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Legalizing gay marriage will not lead to more sexual abuse of children.

In the years leading up to last week’s watershed Supreme Court decision in Obergerfell v Hodges, legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, and now in the days since a dark, dangerous, and toxic backlash has been heard. Many people are declaring that there is now nothing standing in the way of the legalization of child rape.

Chances are somewhere on your timeline one or more of these stories has popped up either from someone who earnestly believes this rubbish, or from someone who wants to make fun of it. Regardless, the fact that this argument from the lunatic fringe has not yet been successfully defeated and silenced shows just how far we still have to go to inform, educate, and bring forth a more tolerant society.

Let me make this as clear as I can. Tolerance of homosexuality will not lead to tolerance of child rape.

Let me make this as clear as I can. Tolerance of homosexuality will not lead to tolerance of child rape.

How do I know? I was raped by a man when I was a child. I am the Executive Director of MaleSurvivor a national non-profit organization that provides hope, healing, and support to male victims of sexual abuse and our allies. I am far more educated on the issue of sexual abuse than any of these toxic people spouting misinformed bigotry. Therefore let me again be absolutely clear:

Allowing two men or two women to marry one another does not make it more likely that children will be raped.

And yet from many corners we have heard professional athletes to politicians to religious figures proclaim that last week’s decision is a descent onto the “slippery slope” that will eventually legalize child rape*. Again, let me be clear. Anyone who believes victory on gay marriage is opening up a route to legalizing pedophilia is wrong.

Again let me be clear. Anyone who believes victory on gay marriage is opening up a route to legalizing pedophilia is wrong.

You are wrong on the facts:

  • Ensuring more adults have their civil right to marry and to love one another recognized by the government does not create a legal precedent for legalizing child sexual abuse.

  • The majority of people who sexually abuse children are not gay. This is a finding that has been independently reached in many studies. This paper published in the official Journal of the American Association of Pediatrics has perhaps one of the strongest findings: In the remaining 269 cases, two offenders were identified as being gay or lesbian. In 82% of cases (222/269), the alleged offender was a heterosexual partner of a close relative of the child. Using the data from our study, the 95% confidence limits, of the risk children would identify recognizably homosexual adults as the potential abuser, are from 0% to 3.1%. Conclusions. The children in the group studied were unlikely to have been molested by identifiably gay or lesbian people. Jenny, Carole, Thomas A. Roesler, and Kimberly L. Poyer. “Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?.” Pediatrics 94.1 (1994): 41-44 [Emphasis mine]

You are wrong on the logic

  • Consensual LEGAL adult sexual behavior that can be shown lead to long term emotional and medical health does not encourage people to engage in criminal, abusive, and predatory acts of sexual violence that can clearly be shown to cause lasting harm to survivors.

  • While sex and physical intimacy are often a very important part of any marriage, people do not get married solely in order to have sex.

  • It is also abundantly clear that people who want to rape children will do so without concern for law.

Lastly, you are morally wrong.

  • If you are trying to link gay rights to child rape, you are saying that the man who raped me is in no way different from the many, many gay men and women who have loved, supported, encouraged, and help me.

  • You are telling me, and millions of other survivors of child sexual abuse that you know better than us (and the broad consensus of mental health and criminal justice researchers for the record) who the persons that pose the greatest risk to harm children are.

  • By intentionally spreading lies and fear-mongering you are coopting my story—my life—to support a narrative that protects child rapists by misinforming people that persons who identify GBLTQQI are more likely to harm children than child rapists.

One final point that should settle this discussion permanently, and that I encourage you to use with anyone who tries to spread this lie. As a good friend pointed out on Facebook earlier—gay marriage does not legalize same sex child rape any more than straight marriage legalized opposite sex child rape.

* I am intentionally using the term child rape because pedophilia is a clinical diagnostic term that is far too often misused and misunderstood. This is not in any way meant to be an expression of support for tolerance of pedophilia. I think all our conversations about the rape of children would be greatly simplified if we stopped using the word. Also—pedophilia is, in my opinion, the worst word in the English language and may itself encourage tolerance of child rape by sanitizing the concept and applying a word form -phile that in most other contexts describes positive ideas (e.g. Anglophile, audiophile, bibliophile … etc.).

Originally published at Good Men

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