Take the Children out of Anti-Gay Arguments

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), February 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

Take the Children out of Anti-Gay Arguments


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Todd Huffman For The Register-Guard

Families in America today come in all shapes and sizes. Be they unwed mothers raising their children alone, divorced or separated parents raising their children in split fashion, remarried parents raising their children and stepchildren, or grandparents parenting again, American families of the 21st century are much more diverse than the standard one-mom, one-dad, 2.1-children model of yesteryear. Americans today give almost no second thought to this bewildering variety of family structures.

Except for the same-gender parent family structure.

Almost no issue is as polarizing as whether to grant or deny gays and lesbians the right to marry. Meanwhile, as the debate rages onward in statehouses and houses of worship, in courtrooms and living rooms, more same-sex couples are quietly and lovingly and responsibly raising children than ever before.

Between 1 million and 6 million children in the United States are being reared by committed lesbian or gay couples, an estimate that may even be low. Nearly one-quarter of same-sex couples are raising children, in at least 96 percent of all counties in the United States. What was once unheard of has become another fact of American life.

Most children who have one or two gay or lesbian parents were born in the context of a heterosexual relationship that has been dissolved. Either or both partners may have found new partners of the same or different gender.

Alternatively, more and more gay and lesbian couples are bringing children into long-term partnerships through adoption, artificial insemination and surrogacy.

Opponents of gay marriage frequently argue that children who grow up in same-sex parent households are harmed. It is, they argue, an unnatural upbringing.

However, the vast consensus of decades of study shows that children born to and raised by lesbian and gay couples seem to do just as well in every measure of health and well-being as children whose parents are heterosexual.

Put simply, there is ample evidence that conscientious and nurturing adults - whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual - can be excellent parents.

Those opposed to gay marriage often point to studies showing that children raised in families headed by a father and a mother fare much better in childhood, and later as adults. …

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