Tag Archives: Children’s Rights

Is living together before marriage the same as getting married?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Dad sent me this article from the Daily Signal. Let’s look at it, then I’ll give my opinion on this research.

Five points:

  1. Cohabiting couples are more prone to break up (and break up for good) than married couples
  2. Even after marrying, women who cohabitated prior to marriage are more apt to separate or divorce than those who did not.
  3. Men who cohabit tend to make less money than their married counterparts
  4. Among young mothers, married women are more financially secure than cohabiting women
  5. Cohabiting couples report more depression and more alcohol problems than married couples

The key points for me:

1. Cohabiting couples are more prone to break up (and break up for good) than married couples.  In the May 2003 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family Study, Georgina Binstock and Arland Thornton found that, in the first year of living together, couples who cohabited were eight times more likely to end their relationships than those who were married.  In the second and third years, those rates decreased to four and three times more likely, respectively.  And when it comes to getting back together after a breakup, cohabiting couples were about a third less likely to get back together again.

2. Even after marrying, women who cohabitated prior to marriage are more apt to separate or divorce than those who did not.  One study demonstrated that for women who lived with their partners before marriage, it was 33 percent more likely for their marriages to result in separation or divorce.

5. Cohabiting couples report more depression and more alcohol problems than married couples.  Even when controlling for race, age and gender, cohabiting individuals reported higher levels of depression than married ones, 2.8 points according to one study.  In another study, cohabiting individuals were three times more likely to report having problems with alcohol consumption than those who were married, as well as 25 percent more problems than single people who did not cohabit.  Cohabiting women indicated more alcohol problems than married women—and men who cohabited said they had more alcohol problems than both married and single men.

This article from the UK Daily Mail that Dina sent me says that 9 in 10 children being born now will see their parents split by the time the children reach 16.

It says:

Nearly nine out of ten babies born to co-habiting parents this year will have seen their family break up by the time they reach the age of 16, says a study.

Half of all children born this year will not be living with both natural parents when they reach their mid-teens, and almost all those who suffer family breakdown will be the children of unmarried parents, added the report.

The study, based on figures from the national census and large-scale academic surveys, extrapolates from current trends and calculates that just 9 per cent of babies born to cohabiting couples today will still have their parents living together by the time they are 16.

The report adds that the declining popularity of marriage and the rise of co-habitation will damage the lives of increasing numbers of children.

The figures were produced by researcher Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation think tank, who said: ‘The report provides solid evidence that married parents are more stable than unmarried parents.

[…]The study by the think  tank, which is headed by High Court family division judge Sir Paul Coleridge, was based  on findings from the census of 2001 and recent results from Understanding Society, a government-backed survey which charts the lives of people in 40,000 homes.

The report said that in 2001, four out of ten teenagers aged 15 were not living with both parents, and among the parents of 15-year-olds who stayed together, 97 per cent were married.

The article is from 2013, but I don’t see why things would have gotten any better. We are even more supportive as a society now of adult selfishness and less inclined to take care in our courting so that children are not deprived of fathers and/or mothers through our poor decision making.

So I’ve had experiences mentoring two women who started off as Christian, fell away from Christianity, then returned to the faith. Both of them spend time cohabitating with atheist men. So when I read numbers like the ones above, I want to warn Christian parents. You should not assume that your daughter will always be a Christian when you are raising them. You have to talk to them about these issues and share these numbers with them. Although you can start by telling them what the Bible says, you have to go on from there to explain what a romantic relationship looks like between Christians, and what happens to people who reject the Bible and start having premarital sex.

Study: children of same-sex couples do less well than those of married couples

A family praying and reading the Bible
A family praying and reading the Bible

The Public Discourse reports on a recent study out of Canada.

Excerpt:

A new academic study based on the Canadian census suggests that a married mom and dad matter for children. Children of same-sex coupled households do not fare as well.

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study published last week in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.

Unlike US-based studies, this one evaluates a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census, where same-sex couples have had access to all taxation and government benefits since 1997 and to marriage since 2005.

While in the US Census same-sex households have to be guessed at based on the gender and number of self-reported heads-of-household, young adults in the Canadian census were asked, “Are you the child of a male or female same-sex married or common law couple?” While study author and economist Douglas Allen noted that very many children in Canada who live with a gay or lesbian parent are actually living with a single mother—a finding consonant with that detected in the 2012 New Family Structures Study—he was able to isolate and analyze hundreds of children living with a gay or lesbian couple (either married or in a “common law” relationship akin to cohabitation).

So the study is able to compare—side by side—the young-adult children of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, as well as children growing up in single-parent homes and other types of households. Three key findings stood out to Allen:

children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.

Employing regression models and series of control variables, Allen concludes that the substandard performance cannot be attributed to lower school attendance or the more modest education of gay or lesbian parents. Indeed, same-sex parents were characterized by higher levels of education, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school than even those of married, opposite-sex couples. And yet their children are notably more likely to lag in finishing their own schooling.

[…]The truly unique aspect of Allen’s study, however, may be its ability to distinguish gender-specific effects of same-sex households on children. He writes:

the particular gender mix of a same-sex household has a dramatic difference in the association with child graduation. Consider the case of girls. . . . Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.

Thus although the children of same-sex couples fare worse overall, the disparity is unequally shared, but is instead based on the combination of the gender of child and gender of parents. Boys fare better—that is, they’re more likely to have finished high school—in gay households than in lesbian households. For girls, the opposite is true. Thus the study undermines not only claims about “no differences” but also assertions that moms and dads are interchangeable. They’re not.

With a little digging, I found the abstract of the study:

Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20% sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.

The author of the study is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. His PhD in economics is from the University of Washington. A previous study had shown that gay relationships typically have far more instability (they last for more shorter times). That’s not good for children either. Another study featured in the Atlantic talked about how gay relationships have much higher rates of domestic violence. That’s not good for children either. So we have three reasons to think that normalizing gay relationships as “marriage” would not be good for children.

The reason I am posting this is because I want people to understand why social conservatives like me propose these laws defining and promoting marriage. We do favor natural marriage for the same reason that we oppose no-fault divorce, and for the same reason why we oppose welfare for single mothers (it encourages single motherhood). We don’t want to encourage people to deprive children of their mother or their father. We look at the research, and we decide that children need their mother and father. Given the choice between the needs of the child and restraining the freedom of the adults, we prefer the child’s need for her mother and father. It’s not just arbitrary rules, there is a reason behind the rules.

But children are not commodities. They have certain needs right out of the box. Adults should NOT be thinking about how to duct-tape a child onto any old relationship that doesn’t offer the same safety and stability that opposite sex marriage offers. We should be passing laws to strengthen marriage in order to protect children, not to weaken it. Libertarians don’t want to do that, because they want adults to be free to do as they please, at the expense of children.  Libertarians think that the adults should be able to negotiate private contracts and have no obligations to any children who are present, or who may be present later.

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Are gay rights and children’s rights compatible?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Here are a couple of articles from The Federalist which made me think that gay rights are not compatible with children’s rights.

Here is the first article that talks about growing babies on demand in labs, and also surrogacy:

In the years leading up to the Supreme Court decision nationalizing gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, and in the short span since, the debate is already leagues beyond whether gays should adopt babies who are already born and need homes. Now we are grappling with the reality of buying and selling babies. Don’t pretend that’s not what it is—there’s a financial exchange for growing a baby. What else would you call it?

Buying a child via surrogacy is cruel and selfish. Most often it deprives her of knowing at least one biological parent in addition to the mother who nourished and supported her for nine months and brought her into the world. Buying a baby from a lab, even if she’s made up completely of the commissioning couple’s DNA, is even more cruel and selfish. It could deprive her of any mother at all.

If two men are “conceiving” a child, that baby must be grown in a surrogate or, when the technology permits, an artificial womb, which would certainly be more convenient and with fewer legal pitfalls but less humane.

Motherhood begins with gestation, not birth, but in the case of a lab gestation, there would be no mother. Babies recognize their mother’s voice from hearing it in the womb, and as experts on surrogacy have explained, human pregnancy creates a deep, lifelong bond between mother and baby.

Family therapist Nancy Verrier said in an interview for the documentary “Breeders: A Subclass of Woman?,” “The baby is hurt by the separation, by the loss, of that mother that it knows.” What trauma, then, would a child with no mother experience?

Lab-grown babies would be a great leap in commodifying children. This is a progression in lockstep with both the sexual revolution, which bestows legitimacy to a wide array of sexual orientations and arrangements, and with modern feminism. Both the New Sexuality and feminism declare to gay couples and single women: “If a baby sounds nice to you, who should tell you you cannot have what you want?” Genetic engineering is the latest tool in that effort to meet demand for babies, and the stakes are high.

Do children need their biological mother and father to raise them? Do children benefit from having two parents who have (minimally) a biological stake in their development?

Recent, comprehensive research conducted by Dr. Paul Sullins at the Catholic University of America has found that “children with samesex parents are assessed at higher levels of distress, compared to children with opposite-sex parents, for every measure of child emotional difficulty, developmental difficulty or treatment service.” Additionally, children of same-sex couples, “are at almost four (3.6) times the risk of emotional problems when compared to children residing with married biological parents.” Sullins also found that, “Risk of child emotional problems is 1.9-2.2 times greater, significant at .01 or better, with same-sex parents than with opposite-sex cohabiting parents or step-parent family.”

According to this study, which was far more comprehensive than the small ones popularized by the media that claim the opposite, it is more beneficial for children to be raised by two opposite-sex parents, and when they are raised by married opposite-sex biological parents, the rates of distress to children are nearly twice as low.

Here’s the second article, which lists more problems for children who are created through lab conception or by surrogacy:

  1. Commodification of Children. Children are not products, they are humans with inherent rights and thus worthy of protection. Selecting desirable embryos based on health, appearance, gender, race, or other characteristics treats humans as products, not people. This kind of behavior is appropriate when purchasing a car, but not when having a child.

  2. Right to life. The embryos deemed unacceptable were likely destroyed. And often commissioning parents will, for the sake of maximizing their investment, implant multiple embryos and then “selectively reduce” (that is, abort around 20 weeks) the unwanted children, even if they are perfectly healthy.

  3. Right to their mother. Children have a right to both biological parents. They are not items to be cut and pasted into the romantic configuration of adults.  Like every other child, these girls are made by, and will likely long for, a relationship with both biological parents. Kids don’t just need “love and safety.”  They actually crave male and female parental love and receive unique and complimentary benefits from both mother and father.

  4. Right to their genetic information. Children crave, and have a right to, their biological identity. Not only because they want to understand who they are, but it’s also critical for their long term medical health- and the health of their own children. It’s a violation of a child’s right to arbitrarily deny them access to half of their biology.

  5. Right to their heritage. Biological connection mattered enough for these commissioning fathers to ensure that each dad got one biological child.  Probably because they wanted grandchildren and great-grandchildren related to them as well. But it works the other way too. Children have a right to know, and desire to be known by, both sides of their extended family and racial/ethnic culture whenever possible.

  6. Right to be born free—not bought and sold. As mentioned in the article, purchasing eggs and employing a surrogate costs $100,000- $200,000. Many children born via sperm and egg donation are troubled that money exchanged hands over their conception, no matter how little.  I heard one adult child painfully remark “My father (sperm donor) was paid $75 to stay out of my life forever.”

  7. Subjecting children to increased medical risks. Pregnancies resulting from reproductive technologies are more likely to involve complications. Children born through surrogacy, for example, are more likely to be premature, suffer from low birth weight, and have trouble adjusting likely due to “the absence of a gestational connection to the mother.”

To understand why these practices are wrong, we have to stop looking at the selfish adults, and listening to their self-centered sob stories. We have to think about the children. About the children’s need to not be lost in a universe without the two people who chose to bring them into being. Growing up is a scary thing. It doesn’t get better for children when they can’t even have relationships with the two people who made them. We all need those relationships. It goes against common sense to dismiss the effect of parents being biologically related to their children. Biological parents have more of a perceived stake in the development of their biological children. We need to give children what they need.

Indian surrogate mothers open up about the pain of giving up their babies

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Katy tweeted this story from the radically leftist BBC, and it made me feel sad when I read it.

India is known as the “surrogacy hub” of the world where infertile couples, many from across the globe, head to rent a womb. In recent years, the southern city of Chennai has emerged as a major centre with more than a dozen hospitals carrying out the procedure and more than 150 surrogates.

Most surrogate mothers are women from poor families who take up the assignment for money. It’s generally believed that the transaction is purely commercial, but three surrogate mothers tell the BBC about the emotional bonds they developed with the babies they carried in their wombs for nine months and the pain they felt once the umbilical cord was snapped.

Here is one woman’s story from the article:

I live in a slum in Chennai’s Vyasarpadi area and I come from a very poor family. My husband is an auto-rickshaw driver who earns about 8,000 rupees ($120;£92) a month. I work in a factory that makes leather bags. I earn 6,000 rupees ($90; £69).

Seven years ago, my family was struggling, we had borrowed 100,000 rupees from people, mostly to pay the fee of our school-going children, and the debts had to be repaid.

One day, I met a man who worked as an agent for a surrogacy clinic. He told me that I could earn 200,000 rupees being a surrogate mother.

I knew two other women in my neighbourhood who had been surrogate mothers so I agreed.

I thought, I have four children, and now I can help someone who cannot have any. I was thinking how horrible it would be if my daughter couldn’t bear children. I believe everyone should have children and I wanted to help.

I never met the real parents and have no idea who they are. I was still under sedation when they removed the baby. I never set eyes on it.

I have no idea whether it’s white or black, whether it’s Indian or foreigner, I don’t even know whether it’s a boy or a girl!

When I gained consciousness, my first words to my husband were, ‘Did you see the baby? Is it a boy or a girl?’

He said he hadn’t seen it. I asked my doctor, but she didn’t answer my question.

‘You are a surrogate mother, you shouldn’t ask these questions,’ she said.

But I want to know about the baby. I want to know where he or she is and what it is studying.

For three months after giving birth, I spent sleepless nights, I would get headaches thinking about the baby and I had to take medicines to calm down.

Every year, on 4 November, the day the baby was born, our family celebrates its birthday. I do all the rituals that I do for my other children.

I fast in the morning, I cook payasam [rice pudding] and share it with my family and neighbours, and I visit the temple to pray for the baby’s well-being and long life.

I’ve always wondered if the baby is like any of my other children. I really do miss the baby and would give anything to see it once.

I know it’s not my baby after all, but I know that if I’d seen the baby, I wouldn’t have given it away.

I hope the baby is happy and fine wherever it is.

We talk a lot about it, we call it Paapa or Kuzanthai (Tamil words for baby or child) and at times, my family thinks maybe it would have been happier with us.

But then, we are a poor family and in difficult times, we think that perhaps the baby’s better off in a wealthier family.

As soon as I read this, I thought of the scene form the movie “The Island” where the woman in the cloning factory gives birth to the baby and she is holding it and then the cruel doctors and scientists take it away from her and killed her. I just can’t imagine how anyone could take a baby away from the birth mother.  There are some things that selfish adults do that are just wrong because of the harm it causes to children. Children are small – they ought to come first.

I wish women would think of having babies when they are younger. It does take some foresight to focus on marriage and children when you are young, but when you think about how expensive adoption is, how expensive and risky IVF is, and how painful surrogate motherhood is for the mother, it really is the best way to go.

Previously, I had blogged about the case of the two gay men who had purchased a baby boy from a surrogate mother in Russia. The mainstream media celebrated the “two gay dads”. But the two gay men raped and abused the boy, and gave him to others to rape and abuse. I can only imagine being a surrogate mother and wondering what the child’s life is like when things like that are happening. I wouldn’t do it. I just couldn’t live with myself not being able to protect and watch over something that I had a hand in making.

New study: children raised by same-sex parents have twice the risk of depression

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties
Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like to care for the needs of children

A new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Depression Research and Treatment confirms that children do better when raised by their mother and father.

Here’s the abstract:

The relationship of elevated depression risk recently discovered among adult persons raised by same-sex parents with possible precipitating conditions in childhood has not previously been acknowledged. This study tests whether such inattention is supportable. Logistic regression based risk ratios were estimated from longitudinal measures of mental health outcomes observed in three waves (at ages 15, 22, and 28) of the US National Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health (,701). At age 28, the adults raised by same-sex parents were at over twice the risk of depression (CES-D: risk ratio 2.6, 95% CI 1.4–4.6) as persons raised by man-woman parents. These findings should be interpreted with caution. Elevated risk was associated with imbalanced parental closeness and parental child abuse in family of origin; depression, suicidality, and anxiety at age 15; and stigma and obesity. More research and policy attention to potentially problematic conditions for children with same-sex parents appears warranted.

The Federalist commented on the new study:

Children of same-sex parents also reported more violence, having a parent slap, hit, or kick them, or saying “things that hurt your feelings or made you feel you were not wanted or loved,” or “touched you in a sexual way, forced you to touch him or her in a sexual way, or forced you to have sex relations.”

In conclusion:

 The emergence of higher depression risk in early adulthood, coupled with a more frequent history of abuse victimization, parental distance, and obesity, suggests that the inattention of research and policy to the problems of children with same-sex parents is unwarranted.

As initial results, the present findings should be interpreted with caution and balance, based on the limited evidence presented, and (it is hoped) neither exaggerated nor dismissed out of hand on preconceived ideological grounds. However, well-intentioned concern for revealing negative information about a stigmatized minority does not justify leaving children without support in an environment that may be problematic or dangerous for their dignity and security.

Sullins’ study is not alone in suggesting more research needs to be done in this area. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an extensive study proving the importance of biological fathers in the “healthy development of children.” In addition, “the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted” on the issue of homosexual parenting found “numerous and significant differences” between children raised by biological parents and children of homosexuals, “with the outcomes for children of homosexuals rated ‘suboptimal’ in almost every category.”

Very important to understand that same-sex couples who bring children into their relationship are intentionally depriving the child of a relationship with one or more of her biological parents. Just imagine growing up in the world and not having access to the people who made you. It’s not fair, and adult selfishness should have to give way to the needs of vulnerable children. Motherlessness is bad for children, and fatherlessness is bad for children.

Let’s go back and look at a previous study from Canada.

The Public Discourse reported on it.

Excerpt:

A new academic study based on the Canadian census suggests that a married mom and dad matter for children. Children of same-sex coupled households do not fare as well.

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study published last week in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.

Unlike US-based studies, this one evaluates a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census, where same-sex couples have had access to all taxation and government benefits since 1997 and to marriage since 2005.

[…]Three key findings stood out to Allen:

children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.

Employing regression models and series of control variables, Allen concludes that the substandard performance cannot be attributed to lower school attendance or the more modest education of gay or lesbian parents. Indeed, same-sex parents were characterized by higher levels of education, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school than even those of married, opposite-sex couples. And yet their children are notably more likely to lag in finishing their own schooling.

[…]The truly unique aspect of Allen’s study, however, may be its ability to distinguish gender-specific effects of same-sex households on children. He writes:

the particular gender mix of a same-sex household has a dramatic difference in the association with child graduation. Consider the case of girls. . . . Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.

Thus although the children of same-sex couples fare worse overall, the disparity is unequally shared, but is instead based on the combination of the gender of child and gender of parents.

[…]Thus the study undermines not only claims about “no differences” but also assertions that moms and dads are interchangeable. They’re not.

Here’s the study.

The author of the study is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. His PhD in economics is from the University of Washington. A previous study had shown that gay relationships typically have far more instability (they last for more shorter times). Another study featured in the Atlantic talked about how gay relationships have much higher rates of domestic violence. Neither of these factors is good for children. So we have three reasons to think that normalizing gay relationships as “marriage” would not be good for children.

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