Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Gay Parenthood Debate

By Brandon

Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gay parenthood has become the new frontier (along with gay marriage, etc.), and many scholarly studies are concluding that children have the same developmental outcomes when raised by gay parents as when raised by a heterosexual married couple. Other scholars argue that the sex of the parent really doesn't matter. As long as you have one caring adult (i.e., parent), you have normal outcomes (e.g., Silverstein and Auerbach, etc.). Pleck after reviewing the immense amount of research out there on both mothers and fathers argues that having neither a father nor a mother is essential (November 2010, NCFR Conference Presentation).

I find it hard to believe that the sex of your parents wouldn't matter at all--at least in some domain of development. Perhaps what this debate really comes down to is a moral stand point and not a child development issue. Quite possibly heterosexual parenting matters because of what it does to both children and parents reciprocally, as parents learn from children and vice versa, and perhaps because of what it does to the character of those involved. Could it be that the effects cannot be seen by social science or the "naked eye?"

Maybe it is the practice of homosexuality that is actually the problem, not the fact that they are acting as parents. As Latter-day Saints, I do not see how we can uphold gay marriage or gay parenting on any moral grounds. Indeed, it is our belief that "marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God" and that children are entitled to birth within the bonds of holy matrimony (LDS Proclamation, 1995). To us, having homosexual tendencies is not a sin; however, acting on them and bringing children into the mix is.

In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley of the LDS Church said:

"People inquire about our position on those who consider themselves so-called gays and lesbians. My response is that we love them as sons and daughters of God. They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control. Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church. If they violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the Church, then they are subject to the discipline of the Church, just as others are....We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families" (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

Also, here is a wonderful interview that dives even deeper into LDS views on same-gender attraction:

Then again...I always think about all of the children in orphanages who will never be adopted...Isn't having a loving family even if they are gay better than no loving family at all? If I knew that my child could either live in an orphanage her whole life or go to a nice gay family, which would I choose?

What are your feelings on this whole debate?

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