This legislative bill calls for “registered civil partnerships to receive equal legal status in many areas with that of married couples.”1 In the explanatory statement of the bill we read that “complete legal equality between civil partnerships and marriage is to be offered.”2 In other words, the goal of this legislative bill is to legally establish “homosexual marriage” (although the term is still being avoided).
My position is outlined as follows:
The legislative bill should be rejected because:
I. The legislative bill does not adequately take into consideration important facts regarding homosexuality.
II. The legislative bill undermines the model of marriage and would negatively affect the future of society by reinterpreting its foundational institutions (marriage and family).
III. The legislative bill attributes the same definition to inherently different types of partnerships.
IV. The legislative bill would contribute to identity confusion and disorientation among adolescent generations.
In the media, heterosexual and homosexual persons are often presented as clearly separate “categories” of people. Likewise, it is often maintained that a person’s “sexual orientation” is an attribute which is as clear, stable and objectively ascertainable as their sex or race. In other words, there are homosexuals and heterosexuals, just as there are persons with darker and lighter skin, or right-handed and left-handed individuals. If something is done for one category of people (for example, offering the legal institution of marriage to heterosexuals), the State must provide an equivalent for the other group. In doing so, no harm is done to either group since one presupposes that heterosexuals and homosexuals are clearly separate categories of people.
However, this is only a perception. Empirical facts supporting this position do not exist. On the contrary, in contrast to simple, objective characteristics which can be biologically determined, such as the color of a person’s skin, homosexuality is not a biologically anchored trait which can be objectively ascertained. Likewise, homosexuality is not a stable, inalterable characteristic.
Despite intensive attempts to prove the biological roots of homosexuality, no truly verifiable biological cause for homosexuality has been discovered yet. Here are but a few examples taken from an abundance of scientific evidence:
a) During the 1990’s, the work of geneticist Dean Hamer and brain researcher Simon LeVay (both themselves members of the gay movement) appeared as title stories in which the media sensationally proclaimed the existence of evidence proving that homosexuality was inborn. Hamer himself was much more cautious in the statements he made regarding his research and several years later, a Canadian research group was unable to confirm Hamer’s results based upon a larger random sampling of his data. (However, this was practically ignored by the press.)
LeVay made the following statement about his own research: “I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic… I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”3
b) In particular, current research on twins contradicts the theory that homosexuality is inborn. Psychologist and researcher Michael Bailey carried out an anonymous survey among all twins listed in the Australian Twin Registry. He discovered 27 male monozygotic twin pairs in which at least one of the twins was homosexual. However, the corresponding twin was homosexual in only 3 cases (3 of 27). The genetic makeup of monozygotic twins is 100% identical. However, of all male twin pairs studied, only 11 % (3 of 27) reported that they were both homosexual.4
c) Martin Dannecker, sociologist and professor of sexual science at the University of Frankfurt/Main and a protagonist of the homosexual movement, thoroughly summarized current research for the German government as part of his expert report. His assessment remains valid to date. He writes: “All past attempts to prove that homosexuality is biologically anchored must be considered a failure. (…) These research attempts have yet to produce sustainable and consistent results. (…) An individual’s sexual orientation, however, is an extremely complex matter which can only be properly understood when a myriad of perspectives are taken into consideration, including biology, developmental psychology, interpersonal and life experiences and other social factors.”5
d) If homosexuality is not inborn, than how can it be understood? First of all: There is no sexual object choice, whether heterosexual or homosexual or any other, which is merely inborn. Humans, unlike animals, are not simply driven and determined by instinct when it comes to their sexual object choice. Every individual, regardless of his or her sexual inclinations, has a biological disposition towards heterosexuality which is manifested in his or her physical body. The human body indicates the complementarity of the sexes. This fact holds true for every individual. However, this biological disposition requires the guiding, formative support of a person’s social and cultural environment. This is why the model of heterosexual marriage is so crucial in the first place.
e) Human sexual inclinations remain fundamentally open (“polymorphic”). This means that principally, a person can learn to react sexually to a wide diversity of stimuli. Therefore, in contrast to animals, conscious and unconscious motivations play a central role in human sexuality. In other words, desires, perceptions on life, expectations, (futile) attempts to compensate for past traumas or to “recharge one’s sense of self-worth”6 – these and any number of other motivations all play a role in an individual’s sexuality.
f) While no final, irrefutable evidence has yet to be presented, for the past 80 years a great deal of research has indicated that in many cases homosexual tendencies are acquired in a complex developmental process in which many factors play an important role. These include aspects of an individual’s childhood personality (for example, a high degree of sensitivity) and, in particular, emotional wounds experienced during early childhood, chronic traumas, certain disorders in family relationships and often a lack of secure attachment with the same-sex parent during early childhood. Frequently recurring unconscious motivations in homosexuality include the search for a father or mother figure or the desire to experience a sense of completion in one’s own male or female gender identity. This does not hold true for every active homosexual. However, these findings do explain why individuals who are dissatisfied with their homosexuality and seek suitable forms of therapy are frequently able to reduce their homosexual tendencies and develop their heterosexual potential.7
Since homosexuality is not a mere biological characteristic, it is also understandable that in many cases it is not a stabile, fixed attribute which remains the same over an individual’s entire lifetime.
a) In the prestigious scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behavior we read: ”The view that sexual orientation is fixed and unalterable has recently been challenged from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including labelling theory, lifespan development, social constructivism, and evolutionary psychology. (…) From this perspective, individuals may experience transitions in sexual orientation throughout their lives. Sexual orientation is viewed as continually evolving out of an individual’s sexual and emotional experiences, social interactions, and the influence of the cultural context.”8
b) Some of the most significant research in this area was carried out by the sociologist Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago.9 Laumann attempted to estimate the prevalence of homosexuality among the adult population. Jeffrey Satinover aptly summarizes the results of the Laumann Study: “One of the major points of the Laumann study, which the authors themselves did not expect, is that ’homosexuality’ as a fixed trait scarcely even seems to exist. ’Estimating a single number for the prevalence of homosexuality is a futile exercise’, Laumann declares in the first paragraph of an entire chapter devoted to the subject. It is futile not because of bias, underreporting, methodological difficulties, or complexities of behavior, but ’because it presupposes assumptions that are patently false: that homosexuality is a uniform attribute across individuals, that it is stable over time, and that it can be easily measured.’ All the evidence points to the fact that homosexuality is not a ‘stable trait’. Furthermore, the authors found to their surprise that its instability over the course of life was one-directional: declining, and very significantly so.”10
Erwin Haeberle, sexual scientist and also a protagonist of the homosexual movement, refers to another study in his book “Bisexualitäten”. American researchers analyzed 228 scientific articles on homosexuality and discovered that the divergence between the various definitions of “sexual orientation” was so extreme that, in the end, it was like trying to compare “nothing with nothing”, making it impossible to arrive at a standard definition. “The critics have come to the conclusion that all of these studies remain useless as long as they assume that a homosexual identity or a clearly definable homosexual orientation exists.”11 Despite these scientific insights, Haeberle astutely points out that the homosexual movement has continued to cultivate its own “sexual identity”, because “it seems much easier to enforce their demands when these are based on the postulation that homosexual persons exist, who in turn can be organized as a large socio-political ‘minority’ group.”12
Contrary to the inalterable characteristics of race and sex, homosexuality is based upon feelings (which are not chosen, but can undergo change), chosen behavior (which is likewise alterable) and an individual’s option and right to choose a homosexual identity for him- or herself. However, many people who experience homosexual feelings actually disaffirm such an identity.13
In the long run, how can a law be based upon a criterion which doesn’t represent a definable category and whose stability and objective clarity are almost nonexistent?
a) Marriage is the most important nucleus of our society. For over one thousand years, marriage has been defined in the Western world as the union between one man and one woman. It is a unique, comprehensive sexual relationship based upon both the distinction between and the union of both sexes, male and female.
b) Marriage is based upon the complimentarity of the sexes. In other words, it is also rooted in the biological disposition of every person toward heterosexuality (regardless of an individual’s personal sexual preferences). Marriage is supported by the universal concept of procreation and by the tradition of the family. Placing homosexual partnerships on equal footing with marriage is not an “extension” of the marriage concept, but a complete reinterpretation which would especially have a confusing effect on adolescent generations.
c) A natural connection between relationship, sexuality and the conception of children can only exist in a sexual relationship based upon the distinction between the sexes. Humans are creatures of biological origin with an innate orientation toward survival. A sexual relationship founded upon the complementarity of the sexes is the only one which inherently possesses potential for the future.
d) In a most unique way, marriage symbolizes the value of bridging profound differences. Like no other relationship, marriage bridges the gap between the sexes and through the family it creates, generations are connected with one another. In this way, marriage uniquely contributes to the coherence, solidarity, stability, peace and cultural development of society.
e) For these reasons, the State has a foundational and legitimate interest in officially giving marriage a pre-eminent legal position over all other sexual lifestyles.
a) If the difference between the sexes as a biologically objective, fundamental reality is no longer a constituent part of the definition of marriage, then marriage is merely reduced to a “relational contract” in which “commitment values” and “emotional values” are to be lived out. However, one could then question why such a contract must be limited to two persons. Why should bisexual, transsexual, polygamous and polyandrous14 lifestyles remain excluded from “marriage law” and not receive the ideational and societal recognition, as well as the tax advantages, which accompany marriage?
b) In the “Kölner Erklärung” (Cologne Statement), several homosexual organizations support the position of former German Parliament member Christina Schenk: “The demand is for the same access for all persons to the civil rights which, up until now, have been legally connected to the institution of marriage – regardless of whether the individuals are homosexual or heterosexual, and regardless of whether they live alone, as a couple, or together as three or more persons.”15 Ms Schenk continues: “Today people live as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, as couples, in groups of three or more, or alone. (…) The State is to treat all adult lifestyles as equal, legally and financially.”16
When one considers the fundamental openness and ability of human beings to respond sexually to a great diversity of stimuli, this position is consistent in its logic. A pioneer nation in the introduction of “homosexual marriage”, Canada, for example, is now discussing the possibility of polygamous marriage.17
a) Placing homosexual partnerships on equal footing with marriage expands legal recognition for homosexual households and, as a result, also indirectly paves the way for homosexual couples to receive full adoption rights.
However, the involvement of a third party is necessary in order for same-sex couples to adopt or conceive a child. Therefore, one can expect that the introduction of “homosexual marriage” will also result in an increase in sperm donations and extracorporeal fertilizations. These procedures bring with them new problems which can have detrimental effects on the future welfare of the children involved (for example, an increase in child custody battles).
b) For the sake of our children and the future of our society, it is in the State’s interest to support the natural connection between the conception and raising of children. It cannot be the State’s task to promote lifestyles in which from the outset children are knowingly deprived of either their mother or father.18 In Canada a court of law has recently awarded a child three legal parents – a procedure which is also being demanded by European homosexual lobby groups.19
c) What are the inalienable values and prerequisites which are indispensable for the life of the liberal, secular State but which the State itself cannot guarantee?20
During the last thirty years, there is practically no other fact which social scientists have been able to document more clearly than the following: Children receive the best chance with regard to their physical, intellectual, emotional and psychosexual development when they live with both of their biological parents, where father and mother live together in a stable marriage.21
One of the reasons why the introduction of “homosexual marriage” is endorsed is based on the assumption that it would result in a decrease in the promiscuous sexual behavior characteristic among male homosexuals. There is no evidence, however, to support this premise.
a) Dannecker writes that the male homosexual lifestyle is “twinned”22 with promiscuous behavior. There are numerous studies which demonstrate this. According to Rauschfleisch, professor of psychology in Basel and likewise an advocate of the homosexual lifestyle, promiscuity is the primary difference between homosexual and heterosexual relationships.23
b) Volker Beck, a member of the German Parliament and currently the chief whip of the Alliance ’90 / The Greens, writes the following in response to the expectation that promiscuity among male homosexuals could be reduced by “registered civil partnerships”: “If one hopes to turn gay persons into faithful marriage partners, the relational reality among homosexuals must and will disappoint lawmakers. (…) Apparently, for many couples ‘living out their sexuality with a third party is an important factor in the maintenance of the partnership.’ (…). A positive legal regulation of homosexual partnerships would accommodate the [homosexual community’s] wish for social integration on a political level, without the lawmakers in return being offered a behavioral change in the form of reduced promiscuity.”24
c) The homosexual couple McWhirter and Mattison carried out fundamental research on this topic. They wanted to demonstrate that male homosexuals were not only able to live in long-term relationships but also in monogamous partnerships. Following a long search, they found 156 homosexual couples who had been living together for between one and thirty-seven years. Two-thirds of those surveyed had entered the relationship with the desire to remain sexually faithful. However, the researchers found only seven couples who had remained faithful and all of them had been living together for less than five years. In other words, the researchers hadn’t found one couple which had remained sexually faithful for longer than 5 years. Their conclusion: “The expectation of outside sexual activity was the rule for male couples and the exception for heterosexuals.”25 According to the researchers, many homosexual couples learn in the early phases of their relationship that “ownership of each other sexually can become the greatest internal threat to their staying together.”26
It is often argued that awarding homosexual partnerships equal legal status with that of marriage would not result in any significant societal changes anyway. However, this position is based upon cultural nearsightedness.
If our legal system no longer singles out heterosexual marriage as our sole social model in contrast to all other lifestyles, but instead treats different lifestyles as equal, this must also be communicated to younger generations (in school textbooks, etc). This is currently taking place in Spain, where 14-year-olds are being taught that homosexual partnerships and heterosexual marriage are to be understood as equal. Are we to assume that such external influences will have no effect on the psychosexual development of children and teenagers? Our laws represent an important source of value orientation, particularly for the younger generation.
a) A survey among 34,706 males between the age of 12 and 20 revealed that 25.9% of 12-year-olds were unsure about their sexual orientation (whether they would consider themselves heterosexual or homosexual). Among the 18-year-olds, 5% still reported feeling insecure about their sexual orientation.27 One cannot assume that this development between the ages of 12 and 18 is automatic or always proceeds in this way.
b) During puberty, many young people experience insecurity with regard to their gender and sexual identity or are afraid of encounters with the opposite sex due to the developmental process in which they find themselves. By granting homosexual relationships equal status with heterosexual marriage, young people will be taught the following from childhood on: Marriage between a man and a woman (and the natural family and possibility of having one’s own children associated with marriage) are no longer the only desirable option. There are many sexual lifestyles which are equally worth striving for and overcoming one’s fears for. But is this true? Are all sexual lifestyles truly equally worth striving for?
c) For the very reason that human sexual desires and inclinations are not rigidly driven by instinct, children and adolescents are in need of cultural orientation. They require a cultural interpretation of sexuality and up until now, the model of marriage gave them this orientation. However, when complete legal equality between marriage and other sexual partnerships is granted, marriage loses its exemplary role as a social institution.
During puberty, adolescents are strongly confronted with their own physical body. They need a source of orientation which positively integrates this corporeality and underscores the fact that every individual’s physical body points toward the complementarity of the sexes. In other words, the social model of marriage plays a vital role in enabling them to utilize their biological disposition toward heterosexuality to open a door to the future through their own children, when possible and if they so desire.
Adolescents who experience homosexual feelings need love, attention and the acceptance of their gender identity as female or male, but they do not need an invitation to a homosexual lifestyle. These young people also have the right to be informed about current therapeutic opportunities which are often helpful and which they may choose for themselves if they desire to experience a reduction in their homosexual inclinations, while at the same time developing their heterosexual potential.28
d) If marriage is no longer the source of social and cultural orientation, adolescents will feel pressured into increased sexual experimentation in order to discover who they really are – heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, etc. This will only cause an increase in confusion and insecurity with regard to their own identity, the significance of their own physical body and the purpose of their own life.
Our laws should not offer equal status to partnerships which are not equal, nor should these partnerships be given the same name. Indeed, new life, children and the future can only arise out of a relationship which is based upon the distinction between the sexes.
Marriage bridges the gap between the sexes and through the family which it creates, generations are connected with one another. In this way, marriage contributes to the coherence, solidarity, stability, peace, cultural development and future health and survival of our society as no other relationship can do.
Reichelsheim, 30 August 2007
Dr. Christl Ruth Vonholdt, Pediatrician and Director of the German Institute for Youth and Society (GIYS) (German: Deutsches Institut für Jugend und Gesellschaft, DIJG)
P.O. Box 1220, 64382 Reichelsheim, Germany
1 Printed publication 16/7331, p.1.
2 Printed publication 16/7331, p.5.
3 Nimmons, D., Sex and the brain, in: Discover, March 1994, p. 66.
4 Bailey, M., Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, 78, 3, pp. 524-536.
5 Dannecker, M., Sexualwissenschaftliches Gutachten zur Homosexualität. In: Basedow, Jürgen et al.: Die Rechtsstellung gleichgeschlechtlicher Lebensgemeinschaften. Tübingen: Verlag Mohr, 2000, pp. 339-340.
6 In his essay “Kollektive Lebenssituation und generelle Verhaltensweisen bei männlichen Homosexuellen“ (“Collective Life Situation and General Behaviour Among Male Homosexuals“) Dannecker is of the opinion that sexual contacts generally have the function of “recharging self-worth”. In: Probleme der Homosexualität, Tutzinger Studien, 2, 1977, pp. 14-34, 26.
7 Such therapies are based on the premise that homosexuality is a futile attempt to compensate for certain traumatic attachment losses experienced during childhood, in particular the lack of successful attachment to the same-sex parent, as well as other emotional wounds which have led to insecurity in gender identity development. These forms of therapy are only suitable for individuals who have a continuous desire for a reduction in their homosexual tendencies and for the development of their heterosexual potential. The central issue in these therapies is not behaviour, but the transformation of emotions. Various studies have shown that such therapies can be successful, including a recent study done by Columbia University in New York. In this study, a survey was carried out among 200 men and women who had experienced a change in their sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality. A prerequisite for taking part in the study was a change from homosexuality to heterosexuality which had lasted for a minimum of five years. The participants were questioned regarding the changes they had experienced in all three areas of sexual preference – identity, behaviour and desire. Following therapy, 66% of the men and 44% of the women had achieved a heterosexual lifestyle which they described as satisfying. Source: Spitzer, R., Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Arch Sex Behavior, 2003, 32,5, pp. 403-417.
8 Kinnish, K.K. et al., Sex Differences in the Flexibility of Sexual Orientation: A Multidimensional Retrospective Assessment, Arch Sex Behavior, 34, 2, 2005, pp. 173-183, 173-174.
9 Laumann, E.O. et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality, Chicago 1994, pp. 283-320.
Laumann discovered the following: Some people experience homosexual fantasies without ever living them out. For some individuals these fantasies are on-going, while others had them for a specific time during their life or experience them sporadically or in phases. Some people were (or currently are) involved in homosexual relationships, although they presently have no actual desire for them. Only a minority of those men and women who had (or currently have) homosexual partners as adults consider their identity to be homosexual.
The following data gathered by Laumann, which is representative of the American population, indicates the instability of the characteristic of homosexuality: 2.8% of all men and 1.4% of all women consider their identity to be either homosexual or bisexual.
When asked if they had had at least one homosexual partner in their lifetime, those males surveyed responded as follows: 7.1% had had at least one homosexual partner since puberty; 4.9% responded that they had had at least one homosexual partner after the age of 18; 4.1% responded affirmatively for the past 5 years and only 2.7% said that they had had at least one homosexual partner in the past 12 months.
4.1% of all men and 2.2% of all women reported having had at least one homosexual partner during the past 5 years. Half of these men and almost two thirds of these women also reported having had at least one heterosexual partner during this time period.
When looking at the age of 18 until the present, 80% of all men and 90% of all women who had had at least one homosexual partner also reported having had at least one heterosexual partner during this time period.
Two thirds of the women who considered themselves to be homosexual nevertheless reported having at least a “minimal level” of sexual attraction to men.
10 Satinover, J., The Trojan Couch: How the Mental Health Associations Misrepresent Science. www.narth.com/docs/TheTrojanCouchSatinover.pdf
11 Haeberle, E. et al., Bisexualitäten, Stuttgart 1994, p.32. (translated into English from the German)
12 Haeberle, E., Bisexualitäten, ibid., p.21.
13 Siehe Laumann, loc. cit., p. 301.
14 Polyandrous: one woman lives with several men; polygamous: one man lives with several women.
15 Quoted in: „Kölner Erklärung sexualemanzipatorischer Gruppen aus NRW” on the occasion of CSD 2000. www.whk.de/K%F6lnerErkl%E4rung.htm.
16 Christina Schenk during consultation regarding the Civil Partnership Act in the German Parliament on July 7, 2000. Quoted by Braun, J., Ehe und Familie am Scheideweg, Regensburg 2002, p. 21. Christina Schenk was the PDS faction’s spokesperson for family, lesbian and gay issues. Having undergone a sex-change operation, the politician now lives as Christian Schenk.
17 Somerville, M., Canada ponders polygamy. www.mercatornet.com/articles/canada_ponders_polygamy/.
18 With regard to the topic of homosexual partnership and adoption rights, see also Amendt, G., Kultur, Kindeswohl und homosexuelle Fortpflanzung, Leviathan 2002, 2, pp. 161-174.
19 Statement of Principles of the ILGA-Europe (International Lesbian and Gay Association) on the topic of family, April 2003, p. 39.
20 „Der freiheitliche, säkularisierte Staat lebt von Voraussetzungen, die er selbst nicht garantieren kann.“ (E.-W. Böckenförde)
21 Numerous studies and data on this topic are compiled in: Schirrmacher, T, Der Segen von Ehe und Familie, 2006, published by ilfw und idea, Pf. 1820, 35528 idea, www.idea.de. See also: Schneider, B., Auf die Familie kommt es an: Familienstruktur und Entwicklung des Kindes; Franz, M., Wenn der Vater fehlt – Spätfolgen einer vaterlosen Gesellschaft; both were printed in the Bulletin of the DIJG, Spring 2006, Nr. 11, and can be ordered at email@example.com or www.dijg.de/bulletin_11_06. The article “Do mothers and fathers matter? - Social science evidence on marriage and child well-being”, 2004, published by iMAPP, www.imap.org. provides a short summary. See also: Byrd, A., Gender Complementarity and Child-rearing: Where Tradition and Science agree. www.narth.com/docs/GenderComplementarityByrd.pdf.
22 Dannecker, M., Kollektive Lebenssituation…, loc. cit., p. 26.
23 Rauchfleisch, U., Die stille und die schrille Szene, Freiburg 1995, p. 57.
24 Beck, V., Legalisierung schwuler und lesbischer Lebensgemeinschaften, in: Demokratie und Recht, 1991, 4, pp. 446-464, p. 457.
25 McWhirter, D., Mattison, A., The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1984, p.3.
26 McWhirter, D., Mattison, A., The Male Couple. Ibid., p. 256.
27 Remafedi, G. et al.: Demography of Sexual Orientation in Adolescents. Pediatrics, 1992, 89, 1992, p. 714 ff.
28 See footnote 4. In contrast to the USA, it is unfortunate that these therapies have remained practically unknown in Germany to date. See also publications of the DIJG, for example in the DIJG’s “Bulletin” at: www.dijg.de. Among other publications (in German). In Bulletin Nr. 12 (Autumn 2006): Nicolosi, J., Die Bedeutung der gleichgeschlechtlichen Anziehung, www.dijg.de/bulletin_12_06;