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Another Intelligent Response to an Idiotic Comment: Adoption

September 10th, 2011

You would be amazed at how often I hear some version of this one: “You say marriage is about attaching mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.  What about adoption?”  Or, “you say kids need a mom and a dad. I had a stepfather who was better than my biological dad.” Or the worst version of this I ever heard, “you broke the bonds between your adopted son and his biological parents. How can you say biology is important?”  This last comment is particularly idiotic because my son was in a Romanian orphanage for over two years before we had ever heard of him. The bond with his biological parents had been broken long before we ever came on the scene.  Yet, to some of the radicals, the fact that I am an adoptive parent makes me a hypocrite or moron for believing that biology matters.

So, what is the proper answer to this type of comment?  Here is the short version:

Just because most adopted children do reasonably well, it does not follow that we can throw all the babies up in the air, and decree that whomever they land with will be their legal parents. Yet that is precisely what the advocates of anonymous gamete donation are proposing.  From the child’s point of view, the second non-biological parent they end up with is completely random. 

Likewise, the advocates of ‘de facto parenthood’ are advocating something quite random, and really dangerous.  If an unrelated person hangs around long enough, that person can count as the child’s parent. 

If the unrelated person really wants to be the child’s parent, and the biological parents consent, then they should do an adoption.  Period. End of story. That way, everyone knows what is going on, who has consented, and most importantly from the child’s point of view, who has made a lifetime commitment.

It is possible that some people making this point are doing so in good faith. In that case, I would say those people are confusing the systemic with the particular.  Yes adoption works well in particular cases. It doesn’t follow from that fact that you would want to scrap the biological system, and replace it with something else.  The fact that we make provision for exceptions to the rule doesn’t prove that the rule is a bad rule.

I’m not at all convinced that everyone who raises this point is doing so in good faith. Hence I feel justified in being ever so slightly snarky about it.

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  1. Marty
    September 10th, 2011 at 19:59 | #1

    I’m not at all convinced that everyone who raises this point is doing so in good faith.

    I agree with you on that. It certainly reveals how little thought some people are giving the idea…

    But in some cases, specifically of the “my stepfather was better than my bio dad”, I sense that there is a lot of unresolved anger and resentment among many people — here and elsewhere — with their bio parents. That’s perfectly normal among humans actually, but hardly a justification for saying “any random queer is better than any random bio dad”.

  2. Spunky
    September 10th, 2011 at 21:10 | #2

    Dr. J., despite your statements here, you make stronger (and untrue) assertions at the expense of adoptive parents in many of your other articles and speeches. I can think of two main examples of this.

    1) When you say things like “research has consistently shown that children do best with a biological mother and father,” you completely ignore children raised by adoptive parents, who in fact do better according to some studies. In fact, this was pointed out by David Blankenhorn, one of the people who testified in favor of Proposition 8.

    2) In your recent article “Intelligent Replies to Idiotic Comments, Part 2, (Gasp!!!),” you at one point refer to children of (presumably adoptive) gay parents as “‘their’ children,” demeaning the entire adoptive parent-child relationship. You may say the commenters were “particularly idiotic because my son was in a Romanian orphanage for over two years before we had ever heard of him,” but actually the people most offended and confused by your statement were people who knew that you are an adoptive mother.

    When you make assertions like these, is it really idiotic to think that you are against gay adoption? Are you? You only talk about anonymous gamete reproduction, which is one tiny aspect of sperm donation and adoption, but I’d love to know your opinion on gay adoption altogether.

  3. Leo
    September 11th, 2011 at 07:07 | #3

    Let us suppose that after very careful screening an ideal adoptive couple has been found: socially well adapted, intelligent, well-educated, reasonably affluent, etc. They would be excellent parents. Let’s call them family A. Next door there is a biological family with a child. Let’s call them family B. They are middling parents, but less well-off, less educated, not as bright, a bit poorer than family A, and so forth. Perhaps family B already as several children, and family A has none. An objective court might decide that family A would be a better place to raise a child than family B. Does the court have a right to take B’s child and assign it to family A, and if not, why not?

  4. Sean
    September 11th, 2011 at 07:56 | #4

    I think demeaning same-sex and single parents reveals a low level mentality desperate to win. Children need loving, competent parents. To assume that all different-sex couples are good parents, and all same-sex couples are bad parents, is so unsophisticated, to the point of being disingenuous.

    Since it’s legal for same-sex couples to raise children together, why not give those kids the security of having married parents? We know marriage is good for committed couples and their children. On what possible basis can you advocate a public policy that denies those benefits to them, setting aside the obvious reason that it’s how you earn a living?

  5. Bob Barnes
    September 11th, 2011 at 13:07 | #5

    Leo :
    An objective court might decide that family A would be a better place to raise a child than family B. Does the court have a right to take B’s child and assign it to family A, and if not, why not?

    This does not resemble ANY real-world argument. Children up for adoption are either orphaned or surrendered by their biological parents.

  6. John Noe
    September 11th, 2011 at 16:51 | #6

    Yes by now we have come to understand that the homosexuals make lots of idiotic reponses to intelligent questions.

  7. nerdygirl
    September 11th, 2011 at 20:15 | #7

    I am somewhat confused as to the point of this post. Has anyone actually proposed scraping the “biological” system to the way Leo points out in his post? “De facto” parenting has shown up maybe 5 times across the country in the last few years, and is hardly a trend. There’s a huge difference between adoption via sperm donation or IVF and thru adoption agencies, lumping them together is overly simplistic and (given how personal adoption is to you) possibly deceitful.

    And if you’re going to continue labeling these responses as “intelligent responses to idiotic comments”, you might want to consider having a ghost writer, because your views always come across much clearer and more intelligent when written by someone else. (And that is how you do snark.)

  8. September 11th, 2011 at 21:55 | #8

    Dear Dr J. I think you have done a great thing raising a truly orphaned child as your son and it’s great that he feels the security of having a real family that will always be there for him and he with them. But he does still have biological parents out there, he knows he’s Romanian and has biological parents, and the world is pretty small. Perhaps he will someday find them again, or learn what happened to them, and I’m sure you would not begrudge him the feelings of loyalty and family he feels toward them. But I think it is wrong to say that “the bond between his biological parents had been broken before we came on the scene” because though they weren’t parenting him, the bond wasn’t broken and still exists. Saying “the bond was broken” makes you sound an awful lot like Heidi and other same-sex couples who want to erase the child’s true biography and deny any snags of truth and history. It’d be better to say that “his parents had abandoned him and he needed someone to take care of him, and we had room to take care of another child, so that’s what happened.” That doesn’t insist that the bond be broken, which would be capricious and unfair.

  9. September 11th, 2011 at 22:06 | #9

    Bob Barnes :

    Leo :
    An objective court might decide that family A would be a better place to raise a child than family B. Does the court have a right to take B’s child and assign it to family A, and if not, why not?

    This does not resemble ANY real-world argument. Children up for adoption are either orphaned or surrendered by their biological parents.

    Are you kidding? I bet about half of children up for adoption were taken from B’s home by the state. But that’s a good thing, the state should certainly take children from dangerous and abusive homes, where the child is likely to die or suffer injury or abuse. First the state gives the child to a foster family while they figure out who they should place the child with permanently. They might look at relatives first, then non-crazy couples looking to adopt, then crazy people looking to adopt. The last resort should be crazy people.

    The other half of children up for adoption might be the brainwashed pregnant girls who decide to place their child with some Stepford family through their church or satanic vampire cult. The state didn’t take away their children due to abuse, they were surrendered in those cases. But that’s abuse if you ask me.

  10. Marty
    September 12th, 2011 at 04:34 | #10

    Sean: Since it’s legal for same-sex couples to raise children together, why not give those kids the security of having married parents?

    You’ll have to ask the couple themselves, why they chose not to marry, chose not to give their children the security of having married parents. I presume that there’s something about “bias against the opposite sex” that caused them to choose to remain unmarried, but you’ll have to ask them why they made that choice.

  11. Heidi
    September 12th, 2011 at 07:40 | #11

    “If the unrelated person really wants to be the child’s parent, and the biological parents consent, then they should do an adoption. Period. End of story. That way, everyone knows what is going on, who has consented, and most importantly from the child’s point of view, who has made a lifetime commitment.”

    Not all states allow for second-parent adoptions, particularly when the couple is unmarried and/or of the same sex. Second-parent adoptions occur when one biological parent retains parental rights and another, non-biologically related parent is allowed to adopt the child and share parental rights with the bio-parent.

    “If an unrelated person hangs around long enough, that person can count as the child’s parent.”

    WRONG. There are various legal tests employed by courts to determine whether a de facto parent-child relationship exists. Some of the important factors include: (1) whether the bio-parent manifested an intention to co-parent with the unrelated party; (2) whether the unrelated party held the child out as his or her own; (3) whether the unrelated party meaningfully engaged in tasks associated with parenting for a significant amount of time; and (4) whether the child considers the unrelated party to be his or her parent. If you are just someone who “hangs around,” but who does not participate in parenting the child, you will not be able to meet the requirements of de facto parenthood.

    I have a case now where the non-bio mother co-parented the child from birth to age 5. She had her doctor induce lactation so that she could breast-feed the child. She attended every pregnancy-related appointment with her partner, including all IVF treatments. She carried the child on her own health insurance policy. She was the child’s primary caretaker while her partner completed medical school. They applied for, and were granted, co-guardianship of the child. As they were in the process of considering adoption (including beginning to draft the adoption paperwork), bio-mom had an affair and the relationship ended. Should this little boy be ripped from the arms of a woman he has known as his parent simply because bio-mom now wants to prevent all contact? Is that really in the best interests of this child?

  12. Bob Barnes
    September 12th, 2011 at 07:49 | #12

    John Noe :
    Yes by now we have come to understand that the homosexuals make lots of idiotic reponses to intelligent questions.

    Why is it that if I were to post a comment like this is would be rejected?

  13. Leo
    September 12th, 2011 at 08:13 | #13

    @Bob
    You didn’t, of course, answer the question, presumably because to answer in the affirmative would be incredibly demeaning to natural parenthood, to the point of being tyrannical. Colonial governments and governments of conquered peoples have often answered the question in the affirmative. It has happened in the real world.

    Had you answered the question, the next question would be “Do the parents (or the extended family} in the case of a double orphan have the right to specify the type of adoptive parents the child would live with?” For example, if an unwed single mother decides it is in the best interests of her child to place the child in another family, does she have the right to select that family? In a larger sense, would a devout Catholic family (or family of any other faith) have the right to demand the child be placed in a family of the same faith? In a still larger sense, should the child have a reasonable expectation that the state place him or in a situation similar to his or her natural family if that is at all possible?

  14. Betsy
    September 12th, 2011 at 09:34 | #14

    How do you know for sure?

  15. Leo
    September 12th, 2011 at 10:00 | #15

    @John

    I strongly suspect the majority of adoptions in America historically have been cases of unwed mothers deciding to give up their child for adoption, not foundlings or victims of actual abuse. As the stigma of unwed motherhood has declined, the number of single mothers keeping their children has increased. That is their choice to make. It has also led to decline in the number of children up for adoption.

    I agree that in extreme cases the state should intervene. As a general rule, however, the state should not intervene.

  16. Leo
    September 12th, 2011 at 10:04 | #16

    @Heidi,

    This is clearly an evolving area of law. It seems to me that each state should address this question legislatively. That way the courts would have very clear guidance. If a state wants to have “social parenting” they should put it into their code of laws and define its parameters. If not, they should make that clear as well.

  17. Heidi
    September 12th, 2011 at 11:56 | #17

    @Leo
    Leo, I agree with you that the parameters of de facto parenthood should be defined by the legislatures. However, if the legislatures won’t do it, I believe that the courts should, because of the child’s interest in maintaining a parent-child relationship. The courts should have clear guidelines to determine whether a person qualifies or not, although the key question should always be: what is in the best interests of the child? These are two separate issues though. The first is: does the non-biological parent have standing to assert parental rights? That is what the court was answering in the case that is the subject of this article. The second step is: is it in the child’s best interests to award parental rights and responsibilities to the non-biological parent? This latter question is one that the courts entertain all of the time in custody disputes, even when both biological parents are the ones before the court.

  18. bman
    September 12th, 2011 at 13:40 | #18

    Sean: Since it’s legal for same-sex couples to raise children together, why not give those kids the security of having married parents?

    If you applied that same argument to polygamy, you might benefit some children so the short term but at the same time it would create more polygamy which would have impact for children over the long term.

    The same idea applies to same sex relationships with children. Children over all are better off if there is less of that, but same sex marriage would encourage more of it, and create a long term negative impact.

  19. bman
    September 12th, 2011 at 13:42 | #19

    Correction: The phrase, “The same idea applies to same sex relationships with children” meant same sex relationships that have children.

  20. Sean
    September 12th, 2011 at 15:59 | #20

    “You’ll have to ask the couple themselves, why they chose not to marry, chose not to give their children the security of having married parents. I presume that there’s something about “bias against the opposite sex” that caused them to choose to remain unmarried, but you’ll have to ask them why they made that choice.”

    Well, if they are not legally to marry, they don’t have a choice, do they? I don’t think same-sex attraction results from a “bias” against the opposite sex. I think it results from some natural phenomenon, just like different-sex attraction.

  21. Sean
    September 12th, 2011 at 16:01 | #21

    “If you applied that same argument to polygamy, you might benefit some children so the short term but at the same time it would create more polygamy which would have impact for children over the long term.

    The same idea applies to same sex relationships with children. Children over all are better off if there is less of that, but same sex marriage would encourage more of it, and create a long term negative impact.”

    There is no evidence that children “over all” would benefit from banning same-sex marriage. How would they benefit? What does it even mean? Marriage affects couples as people, and children as people, not as statistics.

  22. Spunky
    September 12th, 2011 at 18:20 | #22

    bman :

    Sean: Since it’s legal for same-sex couples to raise children together, why not give those kids the security of having married parents?

    The same idea applies to same sex relationships with children. Children over all are better off if there is less of that, but same sex marriage would encourage more of it, and create a long term negative impact.

    I know we’ve debated this before…but again I just have to point out that there is no evidence of this. The “worst” anyone has come up with is that children raised by gay parents are possibly more likely to become gay themselves. If you don’t like that, fine, and if you don’t think it’s good for society, fine, but you can’t say it’s worse for the children themselves. There have been no long-term negative aspects of the mental health, success, intelligence, and overall happiness of children raised by gay couples.

  23. Chairm
    September 13th, 2011 at 08:15 | #23

    Spunky, the family formed by a child’s married biological mom-dad duo is the benchmark against which all other kinds of family formations come up short on average. That includes step-families. That includes adoptive families (although most adoptive families also have children born of the mom-dad duo). That includes single parent families (father only, mother only, adoptive or biological). That includes scenarios in which a same-sex couple raises the child — say a grandmom and mother duo or a grandad and father duo.

    Now, given that, what do you imagine makes a sexualized relationship between two men or two women superior to these other family formations that do not, on average, meet the benchmark of a married mom-dad duo? Is it the homosexual sexual behavior, the socio-political gay identity, or some other magic ingredient that no research has managed to identify in the sparse “studies” of outcomes for children raised in households headed by lesbian or gay twosomes?

    If you have no special ingredient to identity then you are blowing smoke in your comment.

  24. Betsy
    September 13th, 2011 at 13:19 | #24

    Nice to see you again, Chairm!

  25. Sean
    September 13th, 2011 at 15:35 | #25

    There’s no particular reason to believe that straight people make better parents than gay people. Surely if gay parenting were harmful to children, it would be outlawed. Even NOM won’t publicly denounce gay parenting; that would completely undermine the little credibility they still have.

    Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and unlikely to go away. Since that’s the case, it makes much more sense to encourage same-sex couples raising children to get married, so that their relationship is more secure, and the lives of their children more secure.

  26. Spunky
    September 13th, 2011 at 19:00 | #26

    Betsy :
    Nice to see you again, Chairm!

    Speak for yourself, Betsy, they guy didn’t accuse you of blowing smoke!

    Chairm :
    Spunky, the family formed by a child’s married biological mom-dad duo is the benchmark against which all other kinds of family formations come up short on average. That includes step-families. That includes adoptive families (although most adoptive families also have children born of the mom-dad duo). That includes single parent families (father only, mother only, adoptive or biological). That includes scenarios in which a same-sex couple raises the child — say a grandmom and mother duo or a grandad and father duo.
    Now, given that, what do you imagine makes a sexualized relationship between two men or two women superior to these other family formations that do not, on average, meet the benchmark of a married mom-dad duo? Is it the homosexual sexual behavior, the socio-political gay identity, or some other magic ingredient that no research has managed to identify in the sparse “studies” of outcomes for children raised in households headed by lesbian or gay twosomes?
    If you have no special ingredient to identity then you are blowing smoke in your comment.

    You never actually stated a single negative fact about children raised by gay parents. I feel this line of argument helps my point–rather than citing evidence about gay couples, or observing gay couples yourself, you reference every other family structure out there. You can’t just look at a couple, say you don’t like their family structure, and decide that it is bad. You need evidence, results, and data specifically about that group in question.

    As for the studies you mentioned, I have learned to take their results with caution. Notice the way I innocently phrased my statement: “there is no evidence,” rather than “research has shown.” Even if you completely disregard every study ever done on gay parenting (something I would not do), you are still left with no evidence at all that children raised by gay couples are any worse off than children raised by straight couples. I don’t know how you can disagree with this statement.

  27. bman
    September 13th, 2011 at 19:04 | #27

    @Sean

    There is no evidence that children “over all” would benefit from banning same-sex marriage. How would they benefit? What does it even mean? Marriage affects couples as people, and children as people, not as statistics.

    To some degree, it hurts children raised by homosexual couples that those couples can’t marry. But legalizing homosexual marriage would mean even more children would be raised by homosexual couples, more in vitro fertilizations with daddy being an unknown sperm donor, more surrogate moms who the child will never know, more lesbian mothers divorcing the child’s biological father to marry a woman, and more children raised with maladaptive sexual values.

    The legalization of same sex marriage would mean more of that. And more of that means we multiply the number of children being hurt like that.

    By not legalizing homosexual marriages we avoid multiplying the hurt to future children that would keep multiplying itself more and more into forever.

  28. bman
    September 14th, 2011 at 00:19 | #28

    Spunky: You never actually stated a single negative fact about children raised by gay parents.

    I think you missed Chairm’s point.

    I understood Chairm’s point to be that children do not generally fare as well in “alternative” families.

    Therefore, it would apply to “homosexual alternative families” as well.

    Yet, gay activists say there is “no difference” to the well being of the child to have a homosexual step parent or a natural parent, which seems absurd.

    Research in the UK indicated that 1 out of 7 children with step parents “displayed serious behaviour problems,” but for children with a natural father and mother it was only 1 out of 17 that displayed such problems.

    Now consider this hypothetical claim: “Children generally do not fare as well in step parent homes unless the step parent is homosexual.”

    Do you agree with that claim?

    If you go around saying it makes “no difference” to the well being of a child whether that child is parented by a homosexual step parent or a natural parent, aren’t you actually making the hypothetical claim, then?

    And that is what I think Chairm referred to as “blowing smoke.”

  29. Heidi
    September 14th, 2011 at 07:25 | #29

    “But legalizing homosexual marriage would mean even more children would be raised by homosexual couples, more in vitro fertilizations with daddy being an unknown sperm donor, more surrogate moms who the child will never know, more lesbian mothers divorcing the child’s biological father to marry a woman, and more children raised with maladaptive sexual values.”

    And your proof for that conclusion is? It does not appear that the lack of marriage equality has in any way dissuaded same-sex couples from raising children. It certainly hasn’t prevented or discouraged my partner and I from raising ours. But the lack of marriage equality HAS caused injury to families like mine.

  30. Spunky
    September 14th, 2011 at 08:10 | #30

    Sean :
    Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and unlikely to go away.

    I think you meant “same-sex parenting”?

    bman :
    @Sean
    To some degree, it hurts children raised by homosexual couples that those couples can’t marry.

    At least we can agree on this.

  31. bman
    September 14th, 2011 at 12:53 | #31

    This news item just out:

    “Lesbian couple lose foster son after posting pic to Facebook of him dressed as a girl.”

    Excerpt:

    One of the women is reportedly seeking to undergo a ‘sex change’, while the other is hoping to bear a child through artificial reproduction.

    Dawn Stefanowicz, an author and speaker who was raised by her homosexual father, told LifeSiteNews that the incident highlights the dangers of placing children in “experimental family structures.” She says children in such situations are prone to confusion about their sexuality and gender.

    ….what are we doing?” asked former Children’s Court magistrate Barbara Holborow in an interview with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. She said she had called for an inquiry into the decision to place the six-year-old with the lesbian couple.

    Stefanowicz, the author of Out from Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting, said the lesbian couple’s decision to dress the boy as a girl and put the photo on Facebook was “abusive and disturbing” whether he wanted to wear the dress or not. “To place children in the most experimental family structures where both gender and sexuality are open to whatever you want it to mean is treacherous and unstable,” she said.

    “Gender identity, gender roles, and sexuality are often considered fluid and boundless in homosexual households, diminishing both the value and importance of our own birth gender as children,” she continued.

    She said that growing up in a household in which her father had sex with other men “deeply affected” her “sense of self as a girl and young woman.”

    “I felt rejected and not as important as the males in my life,” she explained. “I didn’t see a significant woman in my life – mother – being loved. This lead me to believe that maybe it would have been better to have been born a boy.”

  32. Sean
    September 14th, 2011 at 15:00 | #32

    Oops, yes, I meant same-sex parenting is legal in all 50 states. And yes, it harms the children of same-sex couples that their parents can’t marry: it gives them less security, and makes them think that society doesn’t like their parents, or thinks them somehow less worthy. That’s quite a terrible trip to lay on a child. Can you imagine doing it to a mixed race child, saying your parents are bad, because they are different races, and therefore can’t be allowed to marry???

    I’m against harming children, in order to advance the unseemly, anti-social agendas of adults.

  33. John Noe
    September 14th, 2011 at 16:51 | #33

    The post from Heidi just made bman’s post even better and stronger. Let us not encourage more bad parenting and homosexual parenting by endorsing SSM. We want to limit same sex parenting not promote it. By keeping marriage as one man and one woman we send the message that same sex parenting is not to be endorsed, condoned, or promoted but rather is to be discouraged.

  34. Spunky
    September 14th, 2011 at 17:26 | #34

    bman :

    Spunky: You never actually stated a single negative fact about children raised by gay parents.

    I think you missed Chairm’s point.
    I understood Chairm’s point to be that children do not generally fare as well in “alternative” families.

    As did I. That’s why I responded the way I did.

    bman :
    Therefore, it would apply to “homosexual alternative families” as well.

    And this is where you both lose me. Like Chairm, you never give any factual evidence to support this claim. You never demonstrate any actual knowledge of gay parenting. Of course you can lump gay parents in with other family structures in that they’re *not* straight parents, but that doesn’t mean that gay parents are in any other way similar to these other family structures. In fact, the only thing that gay parents have in common with step parents, single parents, divorced parents, and adoptive parents is that they’re not a child’s biological parents. So the entire comparison is meaningless.

    For example, gay parents, like adoptive and biological parents, have raised their children (barring a year or two in the case of adoption). This suggests a vastly different family structure than single or divorced parents. Yet you focus so much on the sex of the parents that you don’t consider this important aspect of family structure and well-being.

    bman :
    Yet, gay activists say there is “no difference” to the well being of the child to have a homosexual step parent or a natural parent, which seems absurd.

    Of course it seems absurd to you. You have no concept of what gay parenting is like because you refuse to cite any facts about it. It seems you want to find out everything there is to know about gay parents by researching every other family structure except gay parents. I do not understand this.

    bman :
    Research in the UK indicated that 1 out of 7 children with step parents “displayed serious behaviour problems,” but for children with a natural father and mother it was only 1 out of 17 that displayed such problems.
    Now consider this hypothetical claim: “Children generally do not fare as well in step parent homes unless the step parent is homosexual.”
    Do you agree with that claim?
    If you go around saying it makes “no difference” to the well being of a child whether that child is parented by a homosexual step parent or a natural parent, aren’t you actually making the hypothetical claim, then?
    And that is what I think Chairm referred to as “blowing smoke.”

    The research you cite specifically labels those families as “broken homes,” implying that the children being studied had generally lost a parent or had only grown up with one. Again, the structures of these families are radically different from the structure of a gay family. Both the report and the conclusion the study draws is that children do better when there is a stable family structure. Gay families in no way threaten this, and in this way are a poor comparison to these other families.

  35. Spunky
    September 14th, 2011 at 17:31 | #35

    bman :
    This news item just out:
    “Lesbian couple lose foster son after posting pic to Facebook of him dressed as a girl.”

    bman, is this a serious argument against gay parenting? You don’t see me posting articles about Andrea Yates or Casey Anthony to try to weaken the credibility of biological parenting…

  36. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 15:34 | #36

    Spunky you have not stated what makes “gay parenting” superior to other scenarios that either lack one sex. Please state the difference that counts so much in your view of the available research.

    You referred to “gay parenting”. I have not. Yet you went on quite a bit accusing me of having done so. You can read. Read with care. Then respond directly to my initial comment, please.

    If you can not do that much, then, you are indeed blowing smoke.

  37. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 15:47 | #37

    Spunky said:

    “Of course you can lump gay parents in with other family structures in that they’re *not* straight parents, but that doesn’t mean that gay parents are in any other way similar to these other family structures.”

    I did not lump “gay parents” at all. You did.

    I did not refer to “straight parents”. You did.

    However, I did ask for the special ingredient you think (or feel might be more accurate) makes the difference. Your retort strongly hints that you think that the gay identity is that ingredient. But, if like so many other pro-SSM commenters, you conflate that socio-political identity with same-sex sexual attraction, or same-sex sexual behavior, then, perhaps you intended to claim (in a scientifically verifiable way) (or perhaps you merely intend to assert your feelings on the matter) that same-sex sexual attraction and/or same-sex sexual behavior would set “gay parenting” (your term by the way) apart from other one-sexed parenting scenarios.

    Families that lack one or the other sex (such as single parenting families or the grandmom-mom families I mentioned earlier, for just two examples) do not measure up to the benchmark on average when it comes to measurable outcomes for children. If you were familiar with the research in general , rather than just “gay parenting”, you would have been far more careful in your comments here. Other pro-SSM advocates understand this point and say so quite readily. You might need to do more homework on this.

    Also, structure matters as per the wealth of available evidence on families that are essential re formations — such as adoptive families (most of which already have biological children) or step families (most of which have children born of both mom and dad) or extended families comprised of mom or dad and grandparent(s) or social families comprised of two sibling parents or two very good friends of the same or opposite sexes. The benchmark is important because of its significance to children but for some reason gay activists and anti-marriage activists (like the pro-SSM advocates) tend toward wild assertions most favorable to gay this or gay that rather than focussing on the children and the familial structure that, on average, outperforms all the rest.

    I think the reason is a slavish adherence to gay identity politics. Hence the sort of remarks you have made, repeatedly, with your emhasis on gay identity and little else.

  38. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 16:11 | #38

    Children residing in ‘same-sex households’ (a census term denoting a household assumed to be head by adults engaged in a same-sex sexualized relationship or which would otherwise be assumed to be gay-identified) are a tiny minority (a fraction of 1%) among the nation’s 72-plus million children.

    And of that tiny minority, the vast majority are the offspring of previously procreative relationships of mom and dad. One other the other migrated, with children, to a same-sex household. The child’s home is broken — the parents are divorced or otherwise estranged. There would be similarities with step-families (i.e. mom or dad has remarried) or social step-families (i.e. mom or dad has entered a nonmarital cohabitating relationship).

    The notion of ‘broken homes’ applies with significant relevance to the very scenario on which Spunky is so narrowly focussed.

    A tiny minority (less than 1%) of that tiny minority of children were conceived via third party procreation (so-called donors providing gametes). Of course, if one hangs around lesbians more than the general population, one might get the mistaken impression that most babies raised in female one-sexed scenarios are born by third party procreation and raised by women in same-sex sexualized relationships. Again, the narrow focus misleads.

    As for adoption, a small minority (perhaps 4%) of children raised in same-sex households.

    Either way, third party procreation or adoption, the “gay parenting” scenario would lack the other sex and so is similar to single parenting or to other one-sexed scenarios such as grandad-dad, dad and brother, mom and best female friend, and so forth. There are far more such scenarios, in absolute numbers, in the general population than there are same-sex households raisising children. That makes Spunky’s gay emphas very narrow indeed.

    Both third party procreation and adoption have similair pre-requisites: 1) a biological father must relinquish or otherwise lose parental rights and responsiblities (pre-emtively in third party procreation) and 2) the government intervenes to reassign the child to an alternative parent or parents.

    Broke family? Yeap. Lack of the other sex? Yeap. What would possible make the “gay parenting” scenario superior to the rest?

    Spunky may not know and may not have social scientific evidence but at least Spunky has feelings and self-claimed expertise on the matter. We might trust Spunky more than the wide consensus on the benchmark of married mom and dad.

    Or not.

  39. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 16:21 | #39

    Spunky said: “You can’t just look at a couple, say you don’t like their family structure, and decide that it is bad. You need evidence, results, and data specifically about that group in question.”

    I did not “just look at a couple” and I did not say what you suggested.

    Start with the special ingredient that is absent in other other scenarios. Show that the outcomes for children depend on THAT ingredient. And by, show, I mean provide the evidence, results, and data. If you cannot point to this ingredient and directly connect it to social scientific evidence and data, then, you are not able to live up to your own stated standards.

    No, I do not expect you to cite some well-known study that has done this for you. None exists. That is for a far better reasons than your accusations would rely upon. It begins with lack of data and lack of evidence from which to draw the conclusive positive connections to gay this or gay that. You lack such positive connections and then fold your arms and demand that someone else counter with negative connections.

    Yet there is sufficient evidence on families that lack one or the other sex or which are re formations for a reasonable persons to note that so-called gay parenting is a subset of much larger population of alternative scenarios that have failed to live up to the benchmark of married mom and dad, on average, based on the available evidence accumulated over more than two decades.

    Spunky, plainly state what sets “gay parenting” apart from the rest. Thanks.

  40. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 16:45 | #40

    Spunky talked past me in earnest and said:

    “Even if you completely disregard every study ever done on gay parenting (something I would not do), you are still left with no evidence at all that children raised by gay couples are any worse off than children raised by straight couples.”

    Your rhetoric leads you by the nose, Spunky.

    There is a social-scienfic benchmark supported by a wide social-scientific consensus that is itself based on mountains of social scientific evidence.

    The benchmark is valid. It is not one-sexed. It is not nonmarital. It is not family reformed. It may not fit your socio-political viewpoint, but the facts upon which the married-mom dad scenario stand as outperforming other scenarios — those facts — are stubborn things.

    You may have a story about “gay parenting” being superior to alternate family formations to the extent that “gay parenting” is as good as the benchmark. If so, then, state that narrative in a social-scientific way. Such-and-such a feature makes all the difference because of this and that and that. Even though “gay parenting” typically entails a broken family and even though it definitionally excludes either mom or dad, it has this or that feature which makes up the difference so well that there is no telling “gay parenting” from the benchmark when it comes to outcomes for children. Or somesuch.

    The ball is in your court. Play by your own stated standards, please.

  41. Chairm
    September 15th, 2011 at 16:47 | #41

    By the way, the benchmarkis is married mom-dad and not your more political notion of “straight parenting”. Just because you are focussed on “gay parenting” does not mean that you can conjure up a false mirror image to lean your bias upon. You’d need something ar more substantial than that.

  42. Spunky
    September 17th, 2011 at 13:26 | #42

    @Chairm

    A couple of things.

    1) First you say

    Chairm :
    what do you imagine makes a sexualized relationship between two men or two women superior to these other family formations that do not, on average, meet the benchmark of a married mom-dad duo? Is it the homosexual sexual behavior, the socio-political gay identity, or some other magic ingredient that no research has managed to identify in the sparse “studies” of outcomes for children raised in households headed by lesbian or gay twosomes?

    and then

    Chairm :
    You referred to “gay parenting”. I have not. Yet you went on quite a bit accusing me of having done so.

    So while you didn’t use the term “gay parenting,” you were clearly referring to gay parents.

    2) You are correct that I was referring only to gay parents who either adopted a child or in some other way have parented a child since the first years of its life. I thought this was apparent, since you asked me why the family structure of two gay parents is superior to that of, say, a mother and a grandmother. In order to answer this, we need to focus specifically on the same-sex aspect of the family structure and nothing else. Thus when comparing children from gay families to children from straight families, we should only focus on parents whose children only know those two as parents. For example, gay parents whose kids have already experience a divorce should only be compared to other family structures that involve divorced parents.

    I thought this was obvious, but still, I was unclear. So in my previous post, replace “gay parents” with “gay parents whose children only know those two as parents.”

    3) You say

    Chairm :
    Spunky you have not stated what makes “gay parenting” superior to other scenarios that either lack one sex. Please state the difference that counts so much in your view of the available research.

    The answer to your question is: the same ways in which married straight couples have a superior family structure to those of, say, a grandfather and a mother, or a brother and sister raising their sibling as a child.

    I could also refer you to Wikpedia’s page on LGBT parenting, which states “[s]cientific research has been generally consistent in showing that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents” along with links, but I’m sure you won’t put any faith in these studies. For a good analysis of the
    available research on LGBT parenting (as of 2007), check out Meezan and Rauch’s article.

    4) You then say

    Chairm :
    You may have a story about “gay parenting” being superior to alternate family formations to the extent that “gay parenting” is as good as the benchmark. If so, then, state that narrative in a social-scientific way. Such-and-such a feature makes all the difference because of this and that and that. Even though “gay parenting” typically entails a broken family and even though it definitionally excludes either mom or dad, it has this or that feature which makes up the difference so well that there is no telling “gay parenting” from the benchmark when it comes to outcomes for children. Or somesuch.

    In the Meezan and Rauch link I posted above, you will find four studies the authors believe are the “gold standard of research of this kind.” Furthermore, I again repeat my point from 1). If you want to compare children of gay parents who have divorced, you have to compare them to children of straight parents who have divorced.

    I hope these points illustrate the reasons for my statements.

  43. Chairm
    September 17th, 2011 at 13:36 | #43

    Heidi said: “Second-parent adoptions occur when one biological parent retains parental rights and another, non-biologically related parent is allowed to adopt the child and share parental rights with the bio-parent.”

    “Second-parent adoption” is a misnomer.

    Each child originates with two parents, a mom and a dad. Once a dad, always a dad. Once a mom, always a mom. That is so even if his parental status was taken by government intervention due to some grave transgression such as neglect or abuse. This is so even if the dad is deceased. For instance, supposed a dad relinquishes parental status; he remains a dad for the significant purposes of intestate law, incest law, and marital law.

    No, what the term, second-parent adoption, refers to is adoption by a second person of the same sex as the parent. It is a pale imitation of step-parent adoption. While step-parent adoption is an affirmation of the core meaning of marriage, ‘second-parent adoption’ is an explicit negation of it.

    ‘Second-parent adoption’ originated not for adoption merely to enable a parent to consent to the adoption of this or that ‘second person of the same sex’ based on a relationship between the child and the other adult. No. It was concocted as a kow-tow to gay identity politics whereby the basis is the adult-adult relationship — one assumed to be sexual. It is not a legally presumed sexual relationship, mind. There is no sound legal basis for adoption based on a sexual relationship. There was no such basis when it came to man-woman relationships outside of marriage. So the gay legal activists pushed for an assumed basis that is outside of marriage and which negates the legal marital presumption that the husband is the father born of the marital relationship with his wife.

    Does ‘second-parent adoption’ apply to a grandmom-mom scenario? Nope. Why not? It cannot be due to the grandmom and mom’s relationship being nonsexual, right? It cannot be due to the grandmom being related to the child since what is at stake is the denial of full parental status via adoption. It cannot be due to the lack of a longterm commitment given that the grandmom is mom for life to the child’s mother. It cannot be due to a lack of love or mutual respect and affection between the two adults. It cannot be due to the grandmom not being of the right sex to stand-in for a father — this point is at the root of the court-imposed concoction, afterall.

    Step-parent adoption is based on marriage between mom and dad. Society facillitates the adoption of children by the man to whom the mother remarries. She might be widowed or divorced. She and her husband provide a unity of motherhood and fatherhood. And should they have future children together, their sexual relationship (see the sexual basis for marital consummation) is the sound legal basis for presuming the husband the father of children born to his wife during their marriage.

    Courts did not create ‘second-parent adoption’ for man-woman relationships, of course, but did so at the behest of a demand that the law be distorted for the sake of gay identity politics. This demand for exceptionalism is unjust.

  44. Spunky
    September 17th, 2011 at 13:42 | #44

    @Chairm Also, let’s just do a quick review of your dialogue:

    Chairm :
    If you have no special ingredient to identity then you are blowing smoke in your comment.

    Chairm :
    You can read. Read with care. Then respond directly to my initial comment, please.
    If you can not do that much, then, you are indeed blowing smoke.

    Chairm :
    I think the reason is a slavish adherence to gay identity politics.

    Chairm :
    Spunky may not know and may not have social scientific evidence but at least Spunky has feelings and self-claimed expertise on the matter. We might trust Spunky more than the wide consensus on the benchmark of married mom and dad.
    Or not.

    Chairm :
    Spunky talked past me in earnest and said:

    Chairm :
    Your rhetoric leads you by the nose, Spunky.
    The ball is in your court. Play by your own stated standards, please.

    I’m trying to have a civil debate here. I don’t know why you feel the need to launch condescending insults throughout your 6 consecutive posts, but I would ask that you please stop. Also, you could have, in one sentence, written “Spunky, by ‘gay parenting’ do you mean all gay parents, or only adoptive gay parents?” and spared everyone from 6 consecutive posts and saved yourself an hour and a half of time.

  45. Chairm
    September 17th, 2011 at 13:43 | #45

    It is important to note that ‘second-parent adoption’ is not predicated on an existing child-adult relationship; it is predicated on an assumed (not presumed in a legal sense but assumed in merely a social sense) sexualized adult-adult same-sex relationship.

    That does not provide a sound legal basis for adoption. Indeed, a sexualized adult-adult opposite-sex relationship did not provide such a basis. Courts did not concoct such a legal fiction for man-woman duos. And yet once gay identity politics takes hold of a court system there is this unprincipled eagerness to uproot the law.

  46. Chairm
    September 17th, 2011 at 13:51 | #46

    Heidi present a scenario that is gaycentric but what, if any, of the descriptive points in her narrative would not fit a grandmom-mom scenario or some other nonsexualized scenario whether the adults be of the same sex or opposite sexes?

    “I have a case now where the non-bio mother co-parented the child from birth to age 5. She had her doctor induce lactation so that she could breast-feed the child. She attended every pregnancy-related appointment with her partner, including all IVF treatments. She carried the child on her own health insurance policy. She was the child’s primary caretaker while her partner completed medical school. They applied for, and were granted, co-guardianship of the child. As they were in the process of considering adoption (including beginning to draft the adoption paperwork), bio-mom had an affair and the relationship ended.”

    It ought not to depend on these factors. If a child has a relationship with a non-parental adult, okay, there may be a basis for considering some sort of legal affirmation but not full parental status against the wishes of the parent.

    A child’s relationship with her parent is first and foremost the turning factor. If another adult has a relationship with the child via an relationship with the mother, then, when that adult-adult relationship ends, so does the child-adult relationship that had depended on the mother’s relationship with the other woman. If the mother’s right to withhold consent is abolished, then, the courts would be setting a radical departure from the sound principles of legal parenthood.

    No stranger can be forced upon a child; the mother’s consent is decisive.

    On the other hand, suppose the tables were turned and the mother wanted to make demands on an unwilling adult. The radical departure lays the immediate groundwork for forced adoption against the will of the ‘adoptor’. All based on the adult-adult relationship to which neither adult continues to consent.

  47. bman
    September 17th, 2011 at 15:35 | #47

    Spunky: For a good analysis of the available research on LGBT parenting (as of 2007), check out Meezan and Rauch’s article.

    In a previous discussion with Spunky on that article we both agreed on this statement from his article,

    “…the research does not yet show….whether the children studied are typical of the general population of children raised by gay and lesbian couples…”

    So it can’t be used to speak of how gay parenting looks for the general population.

  48. bman
    September 17th, 2011 at 17:45 | #48

    Spunky: Thus when comparing children from gay families to children from straight families, we should only focus on parents whose children only know those two as parents. For example, gay parents whose kids have already experience a divorce should only be compared to other family structures that involve divorced parents.

    I think you are bypassing an important question here, whether a child is generally hurt by not having known a father.

    It seems that should be answered before moving to your point.

  49. Spunky
    September 17th, 2011 at 20:51 | #49

    bman :

    Spunky: Thus when comparing children from gay families to children from straight families, we should only focus on parents whose children only know those two as parents. For example, gay parents whose kids have already experience a divorce should only be compared to other family structures that involve divorced parents.

    I think you are bypassing an important question here, whether a child is generally hurt by not having known a father.
    It seems that should be answered before moving to your point.

    If a child is hurt by not having known a father, then we should attempt to isolate that as a variable. In other words, just study children whose parents are gay adoptive parents (or children whose gay parents used IVF or some other artificial insemination) and compare them to kids raised by straight parents (perhaps adoptive, or biological). However, if we are truly to examine only that aspect, we must exclude other cases, such as kids who have divorced parents, as I had suggested.

    bman :

    Spunky: For a good analysis of the available research on LGBT parenting (as of 2007), check out Meezan and Rauch’s article.

    In a previous discussion with Spunky on that article we both agreed on this statement from his article,
    “…the research does not yet show….whether the children studied are typical of the general population of children raised by gay and lesbian couples…”
    So it can’t be used to speak of how gay parenting looks for the general population.

    We had also agreed that the studies still showed a lot about the way gay parents raise their children (as Meezan and Rauch say), so there is still much to be gleaned from this research. Furthermore, bman failed to provide any study showing that children did worse when being raised by gay parents. While he did express concern over the possibility that children raised by gay parents are more likely to be gay themselves, I cited the APA’s website, which states there is no known causation between homosexuality and any sort of mental illness or depression.

    Thus my original point (that there is no evidence to suggest children raised by non-divorced gay parents do any worse than kids raised by (adoptive or biological) straight parents), remains. Neither you nor Chairm have ever countered this claim. Why can’t you just say “yes, this is true,” or “no, this is false”?

  50. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 09:31 | #50

    Spunky: “So while you didn’t use the term ‘gay parenting’” you were clearly referring to gay parents.”

    Go back to my previous comments to which you objected. I did not say what you claimed. Your accusatory complaint remains unjustified.

    Subseuqently, in response to your accusations, I commented further and sought clarification of your intended meaning for “gay parenting” which you claimed has been well-studied.

    Now you have confirmed that the sexualized aspect of the adult-adult relationship is your emphasis. Your focus is on the adult-adult relationship, right? On what makes “gay parenting” gay, in your mind.

  51. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 09:43 | #51

    Spunky you are confused.

    Earlier you said that I had referenced “every other family structure out there” except for “gay parenting”.

    You’d now narrow the structure to a tiny subset of the already tiny subset of same-sex households (again a census term that assumes a homosexualized relationship between the adults in the household) with children.

    About 97% of the adult homosexual population does not reside in such households. Of the 3% who do reside in same-sex households with children, the vast majority attained those children by means other than adoption and/or third party procreation.

    Adoption and third party procreation might account for 5% of households in which the child population live in such a structure; you are sweeping aside 95% of children in the structure you referred to as “gay parenting”.

    Why?

  52. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 10:10 | #52

    Spunky said: “If you want to compare children of gay parents who have divorced, you have to compare them to children of straight parents who have divorced.”

    The vast majority of those children residing in same-sex households are children of divorced or estranged parents.

    But you did a tricky switch right there. You would push that aside, again, and propose that the comparison you would rather deal with is between two subsets of divorced parents, those gay and those straight. Once again your emphasis is on the gay/straight dichotomy rather than on the actual structure. That switch is deceptive and not intellectually honest.

  53. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 10:41 | #53

    And, as you might know, the benchmark is not “children of straight parents who have divorced”.

    Your narrowed meaning for, gay parenting, is now “gay parents who either adopted a child or in some other way have parented a child since the first years of its life.”

    First years? The first ten? Please be more specific and justify the parameter and the significance of such a limitation.

    In some other way have parented? Please be more specific and explain the necessity (or potential usefulness) of that specificity.

    Clearly, the term, gay parenting, is not used as narrowly as you now wish to use it. Apparently you have acknowlged that you’d exclude from your intended meaning the vast majority of children who reside in the same-sex structure that features gay duos raising children. Please confirm.

    Justification for the exclusions is not self-evident.

    Further, please provide the justification for excluding nonsexualized same-sex homes in which the adults have in some way parented during the first years of the child’s life. This is important since this excludes far more children than there are in assumptively gay same-sex households.

    You’d exclude based on the same-sex sexual behavior of the adults but not based on the lack of the other sex; you’d further exclude based on the adults in some way parenting during the first years of the life of the children. Each of these parameters needs a rationale that is not merely politically motivated as per gay identity politics.

    Apparently you are trying to put forth a sex-segregative benchmark that you would then compare with the already established benchmark of the married mom-dad structure. There are huge problems with your approach but that is probably due to the underlying problems you have attempted to brush aside.

    1. Your heavy narrowing leaves an absurdly tiny pool from which to draw randomized samples; and

    2. Longitudinal studies of your proposed narrowed focus are not now available and wouldn’t be for a couple of decades (although today you might prefer to speculate very favorably in the service of gay identity politics); and

    3. You still have not offered a justification for the narrowed focus — much less the effort to study under such restrictions.

    4. The available research that produced the wide social-scientific consensus on the benchmark of married mom-dad duos is mountainous and contradicts the gay-emphasis on a sex-segregative structure.

    “Gay parenting” — as you have tried to narrow it — excludes either mom or dad; and it is based on attaining children through the intended exclusion of either mom or dad via third party procreation; or it is based on the sex-segregative structure attaining infants (if that is your meaning) via adoption. Both of these methods for attaining children have profound problems for man-woman duos so it is astonishing that you would proposed a sex-segregative (or gaycentric if that is your actual meaning) structure that relies solely on such methods.

    You might explain how you imagine the “gay” structure is superior to the “straight” structure when it comes to third party procreation and adoption of infants.

  54. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:01 | #54

    Spunky, you did not say how the sexualized same-sex parenting structure is superior to the nonsexualized same-sex parenting structure.

    What you did say is: “the same ways in which married straight couples have a superior family structure to those of, say, a grandfather and a mother, or a brother and sister raising their sibling as a child.”

    Please list these “same ways”.

    It can’t be directly tied to marital status, right? You have not narrowed your “gay parenting” scenario to those who have SSM’d.

    You proposed comparing like with like, within the gay-straight dichotomy, so I suppose you might have meant to include the unwed mom-dad structure as superior to these other structures (and the equal of the married mom-dad structure). See footnote.

    If so, you are at odds with the available social scientific evidence. You would also be at odds with the highly politicized claims of the pro-SSM campaign. Please clarify your intended meaning.

    * * *
    Footnote:

    Note that “straight” is irrelevant to the evidence but it is highly relevant to your comments here. You keep bringing up “gay” and “straight”. This, it now appears confirmed, is because your emphasis is on the sexualization of the relationship between the adults in the family structure. I have not suggested that the grandmom-mom scenario is sexualized; quite the contrary. But you are still in need of explaining how sexualization makes all the difference.

  55. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:07 | #55

    By the by, what is claimed as the “gold standard of research of this kind” depends very much on what is meant by “this kind”. Pointing at a link to some who makes such a statement is insufficient, as this discussion makes readily apparent to readers. Studying the outcomes of children by family structure does have a gold standard: randomized samples and longitudinal frameworks. Hundreds of millions of children have been studied over the past two-three decades during which alternatives to the married mom-dad duo have proliferated. Compared to that, the studies of “gay parenting” are improverished. Sure, some are better than others. But that does not translate into gold. Nor does it negate the established benchmark of mom-dad in a low conflict marriage.

    The evidence points to a societal need for more such marriages rather than an abandonment of the benchmark in favor of a politically induced sex-segregative sub-standard.

  56. Chairm
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:44 | #56

    Spunky, the quotes you listed from my comments were not “condescending insults” nor insults of any kind. They were objective statements.

    You have not identified the special ingredient, apart from emphasizing gay this and gay that. That lack of substance prompted the blowing smoke prediction. That is no insult.

    When you misrepresented what I had said earlier, I noted that you might read with more care. Misrepresentation due to negligence or incompetence can be corrected by oneself, even if prompted by others. That is no insult.

    I speculated earlier that the gay emphasis in your comments had no visible means of support, apart from a reliance on gay identity politics. Your subsequent remarks are leaning toward confirmation of that. One might admit the reliance. Or one might offer an alternative basis. Or one might continue to make claims and present comments that reveal thoughts and feelings captive of identity politics. My comment was no insult.

    Talking past one another in discussion of politicized topics is quite common. My saying that I though you did so in earnest was not an insult.

    And, frankly, it is remarkable to me that you would imagine that asking you to live up to your own stated standards is an insult.

    You may feel insulted. You may wish others to perceive you as having been insulted. And you may wish to accuse me of insulting you. But you have not quoted insults.

    When comments are driven by emotion, it can be difficult to sustain a civil discussion. Noting the problems of emotions leading the way is not an insult. anticipating that you would rely on feelings rather than reasoning is not an insult. You have offered nothing to support your gay emphasis, thusfar, and it is fair to continue to anticipate that you will reveal that emphasis to be led by feelings rather than social scientific evidence.

    You haven increasingly narrowed the structure of the parenting scenario you wish to emphasize. As you have done so you have not abandoned the gay emphasis in your comments. Perhaps you can explain why that emphasis is not led by emotion but is led by the available evidence instead.

    What narrative do you propose to connect same-sex sexualized behavior with better outcomes for children in the narrowed “gay parenting” structure you have in mind. How is the lack of either mom or dad made-up with the presence of another adult of the same sex? And how is that connected to same-sex sexualized relationships and not to nonsexualized relationships that are one-sexed?

    Show readers that your feelings have not got out far ahead of your reasoning on this.

  57. Spunky
    September 19th, 2011 at 13:37 | #57

    @Chairm

    I’m afraid we’re going to have to completely disagree on every aspect of this discussion. I already stated my reasons for comparing non-divorced gay parents to non-divorced straight parents, and for comparing divorced gay parents to divorced straight parents. I will try to say it one more time:

    If one wants to see how two parents of the same sex raise children in comparison to two parents of the opposite sex, one must isolate that single aspect and examine it. This is important because the entire framework for this discussion is about parenting rights for gay couples (and perhaps same-sex parents in general). If we’re going to look at the 95% of gay couples with children who have not adopted/had third party procreation, we must compare them to other couples in analogous situations if we want to examine the effect of gay parenting on children.

    As for the mom-mom/grandma-mom scenario, there are several differences in the family structure that I believe are obvious. For example, in the mom-mom scenario, both parents planned to raise a child, whereas the grandma probably did not. Another example: both moms will almost certainly be alive for the child’s first 18 years. Another example: both moms are young and in a stage of life where they are better able to handle their child’s energy, where the grandma is not. These are just off the top of my head–I’m sure you can come up with more. Note that the first reason really stands out above all else–the two moms planned to have and raise their child. No other scenario you suggested will reliably have that component.

    I’m done talking about this. I’m sure you’ll still have questions, but I’ve said all I can say in this forum.

    ***

    Finally, we’re especially in disagreement about your tone.

    Chairm :
    Spunky, you are confused.

    At least I’m not still blowing smoke.

    You have talked down on me this entire debate. I have never done this to anyone on this blog, and I have never seen anyone (including Betsy, Dr. J., Susan, Mary, bman, Glenn, John Howard, Paul H., John Noe, TAR, Sean, Heidi, Rob, nerdygirl) use the same patronizing tone that you use. If you really think you aren’t being condescending and that accusations of “blowing smoke” are objective facts, then I don’t know what to say.

    Chairm :
    When comments are driven by emotion, it can be difficult to sustain a civil discussion.

    Yet again with the patronizing. Do you think this isn’t an emotional issue for every single person who posts on these forums? Yet we all manage to control our tone out of respect for the other side. I wish you could do the same, so I wouldn’t have to waste time writing about this.

    Of course, I know you won’t. I’ll ignore your insults from now on, but just know that it lowers the quality of the debate and distracts from the topic at hand.

  58. bman
    September 19th, 2011 at 14:10 | #58

    Spunky :
    We had also agreed that the studies still showed a lot about the way gay parents raise their children (as Meezan and Rauch say), so there is still much to be gleaned from this research.

    I don’t recall agreeing to that.

    My view is that the research is based on a rationalization that “homosexual behavior of a child is not relevant to a child’s mental health.” That rationalization, however, is not a scientific fact. Its a rationalization.

    Furthermore, bman failed to provide any study showing that children did worse when being raised by gay parents. While he did express concern over the possibility that children raised by gay parents are more likely to be gay themselves, I cited the APA’s website, which states there is no known causation between homosexuality and any sort of mental illness or depression.

    The studies that children raised by by gay parents are more likely to develop atypical sexuality and gender traits, I regard as showing harm.

    You rationalized the harm away, though, as those studies also did.

    As for your mention of the APA, I feel that was adequately refuted by Dr. Cummings, former president of the APA.

    He stated, “The APA has permitted political correctness to triumph over science, clinical knowledge and professional integrity. The public can no longer trust organized psychology to speak from evidence rather than from what it regards to be politically correct. ”

    As for, “no known causation between homosexuality and any sort of mental illness or depression” we know there is a strong correlation between homosexuality and other mental disorders.

    That should be reason enough to protect children from an environment where they would be more likely to develop homosexuality.

    See Same-Sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders in the Netherlands. This study concluded by saying, “The findings support the assumption that people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.”

    Even if gay parenting studies are not researched any better than what already exists, they still suggest that gay parenting correlates with children being more likely to develop atypical sexuality and gender traits.

    From there, we then turn to studies like the one from the Netherlands that show “…people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.”

    When you put those two research tracts together they mean that (1) gay parenting produces more children who practice same-sex sexual behavior, which (2) places those children at greater risk for psychiatric disorders.

  59. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 08:46 | #59

    Spunky, it may surprise you to learn that it is evident in this discussion that you are still blowing smoke and that your confusions continue to mount.

    One might be generous and consider that, charitably, the latter might be the cause of the former. I’ve seen this predictable line of rhetoric before and so I am more inclined to think that the source of both the confusion and the smoke arises from a concerted effort to confuse and thus to generate and use the smoke as a screen.

    But readers can decide for themselves, of course.

  60. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 10:44 | #60

    Spunky objected my original comments by reminding bman and myself of the importance of family structure. Of course, immediately prior to that reminder both bman and myself made this very point in challenge to Spunky’s previous remarks.

    So Spunky might agree that family structure matters.

    Spunky, you claimed that “There have been no long-term negative aspects of the mental health, success, intelligence, and overall happiness of children raised by gay couples.”

    Your quoted claim is objectively false.

    Most of the children living in same-sex households got there when either mom or dad moved from a procreative relationship (usually marriage of husband and wife). These children of divorced or estranged mom-dad duos comprise the largest subset of children raised by “gay families” (Spunky’s term). The alternate structure they find themseves in is the direct result of a deliberate decision to swap one family structure for another.

    It appears to me, and you can correct if I am mistaken, that, in your view of the available evidence, the gay identity of parents makes no difference to family structure.

    However the decision to swap is based on gay identity rather than stability. And the sex of the adults is clearly decisive when one moves from a two-sexed scenario to a one-sexed scenario. Your objections that sex is all we are concerned with might justly apply to most of those engaged in “gay parenting”. These are broken families whether or not you wish to acknowledge that.

    You blindly dismissed the research on broken families that bman pointed toward. You ought to correct your claim I quoted above.

    Meanwhile, there are parents who experience same-sex sexual attraction and yet remain faithful to their husband-wife unions; they love their spouses and they raise their children as united mom-dad duos. Are these parents engaged in “gay parenting” by your terms? If not, why not?

    But you also said to bman and myself: “You have no concept of what gay parenting is like because you refuse to cite any facts about it. It seems you want to find out everything there is to know about gay parents by researching every other family structure except gay parents.”

    Here you appear to claim that “gay parenting” is a distinct family structure. That there are known facts about this structure. That studying the realm of alternative family structures tells us nothing about “gay parents”.

    On the other hand, if “gay” is an irrelevant factor, it cannot be definitive of a family structure, in your own view. It is an elusive thing — like the glimpse of a distant shadow on the horizon — that even you, an advocate of studying “gay parenting” have not been able to cite with clarity.

    What we do know about family structure is that the lack, or the diminishment, of the unity of motherhood and fatherhood has negative implications for society and for children in particular circumstances. You have not yet distinguished “gay parenting” from this knowledge of family structures.

  61. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 10:59 | #61

    Spunky said: “Thus when comparing children from gay families to children from straight families, we should only focus on parents whose children only know those two as parents.”

    Why? Other than your reliance on your emphasis on a gay-straight dichotomy (one which does not feature is relevant you said), why must the other one-sexed scenarios be excluded, in your view?

    No child is born of two women, obviously. So you would rely on children who are brought up to believe in the fiction that mom’s female sexual partner is another mom just because of the sexualization of that one-sexed relationship. Maybe you would not be so shallow as that, but please clarify.

    If instead you rely on the relationship between the second woman and the child blossoming into a special relationship based on caretaking and so forth, then, you cannot fairly exclude the grandmom-mom scenario.

    A grandparent is a type of parent and in the sort of scenario you would exclude the two adults provide a structure that is reliable and depends on the two of them looking after the well-being of the children they have in common.

    So which is it, Spunky: the sexualized aspect is relevant or it is irrelevant when it comes to outcomes for children in a family structure that lacks either mom or dad?

  62. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:03 | #62

    I should add the following quote from Spunky: “we need to focus specifically on the same-sex aspect of the family structure and nothing else.”

    And note that most of the grandmom-mom scenarios are comprised of non-lesbian women. So they might fit the “straight” side of the comparison with “gay parenting” that Spunky proposed.

    If this is just about labels rather than structure, then, the smoke detector will be triggered amongst the readership, Spunky.

  63. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:27 | #63

    Spunky said: “is no evidence to suggest children raised by non-divorced gay parents do any worse than kids raised by (adoptive or biological) straight parents”.

    You are standing on a small hill way out in left field and posing as if this was the higher ground of the pitcher’s mound. From where you stand you have not even reached second base. You are facing the stands not keeping your eye on the ball.

    In terms of what you are awaiting, there are no studies of any kind that fulfill the gold standard of large randomized samples within a longitudinal framework. The pool of children in the narrowed “gay parenting” circumstances you would stake everything on is, well, microscopic, in social scientific terms. So there is a systemic problem in doing this research that is unlikely to be overcome. It certainly has not been overcome to-date.

    That is why I questioned you for your narrative of how the sexualization of the one-sexed scenario is connected to the outcomes for children. Bman has noted a connection found in the available research. Apart from “gay parenting” (a nebulous term of course), the lack of fathers increases the risk of markedly higher levels of promiscuity among daughters and violence among sons. Children of third party procreation techniques are now finding their voices and are bringing to light the intrinsic problems of the practice. Studies of adopted children are not irrelevant to the discussion and yet you would wait for gay specific studies.

    Insufficient evidence does not weigh in favor of the sexualized one-sexed parenting scenario that you emphasized in your comments. Your view that it does not weigh against is a distortion of the available social scientific evidence on the vast array of family structures that have much in common with “gay parenting” as you have described it here, variously.

  64. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 11:57 | #64

    Spunky said:

    “[1] As for the mom-mom/grandma-mom scenario, there are several differences in the family structure that I believe are obvious. For example, in the mom-mom scenario, [2] both parents planned to raise a child, whereas the grandma probably did not. Another example: [3] both moms will almost certainly be alive for the child’s first 18 years. Another example: [4] both moms are young and in a stage of life where they are better able to handle their child’s energy, where the grandma is not. These are just off the top of my head–I’m sure you can come up with more. [5] Note that the first reason really stands out above all else–the two moms planned to have and raise their child. No other scenario you suggested will reliably have that component.”

    I number your points for the sake of clarity in response to your comment.

    1. Of the items you listed, not one is definitive of structure.

    2. Sometimes the grandmom-mom scenario arises due to divorce or estrangement of the mom-dad duo. More often, it arises because the mom is single and before the child is born, or within the first years (as per your own terms) they have made clear their mutual intent (or plan) to raise the child together. Such lifetime commitments are not nearly as half-hazard as perhaps you’d imagine.

    On the other hand, when it comes to the use of third party procreation for the sake of “gay parenting” the planning, such as it might be, is not nearly as well-planned as perhaps you’d imagine. We are just now beginning to see the beginnings of a tidal wave of court cases that will inundate the family court system.

    However, if you think that planning is definitive of structure, then, you need to take into account the single moms who are about one-third of adoptors and about one-fifteenth of users of artificial reproductive services. You need to take into account the official and unofficial plans that go into custody cases or even amical divorces and provisions for raising children.

    The Plan is not really definitive of structure. But that is what you offered, off the top of your head, and so you might now take some time to propose something more substantive.

    3 and 4. A child who turns 18 years of age might have a grandmom who is 40 years old — say, 58. Most women — and grandmoms are no exception — generally do live to see the 18th birthday of their grandchildren. Maybe you want to narrow this to moms who have children in their late thirties? Okay, so grandmom would be in her fifties for the child’s birth and late sixties or early seventies on the 18th birthday.

    If this is definitive of structure, as you think, then, you cannot exclude in the comparison the various scenarios in which either mom or dad becomes widowed; or either mom or dad is in their fifities, and so forth. You certainly could not include “gay parenting” by adults who are in a subset of the general population at greater risk for certain life-threatening illnesses — or even illness that either diminish energy or diminish resources to care for children.

    On the other hand, the mom-dad structure is based on the man and woman sharing the woman’s biological clock, as it were, and not only raising their children together but also being supportive of their grandchildren, as well. Grandparents are not nearly as feeble as you’d portray.

    You have not narrowed the factors that would define a big difference between “gay parenting” (which often incudes older adults) and the grandmom-mom scenario much less a wide range of other scenarios.

    * * *

    Look, I realize you that you may be ill-prepared to discuss this issue in social scientific terms and the real dog in this fight that you are favoring is gay identity politics. That much has pretty much been confirmed for me in your responses here. We can put that stuff aside for now.

    So let’s take a step back and return to the narrative by which you imagine that the sexualized one-sexed scenario is superior to all other alternative scenarios — the wide range of family structures abound — such that would prove to be the equal of the married mom-dad benchmark. What is the decisive points in that narrative, Spunky, from a societal perspective?

  65. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:01 | #65

    Edit: “A child who turns 18 years of age might have a grandmom who is 40 years older — say, 58.”

  66. Chairm
    September 20th, 2011 at 12:16 | #66

    Spunky said: “Do you think this isn’t an emotional issue for every single person who posts on these forums?”

    On the contrary. That is why I expressly noted that leading with emotion makes civil discussion more difficult.

    Measured by your own terms for objecting to my comments, your comments have been infused with a low tone and with insults. But your terms for objecting to my comments are not useful. Neither your comments nor mine suffer from the flaws you now attribute to only to the remark from me that you have quoted.

    I’ve questioned your competence on the social science. I’ve questioned your bias. I’ve questioned your offered assertions, claims, and explanations.

    As you have of others, including myself.

    A substantive response, rather than a feigned pose of victimhood, would be more appropriate and in keeping with civil discourse.

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