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Rae Woodhouse

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Should Gays and Lesbians be allowed to have children?

I am the daughter of two wonderful woman, whom I consider lesbians, second to mothers. I am interested in hearing the opinions of other as to whether or not the idea of queer spawn (that is to say the children of queers) is one that is widely supported or frowned upon.

Topics: homosexuality
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    Jan 3 2012: 'Queer spawn' . . . what an unusual phrase for this thoughtful question.
    • Jan 6 2012: The term "queer" is used to describe any orientation or lifestyle other than heterosexuality - it's just a way to ensure that nobody is excluded.
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    Jan 3 2012: Anyone able to provide love and care should be allowed to have children. That governments should worry whether half the parents have a penis is quite a puzzle to me.
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    Jan 3 2012: Why not? Studies haven't shown that a child growing up with same-sex parents is in any way different or psychologically affected by his/her parents' sexual orientation. If anything, these kids turn out to be more liberal and accepting of others and their sexual orientation, race, gender, and such. Being gayor lesbian doesn't mean that you're unfit to raise a child. I know plenty of unfit heterosexual parents.
  • Jan 22 2012: Here is what the American Psychological Association has to say about gay and lesbian parenting:

    "[B]eliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002). Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly in their approaches to child rearing (Patterson, 2000; Tasker, 1999). Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners (Patterson, 2000, 2004a). The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers' and gay fathers' parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents. There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation (Armesto, 2002; Patterson, 2000; Tasker & Golombok, 1997). On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children."

    http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/parenting.aspx
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    Jan 6 2012: Weighing in as a lesbian, and a mother, I appreciate the thoughtful and logical responses. I think in this forum you will find more intelligent and open minded responses than you might by posting the same question on certain other forums.

    First to comment on the original question. In my experience in a small, somewhat conservative, community my three children have never had an instance of discrimination or grief as a result of having two moms. In fact their experience has been quite the opposite. We've always had 'the home' where all the friends come and hang out and spend their time. We have developed relationships with many of their friends. I was always watching and waiting for some awful thing to happen to one of my children as a result of them having two lesbian moms but nothing ever happened. Their father, a wonderful man, has taken an equal role in raising and spending time with them. They have all grown up to be amazing, responsible and open minded adults.

    I would like to chime in on the 'adoption vs bio' comment. I believe everyone has a right to bring children into this world if they are going to step up and be responsible and loving parents. It seems ridiculous to me to think there would be any debate whatsoever involving what is 'best' in any situation. I'm glad David clarified that his feelings are more about artificial insemination and not whether the parents are gay or straight. However, there is an unexplainable and very real desire for some women (and perhaps men) to give birth and to compare that to adoption isn't as black and white as one might think.

    Prejudice and fear towards the gay community is more the problem than loving parents raising loving children.
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      Jan 6 2012: The fact that we are still asking this question given all the knowledge we have today about parenting and human nature, represents the real problem. Nothing else. Thank goodness for loving parents like Jill and her spouse.
  • Jan 6 2012: Why not?

    Many children grow up with only one or no parents.

    I believe what truly matters is that the parent's love the child, and looks out for the child's interests.

    I suspect the resentment seems to be aimed at the fact that the parents are gay/lesbian, rather than any physical impact upon the child in question.
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    Jan 3 2012: in my book, the right to raise a child goes to the natural parents. it can be taken away only in cases of mistreatment. mistreatment must be intentional. poverty, disability, inability to be a good parent does not count as a reason. natural parents can transfer that right to anyone they see fit. if they abandon the child, anyone can step up and take responsibility. in our societies, the state is the "parent of the last resort".

    using that reasoning, if parents decide to give their child to a lesbian couple, it is their right to do so. and the lesbian couple is requested to do what other parents are: try to take good care of the child as much as they can. in that case, nobody else has a say in the matter.

    on the other hand: if the church gets the task of raising the child, the church can deny transferring those rights to lesbians on grounds of their ethics. the church also can demand religiousness, full family, etc. as long of course as the intentions are good, nobody has a say in the matter.

    the only debatable question is whether the state should give a children to gays. the state is required to rely on science and on popular demand at the same time, which is pretty much impossible.
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      Jan 6 2012: Being gay or lesbian doesn't mean that you can't have kids. Some like to adopt and some use surrogates and sperm donors in order to have children I don't think that it makes much of a valid point if you're only looking at one aspect of the conception of kids being raised by same-sex parents.

      With that being said, it's very difficult to have a say on issues about homosexuality without trying to sound like a radical, but the fact remains that the church has no right to judge people and act all holier than thou like what goes on behind closed church doors is all bliss and roses. Churches are institutions that a lot of people turn to for guidance and leadership. I don't see why they ask people to think about their perspective when they readily denounce those who don't fit into what they deem as someone worthy of their religion. Why must we let churches have a say in such things? Why must we let them lead us when they are institutions which OPENLY allow and encourage discrimination?
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        Jan 6 2012: if you consider my logic, if a lesbian gives birth to a child, it is even clearer situation. her own child. what is the problem here to solve?

        a church pretty much has the right to judge anyone as they please. they are also entitled to act based on their own ethics as long as they don't violate the rights of other people.
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          Jan 10 2012: I feel that the Church makes a lot of poor decisions because of these "ethics" they have. To be quite honest, the way the church banishes people of a different sexual orientation makes me question how for the people the church is. One can easily presume that if you don't fit a certain character, one that is redemption worthy, then the church does everything it it's power to make it difficult for society to accept you. I just wish that when it came to adoption, the church could look outside sexual orientation and just see men and women who want to have and can take care of children, it shouldn't go any deeper than that. What the parents do in their bedroom is none of the churches business.

          And I still maintain that the church has no right to go about judging everybody according to their morals and ethics. The fact that they do it and a large majority of the people accept it does not make it okay.
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        Jan 11 2012: so the church is a bastard. and? why should we care? if you don't like it, leave or don't join. they don't have any power over people. they are just talking.

        judging something is a basic right. i think with my head, i talk with my mouth. you can't expect to have the freedom to tell your opinion if you want to ban them telling theirs.
        • Jan 12 2012: A lot of people would say "just ignore it" or maybe "don't let it bug you". The more practical side of society might tell you that it's easier said than done. Honestly, I get your view on the whole "why should we care?" point; the problem being that in my country Catholicism is such a major part of society that people and their moral characters are actually judged based on their religious beliefs. Just getting up and leaving is something we're all perfectly capable of doing, but not without repercussions.

          More on the issue of caring about it... the Church wields enormous influence, a lot of people who would rather not think about heavy issues (and are especially devout) will take Church word as right and good. Not caring about something as enormous as the Church is like seeing a tidal wave coming and not caring about it.

          I just find it extremely unfair that the actions done by the Church go against their very principles. I find it extremely unfair that the Church casts out judgments the way they do.

          There is no problem with expressing an opinion or judging something because, as you said, it's a basic right. This is true when an individual expresses or judges. When it comes to something like the Church, though? I have my doubts.

          -----

          I agree with a lot of the posts here when they say that homosexuals, whether they're gay or lesbians, should be allowed to raise children provided that they do it properly. I'm pretty sure that a lot of homosexual couples could do a better job of raising children than heterosexual couples. To me, it isn't a matter of being a guy or a girl; it's all about who you really are a person and the genuine intentions you have because at the end of the day we're really just people.
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          Jan 12 2012: I just think that the fact that we have the liberty to say whatever we want does not necessarily mean that we must. It's as simple as that.
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        Jan 12 2012: so we agree that the church does not have to oppose same sex marriage. so?
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      Jan 22 2012: I'm just seeing this now.

      What did you mean by "inability to be a good parent does not count as a reason"? Drug addiction? (Unmanaged) schizoprenia? Borderline personality disorder? Any other circumstance that may not have been deliberately chosen but still endangers the child? Shouldn't the safety of the child be paramount?
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        Jan 22 2012: maybe i will be unpopular with this (which is a new role for me, ahem), but

        i think only actual actions count as mistreatment. for example beating the child, or opening the window at the night in freezing cold, or giving knife to an infant, something like that. if the parent is a drug addict, but tries to provide the child with food and heating and such things the best he can, it is enough. any sort of mental problems are the same. as long as the person does not do something bad like i said above, it is not enough to interfere.

        bear in mind, i!m not saying that this is good. just that it is not a basis to take the child away. people around them are still free and encouraged to persuade the parents to give the child to someone else, or overcome their drug addiction, or support the child's education, or give the child any other support.
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    Feb 3 2012: I believe they should.

    Granted, it can be more difficult for the kids (at school, etc..) but if love and caring surrounds the kids of same-sex couples, heck, what is the problem...?

    Lots of children are raised by unhappy heterosexual couples, who says gay/lesbian couples couldn't make a child happy, especially now, because they have to fight for it very hard.

    And BTW, it is not because it might still be not permitted by law in some countries that it doesn't exist in reality.

    The law here is merely catching up with the reality. And for me, laws are supposed to reflect the reality, that is responding to present and future needs and reflecting the ongoing changes in society.
  • Jan 14 2012: personally, I feel like the job of a parent is to raise their child in a safe environment while instilling them with a set of morals and good ethical character. Gender should not play a role. By this standard, gays and lesbians, who are arguably the most compassionate and accepting people that exist in society, are actually ideal parents.
  • Jan 6 2012: Yesssssssss

    I understand the value of having both a mother-figure and a father-figure, but there are so many single fathers and single mothers out there with children. Queers are just as capable of providing a safe, loving home as anybody else.

    The people I know who have grown up under the care of LGBT parents say that they wouldn't choose anybody else.
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    Jan 4 2012: Hi Rae.
    I am a dad. I cannot imagine fathering a child & taking no further interest in it's life. People of either sex are of course capable of love, but personally I think I would feel cheated if I didn't have access to my natural parents. This is a big social gamble, & It's not fair to gamble with children's lives. That said, I'm sure it can be character building. Your life is now your own to do as you see fit. I wish you every success & happiness.

    :-)
    • Jan 5 2012: HI Peter,

      I thank you for taking the time to take part in the conversation. Although I see what you are saying, I believe that you have assumed some things that are untrue, so I feel I should explain. I, like many of my other friends who find themselves in the same predicament as I, do in fact have access to both my biological parents. My mother is still my mother, and I still interact with my biological father. I have spent a decent amount of time with his wife and step children, have met his entire family at get togethers and remain in contact with him. Both my mothers strongly encourage me to include him in my life, but have given me the choice. We ask nothing of him (in the sense of child support) but have developed a healthy relationship. For many of my friends, their bio dads have played an even larger role in their lives, perhaps not as a parental figure, but as a support person. My mothers have always made it very clear that I could have as much access to my biological father as I wished; although it is not an option that I, at 15, have exploited too much over the years for I feel content with my moms.
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        Jan 5 2012: Hi Rae

        I am glad things are working out for you. Your parents seem to be taking their responsibilities seriously & I'm sure things will work out ok. They could teach a lot of hetro parents a thing or two by the sounds of it. We all thrive in a close loving environment. Parents & kids alike are not perfect, but you seem to have the environment to thrive. So get on with it girl; thrive! lol

        :-)
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    Jan 4 2012: I think it's more a matter of good or bad parents, I think there is nothing wrong with good gay/lesbian parents. But how to say if they're good or bad ? who should say it ?

    Anyway even in the case of very bad lesbian parents (I knew somes) the children can grow up very good and become very intelligent, because even if family is where you spend most of your time in childhood there are many other factors that makes you a good or bad person, with many or no problems..
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    Jan 4 2012: I have an unusual, and I think unpopular perspective, in the US, that I'm curious to see what people think about... I think it should be perfectly acceptable for homosexual couples to adopt, but in a world where there are so many childless parents, I'm against surrogates for homosexual couples.

    There is a part of me that sees this as unfair... but it is often suggested by the gay community that there is a genetic component, "not a choice", to homosexuallity... So in making it legal for them to have surrogates, do we both deny an already abandoned child good parents, and create a child with a possibly self limiting gene, that will probably be descriminated against?

    That's the only real gray area for me personally. 100% for homosexual adoption, but pretty firmly against surrogates for homosexual couples... Is that fair?
    • Jan 5 2012: I think your opinion makes sense for there are many children who are parent-less. But should we just leave it up to the gay couples to adopt these children, is it not everyone's responsibility? Then again, I was not adopted... One of my mothers gave birth to me via artificial insemination, which is common in the lesbian community, for the majority of them, just like most woman, want to have the experience of child bearing.
      That being said... I do believe that there is a lot of sense it want you say.
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        Jan 5 2012: To be fair, my moral irk, would not stop me from voting for homosexual couples right to a surrogate, if there weren't so many kids that could benefit from adoption. Also, I want the world to be a place where homosexuals experience no descrimination, so when that occurs, the "self limiting" aspect would stop bothering me... I hope we're getting close.

        I just think it would be nice if the homosexual community embraced adoption, right now, because the straight community isn't stepping up. So, if they parsed surrogates out, I might vote against it... They won't though, they'll lump it in with adoption, or they'll win a court case soon. I wouldn't vote down adoption, just to stop surrogates.

        I think, in reality, I just think it would be a really useful PR win for the GLBT community in my opinion, if there was an embrace of an adoption culture, temporarily. I'm not going to write a petition or anything though... Wanting to nudge people towards something, shouldn't involve law. It would be a cool cultural thing to see. I think that's where I stand firm, it would be nice... shouldn't be law.

        Also, to be fair, I think I'm firmly against straight couples getting artificial insemination, or surogates, while they are are so many kids without parents, but again... It would be nice if they started adopting, it shouldn't be law.