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“If you don’t like gay marriage, blame straight people. They’re the ones who keep having gay babies.”
On July 24, 2011 New York will join five other states and the District of Columbia in the legal recognition of gay marriage. These U.S. jurisdictions along with ten foreign countries represent the vast minority of political entities capable of approving such unions. Indeed the U.S. alone has twenty-nine states with constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage and an additional twelve states have laws with similar prohibitions. Whether homosexual marriage is addressed through serious debate or through billboard quips like that above, such a divisive issue has infiltrated various factions of modern American society and has become a “hot-button” issue dividing political parties, religious institutions and communities. The implications of approving homosexual marriage are moral, economic and social. As a social implication, the approval of homosexual marriage is related to the normalization of homosexual child rearing. As gay couples do not reproduce, the option for those who desire children is to adopt. To some, the psychological
compared to children in any other family form. have better access to health care. In a recent Senate debate regarding the repeal of the U. do better in school. Tom Minnery. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Senator Al Franken confronted a representative from the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family. emotional and sexual abuse and almost never live in poverty. In citing a study by the U.S. Minnery’s gross misrepresentation of the study’s findings and blatant disregard for appropriately defined terminology. which it defines as one or more children living with two parents who are married to each other and who are the biological or adoptive . Department of Health and Human Services from December 2010. As Sen.” Such bold claims are based on Mr. were protected from physical. namely.S.implications of being raised by a homosexual couple are detrimental while to others the parents’ sexual orientation has no psychological effects on the child at all. The following represents my comparison of these perspectives and synthesis of unbiased research supporting this second position. that children experience no negative psychological effects when raised by a gay or lesbian couple. Minnery wrote “Children living […] with their own biological and/or adoptive mothers and fathers are generally healthier and happier. less likely to suffer mild to severe emotional problems. Mr. Franken reveals. the study attributes these positive outcomes to children living in nuclear families.
the fact remains that this report represents one of many research-based publications eschewing any negative consequences of homosexuality on one’s self or children. several specific questions merit consideration: Does adoption by a homosexual couple impede a child’s ability to form normative social relationships? Are there negative effects experienced in a child’s emotional and personal development as a result of gay adoption? What is known about a child’s own formation of gender identity when raised by gay or lesbian parents? In a comparison of children of heterosexual and homosexual couples. When surveying a host of personality . 2009. the National Association of Social Workers. No reference is made to the sexual orientation of the parents (Grenoble. Indeed the American Psychological Association. While studies like this can be easily manipulated to appeal to certain ideologies. Tasker & Golombok. When considering the effects of adoption by gay couples. self-report research indicates that children with gay parents develop normal social interaction with their family members. 1997). peers and adults outside the nuclear family and that this observation is corroborated by outside observers (Patterson. and the Southern Poverty Law Center are among the more prominent institutions having issued statements denouncing intrinsic negative effects of a homosexual orientation.parents of all the children in the family. 7/21/2011). the American Psychiatric Association.
victimization and substance abuse. whether with heterosexual or homosexual parents.issues. respectively. 1997. Bailey et al. When considering emotional problems such as anxiety. In these crucial areas of development no observable differences are noted in children raised within a nuclear family. Farr and Forssell. there is a similar lack of correlation involving the parents’ sexual orientation. 2009).. moral judgment. Use of a parental survey designed to indicate a child’s preference for gendered toys and games found no differences in the understanding and application of gender roles of children adopted by gay couples and those of heterosexual couples (Patterson. no significant differences exist between children of straight and gay couples (Stacey & Biblarz. 1995). found that the vast majority of these children identify as heterosexual (Tasker & Golombok. but rather their willingness to support and encourage their children and raise them in a loving environment. including self-identity. depression. Comparison of studies regarding the sexual identities of children of lesbian and gay couples. self-esteem and intelligence. Perhaps most surprising is the data regarding children’s sexual self-identity and understanding of normative gender roles. 2001). . Such data support the claims by the Department of Health and Human Services that it is not the sexual orientation of the parents that matter.
” He continues by referencing Robert Lerner who claims that studies like those cited earlier are “riddled with flaws” including lack of controls and insufficient and unrepresentative samples (Lerner). sexual-identity confusion. Again.” Ms. Even claims not influenced by religious affiliation fail to appropriately integrate research like that referenced earlier. this is not because gays and lesbians are naturally bad parents. It is due to the fact that children are unlikely to adjust as well to being raised by same-sex couples as opposed to heterosexual ones. He also compares the effects of gay adoption to those of divorced families and cites Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s book “The Divorce Culture.” author David Hogberg says. This is evidenced in the refutation of the Big Bang Theory and evolution by natural selection. “There is the very real possibility that children [adopted by gay couples] will develop emotional problems. and is also observable in the treatment of issues regarding homosexuality.Claims contrary to this evidence are often rooted in deeply entrenched religious ideology and can be made evident through inflammatory and discriminatory propaganda. and depression. In his conservative blog “The American Spectator. Whitehead claims that as America liberalized its divorce laws in the . When one’s religious convictions form a part of the equation in developing opinions on controversial issues. it is often the scientifically derived research that is ignored.
the “evidence” acquired by such vocal opponents is often sufficient to influence the voting power of their listeners and readers. our society should be. While these statistics may be true.1960s the resulting rise in divorce had traumatic effects on children’s ability to form attachments. Whether being made by religiously passionate or logically unsound individuals. There have been. at the very least. resulted in economic insecurity. “Given what we know about the results of one major change in family structure. attempts by researchers to provide legitimate data claiming negative psychological effects of homosexuality. Hogberg makes is that a fundamental restructuring of the family such as gay adoption will have as dramatic negative effects as divorce. reluctant to tolerate another one” (Hogberg. 7/2/2003). who interestingly has ties to Focus on Family. the fact remains that opponents to homosexual adoption fall short in providing empirical support for their claims. however. and increased behavioral and learning disabilities. One can deduce from his words that preference should be given to an unstable heterosexual couple raising children over a loving and supportive homosexual couple raising adopted children. including gay adoption. the claim the Mr. Most famously Paul Cameron. In his own words. has attempted to legitimize his claims that are openly derived from personal . Unfortunately for those who would wish to see legislation that prohibits gay adoption overturned.
are the various flaws present in his methodology.convictions.” With such clearly stated goals. and Cameron’s publicized bias of his research goals prior to completion of all interviews. What often goes unnoticed. where children are nurtured and protected. and where homosexuality is not taught and accepted. adoption. It thus seems that even when . including marriage. health tendencies. Gregory Herek is a prominent opponent to Cameron’s findings and lists the following among his perceived faults: a mischaracterized sample from only seven cities cannot be used to derive national trend data. use of biased interview procedures. Psychologist Dr. along with other correlational research regarding homosexuality. child abuse and violent crime are often cited by opponents of issues involving homosexuality. it is difficult to trust the unbiased nature of claims promoted by an organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. however. and anti-discrimination legislation. Dr. Cameron proceeded to found the Family Research Institute which to this day conducts studies with the express goal of "restoring a world where marriage is upheld and honored. and psychological conditions of around 4300 people in 1983 (ISIS). With the information derived from his arguably tainted study. These data. His analysis of demographic information and use of interview research resulted in comprehensive data regarding the sexual practices. but instead is discouraged and rejected at every level.
As the issues involving homosexuality continue to receive . 6/25/2011). For others. Whether gay or straight. but rather from your ability and sensitivity in interacting with your baby. gay marriage and adoption rights seek to “cast gay men and lesbians in the most benign. Whatever the stance. deep-seated religious convictions prevent or discourage the individual from considering homosexual activity (including child rearing) as an acceptable alternative to heterosexuality. As Frank Bruni of the New York Times writes. The issue of homosexuality is highly fragmented in its aspects and implications. conservative light imaginable. both of these positions fail to look past the limitations of their ideology or logic in an attempt to find broad applications for the entire population. For some. such research is corrupt before it has even commenced. a claim that cannot be made for Paul Cameron’s studies. seemingly logical conclusions drawn by comparing other social phenomena like divorce with homosexual adoption have influenced their conclusions.attempts have been made to prove the psychological detriment caused by gay adoptions. Such applications have indeed been provided by psychologists engaging in thoughtful and unbiased research that is peer-reviewed and published for society at large. not as enemies of tradition but as aspirants to it” (Bruni. the fact is that your ability to raise a child is not drawn from who you are attracted to.
Works Cited . Bruni and myself will one day avoid the discrimination experienced in various facets of our lives.media and legislative attention in this country. including our desire to adopt and raise children. it is my hope that homosexuals like Mr.
July 2). J. Bruni.html? _r=2&ref=samesexmarriage Grenoble. 2011.Bailey. 2011. (2001).. R. Al Franken Grills Focus On The Family's Tom Minnery Over Questionable DOMA Research. from http://www. S. from http://www. D. July 21). Wolfe. R.com/2011/06/26/opinion/sunday/26bruni. In Huffington Post.ucdavis. Developmental Psychology. 31. Retrieved July 21. Retrieved July 19. & Nagai. Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers. from http://psychology. (2011. 2011. from http://spectator. In Beyond Homophobia. No Basis: What the Studies Don't . G. Sen.nytimes.org/archives/2003/07/02/no-to-gay-adoption# Lerner. (2011. & Mikach.. In The New York Times Sunday Review. To Know Us Is to Let Us Love. M. D.html Herek. F. Retrieved July 19. (2007. 124–129. (2003. 2011. June 25). M.html #Error6/ Hogberg.. K.com/2011/07/21/sen-al-franken-focus-onthe-family-doma_n_906187.edu/rainbow/html/facts_cameron_survey. The Cameron Group's Survey Studies: A Methodological Critique.huffingtonpost. Retrieved July 21. (1995). No To Gay Adoption. A. Bobrow. September 6).. In The American Spectator.
(2001). T. law. November). Patterson. C. (1997). L. R. American Psychologist. (2009. Denver. 65. Children of lesbian and gay parents: Psychology. April). parenting. Farr. .Tell Us About Same Sex Parenting. & Golombok. H. J. New York: Guilford Press... S. Sexual orientation. C. & Biblarz. 64. & Forssell. S.. (How) Does sexual orientation of parents matter? American Sociological Review. Patterson. Growing up in a lesbian family: Effects on child development. L. J.. Colorado. J. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. (2009. 159–183. Stacey. F. Tasker. J. and policy. 727736. and child development in adoptive families.