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February 11, 2005

Genes' Obviation of Parents

Increasingly, it seems that a "yes" or "no" answer to the question of same-sex marriage ultimately relates to a series of "yeses" or "nos," leading to irreconcilable versions of reality. Consider this paragraph from an interesting post in which Greg Wallace ponders fatherhood:

I hope I've been able to make it clear that both the mother's and father's love are essential for any child to have a complete sense of being loved. Without this sense of "well-being" from mother, and the benevolent provision, protection and boundaries from father, the erotic drive that naturally emerges in adolescents is raw and untamed. When this happens, erotic love becomes unmanageable and literally enslaving, rather than a Gift that adds to the beauty of a committed monogamous relationship. That's why pornography was so powerful in my life as a teenager and young adult, and why my homosexuality seemed to be little more than a never ending dead end street.

In a thread elsewhere, on which I'll likely comment before tonight is through, I noticed the insistence that same-sex attraction is just the way homosexuals are. The object was to claim, for homosexuality, the precedent established for race: it's immutable and natural, and any social structure that is exclusionary on its basis is ipso facto discriminatory in an unacceptable way.

I don't intend a definitive proclamation with this, but note how well that point of view dovetails with the usually corresponding understanding of what children need for parents. If genes are destiny (perhaps in conjunction with extremely early environmental factors), then who one's parents are doesn't matter except in a controllable social sense — mitigable after the fact. In the contrary view, if the subconscious and overt behavior of parents contributes to fundamental qualities in their children, then traditional family structure carries subtle qualities that are important to preserve.

In the first case, only large aspects of the parent-child relationship are important: love, support, trust, and so on. One parent could do it, although two would be better, and there's no reason that three, four, or five "parents" mightn't be even better. But in the second case, nigh intangible aspects of the parent-child relationship are just as important: interactions between males and females, binary and complementary qualities of the parents, and so on.

To put it bluntly, if a parent can cause homosexuality, then one can, as Greg hopes to, "identify the father [or mother] wounds" and "release them" as part of a "healing process." Treating homosexual relationships as equivalent to heterosexual marriage, if it does not break the link between parenting and marriage, will normalize circumstances that affect child development profoundly.

The limited research on the topic appears to confirm this point; homosexuality is more frequent among those raised by homosexuals. Supporters of same-sex marriage always offer some form of qualifier, when they declare "no difference," to the effect that children raised by same-sex parents don't differ from other children in a way that really matters. But this statement is made after the assumption that sexual orientation doesn't matter.

Whatever one's level of "tolerance," the question ultimately becomes whether homosexuality is so inconsequential that individuals and society ought to be completely indifferent about it. In that respect, it really is a choice. And again, the answer must be "yes" or "no."

Posted by Justin Katz at February 11, 2005 9:10 PM
Marriage & Family

In Res Ipsa's trackback post, he accuses you of recycling "30 year old debunked psychology and the teachings of the equally debunked ex-gay psychologists to argue that permitting same-sex marriage will "normalize" homosexuality" without bothering to link to any evidence. It's been my experience that when gay activists say something has been "debunked", what they really mean is it's "debatable" -- but they don't want it debated.

I wonder if he'll debunk what Maggie Gallagher has to say about those studies:

The vast majorities of these studies compare single lesbian moms to single heterosexual moms. They tell us nothing at all about how children raised by a same-sex couple fare when compared with children raised by their own married mom and dad.

If you're going to debunk something, please provide a link or two. Otherwise you're just preaching to the choir, hoping the rest of us will chime in. Yes, RI, we are sincerely trying to sort it all out. The keyword is sincerely.

Posted by: Marty at February 12, 2005 11:31 AM


I was mostly amused at his dark allusion that I have "an unusual obsession" with homosexuality. It's an interesting turn of events when supporters of gay issues rely rhetorically on the tools of "homophobia."

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 12, 2005 11:39 AM

I think Res Ispa's criticism is that the whole "dominant mother/passive father" theory of sexual identity and that somehow gays can be "cured" by healing this parent loss has been rejected by the American Psychological Association since the early 1970s. Except for a few people on the fringes, there is no data supporting Jutin's theories and assertions.

The Ex-gay movement, which perpetuates these theories, has equally been rejected except on the fringes, with most of the research showing sexual orientation can't be changed. Given evidence that ex-gay leaders--including the founders of Exodus--ultimately never left being gay and continued to have relationships and sex with men casts even more doubt on these ministries.

Posted by: Dan at February 12, 2005 12:29 PM

Just because the political agenda of the APA was hijacked by gender activists in the 70's doesn't mean their positions are not still very much open for debate.

Just yesterday, in the Washington Blade we find this one on choice:

Usually, women-affiliated women who turn to men don’t have an easy word to call themselves. Like my acquaintance, many of these women still feel like part of the lesbian community. They still want to think of themselves as lesbians. They’re just in love or attracted to or heavily emotionally involved with men.

But we kick them out. Why? I think it’s because we’re threatened. We’re scared that it shows that perhaps we choose to be lesbian after all.

After all, why does it matter?

Being gay is a choice, but it’s a great choice. It’s a natural choice, shared by many species in the animal kingdom. It’s a choice more people would choose if they knew it was available to them, and not just limited to the select few that have never felt attraction to someone of the opposite sex.

Let’s open the doors.

Opening doors indeed...

But like justin said: this statement is made after the assumption that sexual orientation doesn't matter.

How could such attitudes not affect the children of same-sex couples when they are exspressly designed to? What we're being told is that since sexual orientation isn't a choice, it doesn't matter. And since it doesn't matter, it's perfectly normal to choose!

Posted by: Marty at February 12, 2005 12:47 PM

Good catch, Marty. While I wrote this post last night, it occurred to me that there's a similar suggestion to that SSM-advocate favorite that "in fifty years, we'll think opposition to same-sex marriage was a quaint adherence to the past": fifty years into a world with SSM, perhaps we'll look back and think it quaint that anybody ever thought of sexual orientation as rigid categories.

Posted by: Justin Katz at February 12, 2005 12:53 PM

To me, this is the last gasp of a dying feminist ideology. As a society we have found it lacking, as it leads to fornication, broken homes, and death. It's on its way down, and lashing out at the world.


Posted by: Marty at February 12, 2005 1:09 PM

Dan is mistaken on a number of fronts, but I want to correct the most obvious and often repeated one: Michael Busseee and Gary Cooper, two men who helped organize the first Exodus conference in 1976 now claim that ex-gay ministries are a fraud, which promote "homophobia and self-hatred." They were not the founders of Exodus International.

You can read the acount of this at the Exodus Inrernational website:

Posted by: greg wallace at February 12, 2005 5:21 PM

Fornication, broken homes and death have been around since..forever.

Posted by: Caustic at February 13, 2005 7:36 PM

Well sure, but few ever publicly advocated for it, until now... and those few that did were rightly called degenerates...

Of course nowadays, fornication, broken homes, and death are protected civil rights. But calling people "degenerates" is politically unacceptable.

No wonder society is vehemently rejecting it.

Posted by: Marty at February 13, 2005 10:24 PM