The Public Discourse posted a really interesting letter from a woman whose biological parents divorced, and then she grew up with her mother and her mother’s lesbian partner. She addresses this post to Justice Kennedy, the swing vote on the Supreme Court.
Children are the reason government has any stake in this discussion at all. Congress was spot on in 1996 when it passed the Defense of Marriage Act, stating:
At bottom, civil society has an interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing. Simply put, government has an interest in marriage because it has an interest in children.
There is no difference between the value and worth of heterosexual and homosexual persons. We all deserve equal protection and opportunity in academe, housing, employment, and medical care, because we are all humans created in the image of God.
However, when it comes to procreation and child-rearing, same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are wholly unequal and should be treated differently for the sake of the children.
When two adults who cannot procreate want to raise children together, where do those babies come from? Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right. When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence. The nature of the adults’ union guarantees this. Whether by adoption, divorce, or third-party reproduction, the adults in this scenario satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents.
Making policy that intentionally deprives children of their fundamental rights is something that we should not endorse, incentivize, or promote.
What about children who grow up with two gay adults? Aren’t they supportive of their gay guardians?
I identify with the instinct of those children to be protective of their gay parent. In fact, I’ve done it myself. I remember how many times I repeated my speech: “I’m so happy that my parents got divorced so that I could know all of you wonderful women.” I quaffed the praise and savored the accolades. The women in my mother’s circle swooned at my maturity, my worldliness. I said it over and over, and with every refrain my performance improved. It was what all the adults in my life wanted to hear. I could have been the public service announcement for gay parenting.
I cringe when I think of it now, because it was a lie. My parents’ divorce has been the most traumatic event in my thirty-eight years of life. While I did love my mother’s partner and friends, I would have traded every one of them to have my mom and my dad loving me under the same roof. This should come as no surprise to anyone who is willing to remove the politically correct lens that we all seem to have over our eyes.
Kids want their mother and father to love them, and to love each other. I have no bitterness toward either of my parents. On the contrary, I am grateful for a close relationship with them both and for the role they play in my children’s lives. But loving my parents and looking critically at the impact of family breakdown are not mutually exclusive.
Now that I am a parent, I see clearly the beautiful differences my husband and I bring to our family. I see the wholeness and health that my children receive because they have both of their parents living with and loving them. I see how important the role of their father is and how irreplaceable I am as their mother. We play complementary roles in their lives, and neither of us is disposable. In fact, we are both critical. It’s almost as if Mother Nature got this whole reproduction thing exactly right.
So in same-sex marriages, either the father or the mother will be missing. I think that children can be a big responsibility, and they are challenging to the happiness of adults. The way that natural marriage solves this problem is by making both parents invested in the children biologically. That’s what causes mothers and fathers to keep trying and to not quit. They are biologically invested in their children. They are not accessories, they are little clones of their moms and dads.
Regardless of what Hollywood celebrities may tell us, studies show that fatherlessness is a disaster, and motherlessness is a disaster. And of course, studies show that same-sex parenting does not produce the positive outcomes for children that natural marriage does. There’s a conflict between children’s rights and adult’s rights in the same-sex marriage debate, just like their is in the no-fault divorce debate – and we need to side with the children in both cases.