Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
MARRIAGE IS ABOUT CHILDREN
The Federal Marriage Amendment is dead in the water. HR3313, in all probability, will fare no better in the Senate than the FMA did. Republicans, feeling the heat from constituents, are beginning to back away from their “gays are an abomination to God” stance and they are trying to take a different tact to convince middle class America that the values of the religious right are superior. They’re covering themselves with the flag of “family.”
Hear the words of PA Senator Rick Santorum: “There is an ocean of empirical data showing that the union between a man and a woman has unique benefits for children and society. Moreover, traditional family breakdown is the single biggest social problem in America today. In study after study, family breakdown is linked to an increase in violent crime, youth crime, teen pregnancy, welfare dependency and child poverty.”
They point to the Netherlands, where cases of out-of-wedlock childbirth have soared since the country has allowed gay marriage. They fail to mention that the main reasons for this that have nothing to do with lesbians and gays marrying. They also fail to mention that Canada, whose four most populated provinces have embraced gay marriages, have NOT had any such decline. Neither has the state of Vermont, which has allowed civil unions for the past for years.
“The children” are always brought up when speaking of gay families. Either it’s the fact that gays, like many heterosexual families, can’t have children, or it’s about what happens when children are raised with lesbian or gay parents.
The first point is ridiculous. Marriage has nothing to do with procreation. Each year, thousands of heterosexuals get married that will never have children. Also, many gays and lesbians start families each year through adoption, in-vitro fertilization, or by partnering with someone that has children from a previous marriage.
The second point is a three-fold argument. Either they quote Christian child therapists who support the claim that children do better when they have a mother and a father (Note they don’t signal out gays in this argument, but simply anything other than the traditional family.), or they speak of their fears that the children will be “recruited” to the gay lifestyle, which is as ridiculous as saying traditional marriage is doomed if gays are allowed to get married. Finally, they say children of gay parents are open to the ridicule of their peers, hence they will be depressed and stunted in their emotional growth. Let’s look at each of these arguments at length.
The first argument is self-serving. It would be like me quoting a gay or lesbian child therapist to prove that gay families fare well. In reality, there are now thousands of independent studies which show that children reared by two gay partners fare no worse in life than children of heterosexual parents. The American Psychological Association reports that, “not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests home environments provided by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth.”
The second argument is just plain silly and is based on fear and old wives tales. It can only be supported by claiming children have a choice in being heterosexual or homosexual, which they do not. Sexuality is decided at birth. People can not change their sexuality, no matter how much religionists wish that to be the case. Also, who in their right mind would raise their children to embrace the problems inherent with being homosexual? We know what it’s like and we certainly wouldn’t wish it on our children.
Which brings us to the third argument - that our children will suffer emotionally because of abuse from their peers because they have gay parents. “There's this belief that gay people are drag queens and transvestites or that gay guys want to be women or that they hate women,” Brandon Spirk, son with a gay father, says with a rueful laugh. “It's a real lack of understanding.”
The truth is, kids of gay parents are attacked by their peers, just as teens that have come out of the closet to their friends open themselves to attack. Think about the cause of it. When children go to church and hear their ministers and their parents refer to gays as an abomination, as evil, as perverted – how can we expect those kids NOT to go to school and attack gay kids and the children of gay parents in a like manner. If you think it isn’t going to happen, you’re naive. If you’re proud because your kids do this, you’re sick.
My parents are heterosexuals. My mother left home about a month after I was born, never to be seen again. My older sister’s mother did hang around for a couple years, but she soon left as well. My younger sister’s mother did the same. My father is a long haul trucker, so he was gone most of the time. My younger sister and I were raised mostly by my older sister. Life was hard, sure. But what advantage did I have in having both a mother and father? Many children of heterosexual marriages ask the same question.
The truth is - families come in many different forms. One kind of family should not be set up as superior to another. It’s a lie and it’s shameful for politicians like Rick Santorum to make such claims. All families need help from time to time. Our government (national, state, or local) shouldn’t be involved in the business of discriminating against families parented by any sexual persuasion. It’s un-American. As a nation, we need to stop it and stop it now.
©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre
Should I be put in prison for having been married - maybe under false pretences?