Popular opinion would have us believe the legalization of same-sex marriage and parenting is a straightforward matter of justice. But not everyone concurs. In fact, the dissenters constitute a rising chorus of voices who identify salient myths smuggled into the ostensibly settled opinion. From one side, the voice of experiential and reasoned testimony from individuals who either identify as homosexuals and/or have been raised by same-sex parents. From another, the voice of empirical evidence from social science researchers. This essay sets their cumulative crescendo center stage.
Myth #1: Only heterosexuals and conservative religious persons are opposed to the legalization of same-sex parenting.
When an interviewer asked Xavier Bongibault whether his opposition to France’s same-sex marriage law arose from religious conviction, he replied: “Absolutely not, I am atheist.” As a homosexual atheist, Bongibault is against France’s new marriage law for the same reason he’s critical of LGBT alliances: it’s homophobic. “The idea that a homosexual must be for homosexual marriage because he’s homosexual” is ideology right out of the play book of a social philosophy that insists gays and lesbians cannot reflect politically, except through sexual instinct.1
As it turns out, Bongibault represents the opposition of a sizable segment of the French non-religious homosexual community who are seldom given the microphone. Jean-Marc Ayrault who has lived with a man for 20 years, insists: “The LGBT movement that speaks out in the media . . . doesn’t speak for me. As a society we should not be encouraging [same-sex marriage]. It’s not biologically natural.”2
Jean-Dominique Bunel, a specialist in humanitarian law who’s done relief work in war-torn areas, was outraged by the French same-sex marriage law. He admitted to Le Figaro that, after being raised by two women, he has “suffered from the lack of a father,” from the lack of “a daily presence, a character and a properly masculine example, some counterweight to the relationship of my mother to her lover. I lived that absence of a father, experienced it, as an amputation.”3
Other adult children of same-sex parents emphasize that their opposition to gay marriage is shared by a majority of the gay community. Dawn Stefanowicz, describing Canadian homosexuals, is a good example. She insists that “the majority never wanted marriage. Never wanted anything that would have ever been close to heterosexual monogamy. In fact, they like the freedom of being involved with whomever they want, whenever they want. That [is] . . . the reality.”4 Some go further. “The majority of homosexuals,” says Bongibault, “mock the minority who are pushing this law.”5 Thus, they help to lay to rest another myth, closely related to the first: namely, that all or at least a majority of gays support the legalization of same-sex marriage and parenting.
Myth #2: Homosexuals have the same right to marriage and parenting as heterosexuals.
In 2013, French homosexuals joined forces with pro-family activists to oppose the legalization of gay marriage and parenting in their country. They replaced the accustomed civil rights meme of French gay activists (‘marriage/parenting is our civil right’) with one of their own: ‘The rights of children trump the right to children.’
Jean-Dominque Bunel was raised by two same-sex adults. His personal admission turns the tables on the gay civil rights mantra: “If the women who raised me had been married, I would have jumped into the fray [of political opposition to France’s 2013 same-sex marriage law] and would have brought a complaint before the French state and . . . the European Court of Human Rights for the violation of my right to a mom and a dad.”6
Here’s the way Frenchman Jean-Marc Ayrault attempts to describe the issue to gay rights advocates:
Normally gay activists like to remain in confessional mode, where they explain to supposedly ignorant non-gay people ‘what it’s like’ to grow up gay. They can’t remain in that confessional mode when discussing gay parenting, because almost none of them knows [sic] what it’s like to grow up as the child of gay parents.7
“Whatever is best for the child,” Ayrault continues, is also the best guide for the content of a nation’s marital legislation. “Nobody can deny that it’s best for a child to have a mother and a father who love each other as best they can.”
Ayrault approvingly quotes a Homovox8participant who confesses the same: “Of course I think a child should have a mother and a father; almost all the gay people I know grew up that way, and it would be against the principle of equality to deprive some children of that [right].”9
Jonathen Soroff lives in Massachusetts with his male partner, Sam, and insists he and half of his gay friends
do [sic] not believe that couples of the same gender should marry. We’re not going to procreate as a couple and while the desire to demonstrate commitment might be laudable, the religious traditions that have accommodated same-sex couples have had to do some fairly major contortions.10
Xavier Bongibault, the atheist French homosexual who contests gay marriage in France, admits doing so grounded in the legal fact that France is “one of the only places in the world that links childrearing legally to marriage.” French marriage, he explains, “is specifically designed to provide children with families. . . the text of the civil code of 1793—the legal basis for all subsequent French marriage laws with the exception of the same-sex marriage law of 2013—states that “marriage is based on children and families.”11
Philippe Arino goes so far as to argue that, rather than the French same-sex marriage law granting equality to French gays, it’s actually homophobic and against equality of identity.12 “This law encourages homosexual couples to think they can copy and fit in the way of heterosexual couples. It makes them think they have to follow the example of man, woman, and child, without respecting sexual difference.” He also contends a same-sex marriage law is unrealistic and against reason: “It denies respect to homosexual couples in reality, with regards to their specificity, who they really are. Gay couples do not exist so that they can be procreative . . . .”13
Jean-Pier-Delaume Myard, homosexual and author of French documentaries, agrees. “It’s not, in the first place—or any place for that matter—the issue of—‘What about the freedom and equality of marriage and parenting for gays?’ It’s a question of, first and foremost, ‘What of the freedom and equality of the child?’”14
Reflecting a genuine understanding of the two essential meanings of marital love, Arino maintains: “One must know that one had more than just a biological [procreative] origin—[but] also, that one came from true desire [an act of unitive love]. And one must know that the two are linked.”15
In his review of European case law, Gregor Puppinck exposes the ironic twist behind pursuit of the liberal orthodoxies of unfettered personal freedom and equal marriage and parenting rights for the gay community:
According to the new conception, it is the State, which through its hold on society
redefines the family according to the dominant thinking and demands. This change in perspective demonstrates the modern rerouting of human rights theory: initially founded upon natural law humanism, it has today become a privileged instrument of the implementation of liberal individualism which, by an ironic paradox, reinforces the State’s hold over society in exchange for the promise of greater freedom for individuals.16
Myth #3: The gay lobby demonstrates a tolerance of views opposing same-sex marriage comparable to what it demands of the public toward its position.
Unfortunately, examples of intolerance from gay activists abound. When Cynthia Nixon “came out of the closet” she was nearly banned from LGBT circles for announcing she “chose” to start dating women. Realizing her “mistake,” she retracted her statement out of fear the gay community would do to her what they did to another self-declared lesbian: Fly an airplane banner over her home that reads: “You can‘t pray the gay away!”17
Andrew Pierce, a UK Daily Mail columnist who has a long history of championing gay rights, was attacked—accused of being a homophobe and an Uncle Tom—for daring to speak out against gay marriage.18
This past April, Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla. Why? Turns out Eich was pressured to do so from northern California’s liberal mainstream over his opposition to gay marriage: he donated $1,000 to Proposition 8 which, if not tossed out by the Courts, would have banned gay marriage in California.
Then there’s the cancellation of David and Jason Benham’s house renovation series by HGTV. The reason? It appears that HGTV was pressured into action by a gay activist organization, People for the American Way, who reported all over the internet the day before the cancellation that David Benham had requested a group of Christians to repent for “tolerating homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”19 What was left out, of course, was the ameliorative context of David’s statement: an account of the Benhams’ charity toward gays both in word and deed and their reasonable conviction that the sociological effects of gay marriage and parenting run counter to the common good.
After studying the American Psychological Association’s Brief on same-sex parenting, Robert (“Bobby”) Oscar Lopez, a self-declared homosexual who was raised by lesbians, was convinced that many of the foster care and adoption agencies who signed on to the study’s positive conclusions did so under pressure from the gay lobby. He advises anyone who proffers data refuting that of the gay-friendly 2005 APA Brief to get ready to be fired. Just ask social science researchers Mark Regnerus, Doug Allen, and Loren Marks and the people who published their respective countervailing studies.20 Lopez also points out GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) launch especially vicious attacks when anyone even dares insinuate a pederastic undercurrent in the gay community—despite high profile cases out there to prove the allegation.21 Even more worrisome to Lopez and Rivka Edelman, both raised by lesbians, is the fact that even the gay-friendly heterosexual community is “so cowed right now” that when they “see horrible things going on between gay parents and their children . . . they won’t report it.” And, rest assured, “nobody in the gay community is going to turn anybody in” either.22
Myth # (4): Growing up with same-sex parents has no disadvantage over being raised by a mother and a father.
The goal of the 2005 American Psychological Association’s Brief, “Lesbian & Gay Parenting,” was “to evaluate widespread beliefs [about same-sex parenting] in the light of empirical data and in this way ameliorate negative effects of unwarranted prejudice.”23 In other words, the study hoped, by collating the data from 59 gay-parenting studies, to disabuse judges, legislators, professionals, and the public of common fears: first, sexual identity is impaired among children of lesbian and gay parents; second, kids of homosexual parents are more prone to mental breakdown, adjustment difficulties, and behavior problems and, third, children of lesbian and gay parents may experience difficulties in social relationships. Data that quieted these concerns, the study reasoned, would help to eliminate negative outcomes, such as loss of custody, restrictions on visitation, prohibitions against adoption, and criticism of the same-sex marriage debate and its shibboleth, marriage equality.
The study’s conclusions did appear to deflect many of these fears/negative outcomes: (1) children of lesbian mothers develop patterns of gender-role behavior commensurate with that of other children (no data are available regarding gender-role behavior for children of gay fathers); (2) children of lesbian or gay parents do not exhibit elevated levels of homosexuality, nor (3) major deficits in personal development. Hence, the APA unequivocally concluded that, in their review and collation of data from 59 gay-parenting studies: “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”24
Family researcher Loren Marks penned a significant response to the APA Brief in a 2012 issue of Social Science Research: “Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting.”25 Same same-sex parenting researchers, Marks concludes,
seem to have contended for an ‘exceptionally clear’ verdict of ‘no difference’ between same and heterosexual parents since 1992. However, a closer examination leads to the conclusion that strong, generalized assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.26
Specifically, Marks demonstrated how structural flaws in the Brief’s 59 studies—small, non-representative, convenience samples; exclusion of minority individuals or families; the failure of 39 studies to include a heterosexual comparison group; the repeated selection in the remaining 20 studies of single-parent families as the comparison heterosexual parent group; suppression of data from the 1996 Sarantokos study that reveal “significant differences” in outcomes between children of heterosexual married parents and those of same-sex parents—contributed to significant dilution of the ‘no difference’ claim of the APA Brief.27
In the same 2012 issue of SSR,Mark Regnerus conducted a homosexual parenting study: “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.”28 He avoided the methodological flaws of the studies reviewed in the APA Brief. Instead of relying on convenience samples garnering non-random, non-representative data that cannot be generalized to a general population or employing as few as 18, 33, or 44 cases of respondents, all of which simply could not show statistically-significant differences between the heterosexual and homosexual families, Regnerus
fielded a survey to a large random sample [15,058 persons initially; 2,988 respondents] of American young adults (ages 18-39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. In this debut article of the NFSS, [he] compares how young adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic relationship [175 adults raised by lesbian mothers and 73 adults raised by gay fathers] fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when compared with six other family-of-origin types [respondent: (1) lived in an intact biological family with mother and father; (2) was adopted by one or two strangers at birth or before age 2; (3) lived with biological mother or father from birth to age 18, but parents are not married currently; (4) lived with biological parents who were either never married or else divorced; (5) lived with a single parent who was either never married or else divorced; (6) lived in other family structure/event combinations, e.g., with a deceased parent.29]
From the population-representative data generated after interviewing the nearly 3,000 respondents, the NFSS Study concluded that “children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”30 Data revealed lesbian mothers, for example, scored “suboptimally” on all 57 statistically significant bivariate comparisons, including two comparisons with gay fathers.31In short, the NFSS study revealed that “children raised by gay or lesbian parents on average are at a significant disadvantage when compared to children raised by an intact family of their married, biological mother and father.”32
The Regnerus/Marks ‘significant disadvantage’ conclusion springs to life when it’s considered against the personal, baldly candid—and very tragic—testimony of a coterie of adult children brought up by same-sex parents. The complete English transcripts of the Homovox testimonies of Dawn Stefanowicz, raised by two gays, Rivka Edelman, raised by two lesbians, and Bobby Oscar Lopez, also raised by lesbians appear online at Englishmanif.com. Throughout this four-part series discussion, these adults candidly testify why and how they were significantly disadvantaged by their same-sex parenting environment. Here’s a snapshot33 of their discussions:
DAWN: I don’t agree with the APA saying that there’s no difference for us when we grow up with parents involved in a same-sex relationship. We’re impacted long-term. But as children we don’t realize this. It takes us often until the late 20s, early 30s to realize or start realizing, the long-term impact. For me, I never felt I belonged. I felt that there was this prolonged and unresolved grief, sadness, and depression in my life. And I had two brothers as well. And I saw that each one of us was very much affected by . . . not just the home environment, it was also that we were taken regularly into the developing LGBT subcultures beginning when my twin brother and I were eight years old. We had quite an extensive background under the LGBT umbrella. Because for us it began in infancy when my father began bringing different men into the home. As a little girl growing up, I didn’t feel that my own femininity and womanhood was being affirmed, and valued, and loved, in that kind of environment. In fact, I felt that it was better to be a gay male, or even a transgender male, than it was to be a little girl growing up. I always felt that I really wasn’t lovable because I did not see the men in my life loving women.
BOBBY: In the Doug Allen study, where he canvassed 20% of the Canadian [gay parent family] census, he found that the worst performing combination is a woman being raised by two gay men. They only graduate at 15% the rate of children being raised by a mom and a dad.
DAWN: There’s a lot of struggle academically and in employment because there’s a lot of insecurities. I honestly felt that my personality was crushed. . . .
RIVKA: COLAGE34 puts on the same dog and pony show that my lesbian parents did. When my mother was not with someone, she never showed up at school or school activities; when she had a lesbian partner they’d admit that they wanted to show up to put on a show for the teacher and the school and to see how uncomfortable they could make everyone feel, all of which put me in a terrible situation at school and was responsible for making me an academic failure. There’s the Boston group who claimed that growing up with same sex parents is positive because it makes the kids more sexually adventurous and it makes them more open-minded. Who wants their kids to be sexually adventurous? And what does that mean? One and the other think being less bigoted and more open-minded . . . that was like a red flag to me, because, you know I could tell from that result that the question was manipulated. When a child raised by same-sex parents is asked “What do you think of gay people?” they reply, with the two gay parents sitting there looking at them with dagger eyes: “Oh, they’re great; they’re wonderful.”
BOBBY: For me the problem was being a boy being raised by two lesbians . . . I just didn’t have a dad there and aside from the problem of not being able to model behavior, for me the biggest problem was I didn’t have a man there. I don’t know if this is a fair reading of what happened to me but I really tried to fill that gap. And I filled that gap sexually. And from the age of 13 on, I was extremely promiscuous and sleeping with a lot of older men. And they would give me gifts and money, and I knew where to find them . . . they were just everywhere. And partly this was because I had a heightened awareness of gay culture because my mom had so many gay friends and partly it was also the problem of not having a dad.
DAWN: About 30% of children raised by same-sex couples will become 2nd generation [homosexuals] which is really high compared to, say, 2% in the general population. . . . All the adult children that I have communicated with have had some level of sexuality confusion. . . . And I don’t know about Rivka, but with myself, there was sexual abuse. There was sexual abuse with other adult children I have spoken to. So it’s a very sexualized environment. Not just within the home but within the subculture that I was exposed to. And so for me it was frustrating because I was trying to find that father love affirmation so I began having boyfriends at age 12. Now I may have appeared to be promiscuous because I had all these boyfriends but really I was trying to fill that deep down need to be affirmed as a daughter, from my father.
BOBBY: That’s interesting because you had a dad.
DAWN: But his attention was always centered on the males in his life . . in some way it wasn’t always like a couple, it almost seemed polygamous at times because my father and his partner could be involved with 12 other men at the gay bars.
BOBBY: I’ve gotten feedback from ex-wives who lost custody of children to gay husbands who came out of the closet. All of them express panic about the open relationships that their ex-husbands have and the fact that there’s this parade of men in the house. . . and how they leave their pornography around.
RIVKA: My mother, you know, she had some of that pornography around and the books and stuff. What I found even more distressing than all that—I didn’t realize then, but I realize now, she was very invested in trying to figure out what my sexuality was . . . I literally just completely closed down that way. I was just completely androgynous. I never flirted with a boy ever, in my life. . . . My lesbian mother was into gender bending and with people who all dressed in drag. She was really into the drag scene. And having these guys over. Most of them were just mean and dumb. My sister and I were just invisible at one point. We just sort of didn’t exist. . . . no matter which way you slice it, whether it was the social or the political or the sexual, it was always about them. There was no concept of childhood. There cannot be a concept of child or childhood when the only identity is sexual.
1 Posted by R.O. Lopez, “Interview with Xavier Bongibault, head of the gay group opposed to gay marriage” (January 10, 2013).
2 Robert Oscar Lopez, “Gay French Mayor Explains Why He’s Against Gay Marriage” (January 6, 2013), p. 1.
5 Cf. “Interview with Xavier Bongibault.”
7 Ibid., pp. 1-2.
8 Homovox showcases testimonials from adults who, from their experiences as kids raised by two lesbian or gay adults, provide personal evidence for their opposition to homosexual parenting. [Cf. homovox.com]
9 Lopez, Gay French Mayor, p. 1.
12 As Alexander Schimpf argues: “The proponents of ‘same sex marriage’ frame the issue as one of civil rights. The denial of this right is alleged to be akin to racism and all other forms of prejudice. But there can be no right to something fictitious. A same-sex union is not the same reality as a marriage. The demand that it be recognized as such is really just a demand for cooperation in a lie about the way things are.” [From Alexander Schimpf’s commentary on a short quote from Robert Spaemann on the difference between marriage and an erotic relationship between persons of the same sex.
15 Gay Voices: Phillipe Arino.
17 Lopez, Gay French Mayor, p. 1.
18 Goeghegan, “The gay people against gay marriage”, p. 2.
20 La Joie, Kids of Parents, Part 1 of 4, p. 5.
21 Le Joie, Kids of Parents, Part 2, p. 7.
22 Ibid., p. 7.
23 “Lesbian and Gay Parenting” (American Psychological Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns; Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Women in Psychology) 2005, p. 5.
24 Ibid, p. 15
25 Social Science Research 41(2012):735-751.
26 Ibid., p. 748.
27 Ibid., p. 742.
28 Social Science Research 41(2012):752-770.
29 Ibid., abstract, p. 752.
30 Ibid., p. 766.
32 Ibid., p. 1.
33 La Joie, Kids of Parents, Part 1 of 4.
34 COLAGE is a gay activist organization created in 1990 by the children of several lesbian and gay male couples who felt a need for support. It is run and operated by people of all ages who have a LGBTQ parent or parents.