A few weeks ago, I caught the end of an NPR interview with Andrew Solomon about his book “Far From the Tree.” Interviewer Robert Siegel asked Solomon about his own “post-nuclear family.” Solomon explains:
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
Is any gay marriage supporter willing to admit that there is something unsettling about the above scenario? Of those four children that are living in three states, all were conceived with the intent that they would not be raised by one of their biological parents. The desires of the five parents were satisfied. The rights of the four children- to be known and raised by one’s biological parents- were not.
Redefining marriage is not just about with whom you share “love and connection,” as one objector to my blog stated. Redefining marriage also redefines the meaning of parenthood. It removes biology as the basis for parenthood and replaces it with man-made constructs. Legally, the connection with at least one birthparent needs to be detached, and then legally reattached to the spouse of the biological parent, or to both new non-related parents. In this scenario, government plays a much larger role than biology in who qualifies as parents. So bonds that existed pre-government are now subject to government discretion. Libertarians? Any objections?
If you have read the “Why do you hate gays?” post, you know that I traveled with two women who were adopting their daughter. Let me be clear. I love these women. Therefore I serve them. Their children will experience significantly less brokenness with their mothers than in an orphanage. Christians have a mandate to bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, sacrifice for those with whom they agree and disagree, and love all people despite how they identify themselves.
But please, let’s be honest. Every family situation that deviates from the “nuclear” family will involve loss for a child. Once you leave the married-mother-father-children equation, it is not a question of whether or not there is brokenness. It’s now a question of “how broken is it?” And while I will continue to love those who are gay, and condemn those who would say gay people are anything other than precious souls worthy of God’s and my love, I will not pander to the popular cultural narrative that children’s rights are secondary to adult proclivities.
In Washington State today, the first same-sex marriages take place. We have just institutionalized a family structure that, for a child, can never be “in-tact.” The story of the child raised in the same-sex household will always begin with the loss of at least one biological parent, and the benefit of the balance of genders.
Our new law is the beginning of significant legal challenges to the structure of family, especially as they relate to children. Examples include California’s narrowly defeated “three parents” law, France’s push to erase all references to “mother” and “father” from legal documents, Quebec’s efforts to stamp out “heterosexism” (the idea that heterosexuality is normal). So while the definition of marriage has been redefined in our state, judging from states/countries that are further down this road, there are many more legal issues that will arise in the future. And if we continue to consider marriage to be primarily about adult emotional fulfillment, or tax benefits, or even the rights of adults, we will give the wrong answers to approaching legal challenges.
For more on why children need a mother and a father, please see the series “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion.” https://askthebigot.com/2012/08/20/alternative-families/