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Same-sex parenting: harmful for children, or not?

At the beginning of the year we were jolted into the reality that same-sex parenting is a fact of life here in Trinidad and Tobago, with newspaper coverage of a lesbian couple welcoming a baby daughter into the world on New Year’s Day. The baby was conceived through (do-it-yourself) at-home insemination, with sperm donated by a gay friend.

Conventional wisdom has accepted that children have a right to know and be raised by their biological parents, and that children fare best when raised in the same household by both parents who are married and committed to each other.

Advocates of same-sex parenting would have us believe that the children raised by two ‘parents’ of the same sex are no worse off, and may even fare better, than children raised by married heterosexual parents, adoptive parents, single parents, or divorced parents.

Arguments tend to centre on the fact that such children are generally well-loved and provided for, and that the parents deserve to be happy and to be able to raise families of their own.

Zoe Romanowsky shares the opinion of Dr Jennifer Roback Morse, president and founder of the Ruth Institute in a July 20, 2015 article in the online publication Aleteia.

In commenting on the US Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, Dr Morse points out that whereas “adoption is a clear example of children being raised by non-biological parents where ties to biological parents are often completely severed,” in adoption “the loss the child has experienced is recognized and acknowledged and it is understood that his or her new parents are stepping into the shoes that biological parents can’t fill for one reason or another.”

She declares further: “Adoption is a child-centered, child-oriented set of legal rules, rather than adult-centered.”

In a Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse article (April 15, 2016), Mark Regnerus commented on the much-touted results of a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics that claimed: “No differences were observed between household types on family relationships or any child outcomes.”

He observed, however, inter alia, that:

While concluding that female same-sex parents displayed more “parental stress” than opposite-sex ones, the study actually revealed that the former were angrier at their children than the latter, and that there was a strong deleterious effect of such parental stress on child well-being.

The authors seemed to be leaning towards blaming the absent father for the irritation female same-sex parents feel at their children’s behaviour.

Much has been said elsewhere about the effect of the phenomenon of the “absent father” on family life and youth outcomes in Trinidad and Tobago.  Will same-sex parenting simply add another dimension to this phenomenon?

From all accounts, the child will be well-loved. The sad reality, however, is encapsulated in the words of “one adult child of a loving gay parent” in an open letter to Justice Kennedy prior to his decision on same-sex ‘marriage’ in the USA (Public Discourse, February 2, 2015):

When two adults who cannot procreate want to raise children together … the adults … satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents…If it is undisputed social science that children suffer greatly when they are abandoned by their biological parents, when their parents divorce, when one parent dies, or when they are donor-conceived, then how can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out “even better!” when raised in same-sex-headed households?

We can only prayerfully prepare now for the fall-out from this new ‘normal’ family configuration.

A monthly column by the Emmanuel Community: 46 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook.Tel:628-1064;