If you haven’t heard of Maggie Gallagher, you aren’t gay. Maggie Gallagher was the face of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that has poured millions of dollars into a battle to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Now, NOM is on tour this summer, the Summer for Marriage Tour. Today, July 14th, is their first stop in Augusta, Maine. From sea to shining, um, cornfields. Yes. They won’t cross the Mississippi River.
Maggie’s argument is that same sex marriage will destroy the traditional marriage. Of course, there is no evidence for this. The Prop 8 trial proved that. Maggie and Brian Brown are simply damaged people with a twisted way of trying to solve their own dysfunctional issues.
Maggie was a single mom. Now, I have a lot of sympathy for single parents. Parenting is hard work. I cannot imagine how difficult it would have been for me if I had not had my husband.
Ironically, Maggie is the President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. I have absolutely no idea if this organization is legitimate or has anyone with any intelligence working there.
But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that they do. I’ll tell you why. On their website, you can find a report called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All Fifty States.” I have not read every word. But I’ve scanned it and cannot find one word about same-sex marriage.
Instead, this is what I found. Something that LGBT activists have been pointing out. Only this time, with numbers.
Let’s look at the highlights of this report.
These important changes in family structure stem from two fundamental changes in
U.S. residents’ behavior regarding marriage: increases in unmarried childbearing
and high rates of divorce.1 More than a third of all U.S. children are now born outside
of wedlock, including 25 percent of non-Hispanic white babies, 46 percent of
Hispanic babies, and 69 percent of African American babies.2 In 2004, almost 1.5
million babies were born to unmarried mothers.
Evidently it is important to point out the racial breakdown of these statistics.
78.5% of children living in single parent families live with their mother.
The Institute mined available public data for government costs associated with different types of households.
Here are a few examples:
Families receiving Food Stamps Assistance Medicaid
Married 3.9% 3.6% 15.4%
Single Male Parent 8.6% 7.8% 27.9%
Single Female Parent 26.% 17.2% 45.6%
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, in general, women earn less than men, and that often times both parents work in a two parent home. So is this really a surprise to anyone? Not to me.
The Institute went further and looked into other forms of government aid. These numbers are for single parent female households only. I do not know how they calculated the impact on the justice system, other than to state that kids in single parent homes are more likely to get into trouble. The actual number isn’t my point though. So, let’s just assume again that these numbers are real.
These numbers are in billions
Justice System $19.3
TANF – Cash Assistance $5.1
Food Stamps $9.6
Housing Assistance $7.3
Head Start $2.7
School Lunch and Breakfast Program $3.5
Additional U.S. Income Taxes Paid $6.1
Additional FICA Taxes Paid $9.4
Additional State & Local Taxes Paid $6.8
Total U.S. Taxpayer Cost of Family Fragmentation $112.0
That’s a nice tidy sum of $112 billion. You’ll notice that they call this family fragmentation. Here’s what I call it:
- An opportunity to educate people about birth control. In school. When they are teenagers. Not abstinence.
- Make the morning after pill available. Make condoms available.
- Provide more opportunities for education for women and minorities.
- Provide more job opportunities for single parents. Encourage employers to provide part-time jobs and child care subsidies.
- Last, but not least, as a society we need to support couples when they are going through rough times. We all benefit from extended families, even when we argue about breast feeding versus bottles, spanking or not, church or not. Families have bonds, despite their differences.
Here’s what else I have to say.
What is the rate of unwanted children among gays and lesbians? I’m guessing fairly low if your sex partner is of the same gender. Kudos, you aren’t contributing to this government expenditure.
Maggie and her friends need to focus on heterosexuals. We are a huge problem. We cost the government billions of dollars. We behave irresponsibly and we expect our government to bail us out. Right Maggie? We endanger our children when we cannot provide for their physical and emotional needs. We tear our children apart with our 50% divorce rate. We tear our spouses apart with our adultery or domestic violence.
Now let’s think about this. How will keeping couples of the same gender from marrying solve any of these problems? How does banning same sex marriage reduce this huge government expenditure?
NOM? What is your answer?
geekgirl: Jude, the author of this post, is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science. More of LGBT Lessons for Straight People can be found here.