Gay Marriage Bad, Gay Parents OK?

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November 17, 2008 @ 1:03 UTC

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Of the many arguments used in trying to justify denying the rights of marriage to gay couples, one that will inevitably come up after the anti-marriage proponent realizes they cannot actually articulate how two women marrying threatens any other marriage is that “The best way to raise children is with a mommy and a daddy”. Now, there are several objections to be made in these cases, not the least of which is that we allow marriage to people who intend to be childless and permit divorce and single parenthood, but the argument does bring up an interesting issue.

To those who argue that denying marriage to loving gay couples is all about protecting children: why then are you not fighting to prevent gay couples from adopting?

Arkansas has recently shown itself to be consistent on this point. It has passed a law that denies any unmarried person from adopting a child or being a foster parent. Since a child really needs a mommy and a daddy, we’ll make sure that children (1000 up for adoption in Arkansas) remain orphans unless an ideal family is found. After all, better in an orphanage than with two same-sex parents, or even a sinful lifelong heterosexual couple. Utah is the only other state that has this law. I find it hideous and very much against the best interests of a child, but at the very least it shows ideological consistency.

In all but two states of the union, marriage remains off limits to gays and lesbians. However adoption and fostering children is allowed in most. In some gay couples can adopt and foster with an acknowledgement of their being two parents. In all the rest of the states, a single person can adopt a child, though authorities know full well that there will be two parents in the home.

My question to those who feel so strongly that they are doing a good deed by denying marriage rights to others is: If it’s important that gays not get married, how can it possibly be less important to prevent them from raising children?

How can it be that allowing two people of the same gender to get married is a threat, but allowing two people of the same gender to raise a child is less of a threat? Shouldn’t protecting children be the very first priority? And yet I see no huge campaigns to outlaw parenthood for gays and lesbians. I  don’t see the LDS Church asking it’s faithful to pour millions of dollars and hours into a fight to prevent gays from raising kids. I don’t see preachers and priests from all sorts of denominations asking their faithful to fight gay adoption. Why?

Once you allow gays to have kids, and there are thousands of gay families accross the US, it’s just as well you allow the parents to marry. If you’re allowing children to be in a same-sex household, you’d do well to give those children the legal protections that having married parents gives them. If you do not believe that children should be raised by gay parents, then you would do well to fight the gay adoption battle first, since it is directly responsible for gay families in a way gay marriage is not.

Of course you could never prevent Lesbians from having children unless you got very draconian about the matter. Lesbians can carry their own children. Even if you were to prevent unmarried couples from fertilization by sperm-donors, there are ways to achieve it without doctors help. You would not prevent two women from being mothers unless you were willing to take away their children by force. But of course that would be terrible PR, wouldn’t it?

So, I ask you, which is it? Do you really believe that gays getting married is worse than gays raising children? Or is it that while playing with the destinies of adults in pursuit of a non-existent ideal Ozzie and Harriet world is acceptable, the mind rebels at the idea of playing with the wellbeing of children in a similar manner.  Orphans will exist, children at risk will exist, and gay couples will exist. There will never be enough heterosexual young married couples to take them all in, so the realistic choice becomes whether you leave those children alone or give them to willing caretakers. At that point, I think even people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality mostly understand that a parent is better than no parent, and that two mommies is better than no mommie.

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