Are homosexual relationships any different from heterosexual ones?
Editor's note: This is the first story in a series examining the national debate over same-sex "marriage." The series will appear in Baptist Press every Friday.
Updated April 8, 2004
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A 15-page majority opinion by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last year avoided several issues that conservatives say should be confronted before the nation embraces same-sex "marriage."
They point to research showing that homosexual relationships -- particularly those involving homosexual men -- are short-term and rarely monogamous. Such relationships, they say, lead to unhealthy behavior, which in turn produces a spread in sexually transmitted diseases.
Last year the Centers for Disease Control announced that HIV and syphilis rates among homosexual men are up -- despite the fact that the "safe sex" message has been promoted in America for nearly two decades.
"People need to see that what we're condoning and what we're legalizing now has problems from the very onset," Mike Haley, a former homosexual who now works for Focus on the Family, told Baptist Press.
Tim Wilkins, another former homosexual who heads Cross Ministry, Inc, agreed.
"Even men and women who are homosexual and have been involved in homosexuality for years have told me frankly that they know of few if any long-term relationships -- male or female," he told BP.
A new study by a group of University of Chicago researchers seems to back Wilkins’ claims.
According to the researchers, 42.9 percent of homosexual men in Chicago's Shoreland area have had more than 60 sexual partners, while an additional 18.4 percent have had between 31 and 60 partners. All total, 61.3 percent of the area’s homosexual men have had more than 30 partners, and 87.8 percent have had more than 15, the research found.
As a result, 55.1 percent of homosexual males in Shoreland -- known as Chicago's "gay center" -- have at least one sexually transmitted disease, researchers said. The three-year study on the sexual habits of Chicago's citizens will appear in the upcoming book, "The Sexual Organization of The City" (University of Chicago Press), due out this year.
Evangelicals say that homosexual relationships will never bring satisfaction because, at the core, they involve rebellion against God. Writing in a Crosswalk.com commentary last October, R. Albert Mohler Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said that marriage is the "culminating picture of creation’s goodness."
"Because of that void [the homosexual] is trying to fill it the wrong way and the only way he knows to fill it is through sexual encounters," Wilkins said. "But after the sexual encounter is over, the emptiness is even larger.
"The sexual relationships simply exacerbate the very problem that [the] male homosexual is trying to alleviate."
With the debate over same-sex "marriage" intensifying, The New York Times ran a story in August showing that homosexuals in Canada are not rushing to tie the knot. The debate "pits those who celebrate a separate and flamboyant way of life as part of a counterculture against those who long for acceptance into the mainstream," the story read.
The story followed two men in their 40s, David Andrew and David Warren, who have lived together for seven years.
Although the men promise to protect one another, the story says "they stop short of monogamy, which is something Mr. Andrew also says he does not believe in."
"The gay community is going to tell you that the reason that their relationships have problems is because society has not yet condoned them and doesn't give them the privileges that heterosexuals have," Haley said.
"[But] when we look at areas like San Francisco or the Netherlands, which are very gay affirmative areas, those numbers are even higher."
The rate of infidelity among homosexuals counters that of heterosexuals. A survey published in the book "Sex in America" found that 90 percent of wives and 75 percent of husbands claimed never to have committed adultery.
The level of promiscuity has been harmful to both the health and the mortality rate of homosexual men.
A 1997 article published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that in one Canadian urban area, the expected life span for a homosexual man at age 20 was 8 to 20 years less than that for all men.
And the problem of STDs is not improving. The Centers for Disease Control reported last year that new cases of HIV among homosexual men rose for the third straight year. Homosexual men accounted for 42 percent of new HIV cases in 2000 and 60 percent of all cases among all men -- despite the fact that homosexual men make up no more than 1 to 3 percent of the population. Among all new cases heterosexuals accounted for 33 percent, injection drug users 25 percent.
In addition, homosexual men account for two-thirds of new syphilis cases, the CDC reported this year.
"Even the most promiscuous heterosexual male will not be [involved in] even close to the amount of promiscuity male homosexuals will be involved in," Wilkins said. "The reason is that the male homosexual has a void in his heart and life. ... Part of that void is the need for a sense of masculinity as to how God has created him.
"Because of that void he is trying to fill it the wrong way and the only way he knows to fill it is through sexual encounters. But after the sexual encounter is over, the emptiness is even larger."
"You have individuals attempting to meet an emotional need through a sexual relationship," he said. "And so when they get together and it's so sexually fueled and they're looking to have their needs met through the sexual encounter, you're left empty handed. There's not a cognitive realization of that -- they just think that the relationships break up and go on.
"Those of us that come out of homosexuality -- that's one of the first things we realize. These relationships that I'm having in these anonymous sexual encounters, they're never going to end up meeting the emotional need that I'm looking for."
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