A Father Is a Father
At its core, the key argument against same-sex marriage is that it prevents our society from creating any distinction between relationships that are plainly different in significant ways. Men and women are different, and when they pair up, their intimate relationship has consequences that no other form of relationship has. Moreover, an ideal doesn’t have to apply absolutely in every case for it to remain valuable for society to be able to describe and uphold it.
Such were the thoughts to come to mind when reading that fathers make a difference in their children’s lives, and that fatherhood is in decline:
While it is well known how important a father’s involvement is to healthy child development, a very interesting and lesser known finding comes from a 26-year longitudinal study which says that the strongest factor indicating whether children practiced high levels of empathic concern for others in their adult years was whether they had an involved father in their life. In fact, father care was a stronger indicator here than the three strongest maternal factors combined! The study explained, “These results appear to fit with previous findings indicating that pro-social behaviors such as altruism and generosity in children were related to active involvement in child care by fathers.”
This does not in the least gainsay the important of mothers. It does, however, suggest that we oughtn’t dramatically modify the cultural institution — marriage — that marks as uniquely desirable the family units that bring mothers and fathers together.