Ardent Trump supporter, designated Trump spiritual adviser and prosperity gospel Evangelical Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress claimed during a recent interview with anti-LGBT news outlet OneNewsNow that same-sex marriages are to blame for the drastic decrease in heterosexual marriages.
The claim came while discussing a recent CDC report revealing a significant decrease in marriage rates between 1900 and 2018.
The CDC's report indicated that marriages steadily declined since they peaked in the 1970s, but Jeffress decided that the fall was really due to the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriages at the federal level just 5 years ago.
Jeffress—who sits on Trump's evangelical advisory board—apparently decided that gay people were somehow to blame for the decrease in heterosexual marriages.
Jeffress told OneNewsNow:
"Whenever you counterfeit something, you cheapen the value of the real thing."
"And if you expand marriage to, basically, any definition you want – two men, two women, three men and a woman – I mean, if marriage is what you want it to be, why bother to get married at all?"
It seems he may have accidentally stumbled upon the real reason for the decline in marriage with that last bit.
There are plenty of reasons that people may decide marriage isn't for them.
Many people have realized that the institution of marriage is not the be-all and end-all of relationships—it is perfectly possible to have a long-term committed relationship without a marriage license.
There are also many disabled people who cannot marry for fear of losing government benefits that they rely on to survive, no matter how much they may want to make that commitment.
While he didn't think that it was going to be possible to re-outlaw same-sex marriage, Jeffress did say that he thought churches should strongly promote straight marriages.
"It will never change, is my prediction, but that doesn't mean the Church of Jesus Christ cannot continue to teach what the Bible says about marriage."
This is not the first time Jeffress, and by extension Trump, have been under fire for his outlandish comments.
Jeffress has, in the past, likened members of the gay community to pedophiles, according to RightWingWatch.
"...homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person's mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God's law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well."
He has also often been vocal in his support of Chick-fil-A, a company well-known for donating to anti-gay causes.
Jeffress also claimed that President Obama was "paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist."
Many of Jeffress' most outrageous comments were made during his own ultra-conservative radio show, Pathway to Victory and are a matter of public record.
He was even strongly criticized by Mitt Romney for his anti-Jewish, anti-Mormon, and anti-Muslim sentiments at the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem. Jeffress was at the opening as a guest and representative of the United States.
"Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew,' and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.'"
"He's said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem."
Jeffress' bad takes somehow just keep coming, and getting steadily more inflammatory.
"God's plan for sexuality is one man with one woman in a lifetime commitment called marriage. Any deviation from that is sin."
"Of course, I'm always, the retort to that is 'oh! Are you pulling a Rick Santorum and saying that homosexuality is like bestiality, uh, incest, or pedophilia'? And I say 'Yes.'. It is just as immoral as those practices."
Twitter users were not afraid to call out Jeffress' latest ridiculous comment and point out the hypocrisy in his many problematic statements.
@Foxmental_X I am old enough to remember when gays were considered terrible because they were promiscuous, and now… https://t.co/vuVY0lf3OV— Privilege is Unamerican (@Privilege is Unamerican) 1588602005.0
Pastor: Marriage Rates Are Falling Because Gay Couples “Cheapen” the Whole Thing https://t.co/gsSrse59IP Just a rem… https://t.co/zimyLoaJH6— Justin Yost (@Justin Yost) 1588466461.0
@YukinoOmoni @PinkNews Too expensive.— Greg Ducayne (@Greg Ducayne) 1588622129.0
If gay marriages had anything to do with a decline in straight marriages, it would only be because a lot of people who were once pressured to marry partners of the opposite sex no longer feel that pressure.
In a society where it is becoming increasingly okay to be yourself, and love who you love, why would anyone choose to try to be something else?
The book Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality is available here.