War on the family

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"War on the family" refers to either of two things:

  • A fictional war which neoconservatives and many extreme conservatives believe is being waged by supporters of homosexuality in an effort to destroy or damage the traditional family structure and thus undermine social values which social conservatives consider to be essential
  • A genuine battle being fought by those same extreme conservatives against actual families which don't happen to follow the nuclear model

The Fictional War

Proponents of the fictional "war on the family" claim that the "traditional family" (by which they mean the nuclear family) is being destroyed by efforts to broaden the idea of family – especially the institution of marriage – beyond the boundaries of the nuclear family (one man, one woman, and their children), starting with gay marriage.

However, no real evidence has been offered that these broadening efforts are having any kind of harmful effect, much less that they are harming heterosexual married couples in particular. Indeed, it seems clear that forcing homosexuals and other non-nuclear-oriented individuals to shoehorn their needs into the nuclear-family model would be (and has been, in the past) extremely destructive, in that the families they form tend to be emotionally unhealthy at best and have a strong tendency to fall apart as the non-nuclear-oriented individual finds her/himself eventually unable to cope with being stuck in a nuclear-style family.

The Real War

Many actual families, and many more people who would like to start a family, are in a state of legal conflict due to several factors:

  • lack of legal support for family bonds that fall outside the "nuclear family" model
  • active attempts to prevent or restrict any legal support from ever being put in place (e.g. attempts to constitutionally "outlaw" gay marriage)

This situation greatly increases the hardships many families (with and without children) must face.