LETTERS

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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

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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

heterosexual couple.

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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.

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North Babylon

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

discriminated against?

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.

Gregory Noone

Ronkonkoma

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

Brightwaters

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?

Phyllis Shapiro-Cash

Miller Place

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

benefits?

He can't have it both ways. Robert W. Pierce

Oakland Gardens

'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

parents.

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

this one.

Carol Emig

Editor's note: The writer is president of Child Trends, a nonpartisan research

center studying the lives of children and their families.

Washington

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.

David Kilmnick

Editor's Note: The writer is chief executive of the Long Island GLBT Services

Network.

Bay Shore

Letters become the property of Newsday. They will be edited and may be

republished in all media.

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