How would allowing homosexual marriage threaten heterosexual marriage? One of the downsides to redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would be the weakening of the meaning of marriage, which would cause more divorces. Human nature being what it is, if the meaning of marriage is weakened, it will be psychologically easier for even more people to divorce. Look at what happened when “no-fault” divorce was legalized. The divorce rate skyrocketed.35 If the nature of marriage is further undermined in the minds of couples then when things get rocky, more couples will be tempted not to work through their problems and get happy again but rather to divorce and find someone else. That is a bad idea, because most marriage therapists agree that divorce generally “doesn’t work.” Divorce doesn’t solve the problems that caused the first marriage to break up. Divorced people bring the same problems to their new marriages that broke up their old ones. That’s why second and later marriages are statistically far more likely to end in divorce than first marriages are.36 Also, a large majority of couples who contemplate divorce but stay together describe themselves as “happily married” five years later.37 So staying together “works” better than divorce. Why would same-sex marriage increase the divorce rate? Feelings of love are only part of what holds a couple together. When things get tough, as they do from time to time in every marriage, external factors help hold the spouses together-external factors such as concern about their kids or about the attitudes of society, including their friends, relatives, co-workers, or church. The exploding divorce rate we have seen since “no-fault” destroyed much of the stigma of divorce shows how important external factors are in keeping couples together. Wouldn’t couples who need these external aids to stay together be better off divorced? Usually not. As I mentioned, the overwhelming majority of couples who contemplate divorce, yet for some reason stay together, find themselves happily married five years later and glad they didn’t divorce. They are grateful for the external factors that helped keep them together when things were tough. Also, the “happy divorce” myth has been debunked completely. While it is true that health correlates positively with happiness in marriage,38 people in difficult marriages are statistically happier and healthier than divorced people.39 Divorce makes most things worse. How did no-fault divorce weaken the factors that hold couples together? Is that what increased the divorce rate so much in the ’70s and ’80s? That is certainly part of it. No-fault laws coincided with a message from Hollywood that marriage is a mere convenience, an institution that exists only for personal happiness and pleasure, something that could be discarded or traded in for a snappier model. Books and movies taught the same message. But it did not work. Far from it. As mentioned earlier, Dr. Morowitz at Yale found that divorce had the same impact on longevity as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day-for both men and women. There also are many other health and longevity impacts, such as unmarried people getting sick more often, staying in the hospital longer, and so on. Divorce has a very negative impact on the couple, but its impact is even worse on their children. What are the effects of divorce on children? The children of happy marriages are statistically much healthier, physically and mentally, than the children of divorced parents or the children of single parents who were never married. This is not to say that all children of divorced or single parents are doomed to be physically or emotionally impaired. There are many exceptions to statistical generalizations. Rather, the evidence shows that being born into a happy marriage gives the average child great statistical advantages in health, happiness, future longevity, and career success over children born into less fortunate circumstances.40 Even being born into an unhappy marriage is generally better than growing up in a broken home. The ’70s myth that “a happy divorce is better for children than an unhappy marriage” has been proven false overwhelmingly. Even married parents who fight often have happier and healthier children than divorced parents.41 That may sound surprising, but social scientists have found that kids don’t care much about the quality of Mom and Dad’s emotional life; they just want Mom and Dad to be there, and if one of them (usually Dad) goes, his departure never stops hurting, and it never stops generating painful consequences.42 “Staying together for the children” makes sense. Children whose parents divorce get less education, are less successful in their adult careers, and are far more prone to drugs, illicit pregnancy, and getting divorced themselves when they grow up. Children of divorce are even more likely to be injured accidentally than the children of intact marriages, and they die at a younger age.43 Remarriage generally does not improve the lot of the children of divorce. Children in “blended” families are dozens of times more likely to be the victims of physical violence or sexual abuse than children who live with both natural parents,44 and they are far less healthy, happy, and successful in the long run.45 To make matters even worse, statistics show that 76 percent of second marriages break up within five years, as do 87 percent of third and 93 percent of fourth marriages-all of which expose the involved children to further turbulence and desertion.46 Social science is very clear: Marriage brings health, happiness, wealth, and length of days to husband, wife, and children. It is marriage itself that makes the difference, not any pre-existing personal advantages of people who marry. Children benefit from marriage even more than parents do. Couldn’t a same-sex couple adopt, just like a childless heterosexual couple, and commit themselves to each other exclusively, permanently, and unconditionally? In such a case, would it be fair to exclude them from marriage? Even if it were possible for homosexuals to commit themselves to each other in the ways described, their relationships would still lack the orientation to procreation, the openness to life, that marriage is all about. This of itself means that any unions between homosexuals are not marriages, regardless of what people may wish to call them. Further, if you wish to extend marriage to same-sex couples, you must look at the scientific evidence regarding the ability of male or female homosexuals to sustain such healthy relationships. This is unquestionably a sensitive subject, but it is important to the legalization debate. If homosexual “marriage” were to be legalized, and homosexuals were later found to be unable to create exclusive, permanent, unconditional marriages, their failure would reinforce the idea that marriage lacks these qualities and is just a matter of private happiness to be discarded on whim. That would be a great step backward for society, for it would increase divorce and all its associated pathology and create yet another impediment to the happiness and fulfillment of millions of people.