2 Mommies and a Baby
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
response to a letter
WARNING: THIS IS VERY LONG
I just really wanted to share the following with everyone because I enjoyed the response and the author of the second letter to the editor (the response, not the first letter) is actually a colleague/friend of mine.
First, here’s the original letter to the editor...
As state-licensed foster parents, we attend post-licensing continuing education courses and sometimes observe gay or lesbian couples among the class members. We appreciate these good-hearted same-sex couples' desire to provide homes for deserving children in the foster care system. At a recent class, a homosexual couple said that a child raised in their home would be benefited by not having a model of biological connections. As conscientious parents, we must address the serious problems with this and other notions of homosexual couples adopting and foster parenting children, or bringing fatherless or motherless children into the world through artificial insemination or surrogacy.
We know that the law of Connecticut, which our legislators passed in 1999 with little or no input from the public, mandated adoption rights for homosexual couples. We also know that marriage and having a family which to most includes children is part of the American dream. But, no matter how good and selfless the intent and desire of homosexual couples to care for and raise children, these couples (and their advocates) are looking at the situation from their own perspective, without regard for what is best for the children. All the reputable sociological studies show that mothers and fathers parent differently, and children need both a male and a female parent for the best chance for healthy development emotionally, intellectually and socially. (We intend no slight to single parents who have been forced by circumstances beyond their control to raise children on their own.)
These children, whom Connecticut and other states are placing for adoption or long-term foster care by gay and lesbian couples, are being intentionally and perhaps permanently denied any opportunity to be raised by both a mother and a father. This is not fair to the children. These children are being deliberately deprived of the unique parenting skills of the absent-sex parent in their lives. They are also being deliberately deprived of the natural husband/wife, male/female partnership model in their home life. We call upon our state legislators and those in Washington, D.C., to remember children's needs when they are debating measures such as the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment.
"Upholding traditional marriage is about justice for children," states the American College of Pediatricians (www.acpeds.org) . Their Dec. 21, 2005, letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert concludes with: "The best science demonstrates that now, as always, children do best when reared by a man and woman, mother and father, married and committed to them. Our children, the future of our Nation, deserve the best that we can provide for them. Let's not make their lives more difficult than they already are. Please pass the Federal Marriage Amendment to assure that present and future generations of children will not, once again, fall victim to the triumph of selfish adult wants over their real needs."
Because of lawsuits filed by the ACLU and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in many states, such as the pending Kerrigan v. Connecticut case, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely be hearing a federal case on same-sex "marriage" within the next few years. Same-sex "marriage" could be absolutized as the law of the land in this nation. As in Massachusetts, it takes only one judge to overrule the will of the people. We are aghast and appalled at the thought of what our nation's children's future will be if the desire of hundreds of ACLU and GLAD lawyers comes to fruition. These advocates, and even some learned professors, are promoting giving legal status and tax benefits to polygamous relationships of bisexual/homosexual (polyamorous) groups.
Some homosexual rights advocates are calling for the total abolishment of the institution of marriage, and even the abandonment of any notion of traditional male or female gender identity, in favor of a totally gender-neutral society. Very recently, the state Legislature of California passed a bill mandating the removal of all gender specific terms such as "mother and father" and "husband and wife" from textbooks to be used in California public schools. On the other coast, since Massachusetts judges mandated same-sex "marriage," children are being taught in school, as early as kindergarten, about homosexual couple-headed families. (See www.boston .com May 4, 2006, article ref. David Parker/Joseph Robert Wirthlin vs. Lexington Public Schools case.)
Hoover Institution fellow Stanley Kurtz describes how other nations are far along the path to total abolition of "marriage" after legalizing same-sex "marriage." (He has written several articles on the subject for the National Review. See www.nationalreview.com. ) All of our society pays the financial costs and suffers the attendant decreased quality of life as traditional marriage and family life have been eroded over recent decades. (We refer to increased crime, violence, youth drug and alcohol use, promiscuity, and abuse and addictions of all kinds in adult society as well as millions more of our nation's children are raised in sub-optimal situations.)
The Marriage Protection Amendment, which a majority of the U.S. Senate voted for on June 7, is not going away. It is the only sure way to put the issue finally to rest for all Americans, to protect from the courts the traditional notion of marriage and family life and the safety net they provide to our children. Despite the Senate defeat (two-thirds would have to vote yes to pass it), House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, plans to bring up the MPA for debate next month. This is not a partisan issue. It is a family issue. The New York Times reported (June 19, 2005): "Only about a quarter of voters surveyed in the national exit poll following the election favored same-sex marriage, and interestingly enough, only about half of gay and bisexual voters did."
If (and that's a big if) the Senate ever passes the MPA, then begins arguably one of our nation's most democratic of processes, as the legislatures of three quarters of the states would have to vote yes for it to go into law by amending the U.S. Constitution. Sens. Dodd and Lieberman oppose the MPA they say because they believe the decision belongs in the states. So, let's see if we can understand their view. They are OK with judges making the decisions and overruling the will of the people, which is what is happening in many states. They are also OK with legal chaos in our nation, as various states have conflicting laws regarding marriage, civil unions, registered domestic partners, etc., and many Americans relocate to different states. Go figure. Have you made your voice heard to Sen. Dodd and Sen. Lieberman, and your congressman?
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Long story short, here’s the response written by my friend published by the same paper.
“WAY OFF BASE”
The only thing I can think of to say in response to the patronizing and narrow-minded letter written by Mr. and Mrs. Smith is, “You have to be kidding.” (Friday, June 16, 2006).
In my opinion, it is obvious that they have not spent time in the juvenile court system in Connecticut where child neglect cases are legion. I am a juvenile court attorney where I see, day in and day out, the needs of children. There are the courts where we hear the stories of neglected and abused foster children, children who are homeless, who are shuffled from parent to grandparent to foster home to institutions and beyond. The Smiths may not have contemplated the reality that thousands of children being raised by parents of opposite sexes are routinely abused both physically and sexually, or are victims or parents who abuse alcohol and drugs or who don’t feed them, or who leave them alone for hours and even days.
The Smiths assert that they “know that the law of Connecticut, which our legislators passed in 1999 with little or no input from the public, mandated adoption rights for homosexual couples.”
They must no have spent time at the state Legislature where, for years, there have been public hearings on both co-parent adoptions as well as the recently enacted law allowing same-sex couples to be united in civil unions under the laws of the state. As gay parents, my partner and I testified before the Judiciary Committee in Hartford at the crowded public hearings for co-parent adoption. Thus, we know firsthand that there was, in fact, a great deal of public input about this law.
I don’t believe the Smiths can could among their friends the numerous gay and lesbian couples raising incredibly smart, talented and compassionate children who are becoming well-adjusted and productive members of our society.
Obviously, they have not a clue that children can and often do obtain male and female role modeling from others besides their biological mother or father and it does not appear that the Smiths are familiar with the large and growing body of research regarding the fitness of gays and lesbians to parent. They should at least familiarize themselves with this sampling as quoted from the American Psychological Association Public Interest Web site (www.apa.org):
“Beliefs that gay and lesbian adults are not fit parents…have no empirical foundation (Cramer, 1986; Falk, 1989; Gibbs, 1988; Patterson, 1996). Lesbian and heterosexual woman have not been found to differ markedly either in their overall mental health or in their approaches to child rearing (Kweskin & Cook, 1982; Lyons, 1983; Miller, Jacobsen & Bigner, 1981; Mucklow & Phelan, 1979; Pagelow, 1980; Rand, Graham & Rawlings, 1982; Thompson, McCandless & Strickland, 1971), nor have lesbians’ romantic and sexual relationships with other women been found to detract from their ability to care for their children (Pagelow, 1980)…Research on gay fathers has similarly found no reason to believe them unfit as parents (Barret & Robinson, 1990; Bigner and Bozett, 1990; Bozett, 1980, 1989)…
“In studies of children ranging in age from 5 to 14, results of projective testing and related interview procedures have revealed normal development of gender identity among children of lesbian mothers (Green, 1978; Green, Mandel, Hotvedt, Gray & Smith, 1986; Kirkpatrick, Smith & Roy, 1981). Kirkpatrick and her colleagues (1981) found no differences between children of lesbian versus heterosexual mothers in toy preferences, activities, interests, or occupational choices…
“Studies of other aspects of personal development among children of gay and lesbian parents have assessed a broad assay of characteristics. Among these have been separation-individuation (Steckel, 1985, 1987), psychiatric evaluations (Golombok et al., 1983; Kirkpatrick et al., 1981), assessments of behavioral problems (Flaks, Ficher, Masterpasqua and Joseph, 1995; Golombok et al., 1983; Patterson, 1994a), personality (Gottman, 1990), self-concept (Gottman, 1990; Huggins, 1989; Patterson, 1994a; Puryear, 1983) locus of control (Puryear, 1983; Rees, 1979) moral judgment (Rees, 1979) and intelligence (Green et al., 1986). Research has shown that concerns about difficulties in personal development in these areas among children of lesbian mothers are unwarranted. As was the case for sexual identity, studies of these other aspects of personal development have revealed no major differences between children of lesbian versus heterosexual mothers…
Overall, the belief that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer deficits in personal development has no empirical foundation.”
Like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, my partner and I are also state-licensed foster parents. And, much to their chagrin, we became the foster and then adoptive parents of our second son who was placed with us when he was 4 years old.
Though Mr. and Mrs. Smith may have an opinion that this was not right, the adoption was approved and endorsed by the State of Connecticut, by lawyers and psychologists, by neighbors, grandparents, relatives and friends, and by the probate judge. Could they all be wrong?
I feel sorry for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, who fail to see that, in our world of war and turmoil and all of the challenges that face our children today, fretting over gay marriage or children who are wanted, loved and cared for by parents in committed relationships, or writing inane letters against gay parenting and same-sex marriage, is really just a waste of time.