends in primary and secondary syphilis and HIV
infections in men who have sex with men. MMWR 2004; 53: 575-8. and Nicoll A.
Are trends in HIV, gonorrhoea, and syphilis worsening in western Europe? BMJ
There are increased rates of mental ill health among the homosexual population
compared to the general population. Many studies show much higher rates of
psychiatric illness, such as depression, suicide attempts and drug abuse among
homosexuals then among the general population. The homosexual lifestyle is
associated with a shortened life expectancy of up to 20 years.
In a New Zealand
study, data were gathered on a range of psychiatric disorders among gay,
lesbian, and bisexual young people. At the age of 21, homosexuals/bisexuals
were at fourfold increased risks of major depression and conduct disorder,
fivefold increased risk of nicotine dependence, twofold increased risk of
other substance misuse or addiction and six times more likely to have
attempted suicide. (Fergusson DM et al. Is sexual orientation related to
mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Arch Gen
Psychiatry. 1999; 56: 876-80.)
In a recent US
study of the mental health of homosexuals, it was found that gay/bisexual
men had a more than 3-fold increased risk of major depression and a
five-fold increased risk of panic disorder. They were three times as likely
to rate their mental health as only 'fair' or 'poor' and to experience high
levels of distress. Gay/bisexual women had a nearly four-fold increased risk
of general anxiety disorder and both groups were more than three times as
likely than the general population to require treatment in a mental health
setting. (Cochran S. et al. Prevalence of mental disorders, psychological
distress, and mental health services use among lesbian, gay, and bisexual
adults in the United States. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2003; 71
It is claimed,
that the high rates of mental illness among homosexuals are the result of
'homophobia'. However, even in the Netherlands, which has been far more
tolerant to same-sex relationships and which has recently legalised same-sex
marriages, high levels of psychiatric illness, including major depression,
bipolar disorder ('manic depression'), agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive
disorder and drug addiction are found. (Sandfort TG, et al. Same-sex sexual
behavior and psychiatric disorders: findings from the Netherlands Mental
Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Arch Gen Psychiatry.
2001; 58 :85-91.)
'homophobia' and prejudices were the cause of the high rates of psychiatric
disorders and suicide attempts among homosexuals, one would similarly expect
to find higher rates of suicide attempts and suicide among ethnic minorities
exposed to racism. However, this is not usually the case.
In a Vancouver
study, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20
years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to
continue, it is estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently
aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. (Hogg RS et al. Modelling
the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men.
International Journal of Epidemiology.1997; 26:657-61)
3. Homosexuality and pedophilia.
Any attempts to legalise gay marriage should be aware of the link between
homosexuality and pedophilia. While the majority of homosexuals are not involved
in pedophilia, it is of grave concern that there is a disproportionately greater
number of homosexuals among pedophiles and an overlap between the gay movement
and the movement to make pedophilia acceptable.
One well known
historic example on the link between homosexuality and pedophilia is found
in ancient Greece. Greek mythology is saturated with stories of pedophilia
and ancient Greek literature praises pedophilia. The age group of boys that
were used for 'sexual pleasure' was probably in the range of 12-17. Male
prostitution was very common with brothels in which boys and young men were
available. There is evidence for an extensive trade in boys. (Churchill W.
Homosexual Behavior among Males. Hawthorn. New York. 1967)
There are links
between pedophilia and homosexuality. The political scientist Prof. Mirkin
wrote in a paper that: 'pedophile organizations were originally a part
of the gay/lesbian coalition…' (Mirkin H. The pattern of sexual
politics: feminism, homosexuality and pedophilia. Journal of
Homosexuality 1999; 37: 1-24.). There is an overlap between the 'gay
movement' and the movement to make pedophilia acceptable through
organisations such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA),
as admitted by David Thorstad, Co-founder of NAMBLA writing in the
Journal of Homosexuality. (Thorstad D. Man/boy love and the American gay
movement. Journal of Homosexuality. 1990; 20 : 251-74)
The number of
homosexuals in essentially all surveys is less than 3%. (Statistics Canada
found only 1% of the population who described themselves as homosexual.)
However, the percentage of homosexuals among pedophiles is 25%. (Blanchard R
et al. Fraternal birth order and sexual orientation in pedophiles.
Archives of Sexual Behavior 2000; 29: 463-78.) Therefore, the prevalence
of pedophilia among homosexuals is about 10-25 times higher than one would
expect if the proportion of pedophiles were evenly distributed within the
(hetero- and homosexual) populations.
4. 'Gay marriage'.
Gay activists claim that there is no difference between children raised in a
homosexual as opposed to a heterosexual household. However, essentially all
studies that show that there is no difference have been criticised because of
poor research quality. Despite the shortcomings, the studies seem to suggest
that children raised in same-sex parents may be more sexually promiscuous and
more likely to become homosexuals.
In a review of
all the studies that purport to find no difference between children raised
in families by same-sex parents and parents of different sex, major
methodological flaws have been noted. For example, the studies have very
small sample sizes, biased sample selection, or lack of control groups. (P.
Morgan, Children as Trophies? Christian Institute. Newcastle upon Tyne,
limitations of the studies of same-sex parenting some differences are found.
Children raised in same-sex parents are more likely to become sexually
promiscuous and are more likely to become homosexual themselves. (Riggs SC.
Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents. (letter)
Pediatrics 2002; 109: 1193-4.)
However, the main
concern remains the inherent instability of same-sex marriages. In the above
mentioned Dutch survey, the average length of a 'committed' homosexual
partnership was only 1.5 years. In the mentioned survey of nearly 8,000
gays, 71% of relationships did not last 8 years. Furthermore, violence among
homosexual partnerships is two to three times as common as in heterosexual
relationships. Such an environment does not provide the stability required
for raising children. Former homosexual Stephen Bennett who is married to
his wife and has two children states: 'Granting homosexuals the right to
marry or adopt children is deliberately creating dysfunctional families.'
Despite all the impressions given by the media, homosexuality is neither an
entirely innate condition nor is it unchangeable. The so-called 'gay gene' has
never been found. There are studies that show it is possible to change sexual
orientation from predominantly homosexual to predominantly heterosexual
A recent review
by authors sympathetic to the gay movement shows clearly that homosexual
development cannot be only determined by genes. Evidence from biology shows
clearly that gays are not simply born that way. Environmental influences
play a significant role in the development of gender identity and sexual
behavior. (Bailey JM. "Biological perspectives on sexual orientation". In:
Garnets LD and Kimmel DC: Psychological perspectives on lesbian, gay, and
bisexual experiences. Columbia University Press, New York. 2003)
There is no
convincing evidence for a 'gay gene'. Indeed, if there were a 'gay gene'
those who carry it would probably be at a disadvantage in the natural
selection process of evolution:' If there was a 'gay gene' this gene
would cause a significant problem: homosexuality is associated with low
fertility, indeed if a homosexual has only sex with same-sex persons he will
have no offspring.' (Bailey JM. Biological perspectives on sexual
One way of
finding out whether a condition is genetically determined is to examine the
behavior of identical twins (who have the same genetic material) and
comparing them with non-identical twins. It is assumed, that twins grow up
in the same environment. There have been several studies investigating
whether the identical twin brothers of homosexual men are also homosexuals.
Concordance (both identical twins being homosexual) was found in only 25-50%
of identical twin pairs. 'Genes' therefore cannot entirely explain
homosexual orientation and behaviour. (Pillard RC and Weinrich JD. Evidence
of familial nature of male homosexuality. Archives of General Psychiatry.
1986: 42; 808-12. King M and McDonald E. Homosexuals who are twins. A study
of 46 probands. British Journal of Psychiatry. 1992; 160: 407-9.)
Recently, a study was published by Professor Spitzer,
a prominent psychiatrist. He is viewed as a historic champion of gay
activism by playing a key role in removing homosexuality from the
psychiatric manual of mental disorders in 1973. In his study, he examined
whether a predominantly homosexual orientation will, in some individuals,
respond to therapy. He examined 200 respondents of both genders who reported
changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation lasting 5 years or more.
He writes: 'Although initially skeptical, in the course of the study,
the author became convinced of the possibility of change in some gay men and
lesbians.' Although examples of "complete" change in orientation were
not common, the majority of participants did report change from a
predominantly or exclusively homosexual orientation before therapy to a
predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation in the past year as a
result of reparative therapy. These results would seem to contradict the
position statements of the major mental health organizations in the United
States, which claim there is no scientific basis for believing psychotherapy
effective in addressing same-sex attraction. (Spitzer RL. Can some gay men
and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a
change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Arch Sex Behav.
2003; 32: 403-17; discussion 419-72. – further evidence see
6. Benefits of traditional marriage.
There are significant benefits from (heterosexual) marriage for individual
and society. Heterosexually married couples are, on average, healthier, have
fewer psychological problems and live longer than cohabiting or single
individuals. Government policy therefore should be to support and strengthen
In reviews by
Professor Oswald, Professor of Economics at Warwick University, UK it was
found that marriage reduces mortality. The excess mortality of men who are
not married is similar to the excess mortality by smoking. Marriage has a
much more important effect on longevity than income does. For men, the
effect is positive and substantial. It almost exactly offsets the large
(negative) consequences of smoking. For women, the effect is approximately
half the size of the smoking effect.
associated with greater happiness, less depression, less alcohol abuse and
less smoking. Marriage gives a beneficial effect in terms of reducing
alcohol abuse especially for men and reducing depression for both men and
of marriage appear to be limited to marriage. Cohabitation does not confer
the same degree of benefit than marriage. Formal marriage itself seems to
matter. In the few studies that compare marriage and cohabitation, the
results tend to show a beneficial effect from being married. (Gardner J,
Oswald A, Is it Money or Marriage that Keeps People Alive? August 2002.
Wilson CM and Oswald AJ: How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological
Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence. (January 2002; both papers
available on Prof Oswald's website – see 'further reading')
7. Adverse effects of family breakdown.
There is a wealth of evidence linking family breakdown with many adverse
health outcomes for children and society as a whole. Government policy therefore
should be to strengthen the marriage-based family of husband and wife. 'Gay
marriages', with their inherent instability, will contribute to the many adverse
effects family breakdown has on children and on society as a whole.
At the root of
many of the problems we see in children and young adults — such as emotional
and behavioral difficulties, poor school performance, substance misuse,
precocious teenage sexuality including teenage pregnancy and juvenile
delinquency — is the dramatic increase in family breakup and 'relationship
turnover' of parents, adversely affecting their children (For an overview
see: Rebecca O'Neill. Experiments in living. CIVITAS. 2002)
As a result of
family breakdown, children have on average more ill health including higher
mortality, emotional problems (including a higher suicide rate).
broken families have poorer school performance including poorer performance
in maths, reading and writing.
broken families are more likely to live in poverty. As a result of family
breakdown, many single parent families live in poverty.
broken families are also more likely to have problems with substance misuse
and poor sexual health including teenage pregnancy.
children from broken homes are more likely to be engaging in criminal
activity and are disproportionally over-represented in the prison
In a study of
more than 170 US cities, a clear link between divorce rate and crime was
found. Low rates of divorce were associated with reduced crime rates.
(Sampson RJ, Crime in Cities. Tonry & Morris eds., Crime and Justice,
John Shea, MD, FRCP (C), Radiologist; John K. Wilson MD, FRCP (C), Cardiologist;
Paul Ranalli MD, FRCP (C), Neurologist; Christina Paulaitis MD, CCFP, Family
Physician; Luigi Castagna MD, FRCP (C), Paediatric Neurologist; Hans-Christian
Raabe MD, MRCP MRCGP Internist; W. André Lafrance MD, FRCP (C), Dermatologist.