There actually are differences between kids who grow up with heterosexual parents and those who have gay parents. Here are just a few of those problems:
- Being made fun of by straight kids for having gay parents
- Being beat up by straight kids because daddies are gay
- Knowing that books describing relationships like that of your parents are taken out of libraries because they are “wrong”
- Being discriminated against by parents who don’t want children of gay people in their school
- Possibly not being able to see a doctor or dentist if one daddy loses his job and the other daddy cannot get his kids covered at work
- Not being able to go to father/son mother/daughter events because of the possibility that someone will make a fuss over it
None of this is the fault of gay people or the children involved, is it?
Certainly not. Although it would seem to corroborate Bush’s point, no?
Let’s presume that the things on Michael’s list are in fact the only disadvantages to being reared by two parents of the same sex. All other things being equal, which kid would you rather be?
- A. Reasonably healthy with two loving parents and having to deal with the normal strains of growing up.
B. Reasonably healthy with two loving parents and having to deal with the normal strains of growing up plus the six things on Michael’s list.
If you chose A, would you not agree that it is in fact the “ideal”?
To clarify, I’m not suggesting that, therefore, gays shouldn’t be allowed to raise children. But recognizing that the “ideal” situation is a happily married heterosexual couple is a reasonable starting point. Going back to the NYT article linked above, we see,
The experts, who cross the political spectrum, say studies have shown that on average, children raised by two married heterosexual parents fare better on a number of measures, including school performance, than those raised by single parents or by parents who are living together but are unmarried. But, said Dr. Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology at New York University, “there is not a single legitimate scholar out there who argues that growing up with gay parents is somehow bad for children.”
If “children raised by two married heterosexual parents fare better on a number of measures” then, on aggregate, it is preferable. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that “growing up with gay parents is somehow bad for children,” at the aggregate level, it’s presumably not as good. (One presumes these studies already account for other variables such as wealth, region, family history, and so forth that have a bearing on the issue.) Similarly, having a single parent raise the kids is less than ideal, although many single parents raise kids with great success. Most of Michael’s problems exist for children of inter-racial couples, too.
We shouldn’t commit the ecological fallacy and conclude that, because these things are true in the aggregate, they apply to individual cases. Surely, many healthy kids are reared in domestic arrangements that are far less than ideal. Presumably, we’d rather have kids parented by a supportive gay couple than an abusive heterosexual one. But, even in studies that the article acknowledged may well be biased toward finding no differences between these arrangements, we find that the one long-established in our culture as “normal” does better. (Indeed, as Michael’s list suggests, the mere fact that our culture prefers one to another may be a factor in making the outcome better.)
Further, I’d note that we don’t have the full transcript of Bush’s remarks, just his answer to a question about gay adoption. Even based on the Stacey’s comments, we see that Bush is right. Indeed, it’s rather remarkable that a just-reelected evangelical conservative president only notes that the norm is “ideal,” he doesn’t condemn homosexual adoption out-of-hand.