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A Concerned Parent on Same-sex Parents

December 12, 2006
tags: ,

Thank god for slow work days. They give me the chance to read articles like this, entitled Two Mommies Is One Too Many by James C. Dobson, the founder and chair of Focus on the Family. FotF is a ministry that advocates biblical principles in all aspects of life.

Of course, this article is a reaction to the news that Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are expecting their second child. Now, I realize this is old news, but Mr. Dobson’s article inspires me to respond since I know he reads M-BA, as does former President Bill Clinton, His Holiness the Pope, and Bono*. In Two Mommies Is One Too Many, Mr. Dobson states a case against same-sex parenting based on a 7 year old book (Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child by Kyle Pruett), a 10 year old article in Psychology Today (unnamed and uncredited), and a nearly 2000 year old book (The Bible, written by lots of folks).

I mention the times that these references were published because it’s very telling that he uses works that were written before same-sex marriage has been successfully defended in courts, before companies started giving benefits to same-sex partners, and only shortly after scientific research started to show that homosexuality could be linked to genetics. Civil rights for homosexuals and societal understanding of homosexuality has come a long way since the authoring of the works that Mr. Dobson refers to. So much so, that the American Psychological Association in2004 released a policy statement which testifies that there is no calculable ill effect on the mental or social well-being of a child reared by same-sex parents.

It would seem that Mr. Dobson is aware that his references are debatable, if not outright questionable, because he then uses a favorite of people with strong feelings that need defending: the appeal to emotion (and outright speculation). Quoting Mr. Dobson:

But set aside the scientific findings for a minute. Isn’t there something in our hearts that tells us, intuitively, that children need a mother and a father? Admittedly, that ideal is not always possible. Divorce, death, abandonment and unwed pregnancy have resulted in an ever growing number of single-parent families in this culture. We admire the millions of men and women who have risen to the challenge of parenting alone and are meeting their difficult responsibilities with courage and determination. Still, most of them, if asked, would say that raising children is a two-person job best accomplished by a mother and father.

Mr. Dobson goes on to, without any references, compare the allowance of same-sex parenting to the apparent travesty that is no-fault divorce, which has ” reflected our selfish determination to do what was convenient for adults, and it has been, on balance, a disaster”. No quite so, according to Laurie D. Krauth, MA in an article published on website of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy:

While fault proponents argue that divorce causes psychological problems in children, there is evidence to the contrary. In a review of research on children and divorce, Paul Amato, PhD, of the University of Nebraska, found that children’s’ adjustment depended less on the divorce than on the parents’ conflict, the custodial parent’s childrearing skills, the involvement of the non-custodial parent, economic hardship and stressful life changes. Some studies suggest that children with parents in a high-conflict marriage do better if their parents divorce, while children with parents who are disaffected but not in major conflict do better if they stay together.

Ahrons notes that “research shows children have no long-term damage when they continue to have relationships post-divorce with two emotionally healthy parents and when the parents do not embroil the children in their conflicts.” Furthermore, she adds research shows that “much of the negative effects on children predate their parents’ separation.” (link)

Now, being a father and a child of a divorce, I have my own opinons on both of these subjects, both are backed up by experience. As a father, I am well aware that I do add some things to parenting that my wonderful wife does not, just as she adds some things that I, her amazingly attractive and charming** husband, do not. However, it is because we are two different people, with different opinions, priorities, talents, and interests; not because one of us has a penis, and the other a vagina. As for the negative effects of divorce on a child, our family was exponentially better off once my parents split. Sometimes, a marriage is something that can be worked on and saved, making things better for the family, children in particular. In our case, the marriage of my parents was making everyone miserable, and the only way out for the kids was the divorce of the parents. The parents were able to become better friends than they ever were while married, and the stress relieved from the family made it possible for us kids to move on with a happier and more normal life.

With all due respect, Mr. Dobson, your arguments have no value in my mind.


*I am lying. Sorry.

** and modest

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg Madjeski permalink
    December 13, 2006 1:16 pm

    Yes, my amazingly attractive and charming husband, you defintitely bring things to the child rearing of our children that I cannot. Of course, myself being a mother and also the child of divorced parents, one of whom is homosexual, you know that I agree wholeheartedly with this post and think that Mr. Dobson is full of it. I would much rather have my father and his partner parenting our children together, than someone else that is married, but miserable. Two vaginas, two peni (is that right?) Who the hell cares….two hearts is what is important.

    I love you!! Thank you for writing about this oh, so important subject!!!

    Your wonderful, adoring wife!!

  2. TPN permalink
    December 13, 2006 1:55 pm

    Dobson is a medieval bigot, dangerous propaqandist, and wingnut extraordinaire. The fact that anyone takes him seriously is as disturbing as the twisted nonsense he shovels into the public domain with his pseudo-authoritative lunacy.

    But what I really think is that Joe is 100% right about this. I came from a divorced parent home and I found the blessings outweighed the challenges in forming lasting love for family and a positive approach to life. Sure it wasn’t easy but is anything worthwhile truly easy?

  3. December 13, 2006 2:34 pm

    that my wonderful wife does not, just as she adds some things that I, her amazingly attractive and charming** husband, do not.
    watch out world!!!
    With parent like you guys, those kids of yours will, no doubt, be participants toward the greater good.

  4. December 13, 2006 3:21 pm

    Still, Isn’t there something in our hearts that tells us, intuitively, that children need a mother and a father?

    I love that part. He has perfect confidence in his half baked arguments because he has perfect knowledge of the human heart.

  5. December 13, 2006 3:40 pm

    “Two vaginas, two peni (is that right?) Who the hell cares….two hearts is what is important.”

    I don’t think I could have said it better.


    Thank you, Nancy!


    Tyler, it’s interesting, I’ve yet to meet someone who was truly permanently broken by a divorce.


    “Still, most of them, if asked, would say that raising children is a two-person job best accomplished by a mother and father.”

    That’s my favorite, since he states it as plain fact, rather than spurious speculation.

  6. January 5, 2007 1:57 pm

    It seems I’m a little late to the party, but I still feel the need to comment.

    While I do not disagree with same-sex partnerships and parenting, I do believe that every child needs a stable mother and father figure actively participating in their life.

    For instance; What does a man, gay or not, know about the various emotional challenges a teenage girl will go through during her development into a young woman? And how can anyone expect that man to deal with those situations as a woman would. Men and women experience many aspects of life in different ways, there are experiences that women will never have in life because they are not men, and vice versa. Our life experiences are the greatest tools we have to raise and pass on to our children.

    While I do not believe that hetero couples are better parents than same-sex couples, I do believe that there are parts of the human experience that a same-sex couple simply cannot impart on a child.



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