As the Supreme Court weighed the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) held a three-hour long rally justifying their opposition. One speaker, Bishop Harry Jackson Jr, argued that same-sex marriage was actually an attack on low-income urban communities. Jackson claimed that “urban America” could be “healed” by promoting heterosexual marriages because, he alleges, heterosexual marriages have less poverty, less domestic violence, and “sexual abuse does not happen.”
God has given us a blueprint for how to have success in the earthly realm. He’s given us an architectural plan of how to heal the barren places in urban America. He says that marriage between a man and a woman will heal the desert places in urban America. Ghettos will be revitalized if one man, one woman families are the order of the day. When a man and a woman are in the house, poverty is lessened. When a man and a woman are in the house, kids don’t go to prison. When a man and a woman are in the house, there’s less domestic violence. When a man and a woman are in the house, sexual abuse does not happen.
In a highlight reel of their rally, NOM selectively edited Bishop Jackson’s remarks to cut him off a half-second before his assertion that sexual abuse “does not happen” in straight marriages.
For decades, NOM and other anti-marriage equality advocates have routinely promoted bogus claims that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia and sexual abuse. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that gay individuals commit more sexual assaults than straight people. Same-sex relationships face roughly the same domestic violence rate as straight couples. Jackson’s assertion that “sexual abuse does not happen” in heterosexual homes is also blatantly false; more than 50 percent of all sexual assault incidents take place in or within a mile of the home.
The claim that heterosexual marriage lessens poverty and crime compared to same-sex marriage is also false. Two-parent households fare slightly better in these areas than single-parent homes. There is no evidence that the sexual orientation of the parents has any impact, nor that single parenthood is the cause and not a by-product for these trends.
Jackson has been paid handsomely to push these myths as part of NOM’s race-wedging strategy. The organization has openly admitted to their intent to co-opt religious African Americans, specifically Church of God in Christ bishops like Jackson, by making the case that marriage equality is somehow harmful to minority communities.