O'Bama's Support of Gay Marriage, a Pyrric Victory?

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

While the gay community celebrated President OBama's declaration of support for gay marriage this past week, I can't help thinking that this seeming triumph may turn out to be a "Pyrric victory." You may recall from your history class that while King Pyrrus won a great victory over the Roman army, he lost so many soldiers in the process that he found no reason to rejoice. The President's outspoken endorsement of gay marriage may have lost him more than he gained.

While the more militant supporters of gay rights were getting impatient with what had been Obama's more thoughtful position on this matter ("This is a difficult question and I'm trying to think it through"), I submit that a trifle more patience might have been a good thing.

Aside from gay haters on the right and liberals on the far left, I think most people need time to figure out how we should think about gay marriage. This is, after all, is a whole different way to look at marriage. We want to be fair but we need time to look at all the implications of this change.

Working as I do with children who are deeply affected by all the issues of family and who are the innocent victims of many of our decisions affecting them, I don't think we have given enough consideration to how a radical change like this affects their future.

Marriage has never been simply about the personal fulfillment and romantic relationship between the two persons involved, It has been about FAMILY; family includes kids. Yet, in all the discussion I've heard in favor of gay marriage, I have seen very little about kids and the importance for them having the opportunity of being raised by loving parents. I have heard a lot of talk about fairness to both gay and straight adults but not a lot about fairness to children.

Again, calling on my own experience mentoring abused and neglected kids, I think it short-sighted to ignore the rights of a child to have the benefit of both a male and a female parent in his life. It seems to me that we can't just brush gender differences aside, as though it makes no difference, as though male and female are interchangeable parts. I challenge you to go to any juvenile hall in the country and ask how many kids had a father in their lives. The evidence is overwhelming. Kids need moms and dads in their lives.

It has been my good fortune to have many gay friends in my life. I count myself a staunch supporter of their rights and dignity. But somehow I think the issue of gay marriage needs a lot more reflection before we make such a radical change in the way government views marriage. The law of unintended consequences could come up and bite us and make us and our children regret what we have done. To me, it is an over-simplification to label it simply a civil rights issue. It is much more than that.

I believe that President Obama sensed what is at stake. He needed and we need to take more time to ponder what we are doing. Personally, I am disappointed that our President appeared to cave in to political pressure on this one.