Same-sex Couples Don’t Raise Broken Families

The best thing happened when I told my family and friends that I was gay. I was 18 and before I was able to meet new people, I met the one person I never imagined I’d find – my fiancé. We went on many dates; they were casual, then they became romantic, and then we made us official – like heterosexuals do. We went hiking together, we surfed together, and we shared entrées together because we loved a variety of eats. After three years, we made the decision to share a single bedroom apartment together. Then we started making more difficult decisions often leading to disputes and arguments: the softness of the bed mattress or the length of the couch. We were always able to compromise, however – typical couple stuff, gay and straight. The year 2013 marked our seventh year together and also the year Hawai’i saw away with the ban on gay marriage. So on our umpteenth anniversary dinner, my then best-buddy-old-pal and love of my life, asked me marry him. I said yes, of course. Care to contemplate what our next big decision will be?

To me, it’s very simple: if two people love each other, and are committed to each other, then they should have the same rights that any other couple in a long term relationship would have, that I should have. In our nation, there are now 19 states that have struck down the ban on gay marriage. Since 2004, Supreme Court judges have agreed that the ban on gay marriage was and is unconstitutional, so it’s encouraging to know that the rest of the 31 states will likely soon follow suit. Still, there are a number of people who do not approve of same-sex marriage; according to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, 45% of our nation still disapprove same-sex marriage. Religion or religious belief is among the primary reasons many say they cannot approve of same-sex marriage. One key reason why opponents cannot approve of same-sex marriage is that they believe children cannot grow and develop “normally” if homosexual parents raise them. There clearly aren’t any scientific studies available that would suggest same-sex couples raise “messed-up” kids. But opponents like Dr. Trayce Hansen and Dr. Mark Regnerus seem to think this ideology is there best strategy to misinform and gather support against same-sex marriage.

Dr. Trayce Hansen, a licensed psychologist and Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology, says in her article that “according to decades of research,” same-sex marriage is “not in the best interest of children.” She cites a plethora of publications, studies, and reports that document the psychological and mental behaviors of children in “traditional” families of which include one or a combination of the following: gay sibling, gay divorced parent, a polygamist gay uncle, or a gay friend. She infers that these children exposed to homosexuality were found to be more delinquent or self-identified as homosexual, which to her are seemingly equal grade. What is missing from her analysis is her consideration of a study conducted on children raised by two loving homosexual parents. What she is confirming in her article is the ideology that dysfunctional families make, although very unfortunate, dysfunctional kids. However, as a professional in her field and as a respected scientist in a scholarly community, she shouldn’t let her connections with God guide her to write and publish articles to misinform. According to her site profile and many publications around the web, she is a big supporter of her local Christian church – and we all know how her community feels about homosexuality.

Like Hansen, Dr. Mark Regnerus, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas, claim that same-sex couples do in-fact negatively impact the mental and psychological development of their children. Unlike Hansen, Regnerus conducted his own scientific, but immensely faulty study. His samples never included kids who were raised by a lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual (LGBT) family, instead he included in his pool 18-39 year-old adults who grew up in a heterosexual family but later, his or her parent(s) split and became involved with a same-sex partner. Like Regnerus, his study confirmed that although unfortunate, dysfunctional traditional families make dysfunctional traditional children; he found that his test subjects were “more likely to have problems – welfare dependence, less education, marijuana use.” Also like Hansen, Regnerus was a Christian as his project was “the massive weight of a religious conservative money and marketing machine” to make same-sex couples look bad.

In this interesting report, Peter Sprigg, a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, summarizes and compresses aggregate findings from a multitude of studies on behavioral occurrences among young heterosexual and homosexual adults – the same sources that Hansen and Regnerus have drawn from in their studies. In his conclusion, he makes the same claim as Hansen and Regnerus that children raised by same-sex couples are more delinquent. Delinquent behaviors illustrated in these young adults include using marijuana more frequently, smoking more frequently, frequency of having been arrested, watching TV for long periods more frequently, and having multiple sexual partners. Although not religiously charged as Hansen and Regnerus, Sprigg’s argument is that the reason why studies cannot be conducted to conclude that healthy children grow and develop “normally” among homosexual parents is because it is rare to find an LGBT family comparable to a healthy heterosexual family. Take a look at this distinctly flawed deduction Sprigg purports: there are no healthy LGBT families because LGBT parents cannot raise mentally and psychologically healthy children, and thereby tests cannot be conducted. Just because it cannot be found, DOES NOT mean it does not or cannot exist.

In response to the growing number of misinformation concerning the well-being of children raised by same-sex couples, psychologist Dr. Simon Crouch from the University of Melbourne, and psychologists Ellen C. Perrin and Bejamin S. Sigel from the Floating Hospital for Children, conclude that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, and thereby children raised by gay or lesbian parents have equal self-esteem as their heterosexual peers. In this article, writer Curtis Wong from the Huffington Post reports Dr. Crouch’s study aimed to “describe the physical, mental and social well-being” of children with same-sex parents. Dr. Crouch states that LGBT families who emphasize on skill rather than gender roles in families, leads to a more “harmonious family unit.” As a result, compared to their heterosexual peers, Dr. Crouch concludes that same-sex couples provide “a better family atmosphere in two key areas: general health and family cohesion.” Dr. Crouch’s study included 500 Australian children below the age 18 whom are raised by same-sex parents.

Authored and published by Dr. Perrin and Dr. Sigel of the Floating Hospital for Children, their study concludes that neither the parents’ sexual orientation nor gender affect the mental growth or behavioral development of their children. The study includes over 30 years of research that does not necessarily demonstrate data or statistics gathered from LGBT families, but rather focuses on the effects of parenting and generally the competency of parents. Dr. Perrin and Dr. Sigel purport that gay or lesbian parents can offer that same environment for their children to grow healthy – physical, mentally, psychologically, and socially.

Because gay marriage is a relatively new frontier for our nation, it is definitely understandable that supporters and opponents of LGBT parenting cannot find common ground. Many ideologies and commonplaces still exist that divide supporters and opponents of this issue. Opponents surround themselves with the commonplace gays and lesbians cannot reproduce and the ideology homosexuality is a sin. Clearly, the aforementioned commonplace is outdated and is not an effective argument, because we now have alternative ways to conceive children – naturally or not. If the natural aspect of conceiving children stems another argument, let us all be reminded that nothing around us is 100% natural. The ideology homosexuality is a sin is completely flawed; religious groups, as the saying goes, “cannot pick and choose their battles.” According to the bible (whichever version), sexual intercourse out of wedlock is a sin and so is working on Sundays.

We have looked at the supporters’ and opponents’ arguments on LGBT parenting and their attempts to persuade and dissuade others. There is no key study or conclusive evidence to prove that same-sex parents negatively impact their children’s well-being. Many different communities have many different ideologies and commonplaces about homosexuals, gay marriage, and LGBT parenting. Owing to this, there can be bias and other intentions for reasoning, which then hidden agendas can be clear. Whereas, supporters like Dr. Sigil, Dr. Crouch, and Dr. Perrin seek to rectify the misinformation with the primary agenda of encouraging a right that same-sex couples should rightfully pursue.

My fiancé and I look forward to raising healthy children – names, of course, are one of the many arguments and disputes I plan on having with my fiancé in the near future.

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