Time to stop Orbán
Fidesz, Viktor Orbán’s party, may have been suspended as a member of the European People’s Party, but that does not stop Orbán from expressing his opinion on the direction the EPP should take.
A few days ago he published his ‘Memorandum on the state of the European People’s Party’ in which he looks back on the history of the EPP, makes his analysis of where he thinks things are going wrong, and indicates a new direction in which to march. It is a rather short and very explicit text so it’s clear what his targets are – left/progressive parties, migration (and the abandonment of our Christian values), and gender ideology.
“We gave up the family model based on the matrimony of one woman and one man, and fell into the arms of gender ideology. Instead of supporting the birth of children, we see mass migration as the solution to our demographic problems.”‘Memorandum on the state of the European People’s Party’ by Viktor Orbán, february 2020
In other words, when marriage is no longer restricted to male-female couples, fewer children are born and we need to bring in migrants to counter the decline in population. And this is something that gives Viktor Orbán nightmares – and something that he thinks his EPP colleagues should be worried about as well.
Now, you can put this aside like the foolish statements of a paranoid populist. You can assume that most people don’t take stuff like this seriously anyway and that his attempt will be a ripple in the water. But then we immediately forget about the situation in Hungary and Poland, where the living conditions of LGBTI people have seriously deteriorated in recent years. It also underestimates the way in which Orbán tries to get his ideology accepted time and again. Well, it’s time to react. To arm ourselves, of course, we have to understand why his strange and dangerous statements seem acceptable to so many people.
Orbán is (unfortunately) not alone in his conviction that same-sex marriage will result in fewer children being born. This theory also exists within conservative circles in the US. For example, a niece of Martin Luther King once said at a meeting of the National Organization for Marriage in Atlanta that “Allowing gay couples to marry amounts to ‘genocide’ and will lead to the ‘extinction’ of the human race”. The chairman of the American Family Research Council also made similar statements. And in the debates on same-sex marriage in Australia, Bawa Singh Jagdev, the then president of the National Sikh Council, said: “This bill will destroy the whole human race”.
Impressive, isn’t it? It puts same-sex marriage in the same category as a meteor strike or a global nuclear war.
When my sister married her husband, they were just two people who loved each other and declared it to the world. Apparently, when I married my husband, it was the beginning of the end of that world. Had we realised at that moment that our “I do” would have such consequences, we would have thrown a bigger party. If you have to go anyway, it’s better to go with a bang.
The question, of course, is why those conservatives are so afraid that same-sex marriages will result in no or far fewer children being born.
Is it because they think everyone will become gay or lesbian? Of course not – I do find their ideas strange, but they don’t push it so far. According to them God created all people humans as heterosexuals, and they’re not going to start doubting this all of a sudden.
Marriage = procreation
They react this way because they see marriage first and foremost as a way to bear children. Of course it’s also about love, attraction and stability, but that’s secondary.
“Marriage is defined as the union of a woman and a man because it brings together men and women for the natural reproduction of the human race (…)”Peter S. Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, 22 July 2014.
This statement can also be found on the website of the conservative Family Research Council that I mentioned earlier.
Now, man-man or woman-woman couples can try a lot to make children – and that in itself is very pleasant – but it doesn’t lead to many results. I know because I have been practicing with my husband for 21 years without either of us getting pregnant.
But if you know in advance that you won’t be able to make children together, then according to these conservatives, there is no reason to get married. If people of the same sex are allowed to get married, then you de facto break the link between marriage and procreation. And they find that dangerous, because it could also give ‘wrong’ ideas to heterosexual couples. Maybe these couples decide en masse to get married but not have any more children. And before you know it, you’re the prime minister of a country without inhabitants. Or worse, humanity is extinct.
I’ve always found this reasoning very strange. It sounds almost like you have to force heterosexuals to have sex with each other and make children.
It’s also not correct when you look at the numbers. The DESA / POPULATION DIVISION of the UN regularly makes forecasts on global population growth. They take into account a whole range of data and studies, which eventually leads to a series of projections. Moreover, research shows that the UN predictions are quite accurate.
Well, according to those predictions, there’s no question of extinction. If we look at the median scenario of the UN projections, we see that they expect the world population to increase to 9,735,034,000 people in 2050, 10,577,288,000 in 2075, and 10,875,394,000 in 2100. So it’s going to get crowded in some places. If the LGBTIs of this world want to make humanity extinct, they’re apparently not very good at it.
Of course, population figures don’t say everything. How many people live in a country is a complex interplay of births, deaths, emigration and immigration. If the opponents of same-sex marriage argue that it’ll make people stop having children, it’s obvious that we should also specifically take a closer look at the global fertility rate.
You have to keep in mind that the number of children born per woman has been declining for years. Since the 1960s, the fertility rate (the number of births per woman) has fallen worldwide from 5.06 (1964) to 2.43 (2017). So the decline had set in long before marriage was opened up to people of the same sex.
Many articles, studies and books have already been published on why this has come to be. For example, the need to have multiple children in order to keep enough of them alive has decreased due to a worldwide improvement in living conditions. The ready availability of contraceptives means you can have sex without automatically having children. Women all over the world are getting increasingly educated and emancipated; they don’t automatically want to put their careers on hold or give up their jobs to take care of the children. Raising children is expensive and often both parents have to go to work in order to maintain the lifestyle they want.
Moreover, there are studies that show that people without children are happier than people with children.
When you see all this information in one place, you start to wonder why couples are still having children. It almost seems like an act of self-sacrifice. Perhaps this is the reason why our conservative fellow human beings are so afraid that heterosexuals might find out that you can be happily married without having children of your own.
et’s look at the total fertility rates of the countries that legalised same-sex marriage. If the fears of Viktor Orbán and co. are true, we should notice a serious decline in these rates after the first same-sex marriages. But if you look at the evolution of the total fertility rate for those countries in the five years after the opening of marriage, no such conclusion can be made.
There are indeed 7 countries where there has been a decrease: Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Mexico, France and New Zealand. Then we have 5 countries where the numbers have remained stable: The Netherlands, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. And finally, there are 4 countries where we even see an increase in the total fertility rate: Belgium, Spain, Canada and Denmark. (I considered the first 16 countries that opened up marriage, so the time period could be long enough for an impact to be visible.)
By the way, if you look at the fertility rates for Hungary and Poland – two countries that actively oppose same-sex marriage – you can see that they’re far behind most of the countries mentioned above.
It therefore seems impossible to use these fertility figures to prove that opening up marriage would lead to the extinction of mankind or at least of the inhabitants of the LGBTI-friendly countries.
Moreover, it’s not because you as a couple cannot have children in the natural way that you don’t want children or have children. This applies to infertile heterosexual couples, single women and men, but also to LGBTI people. Just look at the number of lesbian women who become pregnant through insemination, or at the number of man-man couples who want to become dads through adoption or surrogacy.
What is striking is that same-sex couples with children marry more often than their heterosexual colleagues. Figures from the United States and the United Kingdom show that out of all heterosexual couples with children, couples who’re married and couples who’re simply living together are equal in number. In same-sex couples with children, however, we do see a large deviation – significantly more of these couples are married.
What we cannot deduce from these figures is whether these couples just got married because they wanted to offer their children more protection, or whether they considered it more appropriate to try to have children due to the stability of their marriage. Of course, it doesn’t matter much as far as the result is concerned.
Those who’re afraid of the extinction of mankind should just encourage the LGBTIs of the world to get married because then there’s a greater chance that they will have children!
I haven’t found figures like these for Belgium, but there are the conclusions of the Zzzip2 study that examined the quality of life of Flemish LGBTIs, and they’re quite clear:
“LGBTIs dream no less than heterosexuals of a family with children. But LGBT people more often than heterosexuals experience obstacles on the path from wish-parent to parent; from child wish to child.”
Neither on the basis of the past and future evolution of the world’s population, nor on the basis of the total fertility figures in the countries that have opened up marriage to same-sex couples, can we state that the introduction of same-sex marriage has or has had any (negative) impact on the number of children born there.
Moreover, many LGBTI people have a desire to have children. And we notice that, despite the restrictions that exist today, many LGBTI families already have children growing up. In countries where marriage is introduced for these couples, those who have or want to have children are likelier to use the option.
Viktor Orbán’s attack is therefore yet another fact-free attack on the rights of LGBTI people in his country. After the LGBT-free zones in Poland, it’s now the Hungarian leader who moves up a gear. Moreover, he is trying to spread this fight all over Europe through the EPP. We shouldn’t think that this is an isolated incident that we can mockingly brush aside. Every time he may succeed in planting doubt in the minds of a few people or groups. So we have to be firm in our reaction.
This text is a translation of a text originally written in Dutch. The original can be found here: http://brunodelille.eu/het-huwelijk-voor-koppels-van-hetzelfde-geslacht-leidt-tot-de-ondergang-van-de-mensheid-echt-knack-zizo/