A harsh view of parenting
In response to David Blankenhorn's essay "Gay marriage deprives children"
[Opinion, Sept. 24], I think it is time someone sets the record "straight."
To state that same-sex marriage deprives children because parenting is best
when a man and a woman raise their kids totally diminishes millions of
wonderful families in the United States today. And to add that family structure
matters most for children whose family is headed by two biological parents in
a low-conflict marriage is absurd.
As an ordained minister, I was disturbed by Blankenhorn's opinion that a
child is best in a home raised by his or her heterosexual, biological, married
parents versus a loving, same-sex couple, no matter the circumstances -
beatings, drug abuse, mental abuse. That is dangerous and not in the interest
of the child.
One or two loving parents, who put their children first no matter what the
sexual orientation, gender, race or religion, is what should be most important.
A person's sexual orientation has nothing to do with his or her parenting
ability. It is the character and moral standards of a person that make a parent.
The same-sex marriage issue is solely aimed at legalizing the commitment of
two loving, committed adults to receive all the same legal rights as a
My partner and I are raising our 15-year-old son in a happy, healthy and
loving home, and it is opinions like Blankenhorn's that destroy our son's hopes
to one day live in a world of total equality.
Rev. Beverly Boyarsky
Editor's note: The writer is minister at Beacon of Light Ministry.
I am an adopted child and I very much resent Blankenhorn's saying that my
biological parents "denied me my birthright." What?
The institution of marriage is not a cultural constant and never has been.
In modern American society, marriage is a civil institution. That means all
citizens may participate; all citizens may receive the legal rights and
benefits that stem from civil and family law.
How dare Blankenhorn and his narrow-minded ilk tell me that my mother, who
remarried in her 70s, did so to have children? How dare he tell me and millions
of other adopted children that our upbringing is invalid? How dare he enshrine
into civil law his personal religious beliefs? And how dare he single out an
entire class of American taxpaying, loyal citizens - gay men and women - to be
No one is asking any church or religious institution to sanctify same-sex
marriage. Civil marriage is a right for all; sanctifying that marriage in a
house of worship is a private decision for the couple that chooses to do so.
Blankenhorn, as the president of the Institute for American Values, has
made a career speaking out in favor of marriage. No argument there.
However, he leads his essay by declaring "I'm a liberal Democrat," as if
that gives him the bona fides to attack gay marriage as being bad for children.
Well, I am a registered Republican, so I guess that gives me the right to
speak out in favor of gay marriage.
Blankenhorn's argument against gay marriage is that children have the right
to "a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage." But
what about the children living with parents in high-conflict marriages? What
of the alcoholic mom? The workaholic dad? The parents who can't seem to
discipline their children? What do we do with all of the children of all of the
marriages that fall well short of the so-called ideal?
Will the marriage police come and take those children away? No, in
Blankenhorn's view, it seems biology trumps all.
H. Mitchell Schuman
I hope that Blankenhorn comes into the reality of the 21st century. Does he
realize the divorce rate is, and has been, about 50 percent among heterosexual
couples? How does a household of loving, caring, interested, responsible
adults - whatever their sexual orientation - deprive a child? What is this
birthright that Blankenhorn talks about?
If Blankenhorn is against marriage equality for same-sex couples based
primarily on his reasoning that only heterosexual couples can provide the ideal
environment for raising children, then he must also deny heterosexual couples
who choose not to reproduce and those who cannot.
It is a slap in the face to them and to the many widows and widowers
raising children who are doing a fantastic job as parents. He also overlooks
the thousands of biological gay parents who at one time were married to the
opposite sex and who gain custody of their children. What does he recommend
they do? Why should their children face discrimination and the denial of
He can't have it both ways. Robert W. Pierce
'Science' of piece fares no better
Blankenhorn cited Child Trends' research to support his contention that
children are better off being raised by heterosexual parents than same-sex
However, Child Trends' research brief "Marriage from a Child's
Perspective," published in June 2002, was not intended to address this question
because rigorous research studies of same-sex parents were not, and still are
not, available. The statement in our brief referred to a comparison of children
in families headed by two biological parents compared to children in
single-parent families and step-families. The latter groups have poorer
outcomes than the former.
In research studies, the number of gay parents, even in large national
surveys, has been too small to allow for separate analyses. What is needed is a
large-scale study of a representative sample of same-sex couples.
Clearly, a better understanding of the diversity, strengths, and challenges
faced by varied types of families is needed to better inform debates such as
Editor's note: The writer is president of Child Trends, a nonpartisan research
center studying the lives of children and their families.
I am dismayed that Newsday would run a piece citing research studies that
are not backed by empirical data. The piece contains no scientific data. It was
the rantings and ravings of someone claiming to not be homophobic, but who
spouts anti-gay rhetoric. Nowhere in the piece does Blankenhorn cite how he
believes same-sex marriage will harm the institution, nor does he fully explain
how "every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his
birthright to both parents who made him."
While the institute of marriage is an important issue for GLBT and human
rights and a hot topic for politicians, marriage is certainly not a license for
anyone to reproduce. While readers of the Los Angeles Times, which first
published this piece, have a concrete issue that they are voting on in November
with Proposition 8 and the move to ban the right to gay marriage, Newsday
readers who are not following the California debate may only see this as an
endorsement of anti-gay marriage.
Editor's Note: The writer is chief executive of the Long Island GLBT Services
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