Monday, November 30, 2015

About the Children

Section seven of Ryan T. Anderson’s book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom discusses families. In particular, the outcome for children raised by two parents of the same sex, which was imposed on the American people in June, on the whim of a wavering Justice Kennedy.

The book lays out research on children of gays (COGs), reports from children so raised, and various other opinions—which Justice Kennedy had in hand and dismissed as unimportant. Anderson’s presentation is always logical. I’ll leave it to you to read his version. But for today I’d like to offer a few passages I took note of.

One story comes from an essay by Robert Oscar Lopez, “a bisexual Latino intellectual,” who was raised by his mother and her female partner. His essay, first published in the online journal Public Discourse, is titled “Growing Up with Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View.” Lopez recounts the hole in his young life because of the absence of a father. His friends, he said, learned how to approach life from a man and a woman.

They learned, typically, how to be bold and unflinching from male figures and how to write thank-you cards and be sensitive form female figures. These are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes come in handy when you inevitably leave the safety of your lesbian mom’s trailer and have to work and survive in a world where everybody thinks in stereotypical terms, even gays.
Not only did he lack a male role model, his mother and her partner were not traditional mothers either. He makes the valid point that, while gays and lesbians have been pushing for so-called “marriage equality,” they have cavalierly favored depriving children of either a mother or a father, even though, he says, “Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.”

Lopez has been silenced and maligned for expressing his experience and opinions, which do not align with the movement’s agenda.

As Anderson comments, “Gay activists use intimidation to shut down debate about their agenda, and no one has faced more attacks on their characters than the children of gays and lesbians who oppose gay marriage.”

Katy Faust is another such voice, a grown woman who was raised by two women. She wrote, in an amicus brief in the Obergefell case,

There is no difference between the value and worth of heterosexual and homosexual persons…because we are all humans created in the image of God….[But] 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.
She reminds us, “Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right.”

I noticed this line, because it aligns with a sentence from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”: “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
Faust goes on:

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.
When she became a mother, she came to realize this fact: “Kids want their mother and father to love them and to love each other.” And she adds,

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.

It isn’t that same-sex parents are bad at parenting. Both may be good and devoted parents. But there is still something missing. As the research shows, children raised by divorced parents, or single parents (never married, the father not in the picture), or by in vitro reproduction through a donor, or are abandoned by parents—these children all ache for the missing parent. Their lives are not whole. So, if that is true, Faust asks, “How can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out ‘even better!’ when raised in same-sex headed households?” In reality they aren’t.

She concludes, “The onus must be on adults to conform to the needs of children, not the other way around.”

Heather Barwick, another child of two moms, adds her story. “I’m writing to you [the gay community] because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage….It’s not because you’re gay…..It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself,” which always deprives a child of either a mom or a dad."

There’s something wrong with adults who think it’s all right to reorder society to meet their desires when those desires necessarily deprive a child of what the child is entitled to, and will feel the absence of. Barwick said,

A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I love my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost…. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary….
[A legal system that redefines marriage] promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.
Children of divorce are free to say that they miss having their parents together, or they miss the parent they don’t get to live with. That makes sense to us. But these children, purposely raised without a father, or without a mother, don’t even get to voice their pain; it’s not politically correct to bring that up. Barwick says, “If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.” Children who love their gay parents are labeled homophobic for missing something children are naturally made to expect—both of their biological parents.

Another story comes from Doug Mainwaring, a homosexual male who married a woman, left the marriage to pursue a homosexual lifestyle, and then came back for the sake of the children. He says, “(1) Creating a family with another man is not completely equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.”  He said, “I do not get to throw away the mother of my child as if she is a used incubator.”

And Mainwaring added, “When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest…forever.”

Anderson concludes, “For all of Justice Kennedy’s concern about conferring the ‘dignity’ of marriage on same-sex couples, there’s little concern about conferring suffering on the children raised in such relationships. A relentless focus on adult desire has left us astonishingly calloused.”

That callousness—which fits into what we refer to here at The Spherical Model as southern hemisphere savagery—is the legacy of this redefinition of marriage.

Those of us who know what real marriage is have an obligation to remember, to speak up regardless of negative backlash, and to find ways to express the truth and keep it from being buried. The next section of the book talks about how to build a movement of marriage, to help our society recover.

The downward movement started decades earlier, with “the sexual ideology that undermined the rational foundations for the marital norms of permanence, exclusivity, and monogamy.” What took decades to deconstruct will take decades to rebuild.  Anderson paraphrases Pope Benedict XVI, who “reminds us that while intellectual arguments are important, people are moved more by beauty and holiness….So the first thing we need to do is live the truth about marriage ourselves.”

That’s a starting place. We’ll leave it at that for today, and talk about organization and activism another time.

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