Gender-neutral marriage and children
Gender-neutral marriage and children, ie how children's human rights are trampled on when they are denied the right to their biological parents - using as a reason human rights and equality of adults
This text discusses gender-neutral marriage and the influence of family structure on children. Those who support gender neutral-marriage and stand for sexual freedom in society, rarely look at things from the perspective of children. They do not take into account the impact adults’ choices and legislation have on children. These people only talk about equality, human rights and social inequality, but they often forget the rights of children. Children should have the right from birth to both of their biological parents. Ignoring this is going to be a problem. Fatherlessness and motherlessness have gained a normal status in society and is even pursued by some. Children are then expected to adapt to this new norm where they have been stripped from their basic rights and are even expected to be thankful for it.
It is also typical for people to shift this conversation from children to accusations that opposing gender-neutral marriage is homophobic and hateful towards homosexuals. People with such views think that they know the inner rationale and feelings of a person who disagrees with them. They do not realize that people can disagree on things purely based on facts without hating anyone. Supporters of gender-neutral marriage also neglect to consider that many homosexuals themselves oppose this view. They see how it offends children’s rights to have both parents. Atheist homosexual Bongibault has stated the following in an interview (Wendy Wright, French Homosexuals Join Demonstration Against Gay Marriage):
Before anything else, we must protect the child. In France the aim of marriage is not to protect love between two people. Marriage is especially designed to provide a family for a child. The most heavy research to date – indicates clearly that children, who grow up with homosexual parents, have struggles while growing up. (1)
Why do people support gender-nautral marriage? When determining people’s understanding of homosexuality – is it an innate quality, or is it influenced by certain underlying factors and how people react to them – usually, people are more inclined to believe the first alternative. Homosexuality is often regarded as an innate inclination.
Many representatives of the so-called homosexual Christian movement (In Finland, e.g., Yhteys [Unity]-movement and Tulkaa kaikki [All are welcome]-movement) also refer to the supposed inherent nature of homosexuality. The leader of Yhteys -movement, dean Liisa Tuovinen, brought up this shared view in a TV discussion in 2002:
Paul doesn’t understand the concept of homosexuality, which is an innate trait in humans, that it cannot be changed to something else. (2)
Since homosexuality is understood to be an inherent trait, it must be one of the major reasons behind the accepting attitudes towards gender-neutral marriage and homosexual lifestyle in society. People believe that if it is something innate, like skin color or left handedness, we should defend the lifestyle and people who have been born with such a trait. Are we wrong not to support people in their sexual choices?
But what is the truth about homosexuality? Many homosexuals themselves deny the innateness of their condition. Some may argue for its innateness, but many people admit that seduction from the same sex and certain circumstances have influenced their current inclinations. This was also the general understanding in psychology a few decades ago.
It seems that it might be something that is similar to bitterness, or the fact that criminals often come from similar backgrounds. No one can choose their environments growing up and what might be done to them, but we can choose whether we want to forgive, or stick with being a criminal or a homosexual. We might experience temptations towards certain things, but ultimately, we choose for ourselves how we want to live:
I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (3)
Ole does not believe, however, that there is some kind of a "homosexual gene". He believes that homosexual feelings stem from a more complex pool, and he mentions, for instance, that he knows many pairs of identical twins of which only one of the pair is homosexual.
Ole believes that many factors contributed to his behaviour, such as his complex and poor relationship with his father when he was a child.
Ole does not hold back when telling about his relationship with his father as a child. He felt that his father was never there and he feared his father. The father sometimes had a raging fit, and Ole felt a few times that his father intentionally humiliated him in public. Ole says bluntly that he hated his father. (4)
Harri is interested in the discussion about homosexuality in the media and studies about homosexuality. He is convinced that homosexuality has very little to do with congenital factors. He bases this view on, for instance, the fact that it is often easy to find out why people have homosexual inclinations. They have usually been subjected to sexual violence or have a difficult relationship with their parents or peers.
"This has convinced me that it is not first and foremost about genes. However, I don't think that it is impossible for some people to have some genes that make them more susceptible to homosexual inclinations," Harri says. (5)
Tepi believes that her homosexuality has been caused by some sort of an emotional vacuum she is trying to fill. Tepi says that she feared her father as a child and is still "kind of freaked out by men". Tepi says that she is looking for a mother in women. Even though Tepi wonders why she is a lesbian, she also says about being attracted to women: "It has been somehow so natural that I've sometimes wondered how this could be." On the other hand, she believes that there is some reason for this, too.
Tepi does not believe that homosexuality is caused by genes or that a person could be a gay or a lesbian since birth. She believes that a person grows into a gay or a lesbian, and this can happen also without any special incident. (6)
I have – and many other homosexuals – wondered what causes homosexuality. I think that the personality of a child is formed during his or her three first years, also in terms of sexuality. This is influenced both by the environment and human biology. I don't believe that homosexuality is hereditary. Many of my male relatives have trouble dealing with my being homosexual just because they are afraid that it runs in the family. (7)
Is homosexuality caused by genetics? As noted, the usual standard explanation for homosexuality now is that it is congenital and caused by genes or hormones excreted during pregnancy. People think that homosexuality is mainly caused by biological factors.
This explanation is not supported by studies done on twins, however. Identical twins have the same genes and were subjected to the same environment in the uterus, but still only one of the pair may be sexually attracted to people of the same sex. If homosexuality was caused by genes this should not be the case. The next quote is about an extensive study of this question done in Canada. There were around 20,000 subjects included in the study. The results suggest that genes and genotypes do not play a decisive role in the occurrence of homosexuality.
A study on twins in Canada showed that social factors are more important than genes (…)
The research results show that genes do not have any major significance. If one of a pair of identical twins was homosexual, there was a 6.7% probability that the other twin was also interested in people of the same sex. The percentage for non-identical twins was 7.2% and for regular siblings 5.5%. These results strongly disagree with the above-mentioned genetic model for homosexuality.
The environment in which twins grow inside the uterus of their mother is exactly the same for both twins in terms of hormones, and thus the results obtained by Bearman and Brucker disprove the theory that an imbalance in the hormones of the mother during pregnancy causes homosexuality.
(...) Previous twin studies had obtained their subjects at clinics or through homosexual organisations, or otherwise had a limited sample. Bearman and Brucker state that their study is the most reliable one because it was based on a random sampling from a youth study including the entire nation. There were around 20,000 test subjects! Furthermore, the researchers did not rely on what one of a pair of twins said about the twin's sexual orientation: Instead, they went to the other twin and asked them about it. (8)
Researchers of homosexuality do not generally believe in its inherent nature. A founding member of the Finnish Seta organization, Olli Stålström, brought up this issue in his thesis called Homoseksuaalisuuden sairausleima loppu [The end to stigmatizing homosexuality an illness] (1997). He stated that researchers of homosexuality have not for a long time supported the idea that one is born a homosexual. He referred to two scientific conferences with hundreds of researchers:
Two scientific conferences in December 1987 can be seen as a critical point in history … involving 100 homosexuality researchers from 22 different countries in 100 working groups… The conferences were also unanimous that it is not justified to substitute the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder with theories of innate nature. It was seen necessary to generally reject the essential view of homosexuality, according to which homosexuality possesses an essence independent from time and culture that has a certain causation. (p. 299-300)
Feral children. An indication of how much sexuality is connected to surroundings and environmental factors is abandoned young children raised by animals. They have zero sexual interests. This shows that human sexuality is also influenced by social factors. Biology is not the only determining factor. Researcher of developmental psychology and an assistant professor of psychology, Risto Vuorinen, tells in his book Minän synty ja kehitys [Birth and development of self] (1997) about these abandoned little children, so-called feral children, raised by animals. If sexuality were only determined by genes, there would not be such cases:
Asexuality of feral children is a crucial discovery. Despite their physical maturity, they do not show any sexual interest in that nature will not take its course in their case, so to say. There seems to be an early critical period for the development of sexuality.
Many proponents of gender-neutral marriage have themselves admitted directly that the innate-argument is not true or is not well-founded. One of them is John Corvino, who doesn't believe that homosexuality is innate feature. He has stated: "But a bad argument is a bad argument, no matter how pleasant - and true - conclusions might be drawn from it" (9)
Research shows that sexual identity can also change to some extent with age, but most often in the usual heterosexual direction. For some young people, their gender identity may still be unclear, but with age, most of them will find a normal heterosexual identity:
A large-scale American study published in 2007 on the sexual identity variability of 16- to 22-year-olds showed that homosexual or bisexual orientation is 25 times more likely to become heterosexual within a year than to the opposite direction. For most teenagers, homosexual feelings give way with age. About 70 percent of 17-year-old boys who unilaterally expressed homosexual interest indicated that they were unilaterally heterosexual at the age of 22 years. (Savin-Williams & Ream 2007: 385 p.) (10)
ARE THE TRADITIONAL LAWS OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATORY? One argument for gender-neutral marriage is the discriminatory nature of current laws concerning marriage. That is why supporters of gender-neutral marriage speak for equality, equivalence, and fight against discrimination in defense of their opinions. The media might also put forth beautifully coated messages about human rights and equality.
Everyone of legal age entitled to marriage and changing the concept of marriage. When people speak about discrimination in terms of traditional laws of marriage, it must be noted that everyone of legal age is entitled to marriage. There are no exceptions. Any adult man or woman can tie the knot with the opposite gender. Traditional laws of marriage are, therefore, already equal and non-discriminatory. Arguing anything else goes against the facts.
Whereas, extending marriage to same-gender-couples would eradicate the meaning of marriage. The word ‘marriage’ is associated with a new meaning different from its earlier form. We could equally be saying that, e.g., the normal employment relationship between the employee and employer is a new form of marriage, or that bicycles and airplanes are now cars, although that clearly is not the case. A word that for centuries in human history has been understood to relate to a relationship between a man and a woman, is now changing its meaning due to the concept of gender-neutral marriage. It transforms a practice that has been dominant in all prominent cultures for thousands of years.
Other forms of affection. Saying that gender-neutral marriage law removes inequality and discrimination is a poor argument, because there are other forms of relationships that exist. That is, if we associate homosexual relationship with marriage, how can we argue for leaving other kinds of relationships outside this legislation? Why should only the homosexual minority be included to the marriage law? According to the logic supporting homosexual marriage, other kinds of relationships, as listed below, should also be accepted in the marriage law. Excluding them would make us guilty of discrimination and inequality by this logic. This is where changing the meaning of marriage and the arguments of gender-neutral marriage supporters lead us:
• Relationship between mother and daughter, as they live in the same household
• Man, who lives with his dog
• Polygamous relationships
• Two students that live in the same dorm
• Incest relationships. Even supporters of homosexuality do not usually accept these kinds of relationships, because they consider them to be morally wrong. Those opposing gender-neutral marriage also see it this way. They consider it morally wrong.
Professor, Anto Leikola, wrote about this issue in Yliopisto [University] magazine (8 / 1996) with the title Olisiko rakkauskin rekisteröitävä? [Should love be registered as well?]. He noted that by the same logic it is incongruous to restrict the principles to only homosexuals. Why should we only include them inside the normal legislation of marriage, when there are many other kinds of relationships deviating from the norm?
What if there are two siblings that are extremely fond of each other, want to share a house and other possessions, and even adopt a child together? Why should the arrangements for them be any harder than for the homosexuals? Because the latter are in love, but the former – or otherwise friends – do not love each other? …In the end, registering a relationship is a social event …If we grant this kind of an opportunity to people of the same gender, I still do no understand, why it should only be restricted to homosexuals. Or do we assume that people with the same gender living together and caring for each other are homosexuals? Or do we think that homosexuality does not need to have anything to do with sexuality …If we accept registration of homosexual relationships, but not other relationships, we are stuck with nothings else than registering sexual orientation, which in my opinion is not the concern of society.
The majority of homosexuals are not after marriage. People also push the idea of gender-neutral marriage forward as fight against discrimination and inequality. It is thought that gender-neutral marriage allowing homosexual couples to get married would remove discrimination.
The reality is, however, that in countries where homosexual marriage has been legal for a long time, only a few have actually gotten married. In the Netherlands homosexual marriage has been legal for ten years, but only 20 % of homosexual couples tie the knot. Compared to the number of individuals, the amount is even smaller. According to some estimates, only 8 % of homosexuals will get married. Basically, these numbers show that only a minority of homosexuals are interested in marriage. Whereas, the majority have not wanted to experience (according to the ideology of gender-neutral marriage) equality and liberation from discrimination.
CONDITION OF CHILDREN. As stated, support for gender-neutral marriage has been argued from the perspective of equality and as a question of human rights. People explain that accepting it would remove injustice from legislation.
However, people have only considered this issue from the perspective of adults, completely ignoring children. It is true that gender-neutral marriage is a question of human rights, but contrary to what we are led to believe, it violates the human rights of children. That is, cases where homosexual couples tend to adopt children (it is possible, e.g., through sperm banks and surrogacy, or if the other of the homosexual pair has been in a temporal heterosexual affair), a child will be separated from their biological parents from birth purely because adults consider gender-neutral marriage to be their right. Therefore, gender-neutral marriage discriminates children at the expense of adults. The freedom of adults is placed before the basic rights of children.
There are situations, of course, where a child is forced to grow up without a father or mother, but it is different to purposefully making a child fatherless or motherless to satisfy adults’ desires. This is the case with gender-neutral marriages acquiring children.
In France many homosexuals themselves have taken a stand in the matter. They believe that the gender-neutral marriage law violates the rights of children to have both mother and father. That is why they oppose gender-neutral marriage:
Jean-Pierre Delaume-Myard: Am I a homosexual homophobe… I am against gender neutral marriage, because I defend a child’s right to have a father and a mother. (11)
Jean-Marc Veyron la Croix: Everyone has their limitations: the fact that I don't have a child and that I miss a child does not give me the right to take the love of a mother from a child. (12)
Hervé Jourdan: A child is a fruit of love and he or she must stay as the fruit of love. (13)
Childbearing. When dealing with heterosexual relationships, there is one notable difference in comparison to relationships between same sex couples: only a heterosexual couple can produce children, the latter cannot. That is also one of the major reasons why marriage between a man and a woman is the best option for children. It offers a child the opportunity from birth to grow up with their biological mother and father.
The issue with homosexual relationships is that if children are acquired through a temporary heterosexual affair or through artificial methods, such as surrogacy, and sperm banks, it will leave a child either motherless or fatherless. They are missing another of their biological parents in their home who could raise them. The child is forced to live without their other biological parent because of choices made by adults.
Those who have grown up in homosexual families, have criticized the practice of violating a child’s right to their biological mother and father by arguing for equality between adults. They are deprived from their right to one of their parents.
Jean-Dominique Bunel, who grew up with his lesbian mother and her female partner, tells how it affected him. He suffered from not having a father. He also says that if gender-neutral marriage would have been legal during his upbringing, he would have sued the government, because it would have enabled the violation of his rights as a child:
Not having a father left like amputation to me… I suffered from being fatherless, from the lack of his daily presence and not having an example of masculine character, which would have balanced my mother’s relationship with her lover. I was aware of this deprivation from early on. (14)
The comment below also addresses this issue. Absence of a father or a mother is the reason why children find growing up in a homosexual environment difficult. It is not a question of whether a singular homosexual parent is inadequate at parenting, but rather a matter of purposefully depriving a child from the presence of their other biological parent from birth:
Robert Oscar Lopez (2012) criticized homophobia rhetoric as prejudiced and close-minded, because it also stigmatizes people like him as homophobic who have been brought up by a lesbian couple, lived a majority of their lives in homosexual culture, but who also oppose gender-neutral marriage, since they believe it violates the rights of children to have a mother and a father. According to Lopez it is tiresome to be labeled a homophobe purely for telling how difficult it was for him to grow up without a father, as he grew up with his lesbian mother and her female partner. “Whether a homosexual couple attempts to replicate a heterosexual model of parenthood through surrogacy, artificial insemination, divorce, or adoption, they take many moral risks. Children who end up in the middle of these moral risks are well aware of the stressful and emotionally complex creation of life that alienates them from culturally traditional days with a mother and father, a role that their parent has in their life. You make the lives of such children immensely difficult by calling them ‘homophobes’ purely if they express the constant stress created by their parents – and admit to experiencing that stress. (Lopez 2013.) (15)
Acquiring children through artificial methods, such as through surrogacy and sperm banks, forces people to face numerous ethical issues. Surrogacy poses the problem of a mother having to give up her baby she has been pregnant with. That is what happens in surrogacy. Women are expected to suppress their feelings for their child for payment. They sell their right to their child that they may never see again. However, for many this might have been too heavy on their maternal instinct, which is what has led them to want to terminate the surrogacy contract. These women have understood that they love the child inside of them, which has made them change their minds.
Moreover, surrogacy is also problematic for children. That is, when a mother gives away her rights to her child, to the child it can feel like abandonment. A child might think why their mother sold them for money without any care. Alana Newman’s website, AnonymousUS.org, is an example of an Internet site that talks about the experiences and feelings of such children.
Frank Litgyoet, who is in a homosexual relationship, tells his honest account about a similar case. He tells about his adoptive children who missed having a mother. It was difficult and painful to for the children to understand why their mother had abandoned them in the first place:
The situation of a “motherless” child in an open adoption is not as simple as it may appear, because it involves the birthing mother, who comes into the child’s life and then leaves. And when she is not there physically – as we know based on many adopted children’s, now adults’, stories – she will be there in their dreams, imagination, longing, and in their worry. - - It is often a wonderful experience having a mother come into the lives of our children. It is much harder for the children when their mother leaves, not only because it is sad to say goodbye to someone you love, but also because it brings up a difficult and painful question; why did my mother leave me in the first place. (16)
What about the ethicalness of sperm banks and artificial insemination? These procedures are based on men who have voluntarily given their sperm for insemination, and it is unlikely these men have to go through such painful feelings involved in surrogacy.
However, the issue with artificial insemination is that they bring on the burned of fatherlessness onto children. Artificially conceived children might have a really tough time with the fact that their mother has purposefully created a situation where they cannot know or be in contact with their father. Tapio Puolimatka explains about the matter studied by Yale professor, Kyle Pruett, (Kyle Pruett: Fatherneed, New York, Broadway, 2000). It is difficult for children to live in a state of limbo of sorts without a relationship with their biological father:
Yale professor, Kyle Pruett, (2007) concludes on the basis of his research that artificially conceived children, and children who grew up without a father, have an insatiable “hunger for a permanent presence of a father”. His studies corroborates with research on divorce and single parenthood, which bring up the same need for a father. Pruett’s study also brings forth that children born as a result of artificial insemination who have no knowledge of their father, have deep and worrisome questions about their biological origin and family. These children do not know their father or his family, and hate living in a kind of limbo without a relationship to their biological father (Pruett 2000:204-208) (17)
Alana Newman elaborates further. She herself is a product of artificial insemination with an anonymous sperm donor. She is strongly against a practice that allows the deprivation of opportunity from children to form a relationship with their biological parents and grow up in their care. Due to her own experiences, she suffered from identity crisis as well as hate towards the other gender. In her written testimony to the Californian legislative convention she wrote:
I became to life from an unnamed donor’s sperm through artificial fertilization. Although my mother’s intend was good and she loved me very much, I am very much against this kind of practice. - - Even though it is benevolent to respect different families, this kind of respect sometimes goes directly against children’s rights: a child has the right to create a bond with his or her biological parents and to grow up in their care. A child has a right to not be sold or to not be an object of trading or that they will not be given away if that is not the utmost necessary thing to do. By definition every child of a single parent or same sex couple is denied a relationship with at least one of his or her biological parent and that is why it is a human rights violation…
… I suffer from mental stability weakening identity crisis, lack of confidence and anger towards the opposite gender, feelings of winding up as an object – as if I existed solely to be other people’s toy. I felt as if I was a scientific experiment. (18)
The importance of parents to children. TV shows and magazine articles often tell how children want to find that biological parent they have never met, and they have lost from their lives. They have a yearning to find their roots and meet that missing biological mother or father. This phenomenon has become more common these days, due to increased divorce rates, for example.
For a child it is extremely important that both biological parents are present and care for each other. We can also see this in countless of everyday instances. Children who have lost contact with their parent, e.g., because of alcohol, violence, or as a result of your average divorce, find themselves having such problems in life that few children in intact families will have. A small example from life points to this. It illustrates how fatherlessness, especially, not having a father in the home, is a problem of today:
When I was speaking at a certain men's camp in Hume Lake in California, I mentioned that the average father spends only three minutes of quality time with his child a day. After the meeting, one man questioned my information.
He scolded, "You preachers only say things. According to the latest research, the average father doesn't spend even three minutes daily with his children, but 35 seconds."
I believe him because he worked as a school inspector in central California. Actually, he gave me another startling statistic.
In a certain school district in California there were 483 students in special education. None of those students had a father at home.
In a certain area on the outskirts of Seattle, 61% of children live without a father.
The absence of a father is a curse nowadays. (19)
How is this related to our current topic? In short, the presence of both biological parents, their love for each other, and for their child are vital for the child’s well-being and development. There is ample research showing that it is best for children’s growth and development if they can grow up in the family of their biological parents with low levels of conflict. In comparison to children from divorced families, single parents, blended families, and open relationships, those circumstances seem to be worse for children. In homosexual relationships the problem is even bigger (if children are acquired through temporary heterosexual affairs or artificial methods), because in such cases the child is being separated from at least one parent at the beginning of their life. That cannot be good for the child, as discussed above.
These few comments demonstrate how important the presence of both biological parents is in the family. A person considering a divorce ought to think about the possible repercussions twice. No parent is perfect, of course, and sometimes living separately might even be the only option due to violence, e.g. However, it is best for a child that their parents can make up their differences and learn to accept each other:
David Poponoe, sociologist, the University of Rutgers: Social sciences research probably never achieves certain results. However, during my three-decade-lasting work as a social sciences researcher I have become familiar with only a few sets of facts, where the weight of the evidence is really crucially on the one side: all in all for a child it is best that he or she grows up in a family with two (biological) parents than with a single parent or with a blended family. (20)
Research clearly shows that the structure of the family matters for children and that they are best supported by a family structure, that has two biological parents in marriage leading the family, and that the parent’s level of conflict is low. Children in single parent families, children born to unmarried women, and children in blended or unmarried families have a greater risk at developing bad habits - - That is why it is important, for the child, to promote strong and stable marriages between biological parents. (21)
If we were asked to design a system to ensure all children’s basic needs are being taken care of, we would probably end up somewhere, what is similar to the ideal of having two parents. In theory, this kind of plan does not only ensure that the children get two adult’s time and resources, it also provides a controlling and balancing system, which promotes high-class parenthood. Both parent’s biological relationship with the child increases the probability that the parents are able to identify themselves with the child and are ready to make sacrifices for the child. It also decreases the probability of the parents exploiting the child. (22)
It has been cogently showcased that children do not flourish, despite good physical care if they are being held in impersonal institutions, and that separation from the mother – especially during certain periods – is very damaging to the child. Typical implications of institution care are mental retardation, indifference, regressing and even death, when a sufficient surrogate mother is not available. (23)
As noted, the significance of both parents in the lives of children has been proven to be vital. It is attested by practical experiences and ample research. A singular parent might be outstanding in their parental role, indeed, but that will not replace the other missing parent. According to research, those children who have grown up in broken families (single parent households, blended families…) tend to have more of the following problems. This is indicative of the importance of both biological parents’ loving presence:
• Level of education and graduation rate of schools are lower
• Fatherless boys are more likely to later be involved with violence and crime
• Emotional disorders, depression and suicide attempts are more common in children who do not have both parents in the home
• Drug and alcohol abuse are more common
• Teenage pregnancies and being a victim to sexual abuse are more common
Where do the children of homosexual families stand in this equation?
In short, they experience similar issues as other children who come from broken families. The following chart that is based on the research by Australian Sotirios Sarantakos (24), gives us an idea of the issue at hand. His 1996 research was the most extensive comparative study on children’s development up until the year 2000. The research took into account the parents’ own evaluations, education as well as the teachers’ evaluations of the children’s development:
Another similar study was conducted by Professor Mark Regnerus. It studied the effect of family structures on children. The study benefited from large random sampling (15 000 American teens). In addition, the sample was extended by inclusion of households where the other adult had at some point been involved in a homosexual relationship. The study was published in the top publication of sociology, Social Science Research. This study showed that children of homosexual couples have considerably more emotional and social problems than children who have grown up with both of their biological parents. Robert Oscar Lopez, who himself was brought up by his lesbian mother and her female partner, comments on the study by Regnerus:
The study by Regnerus identifies 248 such adult children whose parents had had a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex. When these adult children were given the chance to straightforwardly evaluate their childhood in retrospective from their adult perspective, they provided answers that did not go well with the equality claim typical for gender-neutral marriage agenda. However, these results are supported by an important aspect in life, specifically common sense: It is difficult to grow up different from others and these hardships increase the risk of children having difficulty adjusting and that they will start to self-medicate with alcohol and other dangerous habits. Each one of those 248 interviewee undoubtedly has their own personal story with varying complex factors. Like my story, the stories of every one of these 248 individuals are worth telling. The homosexual movement is doing everything in it power to ensuring these stories are never heard. (25)
The fact that children of homosexual couples have issues should not be a surprise. The same can be said to any children coming from broken homes. They have many more problems in their lives than children who have been privileged to grow up with an intact biological family. Moreover, homosexual culture is problematic for children due to the following reasons, for example. They increase instability in the lives of children:
• Homosexuals have more casual affairs. This is especially applicable to male homosexuals who according to a study (Mercer et al 2009) have five times more sexual affairs than heterosexual men.
• Short lasting relationships are typical for female homosexuals. The separation percent of women has been considerably higher than men couples. Furthermore, in comparison to heterosexual pairs, divorce percentages are notably higher. This also brings instability into children’s lives.
• When the couple turnover is high and at least one of the adults is not the child’s real parent, the risk of sexual abuse increases. The study by Regnerus revealed that 2 % from children who grew up with their biological mother and father told they had experienced inappropriate touching, whereas 23 % from children in lesbian households told the same. The phenomenon was rarer among homosexual couples than with lesbian couples.
• As we know, many activists of homosexual movements have opposed and discredited the kind of activity where people want to willingly free themselves from their homosexual lifestyle. Activists have attacked this kind of activity and claimed it to be detrimental.
However, the lifestyle of many homosexuals is, in fact, detrimental and risky due to tendency of having many sexual affairs. Men are, especially, at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and other diseases transmitted from person to person. For instance, AIDS is a big problem. This can shorten their life immensely, and also take away one parent from their child. This is also a destabilizing factor. The following quotation will elaborate further. It is a study led by Doctor Robert S. Hogg. His team collected information from homo -and bisexual men from Vancouver during from 1987 to 1992. The study centered around the effect of the contagion, not the tendency, on average life expectancy. Vaccination have luckily developed from our earlier years, but numerous sexual affairs still pose the danger of diseases spreading.
The likelihood of bi- and homosexual men to live from 20 to 65 years old varied between 32 and 59 percent. These numbers are significantly lower than with other men on average, whose likelihood of living from 20 to 65-year-old was 78 percent. The conclusion: In a large Canadian city the life expectancy of 20-year-old homo -and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than with other men. If the same trend in mortality rates continues, according to our estimates, nearly half of the now 20-year-old homo -and bisexual men will not reach their 65th birthday. Even according to the most liberal assumptions homo -and bisexual men in this urban center have the same life expectancy now as all men in Canada in 1871. (26)
HOW DO PEOPLE REACT TO THIS? As stated, a homosexual parent might do their best in the role of a parent and strive to be the best possible parent to their child. There is no denying that.
The reality is, however, that family structure matters. Numerous studies, real life examples, and common-sense show how it is best for a child to grow up with both of their biological parents in loving care. This is not always realized in every traditional family, because parents, like anyone else, are flawed, but generally it has been observed that children do better if both of their biological parents are present.
How do supporters of gender-neutral marriage react to this information, and what is their reaction if homosexuality is called into question? The following reactions are common:
Accusations of homophobia and hate speech are common. Many bring up this accusation, but do not take into consideration that disagreement on things does not mean one would hate the other person. People claiming this are unable to understand the inner rationale of another person, and thus cannot comprehend that people can love, or at least try to love, each other despite any overt disagreements. This is an important aspect to understand.
On the other hand, the most avid supporters of gender-neutral marriage slander and vilify anyone with a differing opinion. Although, they say they represent love, they do not act accordingly. If you are this kind of a slanderer, what is there for you to gain if you receive the approval of everyone for your lifestyle?
Accusations of blame. Earlier, we mentioned how family structure matters in the well-being of children. It is evident that teenage pregnancies, crime, substance abuse, and emotional disorders are far more common in families where the other biological parent is not present. This has an economic impact also, because societal costs go up. For instance, a study made in USA in 2008 showed that divorces and children born outside of marriage cost 112 billion dollars annually to the taxpayer (Girgis et al 2012:46). Similarly, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (a Finnish newspaper) reported on October 31, 2010, the following: Almost billion euro used in institutional care for children and youth, Problems with children experienced strong rise since early 1990s... The institutional care of one child can cost up to EUR 100,000 per year… In addition, Aamulehti (a Finnish newspaper) reported on March 3, 2013: Marginalized teen costs 1,8 million. Even one successful rehabilitation back into society is a huge plus.
What is people’s reaction to this information? Some might claim that it puts blame on single parents, homosexual parents, and divorced parents.
We do not need to look at this from such a perspective, however. Rather, we can think how we can fix the situation to make it better. If someone is planning on leaving their spouse and family, e.g., they should give it a second thought, since their decision could have long-lasting effects on their children and their children’s future. (Ii is generally only those children who have seen and experienced repeated violence in the home that might be relieved about a divorce.) Or, if a homosexual is planning on getting a child through artificial methods, they should think twice how the child might feel about living without their mother or father.
Knowledge about the significance of family structure to a child is like knowledge about the benefits of exercise and the dangers of cigarettes to health. We have this knowledge but not all react to it. Yet, if we take into consideration the information available to us all, it could better our physical health.
“Garbage research”. Even though common sense and real life experiences support the fact that it is better for children if they get to grow up with both of their biological parents, there are still some avid supporters of gender-neutral marriage who try to discredit the fact. They claim that the presence of a biological parent is not as important, and that some other adult could compensate the absence of a missing biological parent. Here, they refer to certain studies that bring up this view. At the same time, they explain that all previous information about the significance of family structure is “garbage research” and unscientific information. They want to disregard all previous research.
However, if we take a closer look at the studies referred to by supporters of gender-neutral marriage, we can see how they are more fitting of description of being unscientific. Here is why:
Small sample sizes, on average only 30 to 60 interviewed participants. Small sample sizes cannot statistically offer significant results. In order to make generalizations, one would need a much bigger sample size.
There are no control groups, or they consist of broken families. The problem in many studies is that they do not include control groups of couples of different genders. Or if there is a control group, it is often a single parent, blended family or a cohabiting family. You rarely see a control group consisting of married biological parents, which are known to be more favorable in terms of children’s healthy development. We have already seen that cjildren in broken families tend to have more problems.
From the 59 studies used by APA, 26 did not have a control group consisting of couples of different genders at all. 33 studies had such a control group, but in 13 studies the control group consisted of single parent families. In the remaining 20 studies it is unclear whether the control group consisted of single parent -, cohabiting -, blended -, or biological parent family. This deficiency alone makes any generalization problematic, because Brown (2004: 364) states in his study analyzing 35 938 American children and their parents that despite income resources of the parents, (12-17 year old) teens’ results are weaker in families of cohabiting parents than with families of two married biological parents. (27)
No random sampling and information about the significance of the interview. When the samples are small, there is a risk that many of them are not based on random sampling, as the interviewees might be recruited from activist forums. The interviewees might be aware of the political significance of the research and therefore provide “suitable” answers. And who would want to talk about their children’s poor well-being anyway, or children might not want to give a poor image of their parent whose approval they want.
In this sense, several studies in this field are reminiscent of studies compiled by Alfred Kinsey decades ago. Those studies were not based on random sampling, as a significant part of Kinsey’s result came from sex offenders, rapists, procurers, pedophiles, customers of gay bars, and from other sexually deviant individuals. The results of Kinsey were claimed to represent the average American, but later studies have yielded entirely different results and refuted the information provided by Kinsey. Dr. Judith Reisman has written in her powerful book “Kinsey: Crimes & consequences” (1998) about this topic.
Tendentious? When abortion was legalized, people used to claim before it that there was a high number of illegal abortions being performed. For instance, it was claimed that 30 000 illegal abortions took place in Finland, although after the amendment the numbers set at around 10 000 only. Why the large discrepancy? Some abortion advocates have later openly revealed that they exaggerated the numbers, in order to influence the legislators and the public opinion.
There is reason to doubt whether similar tendentiousness is a part of numerous researches related to gender-neutral marriage. Some have admitted the presence of such goals. Researchers have overlooked clear differences, because they wanted to prove that family structure does not affect children’s development. The following comment refers to this:
Stacey ja Biblarz (2001: 162) admit that because researchers want to prove that homosexual parenthood is as beneficial to children as heterosexual parenthood, researchers treat the differences between these family forms with caution. In other words, although the researchers actually found differences in the parenting of adults living in different forms of partnership, they ignored them, underestimated their importance, or did not conduct further research on the differences. The sexual orientation of parents actually impacted the children more than what the researchers brought up (Stacey & Biblarz 2001: 167). (28)
We also know that the majority of research is conducted by a few researchers. At times, they have collaborated. Furthermore, some of them have a homosexual background or actively support gender-neutral marriage. This is a poor basis for unbiased research.
The impact of individual researcher’s perspective is highlighted, because a few researchers has done the majority of the 60 studies in question. Charlotte J. Patterson is one person behind twelve of said 60 studies, Henry Bos in nine, Nanette Gartrell in seven, Judith Stacey and Abbie Goldberg in four, and a few others have contributed to three other studies. They have often collaborated in these studies. This decreases the amount of independent studies and increases the amount of researcher bias. This explains why the same claims keep repeating in numerous different studies.
Charlotte Patterson works as a psychology professor in Virginia university. In addition to her extensive research, she also has personal experiences of the practicalities in bringing up children in a family with same gendered parents: she has raised three children during her 30-year marriage to Deborah Cohn. Nanette Gartrell has together with her partner, Dee Mosbacher, actively supported homosexual rights and has been the main researcher in several research projects funded by notable homosexual organizations US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS). Henry Bos works as a pedagogy professor in a university in Amsterdam, and has been a part of the NLLES’s research project with Nanette Gartrell. Abbie Goldberg works as a psychology professor in Clark university in Worcester, Massachusetts. She states that she has felt problematic from the beginning of her research career that “societal procedures and the media reflect the so-called norm, which is no longer as dominant (i.e. the heterosexual nuclear family structure)”. Judith Stacey has in many of her expert opinions defended gender-neutral marriage, although she considers the rebuttal of the whole institute of marriage to be the best option. In her opinion the institute of marriage itself increases inequality. (29)
Love. When the Nazis used to support euthanasia, it was justified by compassion. It was explained how all human lives are not worth living, and that is why, e.g., propaganda films were made to defend this opinion. Horrible things were done in the name of compassion that ultimately led to heinous consequences.
Many things these days are justified with love. It is not wrong, of course, to support love, but it is often a mask hiding selfishness, especially selfishness of adults towards children. Many new trends in society have something to do with children. Children are left to bare the consequences of adults’ choices. Sexual revolution, abortion, and gender-neutral marriage are just three examples of this:
• The idea behind sexual revolution was to bring acceptance to sexual intercourse without the commitment of marriage. It was justified by saying that “there can’t be anything wrong with it if both parties love each other”.
What has been, and what is, the consequence if a child is brought up into a situation where the parents are not committed to each other?
The most fortunate turnout would be that the parents would decide to commit to each other, and the child is brought into a home with both parents.
The reality is often quite different, however. The parents might decide to go through with abortion, or they decide to break up and the child will have to grow up with a single mother (or a single father). Therefore, sexual revolution justified with love might not be the best option for children.
• Abortion came after sexual revolution. People supporting this cannot to this day give a reason why a child in the mother’s womb, with the same body parts (eyes, nose, mouth, feet, hands) as a newborn baby or a ten year old have, is less of a human. The sheer reason should not be that he or she is still in the womb.
• Gender-neutral marriage – the topic of this text – can also be problematic for children. That is, if children in such marriages are acquired through artificial methods or through temporary heterosexual affairs, it leaves a child in a situation where they do not have one of their biological parents in the home.
1. Wendy Wright: French Homosexuals Join Demonstration Against Gay Marriage, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, January 18, 2013
2. Liisa Tuovinen, ”Synti vai siunaus?” Inhimillinen tekijä. TV2, 2.11.2004, klo 22.05.
3. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 132
4. Espen Ottosen: Minun homoseksuaalit ystäväni (”Mine homofile venner”), p. 104
5. Espen Ottosen: Minun homoseksuaalit ystäväni (”Mine homofile venner”), p. 131
6. Lesboidentiteetti ja kristillisyys, p. 87, Seta julkaisut
7. Sinikka Pellinen: Homoseksuaalinen identiteetti ja kristillinen usko, p. 77, Teron kertomus
8. Ari Puonti: Suhteesta siunaukseen, p. 76,77
9. John Corvino: Mitä väärää on homoseksualisuudessa?, p. 161
10. Tapio Puolimatka: Seksuaalivallankumous, perheen ja kulttuurin romahdus, p. 172
11. Jean-Pierre Delaume-Myard: Homosexuel contre le marriage pour tous (2013), Deboiris, p. 94
12. Jean-Pierre Delaume-Myard: Homosexuel contre le marriage pour tous (2013), Deboiris, p. 210
13. Jean-Pierre Delaume-Myard: Homosexuel contre le marriage pour tous (2013), Deboiris, p. 212
14. Jean-Marc Guénois: “J’ai été élevé par deux femmes”, Le Figaro 1.10.2013
15. Tapio Puolimatka: Lapsen ihmisoikeus, oikeus isään ja äitiin, p. 28,29
16. Frank Litgvoet: “The Misnomer of Motherless Parenting”, New York Times 07/2013
17. Tapio Puolimatka: Lapsen ihmisoikeus, oikeus isään ja äitiin, p. 43,44
18. Alana Newman: Testimony of Alana S. Newman. Opposition to AB460. To the California Assembly Committee on Health, April 30, 2013.
19. Edwin Louis Cole: Miehuuden haaste, p. 104
20. David Popenoe (1996): Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society. New York: Free Press.
21. Kristin Anderson Moore & Susan M. Jekielek & Carol Emig:” Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children and What Can We do About it”, Child Trends Research Brief, Child Trends, June 2002, http:www. childrentrends.org&/files/marriagerb602.pdf.)
22. Sara McLanahan & Gary Sandefur: Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, p. 38
23. Margaret Mead: Some Theoretical Considerations on the Problem of Mother-Child Separation, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 24, 1954, p. 474
24. Sotirios Sarantakos: Children in Three Contexts: Family, Education and Social Development, Children Australia 21, 23-31, (1996)
25. Robert Oscar Lopez: Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Cgildren’s View, The Public Discourse, Augustth, 2012
26. International Journal of Epidemiology Modelling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual men; International Journal of Epidemiology; Vol. 26, No 3, p. 657
27. Tapio Puolimatka: Lapsen ihmisoikeus, oikeus isään ja äitiin, p. 166
28. Tapio Puolimatka: Lapsen ihmisoikeus, oikeus isään ja äitiin, p. 176
29. Tapio Puolimatka: Lapsen ihmisoikeus, oikeus isään ja äitiin, p. 178,179
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