Gay Marriage Deprives Children of…
I was recently involved in a discussion on same-sex marriage in which the issue of its potential effects on children came up. That should be a surprise to nobody – the religious right frequently makes hysterical claims about the supposedly horrendous results of allowing gay marriage and/or gay adoption, apparently imagining a future where a generation of children…well, actually, I’m not sure what they imagine, since they won’t tell anybody what gay marriage will actually to do children beyond vague assertions about the absolute necessity for two opposite-sex parents. The more farsighted among them might also claim that gay marriage will actually destroy the USA (or, if they’re being really ambitious, the entirety of human civilization), much to the surprise of anybody living in, say, Belgium. But let’s ignore those people for now (or perhaps we should do it permanently) and look at one of the major arguments against same-sex marriage:
It deprives children of either or a mother or a father.
This is currently one of the ‘big ones’, at least until the religious right decides to move on to something else. I’ve been told countless times that gay marriage shouldn’t be condoned because it will deprive children of either a mother and a father and, as we all know thanks to studies which did not include any same-sex families, that would be very bad indeed. But consider the following:
- Single gay men or women can, in many places, adopt or foster children.
- Single heterosexual men or women can do exactly the same thing, because most of the adoption laws only prohibit cohabiting couples, regardless of orientation, from adopting.
- Single or cohabiting (or married) gay couples can and do raise children from previous opposite-sex relationships. At the very least, it is not uncommon for divorced men or women to stay in contact with their children after leaving an opposite-sex relationship. This is something that almost nobody ever talks about, for some reason.
The point I’m trying to make should be obvious: gay marriage does not allow gay people to raise children. It doesn’t need to, because they can already do it. If the antigay side is that worried about protecting children from the evils of being raised by gay parents, they need to change adoption and child protection laws, not marriage laws. Or, and this is going to sound a bit wild, they could stop letting their prejudices guide them and legitimatize the many same-sex families that they’re already sharing the world with.