You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion. Part 4- Biology Matters

Part 1– Alternative families are on the rise- and it’s not going well…

Part 2– Kids need more than just two committed parents, gender is relevant.

Part 3– Dad and Mom are needed to develop a healthy gender identity.

Part 4- Biology Matters.

Conclusion– Opposite-sex parenting is ideal.

I do not need the bible to make a case for traditional marriage. That Christianity endorses one man/one woman marriage, and it is a statistical reality that the traditional family structure is ideal for childrearing, simply reinforces my confidence in the Christian worldview.

I am a fervent believer in adoption. I think that every Christian should find a way to support adoption- either by means of themselves adopting or by throwing money at someone who is. But I am not blind to the unique risks and hurt that flow from the abandonment, orphaning and/or relinquishment of a child from his/her biological parents. Within our state’s foster care system, every child is considered “special needs”- even the ones who are placed with their adoptive parents at the hospital within a day of their birth. Why? Social workers have determined that even a disruption of one day is a significant loss for a child. At some point in his life, our son is going to have to wrestle through the pain, anger and questions about why his biological parents abandoned him. For some adopted children, that disruption and the ensuing transition(s) leaves a long-term, sometimes life-long wound. Adoption is beautiful, but it is born out of brokenness. Adoption is the best remedy for an awful situation.

It is widely accepted that children do best when raised within a marriage with their biological parent. When the concept of marriage deviates from one man and one woman, by definition someone other than the biological parent will be involved.  Sometimes a blended family is unavoidable and two people make the best out of a difficult situation.  But I guarantee that getting to that place will involve loss for both the children and the parents.

One of the primary functions of marriage is to connect children to parents.  Every child is entitled to be known by, and have a relationship with, both of her biological parents.  We do children a disservice if we tell the child longing for a relationship with her biological father that her loss is not real. (Case in point- most states have laws that facilitate an adopted child’s search for their birth parents.)  Adult society must protect the child’s right to affiliate with both parents because children cannot do this on their own.  Without man/woman marriage, how will we as a society recognize and protect the child’s rights to know and be known by her biological parents?  And if another way to distinguish the unique position that biological parents occupy within a child’s heart is found, wouldn’t it just be an affirmation that something vital has been broken?

If love between adults was the only important factor in child rearing, then step-parents would be interchangeable with biological parents.  While there are situations where the blended family improves a child’s situation, this is generally not the case.  Research shows that stepfathers spend less time with their spouse’s children than do biological fathers.  On average, remarried mothers spend less time with their own children (often because step fathers and children compete for mom’s attention.)  In a home with both biological parents, the father loving the children is usually viewed by mom as an act of love toward her and vice-versa.

Some object that not every marriage produces children and therefore children are not a significant component of marriage.  This is indicative of the myopic view that marriage is an adult-centered institution.  Flip this around- not every marriage produces children, but every child had a father and a mother.  Our definition of the family unit should reflect this biological reality and developmental necessity.

For those tempted to deny that there is loss for a child when being raised by someone other than their biological parents, I would encourage you to review the study “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” which surveyed 485 donor offspring and concluded they were more troubled and depression-prone than other young adults in comparison groups. http://www.familyscholars.org/assets/Donor_summ_findings.pdf  Also, examine the National Family Structure Study described in the “Conclusion” post. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610

Divorce, single parenting, blended families, sperm donation, child abandonment- all have a significant impact on the access that children have to their biological parents.  Same-sex parenting also impedes a child’s right to be in relationship with one or both of her parents.  It is a family structure that, when it comes to children, can never be “in-tact.”  It will always begin with brokenness for the child- in that they will have lost a biological connection with one or both parents, and will miss out on the benefit of having the long-term involvement of both genders

Fragmentation within families is a reality of this world.  It’s one thing to recognize the brokenness and strive to strengthen the parents and children living in those situations.  It’s another thing completely to call “whole” that which is incomplete.

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13 thoughts on “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion. Part 4- Biology Matters

  1. Commenting only on the “most states have an intermediary system”. 11 States have a passive mutual consent registry that is not publicized. The flaws in that over an above the lack of public knowledge include death of mother, change of place of birth at adoption (NJ still allows that practice), mothers not told the correct sex, told child had died etc.

    Other states have intermediary services but out of those many only offer limited services and ALL are costly and very, very slow.

    Some states have tiered access to your original birth certificate depending on the year you were born, some include veto’s, of which some states include renewable veto systems.

    Some states have open access to adults of their original birth certificates – two never sealed them (Alaska and Kansa), others have contact preference, others have veto systems. Some have different ages when the adult adoptee is deemed “old enough” to get their OBC – RI is 25 and Oregon is 21 for example. (why when you can vote or go to war at 18?).

    Untill all adult adoptees born in the US are allowed to access their original birth certificate it is NOT good enough.

    The lack of access to your original birth certificate also creates complications for some adult adoptees when applying for first time passports post 9/11 – amended birth certificates dated more than a year after birth are not sufficient proof of citizenship and when all your supporting documents are under seal you can’t provide it. Some have given up – others have had to jump through multiple hoops, some having to get ahold of senators etc.

    No parent is guaranteed confidentiality under adoption law, and even though the adoption records are sealed the original intent was to seal them from public scrutiny (you could go and read other peoples court records) because our illegitimate status was marked on the OBC. Having said that there still is the problem of confidentiality because the court has always had the ability to unseal the adoption records and birth certificate. (mine was). None of the opponents (NCFA and some adoption agencies) of adoptee rights to their original birth certificates have been able to produce any signed promise to a mother that she was guaranteed confidentiality.

    To fully understand you can go to the adoptee rights page that a listing of what each state laws are.

    http://www.adopteerightscoalition.com/2012/08/obc-access-adoption-infograph-chart.html

  2. I agree with this so strongly, as a parent to children by birth and by adoption. What frustrates me is that people seem to see nothing wrong with creating a child through sperm donation, egg donation, etc., knowing full well that the child will not be raised by (or even have any sort of relationship with) his/her biological parent(s). Heck, it’s even celebrated when it’s somebody famous becoming a parent in this way. A friend recently posted on Facebook a picture of Neil Patrick Harris, his partner, and their twins. The caption read, “Two dads are better than none.” Really? But no mom apparently is a-okay. How sad for those children, not to be nurtured by their own mother – and it was arranged that way purposely, not by some tragedy that ultimately resulted in the children having two “fathers”. Childbearing isn’t supposed to be about the parents – it’s supposed to be about the children and what is in their best interests. How sad that any child would have to refer to his/her parent as a “sperm donor” or “egg donor”. We need to realize that children have rights, too, not just parents. And yes, I think this is true for heterosexuals, too. Every child has a right to be raised by his/her biological parents, with adoption being (as you said) “the best remedy for an awful situation”.

  3. “Without man/woman marriage, how will we as a society recognize and protect the child’s rights to know and be known by her biological parents?”

    Uhm….by continuing to recognize and protect a child’s rights to know and be known by her biological parents? Those provisions don’t need to change at all.

    Obviously, children thrive most when their custodial parents are also their biological parents. That’s not disputed. But children of gay individuals don’t have the luxury of this optimal situation. If a child’s mother is gay, I don’t see how legal recognition of the mother’s permanent committed relationship is going to hurt the child. In fact, I think it can only help the child.

    • Thanks for the continuing discussion.

      “Those provisions don’t need to change at all.” What provisions are you referring to?

      If the child’s mother is gay, how did she get the child?

      • You assert, “most states have laws that facilitate an adopted child’s search for their birth parents.” I don’t see why allowing gay marriage would change that.

        How can a gay mother get pregnant? Uhm….is that a trick question?

        • Aren’t those “provisions” simply reinforcing the fact that children want to be known by their biological parents whenever possible? It seems that the burden to override this obvious fact rests on those who would like to institutionalize a family structure that necessitates brokenness on the part of the child.

          Yeah, it kind of is a trick question. The reason I ask is because of something I read from a bisexual man who was raised by two women. The entire article is worth the read, because he shares a point of view that is clearly unwelcome by mainstream media, but I have included an excerpt below that speaks to my question:

          Where do children of LGBT parents come from? If the parents are 100-percent gay or lesbian, then the chances are that the children were conceived through surrogacy or insemination, or else adopted. Those cases are such a tiny percentage of LGBT parents, however, that it would be virtually impossible to find more than a half-dozen in a random sampling of tens of thousands of adults.

          Most LGBT parents are, like me, and technically like my mother, “bisexual”—the forgotten B. We conceived our children because we engaged in heterosexual intercourse. Social complications naturally arise if you conceive a child with the opposite sex but still have attractions to the same sex. Sherkat calls these complications disqualifiable, as they are corrupting the purity of a homosexual model of parenting.

          I would posit that children raised by same-sex couples are naturally going to be more curious about and experimental with homosexuality without necessarily being pure of any attraction to the opposite sex. Hence they will more likely fall into the bisexual category, as did I—meaning that the children of LGBT parents, once they are young adults, are likely to be the first ones disqualified by the social scientists who now claim to advocate for their parents.

          Those who are 100-percent gay may view bisexuals with a mix of disgust and envy. Bisexual parents threaten the core of the LGBT parenting narrative—wedo have a choice to live as gay or straight, and we do have to decide the gender configuration of the household in which our children will grow up. While some gays see bisexuality as an easier position, the fact is that bisexual parents bear a more painful weight on their shoulders. Unlike homosexuals, we cannot write off our decisions as things forced on us by nature. We have no choice but to take responsibility for what we do as parents, and live with the guilt, regret, and self-criticism forever. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/

          • You speak of institutionalizing “a family structure that necessitates brokenness”. I’m not sure i follow. No children are going to be pulled out of loving heterosexual-married families and placed into gay families.

            Obviously there are gay people who have heterosexual sex and can have children heterosexually. It’s usually before they come out.

          • Thanks for the continued discussion and the opportunity to clarify. What I am saying is that either gays/lesbians/bisexuals have children first within a heterosexual relationship/experience (which, as the author above implies, that there is some flexibility/choice involved) and then recouple, or they have children with the expressed intent of depriving that child of a parental relationship with one of his/her natural parents. While I don’t think that the government can/should outlaw these scenarios, neither do I feel that the government should endorse/encourage them.

          • So you think a government approval of gay marriages would cause more gay couples to adopt or have kids who wouldn’t otherwise want to? And you’re certain this would exceed the number of kids who would benefit from their parents being allowed to marry?

          • Thanks for the question. Above you wrote “Obviously, children thrive most when their custodial parents are also their biological parents. That’s not disputed. But children of gay individuals don’t have the luxury of this optimal situation.” Why don’t they have that luxury? Because their parents are choosing to sever the connection with one of their biological parents, either by stepping away from a previous heterosexual relationship or by seeking artificial technology for help. I don’t know if legalizing gay marriage will prompt more kids to be reared in same-sex-headed households. But it does send the signal that the rights/desires of the parents trump the natural rights of the children. And it does separate marriage from what has historically been an institution designed to attach parents to children.

            My post “Chapter Next” deals with this aspect of the discussion more clearly. https://askthebigot.com/2012/12/09/chapter-next/

          • The difficulty I’m having here is the implication that gay parenting is a choice. Even if homosexuality is a choice (something I don’t agree with, incidentally), there are still plenty of situations where the “luxury” of biological parents being custodial parents isn’t possible, without any “choice” on the part of the parent. Do ALL unwed moms “choose” that life? I really don’t think so.

            It’s vanishingly unlikely that legalizing gay marriage will result in kids being raised in same-sex households who otherwise would not be. But even if there WAS a chance of that, wouldn’t the benefit for children ALREADY being raised in same-sex households be greater? I’m sure we would all agree that a child being raised by married parents is better off than a child being raised by unmarried parents….right?

          • Thanks for your thoughtful questions physicsandwhiskey. Since both of these threads are converging into the same argument/question, can we transfer this discussion back to the “If gay marriage, what then?” piece so as not to duplicate our efforts? There you can find my question below:

            So in a situation like this:

            When I met John, who is now my husband, he told me that he had had some friends, Tammy and Laura, for whom he had been a sperm donor, and that they had a son named Oliver, of whom he was the biological father. A few years later, they asked him to be a sperm donor again, and they produced a daughter, Lucy. A good friend of mine from college had gone through a divorce and said that she really longed to be a mother, and I said how much I would love to be the father of her child. And so we decided to produce a child through an IVF process. John and I then wanted to have a child who would live with us all the time, and we decided to use an egg donor, and Laura, the lesbian who had carried Oliver and Lucy, offered to be our surrogate as a way of thanking John for providing her with a family. So the shorthand is: five parents of four children in three states. http://m.npr.org/news/Books/163468489

            Your argument would be that since they already have children, we should institutionalize/endorse the situation for the sake of the children?

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