Towards a meeting of minds

Avenue_of_Plane_Trees_near_Arles_Station (2)Children have a right not to be brought up by gay couples, because children suffer loss by not having connection with both biological parents.

Well. Children are separated from one or both biological parent in the cases of sterility of one heterosexual partner and artificial insemination, or by divorce, or death. Loss of connection with biological parents is no more an argument against gay parenting than against all infertility treatment.

There is a separate argument about whether children have a right to be brought up by opposite sex parents, for whatever reason. Well, my mother “wore the trousers” in their relationship, but I would rather exist than not- given the range of parenting situations, it is wrong to restrict only gay couples from having children, by legislation or by social shaming, by punishment or by restricting access to medically assisted fertility.

Research into gay parenting is unclear, not proving definitively that children of gay couples have as good outcomes as children of straight couples; and if their outcomes were worse, whether that was a result of prejudice against the parents, rather than a bad experience of family life. Problems include the paucity of research subjects, and lack of funding. In the absence of long term large scale quantitative studies, small scale qualitative studies provide useful evidence, if not definitive proof.

Given that Western society restricts parenting in only the most extreme situations, with social workers ready to take the baby from certain unfit mothers, there is no ground to restrict gay parenting unless it could be proved to be harmful. The onus of proof is on those who would restrict gay parenting.

Askme argued that there is insufficient research to show gay parenting is not harmful. In this post Violetwisp argues that separation from biological parents is not a good ground to restrict gay parenting, and provides a forum for two sides to meet. You may detect a tincture of sarcasm in her post. Do have a look. It seems to me that Askme is right on her narrow point that available research does not yet prove that gay parenting Avenue_of_Plane_Trees_near_Arles_Station (centre)produces at least equal outcomes, but Violet is right on the wider point that this gives no ground for restricting gay parenting.

So, we talk past each other.

This is an emotive subject, and the argument descends. The first comment gives an example of a parent whose insanity has taken the form of religious extremism. It is not, by itself an argument against religious people being allowed to be parents- insanity can take many forms- though there is such an argument, in that religious people often inculcate beliefs in their children which are harmful. So- arguments by religious people for restricting parenthood can simply be derailed by saying religious people should not be parents- even if the religious people are not making specifically religious arguments.

What brought me to post on this? “Hewhoshallnotbenamed”. He widens the argument onto gay marriage and gay parenting in general, making sweeping assertions including Homosexuality is an error. All species driving primary imperative is to reproduce and no one has produced any evidence to support Homosexuality being aligned with that goal. That makes me want to start railing, with sarcasm, rhetorical questions, dismissal and mockery. Any chance for a meeting of minds has gone.

I have drafted and redrafted this post, teasing out the disputes and arguments. There is certainly a place for encouraging our own side by stating the arguments and deriding the opposition. How much more difficult it is, to hear the opponent’s arguments and argue courteously.

Choosing the ground of an argument- what research shows, on whom should be the onus of proof, do children need caregivers of both sexes, is homosexuality natural- can give tactical advantage in arguing, but shifting the ground of argument just distances the parties further.

In my own comments there, I notice myself unconsciously alluding to particular grounds of argument with a brief summary of my side. This makes an argument against me either appear tedious and plodding, teasing out all the questions and answering them, or appear to fail to answer my points. I can express myself clearly and elegantly, but that requires effort.


13 thoughts on “Towards a meeting of minds

    • There is more all the time. Here is Dr Deborah Dempsey, and the Sidney Morning Herald write-up.

      I think the research is improving evidence for gay parenting, rather than absolute proof, and illustrates the divide. Honest incomprehension- “But why would gay parenting be a bad thing?” against bewildered insistence- “What about the Children??” The things which people see as requiring the Precautionary principle differ- GM crops? I am interested in these divides, and bridging them.

      Added: I see elsewhere you found the American Journalists’ Resource. I am glad to find it through you.


  1. Both Bigot and HeWho just resort to asking questions that have already been answered within the thread. It’s quite tedious. In any case, their whole argument is laughable – you can’t restrict anyone’s rights to parenthood unless the child is at risk, and even if they insist on referring to the (sorry) nonsense in the Bible, there is no explicit mention of same sex marriage or parenting.


    • I thought of saying to HeWho, “There is a great difference between persuading a reasonable, open-minded person, and persuading you.” Unfortunately, such sallies cut both ways. It is so ill-tempered: he referred to his comments as “posts”, then misunderstood when you thought he had a blog, and accused you of convoluted non-sequitur tangents. By now, I think I would be deleting. I let Quiavideruntoculi (the name he chose says it all) go on and on, and eventually “irenicism broke out between us” as he said- but we have something in common.

      added: I thought also of asking him to state his case in a rational order from beginning to end- either on whether gay people should be allowed/helped to be parents, or some narrower issue. It would, perhaps, get away from the slanging.


      • I don’t like deleting comments and besides, he’s spinning his own yarn of foolishness quite well. I seem to have a high boredom threshold for silly people – probably why I get on so well with Ark.

        I’m not good at Latin (or Italian?) – what does Quiavi etc mean?


        • “What these eyes have seen.”

          How much of your time is he taking? You could give him the last word. He will not back down. Maybe he feels he is a martyr for truth and justice.

          Ark came here, and we sparred in a more or less friendly manner, until he called me a religious idiot and I deleted his comments. Then he sent an articulate rebuke which I deleted, and an angry outburst which I let through, making him look bad, perhaps, in the eyes of the tiny number of people who would see it.


          • When he goes over the top and silly like that he always pretends he’s not taking it seriously. But I’m fairly sure he is. Or he’s drunk, as HeWho suggested.

            I’ll keep going with HeWho till he realises he’s wrong, but I’ll get snappy about going round in circles, if he persists with the nonsense.


  2. I think the research is increasing and, as you rightly point out, it’s just research … each individual is different. I grew up with friends with abusive fathers, and they’d have been better off with no father at all … or a happy, cheerful, ‘go-for-it-son’ approach to grades and sports. Just anecdotal, observing my friends on both sides of the Atlantic, I think gay parents can be good and bad, depending on the individuals … and the same is true of straight parents. It’s a crap shoot for most kids. I was lucky; many aren’t. Parenting is about love for a child and a desire to nurture that child through difficult times (which far outweigh the good ones) … frankly, not everyone, can or straight is up to the challenge.


All comments welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.