April 13, 2014

“Largest Study Of Children Raised By Same Sex Parents Is Bad News For Bigots.” ~ Hannah Martin

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Gay partnership, marriage and adoption is not usually something I would comment on.

However, educated and kind friends of mine have recently been speaking out against it.

I have three other friends, raised in separate same sex families. I thought, with the help of one of those friends, I would take a look at the evidence on the effects of same sex relationships, on the children in these families.

If sexuality is a spectrum, I feel I am right at the far heterosexual end. However, I am not a bigot. I feel everyone should be permitted to partner with the consenting adult of their choice.

So many children live in unharmonious homes, and this is the problem that needs addressing, not the orientation of the parents.

Stability for children is important, making adoption and marriage unavailable to gay couples only increases stress within the family. This is surely not what any of us wish a family to endure?

I  don’t care about my kids learning about gay marriage in school. I don’t believe it will influence their sexual orientation. I have bigger concerns about their futures, other than who they fall in love with.

Those who oppose same-sex couples adopting or having children together, often use arguments about the likely negative impact of such parenting models on the children involved. Claims are often made that children have the right be be raised in a “normal” home.

However, a recent study performed by Melbourne University focused on collecting information on child welfare based on the sexual orientation of their parents.

The results showed that of the 500 families surveyed the children raised by same sex couples, none had statistical differences from those raised in “traditional families” in the categories of self esteem and emotional behavior. Families with same sex parents even had a higher percentage of family cohesion and effective communication.

This should be really great news for people arguing for the rights and health of the children. Unless, of course, they are just bigots—dressing up their bigotry in disingenuous concern for children. In which case, this may be the worst news ever.

 As for the argument, but will they call both parents “mother” or “father,” isn’t this confusing for the child?

Not a strong argument, but I asked my friend this question.  He called his biological mother, mum, and his mother’s partner by her name (unless he wanted, something, then he called her “mum” also).

In Malta, divorce only became legalised in 2011, now there is talk of gay marriage laws. I understand, that since joining the EU, the traditional Catholic community is on a fast-track to catch up with other countries, and as with any fast ride, the instinct is to cling on tight.

But my point is, if homosexual pairings will continue, despite laws, is it really progressive to continue to legislate them into the fringes of society?

Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family, than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents.

There will never be “perfect” science on any subject, but after this study, Siegel cites that what we have now, is good enough science. Good enough science, that after 3 decades of research, kids of gay parents are doing just fine.

Does Siegel expect the report to influence either the high court or state legislatures debating gay marriage and adoption?

“That’s my hope,” he says in one interview, “and I must say, it’s not a political hope. It’s a scientific hope.…That it will put an end to questioning that people who are homosexual cannot raise children or be foster or adoptive parents.”

What about reducing stress on children? Isn’t it hard enough for them these days, growing up with so many social and environmental pollutions? This study estimates that gay couples or single parents are raising 2 million children in the US.

Thinking about children’s welfare should be paramount for all of us. Ostracizing them by perpetuating scientifically unsubstantiated labels, and outdated preconceptions, is neither mindful nor helpful.

There is the argument that homosexuals should be allowed civil partnerships, but marriage should be between a man and woman. I have no feelings on the matter.

If a gay couple wishes to cement their commitment through marriage, let them have go for it, I say.

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Editorial Assistant: Melissa Petty/ Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: elephant archives

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