Gay Parenthood

10 Jul

One argument offered in support of same-sex marriage is that children raised by same-sex couples have no more problems than children raised by their married biological parents. Aware that a major impediment to their agenda is public concern about the welfare of children raised by same-sex couples, gay activists have encouraged researchers to “disprove” this concern. They offer their “findings” to the courts in marriage cases.

The majority of these studies do not compare children raised by same-sex couples with those raised by married biological parents, but with children raised by single mothers or in other less-than-ideal circumstances. Further, many of these studies have been shown to be externally or internally invalid. And in some cases, researchers simply ignored their own findings and skewed their conclusions to fit their agenda.

Persons with same-sex attractions (SSA) are human beings. It’s natural for them to want to experience the joy of having children: to love, to nurture, to leave a legacy. There’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to become pregnant and bear a child, or a man wanting to experience the joy of seeing his son grow into manhood or his daughter develop into a beautiful woman.

Yet children are not trophies, or a way to meet one’s personal needs, or props to help forward an ideology. People aren’t a means to an end; they’re meant to be loved for their own sake. Therefore, no one has a “right” to a child. It’s children who have the rights. When circumstances separate a child from one or both biological parents, adults should try to create a situation for him or her that is as normal as possible. No matter how honorable the intention, no one has the right to compound the tragedy of separation from biological parents by subjecting a child to another suboptimal situation.

At this point, children raised by same-sex parents are being subjected to a massive social experiment not undertaken for their benefit, but to further the gay rights agenda.

Activists might claim that couples with SSA are “rescuing” children by adopting them out of poverty or other hard circumstances. Although laudable, this intention doesn’t negate the real problems caused by same-sex parenting—problems deeper and longer-lasting than material deprivation. This argument also loses force when one considers the many roadblocks to adoption faced by stable, well-to-do married couples. Same-sex adoption doesn’t necessarily provide more homes to needy children; it often keeps those children away from married couples who would otherwise adopt them.

Of course, when reproductive technologies are used to create babies for same-sex couples, these children aren’t being “rescued” from anything. Instead they’re being intentionally (and immorally) conceived to be placed in suboptimal situations. At best, this is treating the child as an object, a possession, without regard to what may be best for him or her.

On pp. 218-19 of her outstanding book, One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage (Sophia, 2007), author Dale O’Leary summarizes the risks to children of same-sex parenting as follows:

(1) Each of these situations is either fatherless or motherless. Children flourish when they can identify with a parent of their own sex and feel loved and accepted by a person of the other sex.

(2) These children are fatherless or motherless because of adult decisions–often based on a need to feel validated or “complete”–not unavoidable circumstances. Either by adopting them or conceiving them artificially, their care-givers deliberately choose to deprive their children of a mother or a father.

(3) In every same-sex household, one or both parents have no biological relationship to the child. Often compounding the situation are complicated and often contentious legal and emotional relationships with sperm donors, surrogate mothers, former spouses, and ex-partners.

(4) Persons with SSA have a psychological disorder rooted in childhood trauma, which can negatively affect their relationships, their attitudes toward the other sex, and their attitudes toward parenting. They are also more likely to have psychological disorders and therefore are more prone to engage in behaviors that might negatively affect their children.

(5) Adults with SSA are part of a community that views itself as oppressed and in conflict with the greater society. This at-war-with-the-world stance places a burden on the children.

(6) Homosexual behavior is considered sinful by many religions, and same-sex parenting is otherwise stigmatized to some degree in mainstream society. The majority of people in most communities believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. Right or wrong, this can’t help but isolate the children raised by same-sex couples, creating feelings of differentness and inferiority.

(7) The community of adults with SSA tends to have attitudes toward sexuality that encourage sexual experimentation and don’t adequately protect minor children from exposure to sexually explicit materials and sexual exploitation.

3 Responses to “Gay Parenthood”

  1. Stacy July 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    “Children are not trophies…objects…possessions.”

    AMEN!

  2. Jason Bridges July 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    If the reasoning in this article were to be held true, one must ask why the Church is focusing so much time, money, and energy blocking SSM and instead not spending that effort on ending opposite sex divorce and single parent adoption, both or which occur at a *far* greater frequency than SSM adoption and meet nearly every single one of the “risks” to children listed.

    1) Divorced couples – and that includes ‘annulments’ – deprive a child of having both sex parents in theirs homes, and possibly their lives. The divorce rate is approximately 20 times higher than the same-sex-marriage rate. Why is the Church not pushing for constitutional bans on divorce? Single Parents – should women who do become pregnant out of wedlock be forced to give their child up for adoption to a father-and-mother couple who want to adopt?

    2) Adult decisions are exactly what causes divorced / annuled couples. The adults decide they are not ‘complete’ or ‘happy’ and decide to change their relationship for what they perceive to be better. And single parents – pretty sure that was an adult desicion too. How is this ‘risk’ unique to SSM?

    3) In every opposite-sex household with adopted children, this exact same condition is true. Should the church be now against married opposite sex couples adopting? Do they believe that the adopted child is now at greater ‘risk’ than before they were adopted? Those opposite-sex marriage couples are also ‘deliberately’ choosing to deprive a child of their biological parents. Shame on them.

    4) The author is entitled to believe what they want, but the rest of the world may not know what exactly makes each person have SSA, but most understand that the vast majority are not due to some ‘childhood trauma’. It is a dangerous thing to do, but try talking to a few actually people who identify as gay or lesbian and ask them things like “When did you know” and “what was your childhood like”. You’ll find that most knew from the very first moments when boys and girls were supposed to start interacting with each other, and most had perfectly happy, normally, wonderful, abuse-free childhoods. Well, abuse free until the time they realize that parts of society and certain institutions are abusing them by calling them ‘disturbed’, ‘mentally ill’, and ‘risks to children’ in the public sphere.

    5) So minorities shouldn’t be allowed to be parents either? There are places all over this world and even in the US (blacks in the South, Hispanics in New Mexico) where racism runs deep and is still expressed every day. Those people live a constant battle to assert their worth and equality – and their children are changed because of it. Where was the Church’s money and campaigning to stop the “show me your papers” law last year in New Mexico, or to end “Separate but Equal” in the south fifty years ago?

    6) Children feeling marginalized by society because of who there parents are is entirely at the control of the people who create the marginalization. It is very telling that an author uses the very purpose of the book she is writing (to create aversion and a astigmatism against SSM) as then a risk factor for children of SSM families. The cry of “Think about the Children” looses its luster when you realize that the Church itself is leading the charge against them with its own, self-expressed charge.

    One can be against same sex marriage on purely theological or religious grounds, and there is no argument that can be made against it – each is allowed to believe as they want; it is a precious right of living in the United States. However, it is an hypocrisy and a travesty when an organization that holds up “truth” and “justice” as its greatest mantles then use half-truths, false logic, and a chase-the-mouse-but-ignore-the-elephant approach to “protecting” children. Most who step back away from their emotional belief and actually critically analyze what is written in this blog post will realize that the words have nothing to do with “protecting” children, and everything to do with finding yet another reason to try to justify in the public sphere a deeply help religious belief in not-so-religious (and thus legislative) terms.

  3. Bill Scholl July 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Jason,

    Many of your arguments strike me as strawman attempts to reduce the Church to doing and saying things she isn’t and then denouncing those untrue statements. The Church has consistently opposed divorced and is working very hard to strengthen marriages. One of the Church’s biggest successes has been the development of Marriage Preparation courses that have significantly reduced divorce rates and now have been widely emulated by other faith groups.

    Your question about why doesn’t the Church put more energy into opposing divorce fails to realize that the Church is participating in a public policy debate that is currently going on. You might as well ask, “Why aren’t we putting energy into bringing back the blue laws requiring stores to be closed on Sunday?” The answer for both is because there is no public policy debate going on about those issues right now. Back in 2010 when New York was becoming the last state to legalize “no fault divorce” the Catholic Church was a very vocal opponent (ironically joined in her position by the National Organization for Women no less).

    Regarding paragraph 4: The Catholic Church teaches that the causes of SSA remain a mystery. However, this does not mean that we are completely unaware of the contributing factors that can block a person’s normal heterosexual development during their childhood. It’s true that most people with SSA report that they can’t remember a time when they chose to have these attractions. However, this lack of consciousness is not an argument for “I was born this way”. I can not remember a time that I did not think or speak English or even chose to speak English. However, my parents assure me that I did not come out of the womb speaking English. My friends with SSA who have gained self-mastery and who now live chaste lives as single or married Catholics share, “you’re not born this way but you did grow this way.”

    While it’s true that many people with SSA do not have a childhood trauma there are still many that do, many people who report Same-Sex attractions have experienced childhood sexual abuse from either adults or older peers. This correlation has been very well documented but it is not likely something a person with SSA will share with you at a cocktail party. However, while a trauma can greatly damage a person’s normal heterosexual development there are also other factors that can contribute to misdirected sexual desires. People with SSA often report that growing up they had a “perceived lack of connection and affirmation” with their same-gender parent. This lack of confirmation in masculinity or femininity sometimes translates into an eroticisization of the desire to be loved and affirmed by someone of the same sex.

    The bottom line is that all forms of sexual sin, be it: adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, extra-marital sex, contraceptive sex, etc. do damage to an individual’s personal integrity and to the family. And so the Church is bound to speak this truth to power whenever the policy discussion seeks to institutionalize sin. We are called to love everyone and we would be failing in love if we did not share our truth.

    NARTH has some great psychological resources on the subject:

    http://narth.com/

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