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Gay Marriage and Raising Children: The Elephant in the Room

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posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 04:41 AM
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Because this is a sensitive subject, and one that tends to run over the same old ground again and again, before we get to the heart of my post, I feel compelled to add a few disclaimers first. Hopefully this will allow us to sidestep the same tired arguments that get tossed out over and over. (Probably not, but we can always hope.)

1) I don't harbor any ill will towards homosexuals, don't object to their practices, and I certainly don't "hate" them. But even if I did, none of that would have any bearing on the topic of this thread. So any arguments based on trying to paint me, personally, as a "hater" are totally irrelevant. Please don't even bother.

2) I'm not a homosexual in denial about my own sexuality. But even if I were, none of that would have any bearing on the topic of this thread. So any arguments based on trying to paint me, personally, as a closeted gay are totally irrelevant. Please don't even bother.

3) I'm not at all religious and I don't care what it says in the Bible, or the Bhagavad-Gita, or any other supposedly sacred text. But even if I did, none of that would have any bearing on the topic of this thread. So any arguments based on trying to paint me, personally, as a fanatic fundie are totally irrelevant. Please don't even bother.

Now with tha out of the way, hopefully we can proceed logically and calmly to the next step. Unfortunately, we aren't done with the disclaimers yet. Some of you have read the title of this thread and will be ready to leap into attack mode. Please read the following CAREFULLY before doing so.

I am not claiming that gays are unfit parents.

I am CERTAINLY not claiming that gays would be any more (or less) likely to abuse children than straights.

I am not claiming that growing up with 2 same-sex parents would be necessarily worse than growing up with a male and a female as parents


So again, let's avoid straw-men arguments along those lines, shall we?

So what are you claiming then?, the patient reader asks. 

My point is this: To date, most if not all serious discussion of gay marriage has revolved around the rights of gay people. There has been very little talk about how it might impact children. It may turn out that it would not impact them at all. But before we go tinkering with the fundamental structure of the family, its a question that needs to be asked, and a debate that needs to be had. The glaring silence on this issue is the proverbial "elephant in the room."

The traditional one-man-one woman family is the most ancient building-block of society. It is found all over the globe, albeit with some variation. Sometimes it is in an extended family pattern, sometimes not. There are cases such as polygamy among the upper classes in some cultures, but by and large these are exceptions rather than the rule.

What could possibly be a more vital social issue to debate than a possible change to the most foundational building block of society - the traditional family? And why aren't we having this debate more vigorously?

Like I said, it may turn out that same-sex marriage is a perfectly fine way to raise kids. But we need to INVESTIGATE and ask difficult questions  first, not just shove the question under the carpet. And this means acknowledging that the issue may  be about more than the rights of individual - especially where kids are involved.

Let me give you a somewhat-related example. In the 1960s and 70s, single motherhood, formerly a rare thing, became much more common. The debate at the time was framed in terms of the rights of feminist women, rather than possible obligations to children. Then as now, the issue of the long-term effects on children (and society by extension) was shoveled under the carpet. But after a time, it became clear that children were being deeply impacted by this "lifestyle choice":


...as a social scientist, I can also say that the academic research paints a much more complicated picture of the impact of family structure on children than does my life story...Hetherington, who like Roiphe embraces changing family structures, also was honest enough to admit that divorce tends to double a child’s risk of a serious negative outcome. Specifically, she found that “twenty-five percent of youths from divorced families in comparison to 10 percent from non-divorced families did have serious social, emotional, or psychological problems.” Other research suggests that the children of never-married single parents tend to do somewhat worse than children of divorced single parents.

Take two contemporary social problems: teenage pregnancy and the incarceration of young males. Research by Sara McLanahan at Princeton University suggests that boys are significantly more likely to end up in jail or prison by the time they turn 30 if they are raised by a single mother. Specifically, McLanahan and a colleague found that boys raised in a single-parent household were more than twice as likely to be incarcerated, compared with boys raised in an intact, married home, even after controlling for differences in parental income, education, race, and ethnicity. Research on young men suggests they are less likely to engage in delinquent or illegal behavior when they have the affection, attention, and monitoring of their own mother and father.

But daughters depend on dads as well. One study by Bruce Ellis of the University of Arizona found that about one-third of girls whose fathers left the home before they turned 6 ended up pregnant as teenagers, compared with just 5 percent of girls whose fathers were there throughout their childhood. This dramatic divide was narrowed a bit when Ellis controlled for parents’ socioeconomic background—but only by a few percentage points. The research on this topic suggests that girls raised by single mothers are less likely to be supervised, more likely to engage in early sex, and to end up pregnant compared with girls raised by their own married parents.

It’s true that poorer families are more likely to be headed by single mothers. But even factoring out class shows a clear difference. Research by the Economic Mobility Project at Pew suggests that children from intact families are also more likely to rise up the income ladder if they were raised in a low-income family, and less likely to fall into poverty if they were raised in a wealthy family. For instance, according to Pew’s analysis, 54 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in an intact two-parent home in the top-third of household income have remained in the top-third as adults, compared with just 37 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in a wealthy (top-third) but divorced family....


More at Source (Slate)

(I have purposely chosen Slate, a left-leaning news source, for the above example, which was written by a woman brought up by a single mom. But similar statistics can be found in many places).

Don't we owe it to the children to debate this social issue beyond the framework of "individual rights of gays?"




posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:04 AM
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various points in your quoted info rings true to me and my siblings(except the jail bit).your right we don't know what the effects will be,I just hope gay marriage doesn't produce more people like Louis Spence,makes my skin crawl.
I also love the irony of the u.k. governments pushing for gay marriage just now.Just months after blaming last year's riots on absent fathers they now want same sex marriage.won't that mean any kids raised in these families have either an absent father or mother?



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:06 AM
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Actually there's been a huge amount of debate on gay parenting, also on ATS.

Why do you cite a discussion on divorce, single mothers and other aspects of heterosexual parenting from an article that mentions nothing on gay parents?

How exactly does gay parenting disadvantage kids compared to straight parenting?

Since most gay kids provably come from straight relationships isn't that a circular argument?
Straight people made us gay (if one entertains the developmental theories) hence they are bad.
So shouldn't kids be saved from straight relationships?

Perhaps you're saying the state should take all kids along the lines of ancient Sparta and raise them all uniformly?

Oh my hat, but there is politics at the moment that will squeeze anything into a gay/straight paradigm.
It's just ridiculous.

The whole OP article is about the failed relationships of heterosexuals and their inability to keep an evangelical Christian family like in the Bible (like Jesus with two daddies and one indirect mommy) and all those celibate woman-hating apostles - I mean the Bible is just full of family values and monogamous heterosexuals ... like ... well like somebody.

edit on 9-8-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:11 AM
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I love gays.

Men gays.

Female gays scare me.

But if they dont scare me thats cooool


Spent 5 whole dayd up Gay Pride April just gone, I only went on for one night to see my gay cousin and his friends, of course, i got kidnapped, and had the wildest week of my life, had to actually buy clothes and stuff!! lol

Went out with him last week to, for 2 nights, abosultely loved the new friends he introduced me to.

The conversation always relates back to sex, every 5 minutes, without fail. Its hilarious.

I wasnt really educated on gay sex before Gay Pride, I mean i knew the basics, but what i learned that weekend made my jaw drop! aha.

They have soooo much more fun than us, put it that way.

Anyway, back on topic, Gays are awesome.

The one and only thing that niggles at me?

Gays and children..

Where on Earth do I stand on that issue morally!?!?

I dont think its natural for children to be raised by gays. Nature made it so a male and female raise children.
That said, nature gave us two sexes, and the gays go against that (NOT THROUGH CHOICE I KNOW).

So is nature just there to be disregarded?

I dunno.

I mean, I think when a childs say about 5, and they can understand, daddy loves daddy, they can say whether or not they want to be part of that, and if they an accept it.

By issue is, a child being raised from birth in a gay marriage, growing up, either hating it, or growing up very confused and thinking being gay is natural...

That sounds absurb, Im not sure how to explain my self lol...

But at the SAME time, if they are a loving couple and good parents, who can say what really?!?

I think the only way round my dilema, is concluding the child should make the choice when it confirms it understands...

Did any of that make any sense? lol

Sorry for any lesbians on here, I do love you all, but some scare me, for obvious reasone



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:17 AM
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reply to post by Sinny
 


male gays scare me but lesbians don't,actually went to a lesbian bar with nine of them last month.only bloke in the place,just the way Iike.Just pissed I never turned any of them!



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:20 AM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


I think the info relates to the effects of not being raised by a mother and father I.e. a normal married couple.the info shows it isn't good for a lot of kids so the op is pondering the long term effects on kids raised by gays.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:27 AM
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reply to post by glen200376
 

But he hasn't made any connection to gay parenting as such.
For example there's no comparison between straight single parents and gay stable unions or families.

It appears he sees all gay parents essentially as straight divorced and single parents.

edit on 9-8-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:27 AM
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I think (in a perfect world) as long as a couple can provide a loving, caring, healthy environment for a child to live in, then they should be able to raise a child who is lacking of these necessities, regardless of they're sexual preference.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:29 AM
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reply to post by glen200376
 


Yea, they dont scare you, cuz they're not after you! aha.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:31 AM
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reply to post by FailedProphet
 


Explanation: S&F!

I agree we should deeply discuss the issue of future children on this PRISON PLANET with limited resources.

Every extra child means less for me and everybody else ... and legally, OL don't get to decide who has kids and who doesn't.

Forget gay parenting issues... let me just focus on the parents enmass!!!

Parents are DIRECTLY responsible for that childs life from birth to death and NO I wont let anybody squirm out from such duties.

To even think that they can squirm shows how much of a cowards they are!

To enable a life, which by default is mortal, IS MURDER!

Contemplate that fact deeply!

Personal Disclosure: The Family unit is the most broken thing around ... with most rapes and violence happening INSIDE the home! Hetrosexual families are not a good standard to measure morality against.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by FailedProphet

I am not claiming that gays are unfit parents.

I am CERTAINLY not claiming that gays would be any more (or less) likely to abuse children than straights.

I am not claiming that growing up with 2 same-sex parents would be necessarily worse than growing up with a male and a female as parents


Good
I wouldn't claim that either.

So if you're not claiming that, you're just asking for evidence that gay parents can be just as good as the 'traditional family' correct?

Well. I can tell you I personally have two close friends who have same-sex parents. They are awesome friends. Their parents are awesome. They love their parents and the parents love them. Proof enough for me that it can happen!

But really this is just a silly concern to me. Personally... as I don't prescribe to the belief a child lacking a female or male parent is going to wreck them. Certainly hasn't for my two friends. Oh and fyi both these friends are in heterosexual relationships currently. So the gayness wasn't contagious


You know plenty of people can attest to the success of single fathers and single mothers too!
edit on 9-8-2012 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:45 AM
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reply to post by Sinny
 



I dont think its natural for children to be raised by gays. Nature made it so a male and female raise children.
That said, nature gave us two sexes, and the gays go against that (NOT THROUGH CHOICE I KNOW).

So is nature just there to be disregarded?


I have a hard time understanding this train of thought.

Why is 'unnatural' in this context equate to being bad?

The computer you're using is rather good and nature didn't spit it out naturally. We used advances in technology to make it. Our advance in technology and medicine allow homosexual couples to have children. I suppose that's 'unnatural' in this perception but it still doesn't explain why that is automatically wrong. I mean our entire civilization is built from the ground up from a collection of 'unnatural' things. Most of which you have no qualms with.
edit on 9-8-2012 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 05:59 AM
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reply to post by glen200376
 


No it would mean they would grow up in a 2 parent household, not the same as growing up in a single parent household as typified by absent father syndrome



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:09 AM
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I find this all such a contradiction.

On the one hand homosexuality is considered wrong by some because apparently gay people can't have kids.

When 10 million gay people in the US alone do raise their kids, then it's also wrong.
Then they're supposedly harming the kid in some way that hasn't been discovered yet - but I'm sure they'll find something.

Whatever gay people do or say will be wrong in any case.
If homophobes say it's unnatural and we show it in nature then they say we're "beastly".

If we don't have kids we're "sterile" and the royal road to extinction (as if homosexuality influences birth-rates more than condoms or abstinence).

If we raise kids then that's also wrong.

I mean why even bother?

I saw a Penn and Teller episode recently that compared "Family Values" and gay parents.
The child had no greater chance of becoming gay or lesbian, and the only difference was that the children of same-sex parents would experience homophobia.
But mixed-race children might experience racism.
We must fight the homophobia and racism.
edit on 9-8-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:10 AM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
Why do you cite a discussion on divorce, single mothers and other aspects of heterosexual parenting from an article that mentions nothing on gay parents?


Because its another example of mainstreaming a shift in the fundamental nature of the family that was debated and justified largely in terms of individual rights of adults without careful consideration of possible negative effects on kids.


How exactly does gay parenting disadvantage kids compared to straight parenting?

Perhaps it doesn't at all. But whenever you change the fundamental nature of something as basic as the family, you better make darn sure it doesn't. My point is not that it does or doesn't but rather that we don't know and not enough attention is being paid to the issue, which is more frequently debated in terms of gay rights.
edit on 8/9/2012 by FailedProphet because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:23 AM
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reply to post by FailedProphet
 

What is the fundamental nature of "the family" as you see it, and what are your sources of information on this?

How do you know that gay people cannot have a family - indeed a family with all the fundamental truths of what a family should be?

OK you say maybe this, maybe that, but you've connected gay marriage and raising children as problematic without a shred of evidence.

So a lot of emotions are raised - well done on that.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:33 AM
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reply to post by FailedProphet
 



My point is not that it does or doesn't but rather that we don't know and not enough attention is being paid to the issue


How much can we expect other than hearing stories like the ones I gave and some typical survey stats?

I think once you simply accept that gay people are normal human beings then it follows that some will be great parents and some won't be. Just like it is for heterosexual parents.
edit on 9-8-2012 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:53 AM
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reply to post by FailedProphet
 


S&F, for bringing up the topic, and refusing to take the usual flak. Interesting subject, and the example of single parent homes is a relevant one.

Perhaps we should start with real life cases of children in such homes. The one I can't help but recall involves an all-female couple, and a little boy they adopted. This story made the news because this child, while still not yet ten, and FAR form puberty and any normal curiosity about sexual issues, was supposedly claiming to want a sex change operation. The women claimed they did nothing to influence the child, but few people believed that claim. Still, with that sort of clear emotional abuse, the last I heard, no charges were filed against them. Somehow, that little boy became convinced that his own form was the "wrong one". I have NEVER heard of such a case from a traditional family.

I will also mention another case, where I personally knew the people. All-female couple, and the daughter of one of them, that told me, when she was older, that she never felt she had a choice to be other than they were, because of how she was raised. She was very unhappy about it, but didn't know what to do.

I have read about other cases where an adopted or fostered child was in the care of an all-male couple, and abused, even killed.

Yes, abuse and death can and do happen in other sorts of families as well, so we can't jump to conclusions, but we have to take a very close look and see, over a long period, if these sorts of things are rare deviations, or part of a pattern. Even simple confusion, as in the case with the person I knew, is a very real concern.

The real problem is that the politically correct crowd would not welcome such a study, of that study found any information that showed this to be a less than ideal model, as was the case with single parents. No, i am not dissing them, either - I was a single mom for awhile, and I know it isn't always something one chooses. i also know which of the five I have has had more issues. Yes, the one that I had while single (divorced). Very clear behavioral differences, and even effects on her future relationships. Children from broken homes tend to divorce more themselves.

So, do children from same-sex couples homes have similar issues? What sort of study would you recommend, that would be totally honest on the issue? Political agendas can get in the way in many cases, and cause results to be distorted.



posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 06:59 AM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
reply to post by glen200376
 

But he hasn't made any connection to gay parenting as such.
For example there's no comparison between straight single parents and gay stable unions or families.

It appears he sees all gay parents essentially as straight divorced and single parents.

edit on 9-8-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)


That isn't what he said at all. He said that studies have shown that children raised in a single parent home have issues that no one expected, when such homes became more common. In the same way, we do not know what to expect in homes with two parents of the same sex. Both cases are examples of something other than the historically traditional father and mother households. So, it's reasonable to ask if, since one does have ill effects, the other might not end up having them as well.


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posted on Aug, 9 2012 @ 07:03 AM
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When we have an in-depth discussion about "straight parenting" (as if all straight parents raise their kids with one mind) then I'll join this discussion. Until then, it's just a stupid hit piece, trying to demonize gay people, as if they have some ulterior motive in having families... Some people think they have the moral high ground when discussing gay people and I'm just sick of the hypocrisy. They aren't specimens in a petri dish for you to examine and judge. They are individuals, with all the same failings and perfect beauty as straight people.

I'm sick of the "supremacist" mindset that has infiltrated ATS, as regards people who are, in any way, different than the white, straight, Christian American. When I hear a tragic news story of someone going off the deep end in a hate crime, I wonder if I've ever had an exchange with them here... I'm sorry to say that, but with what I've seen here, day after day, I can't help it.

The elephant in the room is (IMO) the amount of hatred and condescension regarding gay people that I see on this site every day. I'm not sure I can continue to "condone" it by posting here. What we need in this world is LESS hatred and fear, and more love and acceptance. Critical thinking goes a long way toward that end, but threads like this display very little of that precious commodity.

Yeah. When we discuss "straight parents" and their abused, neglected children (straight parents kill their children, you know...) - and blame the situation on the parents being straight... or when we discuss "straight marriage" and the abuse that straight couples dole out on each other (men beat their wives because they're straight, you know), THEN I'll join this little gay bash.





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