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FIRST-PERSON: Same-sex unions raise parenting concerns

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP)–Do opposite-sex couples make better parents than same-sex couples?

Statistically, there’s no real proof one way or the other (same-sex parenting is still a pretty new phenomenon for society). But the highest court of one of our most influential states recently suggested that, from a common-sense point of view, mom and dad are a crucial combination when it comes to raising kids.

Those pressing the “same-sex marriage” agenda were banking on the New York Court of Appeals to set their position in stone by using the case of Hernandez v. Robles to declare such unions a “civil right.” Instead, this summer, the court pitched the responsibility for that decision to the New York legislature, with the candid assertion that entirely rational, unbigoted legislation, backed by “intuition,” “experience” and “common sense” could find “that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father.”

That one stung. A hefty portion of the homosexual political agenda is built on convincing Mr. and Mrs. Middle America that Mr. and Mr. X (or Ms. and Ms. Y), are just like our other married neighbors. Opposing their marriage is tantamount to blocking the course of true love, and Americans tend to believe that “love is God.”

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On that playing field, the pro-homosexuality contingent can count on steadily widening, if not deepening, support, as vast numbers of their fellow citizens bow to the highly romanticized sensibilities of … well, vast numbers of their fellow citizens. This is, after all, the land of the free-love and home of the brave new world, and no one wants to be the spoilsport who disrupts the “wedding.”

But what if the issue at stake in same-sex unions is not the wedded bliss of the spouses, but the future health of their kids? There’s the rub of the Hernandez decision, where the court called into question not the freedom of same-sex couples to rear children, but the government’s interest in promoting such unions, when there is serious cause to question the long-term impact of such family environments on the children involved.

This is still a country that cares about kids. So, politicos of the homosexual movement naturally bristle at the suggestion that a married mom and dad in a committed, caring relationship generally raise healthier, more emotionally stable children than those reared in the average same-sex parent home.

For now, the studies of same-sex parenting are few and incomplete — after all, this is still a relatively new phenomenon. But there’s plenty to confirm what we instinctively know — that the healthiest kids are the ones raised by their own mom and dad. Indeed, the burden is not on society to prove that same-sex parenting is inherently flawed, but on those practicing homosexual behavior to prove their family environments — which, by definition, remove one gender role model from the equation — are anywhere near as conducive to a child’s emotional health and well-being.

Of course, those promoting the redefinition of marriage claim to have studies that tilt the numbers their way; such is the nature of statistics, particularly when studies are undertaken by advocates to prove a political point. But in fact there is as yet no study anywhere comparing children raised from birth by two men or two women with those raised by their own biological parents.

What we do have is the clear, eloquent evidence of nature itself. If two dads were the ideal for raising a child … two dads would be able to produce a child. If two moms were the ideal … two moms would be able to impregnate each other.

Yes, heterosexual couples also adopt or artificially inseminate or use a surrogate parent. But those options are still, statistically, an aberration. It is the design of nature that children are entrusted to parents of opposite sexes. The mix has not only a decisive genetic impact on the child, but a profoundly psychological one, as well.

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The New York jurists were wise in affirming the social obligation of the state to facilitate that natural impact by sanctioning marriage. Meanwhile, with their fervent protests, those pushing the same-sex agenda are in fact arguing that the state’s first obligation is to endorse the romantic inclinations of its citizens, rather than protect the children of the future.

It’s not a distinction one would expect those committed to inherently self-destructive behavior to appreciate. But it is one that those who truly care about children — and indeed, the same-sex couples themselves — can applaud.
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Glen Lavy is senior vice president for marriage litigation for the Alliance Defense Fund.