One parent or five?

October 7th, 2011

by Carolyn Moynihan

Most couples who marry, even today, probably intend to have one or two children at least. Marriage and the baby carriage (as family scholar Brad Wilcox likes to pair them) have always gone together. But this is not what is meant by the new catch-phrase “intentional parenthood”.

A report out today (golly, there are another half dozen more sitting in my in-box) from the Institute for American Values’ Commission on Parenthood’s Future, surveys the variety of parenthood set-ups that have emerged in the era of reproductive technology and same-sex coupling.

One Parent Or Five tracks them around the world. They range from single mothers by choice (intentional motherhood, different from the “I got pregnant by accident” variety) to “families of choice” where as many as five adults claim aspects of the parental function.

Gone is the two-in-one-flesh man and wife and their natural offspring — i.e. the family founded on biological as well as spiritual bonds — and in its place is the concept of “functional parenthood”, based on who actually cares for the child. This is a distribution of roles, by the way, that is designed to suit the adults, regardless of how good it is for the children.

Author of the report, Elizabeth Marquardt, observes:

More recently, intentional parenthood has been elevated as a good by family diversity leaders who have long fought to make their case for the equal value of all family structures, despite the reality of messy divorces, stressed-out remarriages, and unplanned births to struggling single moms. Drawing upon longstanding ideas about the value of planned pregnancy embedded in public discussion on contraceptive and abortion rights, family diversity advocates now discover among lesbians and gays using artificial reproductive technologies a realm of peace and order, intention and planning—where no child can fall into that dreaded category of personhood: the accident.

You can study the full range of “families” in the report. I haven’t had time to myself yet but it will certainly be fascinating to see all these experiments gathered in one place; shocking and sad as well, because, for all the boasting about the “wantedness” of the children, the wanting is extremely egocentric and takes little thought for the needs of the children themselves. As Marquardt discovered in her earlier study of young adults conceived through sperm donation, merely being wanted does not, on the whole, make for happier children.

So what does the study show? Does being explicitly planned—being most definitely wanted—spell terrific child outcomes, or at least better outcomes than for babies conceived in other ways? Actually, no. Quite the opposite. The donor offspring, those who are without a doubt the most uniformly wanted group at the outset, are, as a group, faring the worst. Compared to those who were adopted, they are hurting more and are more confused. They feel more isolated from their families. And compared to those raised by their biological parents, they suffer more often from addiction, delinquency, and depression.

Family structure is important too. And the idea that some adult/s who “wanted” you at the same time deprived you of a father, or mother, deliberately, outrages some of the victims. It is simply not the same as losing a father through bereavement, or even through “accidental” single motherhood or divorce. It is worse than all those. It is a direct attack on a child’s rights.

Marquardt concludes:

Keep reading.

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  1. Roivas
    October 8th, 2011 at 05:51 | #1

    In the past, parents would live in extended family communities, including grandparents, siblings and cousins. Thus children could have potentially dozens of adult figures who acted parental in some fashion. Do you have similar objections to this most “traditional” of arrangements?

  2. Regan DuCasse
    October 8th, 2011 at 11:46 | #2

    I was reading recently about older mothers and fathers to which the IVF issue is the most essential.
    But the ways in which people have formed families, despite fertility issues, mortality of mothers and infants, war and other factors can be chronicled in any ancient religious text or that of any given human culture.
    At root of marriage, is essentially IDENTITY.
    Virginity of the mother was the law so that a father would be able to have more assurance a child was HIS.
    Clans and tribes were formed around various other identification markers. For some, through the mothers because a child she birthed was more likely to be HERS biologically. Through contracts that called upon women and children to be property and handed off to another male relative in the event of the death of the biological father. To maintain lineage on HIS side.
    Ancient cultures got around the limits of infertility and mortality through surrogates, concubines, wet nurses, plural wives and indiscriminate mating by males without regard to the identity of the female in question, let alone one they were married to.

    Scientific intervention these days makes having SEX non essential to forming a child, as well as DNA assuring that the biological link to a child’s parents can be made. A
    Otherwise, nothing much is new.
    It was WASTING the seed, and using contraception and never having children that is STILL considered enough of a mortal sin that the stigma remains. Therefore people are encouraged to spread their progeny and have as many as possible. Even beyond one’s natural capacity.
    No, little has changed.
    Not even how clan and tribal feuds formulate around some people’s children becoming less valuable than others.
    The children of gay parents are denied the full security marriage would bring to them, for example. Children from historically marginalized minorities, like children of color suffer the most from abandonment and poverty for another.

    There isn’t any real concern for ALL children, and this article is a phony screed against ‘intentional’ parenthood, when ALL parenthood is intentional.
    Whether it’s good for the child or not, doesn’t really concern the FRC or FOTF.

    The proof is in how tribal and clannish FRC and FOTF actually is.
    If I were to trust that FRC, et al were as enlightened, intelligent and morally honest as they claim- they should be the first to respect and acknowledge natural checks and balances on overpopulation and the tempering value between the genders that homosexuality and asexuality represents.
    That contraception would be as much a birthright as conception.

    The problem isn’t so much that a child is planned for, awaited with love and into homes well prepared for them (whether gay or not), the problem is those parents who have no respect for the poverty, violence, addiction and abandonment they will subject their child to.

  3. bman
    October 8th, 2011 at 14:49 | #3

    Regan DuCasse->The children of gay parents are denied the full security marriage would bring to them, for example.

    Morally speaking, that would be due to the fault of the parent subjecting the child to the parent’s maladaptive lifestyle, which is not a fit model for children follow, or to be called marriage.

    The parent has full moral responsibility for the harm a same sex sexual relationship causes the child.

  4. Regan DuCasse
    October 8th, 2011 at 16:02 | #4

    @Roivas
    Some questions have no need of being asked, Roivas. And your question is one of them. It’s an INSULTING question, in fact.
    Extended family are actually the part in which one has no choice. Only becoming a spouse, and choosing to parent is the exception.
    And frankly, it’s gay people who can appreciate family, and being able to marry because they are the ones more rejected in either case, aren’t they?
    They are not the ones who have EVER had the option of keeping their families of origin, or being responsible for their significant others and some have cruelly lost custody of their children.
    Gay men and women, who have felt rejection by their parents and siblings are the ones who have formed alternative families out of necessity. Because there is no human being that could or SHOULD be forced to go without love, without loving someone else, or having the option of choosing who they want to be with and vice versa.
    Regardless, gay men and women aren’t sprung from pods left in fields with no origin. We ARE talking about ordinary human beings with the same basic needs who have come from parents and extended families too.
    They aren’t rejecting traditions, nor criticizing them or traditional families or traditional extended family. Indeed, getting married, being responsible for someone and children is a very traditional, responsible and committed thing to do along with what’s expected of other people.
    It’s about being INCLUDED in a tradition, not rejecting or even changing it really.
    To take your own point about what the roles extended members of one’s family can do, you are forgetting that those same sex couples who become parents have precisely other people in their lives to fill what you might think is some void of gender.

    To decide gay people are deserving of not marrying based on a presumption such voids are there, has no basis in fact.

    That’s like assuming a couple that is tone deaf, won’t do anything to find a musically talented community for their musically gifted child, or parents of a special needs child will only surround themselves with those whose children are not. Would you say that parents who adopt or are raising a child with a very different color or ethnicity is going to isolate themselves from those who are the same as their child. Or they are rejecting their color or ethnicity for doing so?
    Gay people know members of the opposite sex the same way anyone else does, including their primary family.
    I’m a black woman married to a white man, that doesn’t mean I hate or reject black men as a spouse.
    That is why your question is an insulting one.

    Gay people are the ones being abandoned here, not doing the abandoning. Not even of tradition. As I said, the obvious is that they are trying to be included in a tradition, not rejecting it.
    There is a difference.
    Know it.

  5. Sean
    October 8th, 2011 at 19:44 | #5

    “The parent has full moral responsibility for the harm a same sex sexual relationship causes the child.”

    If you think same-sex parenting is so harmful, why don’t you advocate that it be made illegal? You’ll have a lot of work ahead of you, since all 50 states have legal same-sex parenting.

    Gosh, since we know that same-sex couples are raising children, why not make the lives of their children more, not less, secure, by letting their parents marry? Or would putting the needs of children ahead of your personal prejudices be too difficult?

  6. Regan DuCasse
    October 9th, 2011 at 10:45 | #6

    @bman,
    Your claim of gay parents having a ‘maladaptive lifestyle’ and will do harm. Has no basis in facts. It’s a claim, repeated over and over again.
    But there is no truth in it.
    None.

    There is no legal basis that involves qualifying couples on what a maladaptive lifestyle is. Which is an example of the hypocrisy confronting gay couples in this discourse.

    Were a couple required to present whether they were addicts, living in poverty, had a criminal history of violence, had borne other children out of wedlock, or a divorce in their history, the odds would be more likely their children would have problems in the future.
    Even health status that requires couples with GENETIC diseases be denied becoming parents isn’t legal.
    How about people whose professions are dangerous. Like soldiers? Peace officers, miners?
    You really DON’T want to go down that road because INEVITABLY, you’re going to be a hypocrite, contradict yourself, or display double talk and double standards.

    So just WHERE are you trying to fit in homosexuality as a means of discrimination? When compared to the aforementioned, that can equally effect all kinds of couples, homosexuality and having same sex parents is hardly a PROBLEM.
    One could reasonably argue that bigoted definitions of gay people is more harmful that being a gay person.

    You either have to have equal discrimination, or equal rights.
    And once and for ALL, don’t EVER, EVER…call homosexuality a ‘lifestyle’.
    You can’t even define sexual orientation correctly.
    Let alone the legal terms of marriage as we know it.

  7. bman
    October 9th, 2011 at 23:22 | #7

    Sean ->…since we know that same-sex couples are raising children, why not make the lives of their children more, not less, secure, by letting their parents marry? Or would putting the needs of children ahead of your personal prejudices be too difficult?

    The unmet need of the child to have married parents is caused by the parent entering a same sex sexual relationship while raising a child.

    The principle is the same for when a married man has a child by a woman he can’t legally marry. The unmet need of the child to have married parents is the responsibility of the parent, not society.

    The same applies to a same sex parent who decides to raise a child in a same sex sexual relationship. The unmet need of the child for married parents was created by the parent entering a maladaptive sexual relationship that can’t legally marry. That is where the buck should stop. The parent has full moral responsibility for whatever harm a same sex sexual relationship causes the child.

    Furthermore, your comment is basically a blame shifting tactic. Its similar to saying we would “put the needs of children first” if we officially recognized polygamy or brother and sister marriages since such relationships already exist that are raising children.

    Its a flawed principle because (1) it falsely shifts blame from the parents to society and (2) it would only provide a limited benefit to such children while fostering a growing percentage of maladaptive sexual relationships around children due to official recognition given those relationships. Ultimately, it would hurt children collectively by helping such relationships to become more prevalent; which would subject more and more children to such relationships.

    Its also rational to suppose a same sex marriage law would eventually erode public norms concerning marriage, and that eroded norms would show up statistically as less marriage between men and women. This would deprive children the security of married parents across future generations on a scale that is hard to imagine.

  8. bman
    October 10th, 2011 at 00:40 | #8

    Regan DuCasse :
    Your claim of gay parents having a ‘maladaptive lifestyle’ and will do harm. Has no basis in facts. It’s a claim, repeated over and over again.
    But there is no truth in it.
    None.

    I refer you to a previous discussion I had on that.

    The link below takes you to post 9 on the page and the discussion goes back and forth from there.

    http://www.ruthblog.org/2011/08/11/intelligent-replies-to-idiotic-comments-part-2-gasp/comment-page-2/#comment-25501

  9. bman
    October 10th, 2011 at 13:04 | #9

    Regan DuCasse ->Even health status that requires couples with GENETIC diseases be denied becoming parents isn’t legal. How about people whose professions are dangerous. Like soldiers? Peace officers, miners? You really DON’T want to go down that road because INEVITABLY, you’re going to be a hypocrite, contradict yourself, or display double talk and double standards. So just WHERE are you trying to fit in homosexuality as a means of discrimination? When compared to the aforementioned, that can equally effect all kinds of couples, homosexuality and having same sex parents is hardly a PROBLEM.

    Your argument here is flawed because gays are permitted under existing law to marry, just as the other classes you mentioned are.

    What you really intend is a right to “redefine” marriage, but that right does not follow from any argument you made in your post.

  10. bman
    October 10th, 2011 at 14:04 | #10

    Regan DuCasse->You either have to have equal discrimination, or equal rights.

    Not so. The state can sanction marriage between one man and one woman and make that form of marriage equally available to all persons. It need not sanction all forms of marriage or make all forms equally available

    Equality at law does not require the law to create equality, but it requires that rational laws be equally applied. Bride-groom marriage meets that standard.

    And once and for ALL, don’t EVER, EVER…call homosexuality a ‘lifestyle’.

    Objectively speaking, sexual cohabitation with a same sex partner is a lifestyle. Raising a child in that environment is subjecting a child to a maladaptive lifestyle.

    Whatever “theory” of orientation you hold, its “subjective.” The fact a sexual lifestyle exists to which a child is subjected is “objective.”

    You can’t even define sexual orientation correctly.

    I did not mention “orientation”since its a shifting concept that keeps changing and for which various theories exist. Its like the weather, wait awhile and it will change. Law should be based on objective criteria, not the latest theory.

    Besides, the fact I do not define it your way only proves I do not define it your way.

    … Let alone [define] the legal terms of marriage as we know it.

    Where did you get this? You seem to make accusations based on some prejudice you hold.

    Anyway, for starters, marriage at law is a state sanctioned sexual relationship between one bride and one groom.

  11. Bob Barnes
    October 10th, 2011 at 16:23 | #11

    bman :

    Regan DuCasse :
    Your claim of gay parents having a ‘maladaptive lifestyle’ and will do harm. Has no basis in facts. It’s a claim, repeated over and over again.
    But there is no truth in it.
    None.
    I refer you to a previous discussion I had on that.
    The link below takes you to post 9 on the page and the discussion goes back and forth from there.
    http://www.ruthblog.org/2011/08/11/intelligent-replies-to-idiotic-comments-part-2-gasp/comment-page-2/#comment-25501

    bman, Dr. Hansen’s study has already been dismissed.discredited. First, she did not do any research herself, she took data from ten other studies (which happen to disagree with her) and created research to fit her ideology.
    ——————————————-
    What is there to know about Hansen?

    Hansen was called to testify for the Montana Supreme Court hearing for two Lesbian parents for parental rights.

    First let’s look at one small item in the court’s order. When describing the facts of the proceedings, one thing lept out at me:

    Dr. Hansen admitted on cross-examination that parenting evaluations represented a new area for her and that she never actually had prepared one. Dr. Hansen never had been qualified as an expert witness by any court. Dr. Hansen never had been retained by any party as an expert witness. Dr. Hansen’s psychology practice involved geriatric patients. Dr. Hansen conceded that she currently did not work with children and had fewer than four years of professional experience after earning her Ph.D. She had worked as a research assistant and had published one article in the journal Personality Assessment in a forensic-type situation.

    In June of last year, Dr. Hansen issued a press release breathlessly declaring, “Children raised by openly homosexual parents are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior themselves.” This was a follow up to her ” 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children.”

    What Hansen forgets to reveal in her arguments is that as a research assistant working with geriatric patients, she has no more qualification to make such claims than do I. But, like many anti-gay activists, she’s not above using her title deceptively to achieve her dishonest goals.

    The court was not impressed.

  12. bman
    October 11th, 2011 at 13:58 | #12

    Bob Barnes->Dr. Hansen’s study has already been dismissed.discredited.

    Are you claiming particular statements in her study were discredited?

    If so, can you give an example of one that was allegedly discredited?

  13. Sean
    October 11th, 2011 at 15:34 | #13

    “The unmet need of the child for married parents was created by the parent entering a maladaptive sexual relationship that can’t legally marry.”

    “Maladaptive”? Really? It’s 2011. There’s nothing “maladaptive” about same-sex relationships. But you repeat my point: they can’t legally marry, which is dumb and unfair to the child. Let same-sex couples get married, especially the ones raising kids! Primitive, religionist rules about marriage have no place in modern society.

  14. Sean
    October 11th, 2011 at 15:36 | #14

    “Equality at law does not require the law to create equality, but it requires that rational laws be equally applied. Bride-groom marriage meets that standard.”

    How is it rational to let straight couples marry, but not gay couples, especially when there are children involved? What makes more sense: letting a straight elderly couple marry, or a same-sex couple raising three children? In which case do the couple, children, and society benefit more?

  15. Leo
    October 11th, 2011 at 22:30 | #15

    “In the past, parents would live in extended family communities, including grandparents, siblings and cousins. Thus children could have potentially dozens of adult figures who acted parental in some fashion. Do you have similar objections to this most “traditional” of arrangements?”

    Regan properly takes Roivas to task for such comments. Did anyone on this blog have difficulty telling their uncle from their father, their aunt from their mother, their siblings from their cousins, or their parents from their grandparents? Did your uncle confuse his children with his nephews? Were your cousins unaware of who was a sibling and who was a cousin? Did your grandparents have trouble distinguishing their grandchildren from their children? Or their mother from their father for that matter. Did the law or the community have difficulty making these distinctions? All these people were role models and presumably they supported the extended family, as they did in my family, but each had his or her own role, roles that the law and the wider community well understood. Historically, and still in many parts of the world, strong, often patriarchal families and extended families went hand in hand without redefining, confusing, diluting, or artificially multiplying fatherhood either in the eyes of the law or the individuals involved. Once we start with marriage redefinition, the redefinition of parenthood, and the reassignment of children away from their natural parents will follow.

    @Sean
    How much sense does this make? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043345/The-California-boy-11-undergoing-hormone-blocking-treatment.html

  16. bman
    October 12th, 2011 at 05:33 | #16

    bman->The unmet need of the child for married parents was created by the parent entering a maladaptive sexual relationship that can’t legally marry.”

    Sean->“Maladaptive”? Really? It’s 2011. There’s nothing “maladaptive” about same-sex relationships.

    Your comment is another example of how a same sex marriage law would hurt children.

    A same sex marriage law would promote a lie to children that there’s nothing wrong with men having sex with men.

    Its spiritual wickedness to train children to believe such a thing.

    Children mimic what they are taught. The natural result of teaching children its ok for men to have sex with men is that children will mimic the behavior and be caught up in the gay lifestyle and all the hurt that goes with it.

    But you repeat my point: they can’t legally marry….

    My repeating the point simply confirms that a gay parent would know a same sex sexual relationship can’t legally marry.

    Thus, when a gay parent commits to a same sex sexual relationship he knowingly deprives the child of the security of having married parents.

    …they can’t legally marry, which is dumb and unfair to the child.

    Suppose a married man has a child by adultery and cannot legally marry the mother. He then says, “its dumb and unfair to the child that we can’t legally marry.”

    Or, suppose a brother and sister give birth to a healthy child and say, “its dumb and unfair to the child that we can’t legally marry.”

    In those scenarios, the comment, “its dumb and unfair to the child” is a rationalization that refuses to apply blame where it properly belongs, on the parent’s unwise behavior. And instead, it irresponsibly shifts all blame to society.

    I view your comment as doing the same thing.

    Was “society” unfair to the child in those scenarios? Of course not.

    By restricting marriage as it does, society actually encourages its citizens to take the wiser path that is ideal for raising children. If a parent takes a different path than what society recommends, the parent bears full responsibility for it and any hurt it brings to the child.

    Although restricting marriage may deny benefits to a small minority of children raised in unwise sexual relationships, the restriction also helps protect all children from being raised in unwise sexual relationships by deterring the proliferation of such relationships.

    The harm it prevents is far greater than the harm it permits — and the permitted harm is not caused by society but its actually caused by the parent who exercises sexual liberty in an unwise relationship that the child inherits.

  17. Ruth
    October 12th, 2011 at 08:37 | #17

    @Sean
    Every parent falls short in many ways. But we do well to present truth to our children, and admit our errors.
    The best two people of the same sex, whether they are a mother and daughter, a father and son, friends, or have some other relationship, can do in raising children is to tell then the truth about marriage, acknowledging marriage as the union of a man and woman committed to each other for life.
    In the case of adultery that is followed by a second marriage, it is better for the couple to tell the children that what they did was wrong, instead of telling the children that they should celebrate the wrong that was foisted upon them.

  18. Sean
    October 12th, 2011 at 19:34 | #18

    “A same sex marriage law would promote a lie to children that there’s nothing wrong with men having sex with men.”

    Well, there IS nothing wrong with men having sex with men, or women having sex with women, or men having sex with women. These fall under the category of private consensual behavior. Treating any of them differently amounts to promoting the lie that there IS something wrong with one of them.

    “Thus, when a gay parent commits to a same sex sexual relationship he knowingly deprives the child of the security of having married parents.”

    Not in the least. That presumes the child’s biological parents WANT to be married to each other. They might not. Sperm donors, surrogate mothers, and people who put their kids up for adoption rarely want to be married to the other parent of their child.

    Not all same-sex couples want to be parents. Can I assume that if they don’t have children you don’t object to their marrying?

  19. Sean
    October 12th, 2011 at 19:45 | #19

    “Every parent falls short in many ways. But we do well to present truth to our children, and admit our errors.”

    Both straight and gay parents fall short in many ways. But we do well to present truth to our children: some folks are straight and some folks are gay. It’s just the way nature made us as human beings. There are no errors.

  20. bman
    October 12th, 2011 at 23:18 | #20

    Sean :
    bman->Thus, when a gay parent commits to a same sex sexual relationship he knowingly deprives the child of the security of having married parents.

    Sean->That presumes the child’s biological parents WANT to be married to each other. They might not.

    It does not presume that.

    My comment simply presumes the gay parent decided at some point to raise the child in a same sex sexual relationship knowing it would deprive the child of having married parents.

    Not all same-sex couples want to be parents. Can I assume that if they don’t have children you don’t object to their marrying?

    This thread was started when I replied to Regan DuCasse’s comment, “The children of gay parents are denied the full security marriage would bring to them. ”

    My point has been the gay parent bears the responsibility for that, not society.

    With regard to your question, I believe bride-groom marriage is the only sexual relationship that should be formally sanctioned by the state.

  21. Heidi
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:07 | #21

    @bman

    “Children mimic what they are taught. The natural result of teaching children its ok for men to have sex with men is that children will mimic the behavior and be caught up in the gay lifestyle and all the hurt that goes with it.”

    That is a patently ridiculous statement. I have raised a child to adulthood to value diversity and equality. She has known LGBT people all of her life. I have been involved in a same-sex relationship for over half of her life. Guess what? She is completely straight and has been involved in a heterosexual relationship with the same boy for over two years now. The idea that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is somehow contagious is complete and utter hogwash. Children don’t “become” gay because they see other gay people. My partner was raised in the south, in a Southern Baptist home with a very normal family. She didn’t know that gay people even existed when she was a child, yet she knew that she was different from the other girls.

    Oh, and as someone who is living “the gay lifestyle,” and as someone who knows and loves many LGBT people, I can assure you that none of us are hurting.

    I don’t know where you get your stereotypes about homosexuality and LGBT people, but someone is filling your head with foolishness and lies.

  22. Heidi
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:09 | #22

    And why the focus on men who have sex with men? What about women? I frequently notice that when anti-gay people condemn homosexuality, they focus on men and on anal sex. It is like they are completely preoccupied by what two men may or may not do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Get over it already.

  23. bman
    October 13th, 2011 at 13:36 | #23

    bman-> A same sex marriage law would promote a lie to children that there’s nothing wrong with men having sex with men.

    Sean->Well, there IS nothing wrong with men having sex with men, or women having sex with women, or men having sex with women. These fall under the category of private consensual behavior. Treating any of them differently amounts to promoting the lie that there IS something wrong with one of them.

    People can ruin or enhance their quality of life based on how they exercise private consensual behavior.

    The category “private consensual behaviors” would have two subcategories — behaviors which ruin quality of life, and behaviors which enhance quality of life.

    Common sense requires that we treat these two sub-categories differently. To do otherwise is to promote a lie, an equality lie.

    To misguide children to believe “ruinous behaviors” belongs to the “quality enhancing” category reduces to hurting children. Its unconscionable to do that.

    A same sex marriage law would reduce to hurting children because it would misguide children to believe the equality lie. Your comment above simply illustrates one way the equality lie would be presented.

    Men having sex with men belongs to the category of private consensual behaviors that ruin quality of life. It should be framed in that category whenever mentioned.

    Teaching children its OK for men to have sex with men, effectively teaches them to ruin their lives.

  24. bman
    October 13th, 2011 at 21:44 | #24

    Heidi->That is a patently ridiculous statement. I have raised a child to adulthood to value diversity and equality. She has known LGBT people all of her life… Guess what? She is completely straight and has been involved in a heterosexual relationship with the same boy for over two years now.

    Its not ridiculous. Research shows a higher percentage of children develop homosexual tendencies when raised by lesbians, even if your daughter was not in that percentage.

    The Walter Schumm study reports that, “Daughters of lesbian mothers were most likely
    (33% to 57%; odds ratios from 4.5 to 12.1) to report non-heterosexual identities.”

    The idea that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is somehow contagious is complete and utter hogwash

    I answered your “not contagious” claim before.

    See the discussion on brain plasticity at http://www.ruthblog.org/2011/08/31/christian-consultant-gets-another-pink-slip/comment-page-1/#comment-26889

  25. bman
    October 14th, 2011 at 03:07 | #25

    Heidi->Oh, and as someone who is living “the gay lifestyle,” and as someone who knows and loves many LGBT people, I can assure you that none of us are hurting.

    Your assurance is based on too small a sample size to be scientific.

    The following excerpt is from the report, Homosexuality and Co-Morbidities Research and Therapeutic Implications

    ….a survey of the literature show[s] that a score of mental health conditions in almost every DSM category are present in the general SSA population at rates three or more times greater than in the opposite-sex attraction (OSA) population.

    These conditions include bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia, but more predominantly consist of mood disorders, depression, substance
    abuse, and suicidality. All need particular attention from therapists.

    People reporting SSA have a more widespread and intense psychopathological
    burden than probably any other group of comparable size in society, though college-age
    people may have more substance abuse problems.

    The reversed gender pattern of these conditions suggests some link with SSA itself.

    Surveys in recent literature suggest that perceived discrimination rather than objective discrimination is to blame for suicidality.

    Recent literature also finds that particular emotion/avoidant-based coping mechanisms
    used by people reporting SSA almost entirely account for the effects of this perceived
    discrimination.

    Here also are some excerpts written by a gay coalition in their formal protest to the Canadian government in 2009 demanding better health programs for gays.

    Their report was titled, “HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT Against the Government of Canada:
    Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada February 2009.”

    They blame these problems on “homophobia” in the society. But that is like saying moral disapproval of public indecency at gay pride marches is a “phobia.”

    Principled disapproval of maladaptive behavior is not “phobia.” Rather than accept responsibility for wrong behavior they accuse society of phobia. Its a blame shifting tactic, and nothing more.

    “The health status of GLB Canadians is among the poorest of any population in Canada”

    “…the life expectancy of GLB people is substantially lower than that of the general population.”

    “It has been estimated that gay/bisexual men have a life expectancy 20 years less than the average man in Canada.”

    “…GLB people commit suicide at rates that range from a low of twice as often, to a high of 13.9 times more often, than the general population.”

    “….GLB people have smoking rates ranging from a low of 1.3 times higher, to 3 times higher, than that of the general population. Studies of GLB youth have shown smoking rates even higher, with one study of young lesbians in the southern United States stating that 78% were smokers.”

    “… rates of alcoholism in GLB people show a range from a low of 1.4 times higher, to a high of 7 times greater, than the general population.”

    “…GLB people have higher rates of illicit drug use ranging from a low of 1.6 times higher, to a high of 19 times higher, than the general population.”

    “…studies into depression within the GLB community show rates ranging from a low of 1.8
    times higher, to a high of 3 times higher, than those within the general population”

    “….men who have sex with men…comprise 76.1% of the AIDS cases since statistics
    were first kept and 45% of the new HIV infections each year.”

    “Because of higher rates of smoking and alcohol use, GLB populations are at a higher risk for lung and liver cancer. Sexually-active gay and bisexual men have a higher prevalence of anal cancer precursors due to frequent exposure to the human papillomavirus, a virus believed also to be a contributor to high rates of head, throat and neck cancers among this same population. Lesbians are reported to be at a higher risk for breast cancer based on particular risk factors more prevalent in this population. Lesbians are also at increased
    risk for cervical cancer ….”

  26. bman
    October 14th, 2011 at 03:46 | #26

    @Heidi

    And why the focus on men who have sex with men? What about women?

    Its more effective to address only the flagship issue (MSM) during a discussion and to let it serve as a proxy for the sister issue (WSW).

  27. Roivas
    October 14th, 2011 at 11:44 | #27

    “Its more effective to address only the flagship issue (MSM) ”

    Why is men having sex with men so much more important?

  28. bman
    October 14th, 2011 at 21:09 | #28

    Roivas->Why is men having sex with men so much more important?

    Both are on the road that leads to self ruin, but I think most people would judge MSM as more ruinous than WSW.

    Also, the worst case should be handled by itself so the degree of severity is not diluted by associating it with an offense of lesser degree.

    Of course, if you think MSM and WSW are equal, it should make no difference to you that I make MSM the issue instead of WSW.

  29. Roivas
    October 15th, 2011 at 07:43 | #29

    “Both are on the road that leads to self ruin, but I think most people would judge MSM as more ruinous than WSW. ”

    Why?

    “Of course, if you think MSM and WSW are equal, it should make no difference to you that I make MSM the issue instead of WSW.”

    It does. It reveals your thinking.

  30. Sean
    October 16th, 2011 at 06:53 | #30

    “My comment simply presumes the gay parent decided at some point to raise the child in a same sex sexual relationship knowing it would deprive the child of having married parents.”

    Only because the law in most places doesn’t allow for same-sex marriage. It’s a Catch-22: you say they’re depriving a child of married parents but in many cases the couple wants to marry, but isn’t allowed to. It is society that is depriving the child of married parents.

  31. Sean
    October 16th, 2011 at 06:59 | #31

    “Teaching children its OK for men to have sex with men, effectively teaches them to ruin their lives.”

    How does having same-sex sex ruin a life? What alternatives do you recommend for gay and lesbian people? Should they build a fraudulent life with an unsuspecting opposite-sex straight person? Should they abstain from love, romance and sex altogether?

    I would argue that forcing oneself into a lifestyle that belongs to someone else, not yourself, is the ruinous choice. Let’s not be afraid of the variation that is the human experience.

  32. Sean
    October 16th, 2011 at 07:03 | #32

    “Principled disapproval of maladaptive behavior is not “phobia.””

    But unprincipled disapproval of perfectly normal behavior is. The obsession with gay people and their personal lives is a disorder, obviously. It may not have a name but it certainly deserves one. To believe that strangers, whose lives are different from your own, should have limited legal rights because you don’t approve of them, is maladaptive thinking. In this particular case, it has a label: homophobia. A definition of homophobia might be the irrational disapproval of the lives of gay and lesbian persons, and their place in society, including their legal rights.

  33. October 16th, 2011 at 21:16 | #33

    @Sean
    Sean, it’s people like you who insist on equal reproductive rights for same-sex couples who are depriving children of the security of married parents, because we could agree to a compromise of Civil Unions defined as “marriage minus conception rights” right now but you refuse to take the offer. Just try it! Try saying “OK, I accept this compromise, prohibit same-sex conception, in exchange for giving same-sex couples all the other rights and protections of marriage except the right to conceive offspring together.”

  34. Spunky
    October 18th, 2011 at 07:02 | #34

    bman :

    Regan DuCasse :
    Your claim of gay parents having a ‘maladaptive lifestyle’ and will do harm. Has no basis in facts. It’s a claim, repeated over and over again.
    But there is no truth in it.
    None.
    I refer you to a previous discussion I had on that.
    The link below takes you to post 9 on the page and the discussion goes back and forth from there.
    http://www.ruthblog.org/2011/08/11/intelligent-replies-to-idiotic-comments-part-2-gasp/comment-page-2/#comment-25501

    I cannot possibly understand how someone reading that thread could come to the conclusion that gay parents will in any way cause a harmful environment for their child. The topic of that discussion was the validity of the studies that concluded gay parenting was not at all harmful. The only thing you ever said was “it might be true that children of gay parents become gay,” but as Meezan and Rauch noted, the studies showed conflicting results so we’re not sure. We did conclude that we should be wary of the strength of these studies, but we most certainly did NOT decide they were wrong. The people you cited, on the other hand, were far less credible in every way than any of the respected studies on gay parenting. In the end, you did not post a single credible, objective piece of information suggesting that a same-sex sexual relationship causes any harm to a child.

  35. bman
    October 18th, 2011 at 23:38 | #35

    bman-> …the gay parent decided at some point to raise the child in a same sex sexual relationship knowing it would deprive the child of having married parents.”

    Sean->Only because the law in most places doesn’t allow for same-sex marriage. It’s a Catch-22: you say they’re depriving a child of married parents but in many cases the couple wants to marry, but isn’t allowed to. It is society that is depriving the child of married parents.

    You seem to ignore the answer I gave in post #16.

    I described two scenarios where a couple with children wanted to marry but the form of marriage they wanted was not legal.

    It was their responsibility to respect the law and adapt to it. Rather than do that, they blame the law for not adapting to them.

    Suppose a married man has a child by adultery and cannot legally marry the mother. He then says, “its dumb and unfair to the child that we can’t legally marry.”

    Or, suppose a brother and sister give birth to a healthy child and say, “its dumb and unfair to the child that we can’t legally marry.”

    In those scenarios, the comment, “its dumb and unfair to the child” is a rationalization that refuses to apply blame where it properly belongs, on the parent’s unwise behavior. And instead, it irresponsibly shifts all blame to society.

    I view your comment as doing the same thing.

    Your comment, “It is society that is depriving the child of married parents,” fits that same pattern.

  36. bman
    October 19th, 2011 at 00:03 | #36

    Spunky->I cannot possibly understand how someone reading that thread could come to the conclusion that gay parents will in any way cause a harmful environment for their child.

    Of course you’d say that since you are under the rationalization that, “…homosexual behavior of a child is not relevant to a child’s mental health.”

    In post #25 above, we saw that a strong correlation exists between the homosexual lifestyle and increased mental and physical health problems in that community.

    To indoctrinate children that its a wholesome lifestyle is to set up a slippery slope before them.

    We have a responsibility to warn children to stay away from the slippery slope, not tell them its fine.

  37. bman
    October 19th, 2011 at 00:37 | #37

    Sean :I would argue that forcing oneself into a lifestyle that belongs to someone else, not yourself, is the ruinous choice. Let’s not be afraid of the variation that is the human experience.

    Your comment sidetracks to a lateral issue.

    The core issue is how the gay lifestyle should be presented to youth.

    I am saying its morally wrong to tell children the gay lifestyle is fine. It points them onto a ruinous path (see post #25).

    The gay lifestyle is being glorified today like cigarette smoking once had been.

    Yet, its hazards are far greater than cigarette smoking and youth should be warned of those hazards whenever the subject is mentioned, the way cigarette smoking hazards are now mentioned.

  38. Spunky
    October 19th, 2011 at 13:07 | #38

    bman :

    Spunky->I cannot possibly understand how someone reading that thread could come to the conclusion that gay parents will in any way cause a harmful environment for their child.

    Of course you’d say that since you are under the rationalization that, “…homosexual behavior of a child is not relevant to a child’s mental health.”
    In post #25 above, we saw that a strong correlation exists between the homosexual lifestyle and increased mental and physical health problems in that community.
    To indoctrinate children that its a wholesome lifestyle is to set up a slippery slope before them.
    We have a responsibility to warn children to stay away from the slippery slope, not tell them its fine.

    Whitehead’s paper does a poor job refuting the claim that suicide is not caused by discrimination (intolerance and mistreatment are probably better terms anyway). Yes, other studies use the term “perceive” when referring to intolerance, but that doesn’t mean gay individuals are wrong to perceive such things. Rather, the term reflects the feelings of the subjects in question. I don’t get it–does he really think that gayness in children inherently causes them to feel ostracized? Because that makes no sense.

    Furthermore, Whitehead cites studies that suggest homophobia cause 35% and 38% of gay suicides (high proportions if you ask me), and that parental abuse was “the most important factor” in gay teen suicide. He then suggests that most gay suicide is caused by depression “not follow[ing] stigmatization episodes.” Does he really think that gays are naturally more depressed than everyone else? This would be pretty interesting, since he makes it clear he doesn’t believe homosexuality is natural.

    Whitehead further cites the conclusion that “family support was very helpful in helping avoid suicide.” Thus it is safe to conclude that parents who teach their gay kids that homosexuality is wrong could actually hurt their children. The gay children would (correctly) perceive intolerance and be at a higher risk for suicide. So his reasoning actually hurts your point that children should be taught to condemn homosexuality.

    Whitehead also makes some silly assertions, like “in spite of greater acceptance in society, then, there are earlier attempts, so suicide trends are contrary to the trends of opinion in society,” as though legislation matter more than anti-gay sentiment in the child’s environment. I could go on, but there’s too much to criticize.

    I don’t know how I can make it any clearer–there have been numerous studies that suggest that homosexuality does not cause mental health problems. See: this, this, this, this, and a ton of other studies that have all concluded that there is no evidence at all that homosexuality causes depression. I know you don’t say there’s a causational link, but you clearly believe it. There’s no reason to believe that if someone becomes gay that he will become more likely to engage in suicidal behavior because he is now gay. It is more likely that he will (correctly) perceive anti-gay sentiment that could lead to depression. You can think it’s bad to promote homosexuality, but you are wrong if you believe homosexuality causes any negative mental effects.

    You also assume that promotion of homosexuality leads to the prevalence of homosexuality, but this has not been established. Studies have conflicting results regarding gay parents raising children who turn out to be gay, but this is something different. You are suggesting that every child who doesn’t believe homosexuality is wrong has a greater chance of engaging in homosexual behavior. But this is clearly unfounded and illogical. Half the country tolerates homosexuality, but only 4% are actually gay.

  39. Spunky
    October 19th, 2011 at 16:14 | #39

    @bman

    More criticisms of Whitehead’s paper? Let’s do it!

    1) He makes the outlandish claim that “[b]ecause median numbers of sexual partners are perhaps three times those of heterosexuals (Laumann et al., 1994), one might assume three times the tendency to suicide, as found.” The assumption that every sexual encounter constitutes a relationship is absurd–promiscuity does not imply commitment. There’s a good point to be made that rejection in a relationship plays a role in gay suicide, but to simplistically lay things out this way is, well, too naive.

    2) His point about inherent suicidality (his term) among gays is silly. He argues that suicide rates were higher in gay men “even with SSA that was too minor to be noticed by outsiders or to be discriminated against.” I don’t know where he pulls this from, since I read the study and couldn’t find a part where it said “these subjects never experienced any discrimination or negative social stigma of any sort.” I did, however, find something that said “a meaningful reduction of suicidal behavior in the community could occur if the aspects of same-sex attraction that are associated with suicidal behavior could be ameliorated. For example, the role of societal attitudes needs to be further explored. The high risks we report occurred despite the fact that young adults in New Zealand are far more accepting of same-sex relationships than are their American counterparts (21).” It would seem more accepting does not mean unilaterally tolerant. I also found this, which I have been saying for a while: “[i]n calculating attributable risk for any same-sex attraction, an assumption was made that there was a causal relationship between same-sex attraction and self-harm, although the temporal relationship was not established, and in some cases, the self-harm may have preceded the same-sex attraction. The causal pathways that lead to deliberate self-harm and attempted suicide are likely to be complex, so same-sex attraction could—to some degree—be a marker for a range of factors that contribute to these behaviors” (emphasis mine).

    3) He throws his bias around at various points: “The truth is that discrimination is not as great as it is perceived to be, but that probably doesn’t matter—the result is the same: perceived discrimination leads to crossculturally constant attempted suicide rates. Changes in society and societal attitudes may be desirable but are somewhat beside the point in terms of suicide prevention.” This, along with his strident promotion of conversion therapy, show that he probably does not care for homosexuality in the first place. Indeed, he tries to reason against Shidlo and Schroeder’s study by claiming “[i]f only one extra person with no suicide attempts after therapy had been added to the sample, the result would have attained the usual p = 0.05 level of significance, and the conclusion would have been that therapy was associated with a significant diminution of attempts.” If only.

    4) I can’t imagine the reputation of the Journal of Human Sexuality is highly regarded by unbiased social psychologists. The first hit of a Google search of the title pulls up a NARTH response to the APA in Volume 1. Clearly, this journal was created to publish studies by anti-gay psychologists.

  40. Spunky
    October 19th, 2011 at 19:41 | #40

    @bman

    One last thing about Whitehead’s paper: his summary conclusion offers a non-solution to prevent future suicides. He claims that because conversion therapy is so successful with few negative consequences (something that is disputed by many psychologists, that gay people should try conversion therapy to rid themselves of this risky gayness. What he fails to note is that conversion therapy only has a chance of working if the subject is highly motivated. Since very few gay people actually want to change their sexual orientation, conversion therapy is not a viable option for most gay people. Even in the cases of suicidal gay teens, Whitehead makes no mention of their hatred of their same-sex attraction. In short, there is no reason to think that too many suicidal gay people are willing to try conversion therapy, and hence, there is no reason to think this approach would be a success at any level.

  41. bman
    October 20th, 2011 at 16:17 | #41

    Spunky->I don’t get it–does he really think that gayness in children inherently causes them to feel ostracized? Because that makes no sense.

    Whether its true or not, it at least makes sense that self rejection can produce thoughts that others feel the same way about you.

    Your comment that “it makes no sense” seems too dismissive, therefore.

  42. Spunky
    October 20th, 2011 at 18:01 | #42

    bman :
    Your comment that “it makes no sense” seems too dismissive, therefore.

    While I think it may be true that there are other factors besides negative stigma that causes high suicide rates among gay teens, Whitehead goes way too far in his conclusions that are motivated by his anti-gay political beliefs (seriously, look at his penultimate paragraph).

    bman :

    Spunky->I don’t get it–does he really think that gayness in children inherently causes them to feel ostracized? Because that makes no sense.

    Whether its true or not, it at least makes sense that self rejection can produce thoughts that others feel the same way about you.

    That’s true, but what causes this self-rejection? Surely gay people don’t naturally have this idea in their minds that what they’re doing is in any way bad or wrong. Self rejection comes from listening to people who don’t tolerate who that person is. It comes from abuse, bullying, and ostracism.

    I also think it’s unfair and beside the point to promote anti-gay education when we’ve just experienced two suicides by gay teens who were bullied for several years of their lives for being gay. Regardless of other factors, gay bashing is a huge problem that society faces in every area, even in San Francisco, New York City, and every other area with gay tolerance. Not even Neil Whitehead can deny this, as hard as he tries. No amount of conversion therapy will change this; this requires social action from everyone–teachers, parents, and government officials–to denounce gay bashing for what it is–destructive behavior that destroys lives of innocent gay children. This understanding, rather than anti-gay education, will improve the lives of gay Americans.

  43. bman
    October 20th, 2011 at 19:14 | #43

    Spunky->He then suggests that most gay suicide is caused by depression “not follow[ing] stigmatization episodes.” Does he really think that gays are naturally more depressed than everyone else?

    That gays are more depressed agrees with the report by the gay coalition cited in post #25, “….studies into depression within the GLB community show rates ranging from a low of 1.8 times higher, to a high of 3 times higher, than those within the general population.”

    In which case, the question would be “why” there are higher rates of depression.

    The gay coalition attributed these higher rates of depression to social homophobia. I reject that argument, however.

    As I noted earlier, principled opposition to maladaptive behavior is not a phobia.

    Its not “phobia,” for example, when society rejects the public indecency displayed at gay pride marches. That is a principled rejection of flagrant carnality and indecency.

    Gays are deceiving themselves when they call this rejection a phobia. They need to recognize that their own unprincipled indulgence in hedonistic carnality is the rational basis social rejection, not “phobia.”

    When gays blame “phobia” they are engaging in a self deception that they refuse to let go of, and for which society can not not be blamed.

  44. bman
    October 20th, 2011 at 23:01 | #44

    ….but what causes this self-rejection? Surely gay people don’t naturally have this idea in their minds that what they’re doing is in any way bad or wrong. Self rejection comes from listening to people who don’t tolerate who that person is. It comes from abuse, bullying, and ostracism.

    How would you apply that to the obnoxious behavior at gay pride marches?

  45. bman
    October 21st, 2011 at 00:33 | #45

    punky->Whitehead goes way too far in his conclusions that are motivated by his anti-gay political beliefs (seriously, look at his penultimate paragraph).

    The next to last paragraph reads:

    Gay, lesbian, and bisexual populations are demanding the right to be free from all
    events that trigger their unusual sensitivity. However, that demand threatens to swallow
    the entire legal system, educational system, religious denominations, and professional
    bodies in many countries, and there is very little evidence it will make a significant
    difference to the mental health or suicidality of homosexuals. Therapy is more likely to
    have a positive impact and should be provided with attention to meeting the goals of the
    client and not taking lightly the varying needs and issues that may need to be addressed.

    I agree with what he said here.

    The statement, “therapy is more likely to have a positive affect” means its more likely than the alternative he mentioned in the first part of that paragraph, “[to] swallow
    the entire legal system, educational system, religious denominations, and professional
    bodies in many countries.”

    Given the two options he describes, therapy is the only acceptable option. The other one amounts to totalitarianism.

  46. bman
    October 21st, 2011 at 00:34 | #46

    I just noticed I dropped the “S” in Spunky. That was inadvertent. My apologies for that.

  47. bman
    October 21st, 2011 at 01:33 | #47

    Spunky->….this requires social action from everyone–teachers, parents, and government officials–to denounce gay bashing for what it is–destructive behavior that destroys lives of innocent gay children. This understanding, rather than anti-gay education, will improve the lives of gay Americans.

    This calls for training children about the golden rule so that all groups are protected, not just gays.

    Besides, you don’t address gay bashing by reading story books to second graders about two kings who fall in love, kiss, and get married, or by having gay men hand out condoms to first graders.

    The gay agenda is using “bashing” as a trojan horse to indoctrinate children early with their unprincipled sexual philosophy, something the public must oppose. Their “concern” to prevent bashing no longer has credibility.

  48. Spunky
    October 21st, 2011 at 07:28 | #48

    Three things.

    1) I hate the term “homophobia,” because it gives justification for a position that deserves none. The term literally translates to mean “an irrational fear of gay people and homosexual behavior.” If a person has arachnophobia, it’s acceptable for him to be afraid of spiders. But when people have an irrational fear or dislike for a particular group of people (blacks, Jews, women), they are called bigots, racists, anti-Semites, misogynists, as well they should. Thus we should refer to people who are bigoted toward homosexuality as such.

    2) You’re mixing apples and oranges when you refer to principled intolerance as homophobia. While I might argue it can be a form of bigotry, it is not homophobia, and rational gay activists like me realize that. Thus, when people refer to homophobia as a cause of suicide, they’re not talking about people taking offense at gay pride marches. They’re talking about things like:
    a) not letting your kids near gay people because you’re afraid for their safety, even though it’s been established that LGBT people are no more likely to molest kids than straight people.
    b) not wanting to be near gay people because you’re afraid their gayness will rub off on you
    c) attacking gay people because they’re gay (see: <a href=”Matthew Shepard, Allen R. Schindler, Jr., and
    other LGBT people around the world, throughout history)
    d) bullying, insulting, and ostracizing gay teens because they’re gay (see: Tyler Clementi, Jamie Rodemeyer, and others)
    3) Whitehead uses the term “stigma” in his paper to describe the national intolerance of homosexuality. This better reflects the situation gays face than what you refer to as homophobia. While there are plenty of people satisfying one of a)-d), there is a much more general, pervasive anti-gay stigma in this country. Taking offense to gay pride marches isn’t really a big deal (and often may not even be anti-gay, just anti-sexual expression), but teaching your kids that homosexuality is wrong is. This contributes to the negative attitude people have against LGBT people in this country, and while it isn’t homophobia, it is still damaging.

  49. Spunky
    October 21st, 2011 at 13:20 | #49

    bman :
    I just noticed I dropped the “S” in Spunky. That was inadvertent. My apologies for that.

    Too bad, I’m already offended. :-D

    I’d love to continue this, but we’re probably bringing up too many points to respond to all at once. It’s probably a better idea to debate this via some non-forum medium. I’d do Skype, Facebook chat, even AIM if I remember my password. I’d be up for it if you were.

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