Problem the first – This really isn't an issue that can be proven through statistics since we don't have much experience with same sex marriage in this country yet. And by the time we do, the impact of same sex marriage will be only one of many factors that either damage or enhance the welfare of our kids.
The kids of same sex couples are not the only ones that Matt Birk is worried about here. His thesis is that all children, not just those of same sex couples, will be more likely to suffer if we water down the incentive for child bearing/rearing couples to be married and fewer of them will be raised by a father and a mother.
Ultimately, neither side has reliable statistics to bring to bear on this issue. At this point, it's a matter of conjecture based on our understanding of human nature.
Problem the second – After complaining about Birk using circular reasoning, Kluwe does something very similar here. Essentially he argues that just because we haven't fixed a problem (with a constitutional ban on divorce) that it must not be a problem. Indeed, Birk points out that easy divorces are one of many reasons unrelated to same sex partnerships that marriage is in trouble.
And again, Birk is worried that the weakening of marriage (both through same sex marriage laws and through other factors like no fault divorce) is potentially harmful to all children, not just those of same sex couples.
I happen to agree with Kluwe's contention that same sex marriage would help provide a more stable home for many of the kids of members of same sex couples, but I don't think Birk is unwittingly making that argument as Kluwe contends.
Problem the third – Birk doesn't list his priorities, but I wouldn't be surprised that if we told him he could wave a wand and require only one of the social results he prefers, he would pick elimination of no fault divorce rather than prevention of same sex marriage. I could be wrong, but I don't think Birk is being inconsistent by publishing an argument focused on one of the many things he thinks is wrong with our marriage culture.
Problem the fourth – While this is true and seems like a reasonable argument against those who want to prevent same sex marriage using arguments of tradition, Birk's arguments are mainly about utility and the impact on our children.
Problem the fifth – I didn't see any religious appeals in Birk's argument. He refers to the fact that he's a Christian, but he doesn't make an argument based on Christianity.
Problem the last – The only ways in which the lack of same sex marriage recognition impacts the relationship of same sex couples are in convenience and administrative matters as opposed to matters of love and companionship. Same sex couples may find it more difficult to cover the household with health or auto insurance or to execute contracts on behalf of the family unit or to adopt (and these aren't insignificant), but they're free to live and love together. If our kids decide to remain single or to shack up instead of getting hitched, they'll face different life experiences from those who choose to be married too.
My personal view - I think the benefits of stable, loving relationships among homosexual couples far outweighs any degradation of the incentive to marry. I'd rather see a reversal of the no fault divorce movement than a ban on gay marriage. Easy divorce seems far more damaging to our kids than I think gay marriage would be.
"Well, it is one thing for Bill Clinton to say, I feel your pain. It is another thing for Barack Obama to say I feel your pain that I have caused." - George Will