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As is usual with "hot" religious topics, most people can be divided into two opposing camps: one strongly in favor and the other strongly against. It is almost useless to attempt to reach a consensus on such a highly polarized subject. People bring to any discussion on gay and lesbian parenting their fundamental beliefs:

bulletThe author of the Focus on the Family booklet follows the Evangelical Christian belief system that homosexuality is condemned by God, is unnatural, is caused by "gender identity and personal developmental problems", and that homosexuals are highly diseased. They feel that it is quite acceptable to deny homosexuals the rights and privileges of being married, adopting children and having access to artificial insemination.
bulletGays, lesbians, most researchers into human sexuality and most mental and physical health professional organizations believe that homosexuality is a natural sexual expression that is not a mental disorder, is determined at least to a large degree by one's genetic makeup. They know that lesbians have the lowest sexually transmitted disease infection rate of any gender/orientation. Many believe that homosexuals should have the same rights as all other citizens are routinely granted.

We see one common belief shared by many people: that all things being equal, the best environment for bringing up a child is in a family headed by one woman and one man. But all things are rarely equal. Studies appear to indicate that the sexual orientation of the parents have a minor affect on the development of their children. It would seem that same-sex parents can compensate for the absence of a father or mother in the family by involving their children with friends and their extended family. It would seem that the selection of one parent to have custody of a child after divorce should be made on the basis of the best arrangement for the child; it should not be routinely given to a non-homosexual parent.

It would seem that most of the arguments presented by Evangelical Christians could be easily reworded to prohibit:

bulletsingle parents from retaining custody of their children,
bulletinfertile heterosexual couples from marrying
bulletheterosexual couples who plan to remain childless from marrying

Their arguments seem very similar to those used 30 years ago in support of a ban on inter-racial marriages. We cannot understand why they believe that a heterosexual family that raises a child benefits society, whereas a homosexual family that raises a child does not contribute at all to society. It would seem that the only difference between the two children is liable to be that the child raised by gay or lesbian parents is liable to be far less homophobic.

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  1. Judge Kevin Chang's ruling is at http://www.ftm.org/archive/chang-ruling.txt
  2. Larry Burtoft, "Setting the Record Straight: What Research Really Says About the Social Consequences of Homosexuality", Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO, (1994), pages 74 to 78
  3. Alisa Sterkel, "Psychosocial Development of Children of Lesbian Mothers" Gay & Lesbian Parents 75, 81, Frederick W. Bozett, ed., (1987)
  4. Julie Schwartz, "Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents", 14 Marriage and Family Review 177 (1989)
  5. various, "Sexual Orientation and the Law", Harvard Law Review, Harvard University Press, 1989
  6. Pauline Turner et al, "Parenting in Gay and Lesbian Families", 1 Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 55, 57 (1990)
  7. G. Dorsey Green Frederick W. Bozett "Lesbian Mothers and Gay Fathers", in Homosexuality: Research Implications for Public Policy" ed. by Gonsiorek & Weinrich, Sage Publications (1991)
  8. Cheryl L. Meyer, "Legal, Psychological, and Medical Considerations in Lesbian Parenting," 2 Law & Sexuality: A Review of Lesbian & Gay Legal Issues 237 (1992)
  9. Wendell Ricketts, "Lesbians and Gay Men as Foster Parents", University of Southern Maine, (1992)

Copyright © 1998, 1999
Date of last update: 1999-MAR-25

Author: B.A. Robinson

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