An unmarried mother can be a good mother to her children. Nature provides her with hormones that become active when she conceives that urge her to feed and care for her children. In this sense she is no different than other life forms that otherwise would become extinct.
The male, however, has no such hormonal mechanism that urges him to care for the progeny he sires. His hormones only urge him to procreate. By the time his mate bears her young, he is usually far away and long forgotten.
The human tribe, having what we call a superior intellect, developed a tradition, or custom, we call marriage, for the purpose of enlisting the male in the support and protection of his progeny. Marriage didn't always work as intended, but by and large, it was sufficiently successful so that the human race thrived and multiplied prodigiously!
In order to make marriage attractive to the male, the tribe made it a big event and ceremony where by they pledged faithfulness to each other. She and their children took his family name, and he became the head, protector and provider for his family and his standing in the community depended largely on how well he performed this duty.
One can see that status and reward are the things that motivate us to do the necessary things that nature does not require us to do. This differentiates our species from the other animals.
Anything that downgrades or diminishes this status and reward has a negative effect on the willingness of young men to accept the responsibility of marrying their sexual partners and supporting and raising their children.
Since same-sex couples cannot produce children, the status and rewards of traditional marriage do not apply and gay marriage only serves to denigrate the acceptance of traditional marriage by young men.
The startling rise in single-parent families in our country (approaching 70 percent) leaves many children without fathers. Anything which denigrates traditional marriage cannot be helpful in this regard.
I can appreciate the desire of gay couples to gain status for themselves and to correct legal concerns - however, not at the expense of our children! Civil unions should satisfy their legal needs.
ROBERT L. DE BEAUCHAMP, Yuma
(You Must Not Know 'Bout Me)