Same Sex Parenting Fails Children
By Brian S. Brown

On March 14, Primetime Thursday aired a widely viewed program on gay-adoption featuring Rosie O’Donnell.   It highlighted the plight of a gay foster couple in Florida who have fostered five HIV infected children, but are unable to adopt because Florida law bars the adoption of children by homosexual couples.  I was quoted by Channel 8 News following the Primetime piece as follows: ”We know that children do better in homes where both a mother and a father are present.  Put simply, children need both a Mom and a Dad.”

 The positive spin on gay adoption given by Primetime Thursday, Dianne Sawyer, and Rosie O’Donnell, at first glance, seems difficult to dispute.  The juxtaposition of the all-American Rosie O’Donnell, able to provide all the material benefits to her adoptive children in a presumably loving home, with HIV infected children in Florida unable to find any family but a homosexual one, raised eyebrows and questions across America.   Would these kids have found another home without gay foster parents?  Why should the state give the kids to this couple as foster-children but not as adoptive children?  Isn't it better that they have loving parents than no parents at all?


These questions all make sense, but fail to take into account the central issue here — the long-term effects of being raised in a home without both a mother and a father.  Study after study shows that children do better in homes with both a mother and father present.  Children of divorce or single-parents have had the most research done proving this point.  Yet same-sex households create a case that is much worse than a simple divorce or separation. Whereas a single parent may marry or a divorcee may remarry and create a family in which a new father-figure or mother figure partially fills the need for stable female and male role models, same-sex households make fatherlessness or motherlessness permanent and obligatory.  The obvious needs reiterating here: children raised in same-sex households will never have both a mother and a father.


As for Primetime's "expert" witness, Judith Stacey, her work on homosexual children has very little scholarly legitimacy and some of the most important social scientists in the field have completely disowned it.  (For more information on same-sex parenting click here.) The truth is there seems to be a number of problems with children raised in homosexual households — including gender-confusion, mental and psychological health, and yes, experimentation with homosexuality.  And the evidence we do have bears this out.


Patricia Morgan, noted British sociologist and researcher, makes clear in her book Children as Trophies, the best current evidence DOES in fact show that children raised in homosexual households suffer from more problems than children raised in traditional ones.  Even advocates of same-sex parenting like Rosie are forced to admit, when the question is asked, that having both a mother and a father is a better family form.  Love alone does not make a family — a mother and father, committed to a life-long relationship either alone or raising their adoptive or biological children, does.  Put simply, family form DOES matter.


Granted, we do not have good longitudinal data on children raised in such households; this is simply because it is such a new phenomenon.  We are in a situation strikingly similar to that of the no-fault divorce debates of the early 1970s.  At the time, there was very little long-term data on the effects of divorce on children.  Advocates of free and easy divorce jumped on any study — all of them inspired more by ideology than by sound social science — to prove their point.  They won the battle, and we are now suffering from the legacy of no-fault divorce. 


Thirty years later the "experts” of the 1970s have been PROVEN wrong.  We know for instance, that children of divorce, in general, suffer from more social pathologies than children from traditional families. This knowledge is of little help to the generation of children that were robbed of fathers and mothers due to the myth of divorce without consequences.


As David Blankenhorn, respected researcher and author of Fatherless America (Basic Books: 1994) said in response to the recent American Association of Pediatrics decision to endorse same-sex parenting, “We’re going to find out with same-sex couples just what we found out with divorce. The children are at higher risk for problems."


The aim of government at all levels should be to ensure that all children are raised with the benefits of both a mother and a father.  The failure of the foster care and adoption systems in this country — both of which are in dire shape — in no way leads to the conclusion that we should settle for second best homes for any children. 


Watching Primetime, few of these questions or concerns with same-sex parenting were even raised.  Where were the examples of children raised in homosexual households that now have serious emotional or psychological scars?  There is no question they exist:  Why was there no counterbalance to the picture of “rosy” contentment?  Where were the many experts who have serious questions about same-sex parenting?  Why was there merely an elected official, rather than a more credible social scientist, giving the opposing view? 


To alter the edifice of laws that protect the children of Florida or any state based upon emotionally charged isolated instances — however heart-wrenching — is not good public-policy.  Primetime did a grave disservice to basic standards of reporting and to the growing conversation in this country over homosexual parenting by producing such a one-sided, ideologically charged piece.


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