The pain that comes with denying same-sex union/marriage protections and benefits

Same-sex couples especially those with children face all kinds of problems within the social and legal spheres of life. Same-sex couples are denied access to their partners while their ill in hospitals. Same-sex parents must deal with hostile and bigoted school systems. Same-sex couples who dare display affection and their love towards one another in public may face venomous slander and violence (though never mind it’s okay for hetero folks to swap-spit and practically dry-hump each other in public). Then there’s our oh so pro-civil-rights and “justice for all” legal system which goes out of its way, certainly in specific parts of the country, to routinely restrict and deny the civil rights and liberties of same-sex couples and the Queer Community in general. All to the appeasement of the Radical Right and their fundamentalist dogma. Families headed by same-sex parents are especially endanger of having their rights trampled by the courts and those *gasp* activist judges. Here’s an article from Planned Parenthood illustrating the legal hardships faced by same-sex parents and families should they split up much like hetero-parents and their families. But minus the denial of civil rights, based solely on the bigotry toward same-sex relationships.

Five years ago, Janet Miller-Jenkins and her partner, Lisa, traveled from their home state of Virginia to Vermont, where they could legally secure their relationship via civil union, and, where, later, they would move to raise their child.

But the legal stability they sought in Vermont was shattered when, in the wake of their separation, Lisa Miller-Jenkins returned to Virginia and used that state’s Affirmation of Marriage Act … one of the country’s most extreme state laws against the rights of same-sex couples … to rob Janet of the right to see their only child.

The resulting court case … Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins … pits Vermont law against Virginia law and illustrates the human cost when same-sex couples and their families are not given the same legal protections afforded their heterosexual peers.

Filing Suit

In 2001, a year after Lisa and Janet Miller-Jenkins were joined via civil union, Lisa was artificially inseminated with sperm from a donor whose physical characteristics matched Janet’s. Isabella Miller-Jenkins was born in Virginia on April 16, 2002.

That July, Janet, Lisa, and Isabella relocated to Vermont, where the laws were more amenable to same-sex couples and their families. In 2003, however, the couple split up and Lisa filed for dissolution of the union in Vermont. The court, recognizing both women as Isabella’s parents, granted Lisa custody and Janet visitation rights.

“The fight among the states is not merely about jurisdiction but about drastically differing versions of family, marriage, and good citizenship.”
Far from ending the custody case, the Vermont court decision proved to be just the beginning. Lisa returned to Virginia, claiming she was no longer a lesbian, and filed a claim for sole custody of Isabella, who was then two years old.

Quick comment; I’m pretty sure that I can “stop” being heterosexual, especially if I wanted to hurt my ex-partner in the most malicious way just to deny them visitation rights. But anyway…

Virginia has some of the strictest laws against same-sex unions in the country: in addition to a 1997 law that bans gay marriage, the 2004 Affirmation of Marriage Act bans same-sex civil unions and any other legal contracts or partnerships that might bestow marriage-like rights on same-sex couples. In August 2004, the state court, relying on those laws, declared Lisa to be the sole legal parent of Isabella and denied Janet all visitation rights.

Outraged, Janet decided to fight back. She appealed the Virginia court’s ruling, with support from legal advocacy organizations, including Equality Virginia, Lambda Legal, and the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union. Now, she is in the midst of a complicated legal battle … one that will not have a quick resolution.

Who Is a “Parent”?

Vermont recognizes Janet as Isabella’s parent; Virginia does not. Traditionally, courts have defined “parent” biologically.

Oh well then, if my parents and I lived in Virginia (or a state with a like-minded family court system) then both of them would be screwed because they adopted me. None of them would be my parents by Virginia’s narrow definition of what makes you a parent.

But as non-traditional families have become more common, advocates have pushed for a definition of a parent based on nurture, not on nature. Such a definition would recognize parental rights for women like Janet who, although not biologically related, is considered, in the eyes of many, Isabella’s other parent.

In the Miller-Jenkins custody battle, Virginia follows the purely biological definition of a parent. Vermont, following Judge William D. Cohen’s decision to award Janet visitation rights in the initial custody case, recognizes parental rights as stemming from the civil union and the couple’s intent to have and raise the child together. Vermont’s decision can be seen as a victory for same-sex couples, since it adds parenthood to the rights that same-sex couples gain through a formal union.

Federal Law

Although the legal conflict lies between the states of Vermont and Virginia, the Miller-Jenkins custody fight also invoked two potentially conflicting federal laws … the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Parental Kidnapping Protection Act (PKPA).

DOMA allows one state to reject a same-sex marriage or civil union formed in another state. PKPA, designed to protect children at the center of what are often vicious custody battles, requires a state court to refuse to grant a new custody order when one has already been issued by another state.

The Virginia state court invoked DOMA as a basis for ignoring PKPA in the Miller-Jenkins custody case. It held that, because Virginia law did not recognize the couple’s civil union, it would not recognize the parental rights granted to Janet from the union.

The Virginia decision, if upheld, would prevent PKPA from protecting children born to same-sex couples from being kidnapped by one parent.

All to prove how much they (Virginia) despise same-sex relationships and will do everything in its power to destroy same-sex headed families. To you know, just prove a point. So ‘family-oriented’ aren’t they?

Whose Best Interests?

Greg Nevins, Janet Miller-Jenkins’ lawyer at Lambda Legal, says that the true purpose of PKPA, to protect the best interests of all children in custody disputes, is at the heart of the case. “There is no gay exception to this rule,” he says. “It applies to everyone.”

[...]

The outcome of Miller-Jenkins will be a powerful indicator of where this country stands on the treatment of lesbian and gay parents and their children. Ruthann Robson, professor of law at City University of New York Law School in Queens and an expert in lesbian and gay legal theory, says, “The fight among the states is not merely about jurisdiction but about drastically differing versions of family, marriage, and good citizenship.”

[...]

The Future

In a society in which more than 1,100 federal benefits and legal protections are reserved for couples who are legally married, bans against gay marriage and same-sex civil unions leave thousands of lesbians, gay men, and their families defenseless. And as more and more states seek to ban gay marriage and same-sex civil unions outright, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict how the rights of same-sex couples and their families will be protected.

[...]

Unless those with a particular agenda out to destroy and even prevent same-sex families from becoming have anything to say about it. And they do and they’re working ever closer to return us to the times when ‘family’ and ‘parenthood’ were defined by the narrow views of certain individuals in power, prejudiced against “non-traditional” families and people.

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77 Responses to The pain that comes with denying same-sex union/marriage protections and benefits

  1. 1
    Barbara says:

    PKPA should trump DOMA here, because there was an existing custody order issued by the Vermont court, and the Virginia court should have acknowledged that. You only get to DOMA by relitigating under your own state law (in effect) the bona fides of the other state’s custody determination, and that is what PKPA was intended to prevent. DOMA would come into play in Virginia if the couple had moved to Virginia together and then sought a custody determination in Virginia — at that point, Virginia could have refused to recognize the Vermont civil union.

    You don’t anticipate these things when you are happy, but the only way for the non-biological parent to secure her rights would have been to legally adopt the child.

    But of course, I agree with your larger point. No one should be required to endure such additional hardship solely because they are gay.

  2. 2
    Traci says:

    How about the fact that this woman has set back gay rights in the eyes of many, just to be spiteful and hateful to her ex-partner? I know that she isn’t the spokesperson for gay and lesbian people, but it’s stuff like this that idiots point to when arguing against the validity of same-sex marriage (nevermind that plenty of straight people would and have been this mean-spirited during a breakup).

  3. 3
    silverside says:

    Unfortunately, laws and courts only do a half-assed job of protecting people’s rights, even in heterosexual unions. 99% of your success in making post-separation parenting work is having a cooperative and relatively decent ex (yea, right). If you don’t, then laws are really not of much help, truth be known. Although it would be nice if the non-bio mom had some legal support and recognition, in the long run, it may not count for much. If you have a non-cooperative “jerk” for an ex, chances are the courts will take a relatively ho-hum approach to the problem, and I don’t think their indifference will be any better with a gay or lesbian union. Probably worse.

  4. I’ve been following this case for quite a while, as it’s been around in the queer news for a time. Leaving aside the ‘ex-lesbian’ claim (yeah right) this is a classic example of why the rights for our families aren’t special rights.

    Gay and lesbian couples are no better and no worse than straight couples, believe it or not, contrary to all the hate the religous right spews. In fact, our relationships are remarkably similar (although we lesbians do tend to remain friends with our ex’s more than straights and gay men). So, that means we have our wonderful couples that have been together for half a century, and complete arseholes like this woman who disregards both the pain of her ex-wife and that of their child. We aren’t asking, or demanding, anything other than the same rights as everyone else. It is beyond insane that stepping over a state line means you go from being a recognised couple with rights, to effectively two strangers.

    What galls me the most is that such examples as this aren’t caused just by the lack of laws to protect us, but rather also via laws that have actively been worked on and crafted to turn us into citizens with less rights than everyone else. People put EFFORT and THOUGHT into the construction of pieces of legalised hate, for no other reason that it makes them feel ‘icky’. Well, guess what? Heterosexual sex makes me feel ‘icky’, but you don’t see me advocating for laws to prevent straight marriages from being recognised. Certainly, the equality we are seeking is to be part of a system that is hardly perfect itself, but (and trust us on this) it’s better than the alternative we have.

    There is a definite chance that this marriage breakup, as with similar straight marriage breakups, would have been hell, regardless of the legal situation, thanks to this woman that obviously cares nothing for her child’s feelings, or even respects her ex-wife at all. But at least the ex, and more importantly, the child, would have had protections. As the religous right freaks constantly tell us, at least think of the children.

  5. 5
    moosk says:

    I was just reading on the NYTimes forum this great article by Molly Ivins. She quotes a Texas Representative who was trying to squash a hateful anti-gay-rights law — really beautifully put in my view.

  6. 6
    stay at home dad says:

    barbara: not everyone has 2nd parent adoption availible as an option. it might not be legal in your state, it might be in a grey area, and it is certainly expensive. i was quoted a rate of 10000 per child with no absolute guarantee of success… it all depended on the judge we’d get… add’l money might be needed to ‘persuade’ the clerk in charge of that. (Louisiana)

    traci: one couple cannot be ‘the example’ for the world. when my previous relationship (the gay one) broke up after 15 years, i lost all my gay & lesbian friends (and this was before i fell for a woman some 6 years later) because my husband & i were ‘the example’ for all our friends that gay men could have long-term happy relationships. of course now they’d all hate me for “turning straight” when i was bi all the time. every gay person i know doesn’t “believe” in bisexuals… like we’re some kind of mythological creature… but that’s beside the point :)

  7. 7
    Barbara says:

    sahd: Adoption does vary and it can be expensive and I don’t think it should be necessary. I would hope that Vermont would be a place where such an adoption would be permitted. But the real problem with the case is the idea that DOMA permits a “look behind” at another state’s custody determination. I won’t go into legal blathering, but I don’t think that’s what DOMA was intended to do. There are lots of custody, support and visitation orders that involve parents who were never married to each other and that would have turned out way differently in a state with a more or less conservative mindset. PKPA was squarely intended to prevent forum shopping of the type engaged in here.

  8. sahd -

    The thing is, while bisexuals certainly get bad shit from the lesbian and gay communities (hell, I have participated in it myself, much to my own disgust at myself) but in reality wider society is actually worse.

    The framework of sexuality in our society is such that there is homosexual and heterosexual, so if someone moves from dating someone of the same sex to someone of a different sex, it is seen by the mainstream as evidence you can stop being gay. It doesn’t matter if the person articulates a bisexual identity, it is the nature of the relationship (ie, it’s the sex! *smile*) that fits in their mind. Hence these cases become the example that completely wipes out the reality of the majority of fairly consistent gay and lesbian relationships. One couple certainly, and unfortunately, can be an example for the world.

    Is this right? Hell, no, but unfortunately the heterosexual/homosexual binary is the primary sexuality narrative in our society, and that’s the one that will be used by the mainstream. Should gays and lesbians be better than this? Hell yes, and I think to a certain extent we are, but we’re not even close to being close to being good.

    But, this is aside from the point. The woman involved hasn’t articulated a bisexual identity through this case, rather, she has simply said she has stopped being a lesbian.

    oh, and moosk -

    yeah, have read that on Molly Ivin’s site, nearly made me cry :)

  9. 9
    Pietro Armando says:

    How should the state respond to persons who decide to create children in such a way as to eliminate one biological and/or opposite sex parent? Is it ethical to create children in this manner? Should the state require such persons to create clearly defined procreational responsibility contracts? Would second parent adoption laws solve this issue?

  10. 10
    mythago says:

    Surely you don’t want to get into the “ethics” of who creates children when. The idea of responsibility contracts is equally silly, given that we can’t make them now.

  11. 11
    mousehounde says:

    How should the state respond to persons who decide to create children in such a way as to eliminate one biological and/or opposite sex parent?

    That is a trick question, yes? Because the state/government doesn’t need to respond. It’s not the state’s responsibility to decide who is allowed to have children. Or are you suggesting that potential parents need to be vetted and licensed by the state before they can legally have kids? That they should have to pass tests to prove they can take care of the kids?

    Is it ethical to create children in this manner?

    Is what ethical? Is it ethical for two people who love each other to have children?

    Should the state require such persons to create clearly defined procreational responsibility contracts?

    Oh. “such persons”. I see. You mean just gays and lesbians. It’s just them you want the state to regulate. You don’t mind all the divorced, heterosexual single parents, all the never-married, heterosexual single parents, all the widowed/widower, heterosexual single parents. It’s the gay ones that need to be regulated so they don’t have kids that may end up in single parent homes. Because otherwise you would have to outlaw divorce, require folks to be married before they have kids, and require widows/widowers to remarry within a certain time frame or lose their kids.

    Would second parent adoption laws solve this issue?

    How could allowing non biological parents the right to adopt hurt kids? Oh. You just want the gay, non biological parents to not be able to adopt. Because everyone knows, it takes a heterosexual to be good parent.

  12. 12
    Ol Cranky says:

    You seem to forget that child custody and support laws don’t actually take a child’s best interests to heart at all. They seem to be about creating hostility around and instability for the child. Maybe it’s the right wing’s way of forcing couples to stay together regardless of the circumstances.

  13. 13
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mousehound

    Can we put aside the chip for a moment. I asked an question which you chose not to address. Is it ethcial to create a child in such a way as to intentionally elminate its opposite sex biolgical parent? I understand love is important, but why is a father’s love less important than a mother’s love, or vice versa?

    The vast majority of babies, and I go out on a limb here to suggest that included you at one point, are still made the old fashioned way. Thus a child has a mother and father. It’s not the sexual orientation of the potential parent that I question rather the effort to create a child that reduces the opposite sex biological parent to nothing more than a sperm sample or egg. The question applies to single people, primarily women although theretically it could apply to men as well. Should a single woman deliberatley create a child so that the biological father is not involved in any way other than the donation itself?

  14. 14
    mythago says:

    Actually, Pietro, you asked *two* questions.

    Is it ethcial to create a child in such a way as to intentionally elminate its opposite sex biolgical parent?

    Bad choice of words there. I think most of us would agree that it’s unethical to behave like praying mantises, and kill the male in the act of sex in order to “intentionally eliminate the opposite-sex biological parent”.

    But as for conceiving without dual parenthood, do you really think there is a blanket answer? A woman and her husband, who is terminally ill, decide to conceive a child knowing that child will be born after its father dies and will grow up without him–is this ethical?

  15. 15
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    I love these kinds of “is this ethical?” kind of questions.

    Sure, of course, intentionally eliminating the opposite sex biological parent can be seen as ethical. It all depends on your ethical framework.

    The real question is, it is harmful to a child to not be raised by two opposite sex parents and instead with two same-sex parents? The obvious answer is no, because every single reputable study done has shown that kids from either kind of parenting arrangement have the same level of pyschological adjustment and emotional stability.

    But of course, the whole “should you have kids?” question is immaterial. We are talking about civil marriage here, and the last I checked, having or not having kids was not a tick-box on that form.

  16. 16
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mythago

    Convceiving without “dual parenthood”? That’s a new one.

    Yes I do believe there is a “blanket answer”. As far your scenario, I do not endorse such an action, however in that situation, both the mother and father at the very least, can pass on to the child a knowledge of his/her father through photographs, letters, video, etc. While the child may not be able to interact with his/her father, s/he can at least have some “memories” of him.

  17. 17
    Avenir says:

    “Convceiving without “dual parenthood”?? That’s a new one.”

    Anonymous sperm donation isn’t really new, and donating sperm does not a parent make. Neither does carrying a baby to term, for that matter. It sounds to me that you have some romantic notions about biological parenthood. The few adopted friends and relatives I know would not hesitate in telling you who they consider their true parents- and it isn’t their biological set.

    Anyway, my two cents are: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Like SoC says, lots of studies have shown that the children of non-biological and/or gay parents suffer no more or less than the children of two biological parents. Without evidence to the contrary, it’s not really worthwhile to pursue the issue further. There are way more important ethical issues concerning children waiting to be discussed.

  18. 18
    Pietro Armando says:

    Sarah

    How is eliminating the opposite sex parent ethical? Is it ethical to the child? When s/he ask his/her two moms to whom should the Father’s day card be addressed to, should they respond, “freeze pop” c/o the local sperm bank?

    The “real question”? I did not question the parental ability of homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, or any other kind of sexuals. But since you raised the issue. The jury is still out on the “reputable studies”. The answer is not that clear cut.

    The overwhelming number, 90+%, of children being raised by same sex parents are from one or both partners previous heterosexual marriage/relationships. Now it would be reasonable to assume that the opposite sex parent is involved to some degree in raising his/her children. That would have to have an impact in how one studies the “raising of children by same sex parents”.

    Of the remaining percentage, it’s either adoption or some alterantive reproductive method with or without the opposite sex parent involved, beyond that of the donated genetic material of course.

    The drawback with many of theses studies is that the numbers involved, due to limited subject populations/samples (?), is small. There aren’t hundreds of thousands of children being created from scratch by same sex couples. So it is somewhat challenging to state with certainty either way. Also what of the non tangible factors such as simply interacting with one’s own father/mother on a regular basis, or knowing who one’s biological father or mother is. His/her likes and dislikes, special talents, ethnic origin, etc.It’s only natural to want to know this. Even children adopted and raised by heterosexual couples ask this question, and some go to great lenghts in seeking the answer.

    Tick box? True there is no requirement to have children in order to marry. Nor is there a tick box to check off for love, emotional support, or caring. So those aren’t required either. So why then does the state care about marriage?

  19. 19
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Oh, come on “the jury is still out”?! Yes, historically one of the drawbacks of the studies has been their sample sizes, which while certain not statistically unreliable in any way, have been on the small side. However, the recent studies have been considerably larger (both here and overseas) and they are showing PRECISELY THE SAME THING, that children in same-sex parented households are precisely the same as those from different-sex parented households.

    Go check out the parenting part of the family section of the HRC website (www.hrc.org) if you are wondering. It’s not just academics and researchers that are having these findings, its the major national organisations responsible for child welfare.

    Saying the “jury is still out” is like saying the jury is still out on evolution, or global climate change.

    Moreover, studies into ‘how’ precisely same-sex couples parent shows that there is considerable input from opposite sex donors, friends, family, etc (as well as same sex). So, regardless of whether or not the child is in what is referred to as a ‘blended’ ss-parented family, or is raised from birth by a ss-couple, they are having considerable input and socialisation from both genders. Simply having two parents of different genders does not guarantee well-formed gender socialisation, just as much as having two parents of the same gender does not guarantee malformed gender socialisation. That’s a myth created by those that honestly think the nuclear family form should be the model for all.

    Now, as to your point as to diversity in family arrangements. Certainly, the research has been done on variability in different-sex parenting. And, as time goes on, we are doing similar research, and yes, the studies would involve small numbers. But don’t you think researchers control for these things when looking at the wider population and not specific variations? They do, or they would fired insanely quickly for being really bad social researchers.

    I argued that it can be ethical to eliminate a parent of the opposite gender because IT ALL DEPENDS on your ethical framework, which is relative. Hence it’s not a good yardstick. Moving on to the question of the mental and emotional health of a child puts it in a framework that is far more measurable.

    And honestly? I don’t think the state should have a hand in marriage. I think it should be left up to whatever religous or non-religous groupings people place themselves in. What the state should do is just provide a civil contract specifying civil and legal responsibilities and privileges of kinship, and that’s it. However, that’s just my opinion, and I seriously doubt it’s going to happen. So, so long as one group of people has their intimate relationships civilly and legally privileged over another group, we are going to go after marriage as a needed goal.

    And we’re gonna win.

  20. 20
    Hestia says:

    Is it ethcial to create a child in such a way as to intentionally elminate its opposite sex biolgical parent?

    I’ve heard this argument before, only it doesn’t usually focus so strongly on the “moral value” angle. Usually it goes, “Children should be raised in an ideal environment”–except that by “ideal” most people mean only a mother and a father. They typically ignore all the other characteristics of families that may be harmful to a child.

    Is it ethical to create a child without the financial resources to care for it? Is it ethical to create a child when one or both of its parents is abusive, or when one or both is/was once in prison? Is it ethical to create a child in a home in which there is much watching of TV and eating of junk food? Is it ethical to create a child in a religion that refuses contemporary medical care? Is it ethical to create a child when both of its parents intend to hold full-time jobs? Is it ethical to create a child if its parents are unmarried, or if there is only one of them? On and on…

    Problem is, these questions of “ethics” have more to do with what’s in the best interest of adults–namely, the stated interest of adults other than the parent(s) in question–rather than children. It’s safe to say that single and same-sex and working parents provide environments for their children that are at least comparable to married, opposite-sex, stay-at-home-mom, 2.5 kids and a dog families.

    My short answer to Pietro’s question is: Yes, it is indeed “ethical” to create a child in such a way as to intentionally elminate its opposite sex biolgical parent. And I’m going to leave it at that, because this sort of question can’t handle nuance.

  21. 21
    Hestia says:

    Oh, bah! Nuance is getting the better of me.

    How is eliminating the opposite sex parent ethical? Is it ethical to the child? When s/he ask his/her two moms to whom should the Father’s day card be addressed to, should they respond, “freeze pop”? c/o the local sperm bank?

    If by “ethical” you mean “ideal,” which it seems you do, then you have to acknowledge that no child–OK, maybe a few since time began–has been raised in an “ethical” environment.

    When s/he ask his/her two moms to whom should the Father’s day card be addressed to, should they respond, “freeze pop”? c/o the local sperm bank?

    What a ridiculous question. Other answers could include, “The cemetery on 5th Street,” or “The bastard who left me for his secretary,” or “The cold-hearted couple who gave you up for adoption,” or “The man who raped me,” or “The guy who hits you on a regular basis,” or “That person you never see because he works 60 hours a week”…

    So why then does the state care about marriage?

    That’s a really good question. Maybe they shouldn’t.

  22. 22
    Pietro Armando says:

    Avenir

    My thoughts exactly, marriage ain’t broke so there’s no need to fix it.

    It’s not romantic notions of biological parenthood, but rather the belief that children do best when raised by their married biological mother and father in a low conflict marriage. Same sex parents aren’t the only non-traditional family arrangement in which kids have been known to thrive. One can cite a variety of family structure other than the nuclear family. So in that sense SSP headed familes are not unique.

  23. 23
    Hestia says:

    marriage ain’t broke so there’s no need to fix it

    1. Marriage is broke–very broke, in fact. The divorce rate is rising and the marriage rate is dropping. If that doesn’t say “broken,” I don’t know what does.

    2. However, if marriage in and of itself isn’t broke, then obviously we should let anyone enter into it who wants to. No reason to limit it to opposite-sex couples.

    3. It’s a terrible philosophy when it comes to civil rights, anyhow. Usually people who benefit from a particular cultural or legal law don’t see discriminatory policies as broken.

    It’s not romantic notions of biological parenthood, but rather the belief that children do best when raised by their married biological mother and father in a low conflict marriage.

    It seems to me that, in fact, children do just as well in families with same-sex parents as ones with opposite-sex parents, and logically it makes sense that it would work that way. Also, I hope you’re just as fervent in opposing divorce, which you must mean when you refer to “low conflict marriage,” and in supporting programs that help kids–CHIP, public schools, welfare, subsidized child care, and anti-child abuse programs.

  24. 24
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    I guess I just don’t see why being biologically related to your child is so important. Of all the crucial and insanely important parts of being a parent, being biologically related to the child you would be parenting seems like it would be really far down the list.

    I know lots of adoptive and foster children that will tell you who their real parents are, and just like Hestia said, it won’t be who they are related to. Similarly, the fact that I was biologically related to them didn’t stop my parents from throwing me out when I came out, so perhaps I am a little biased on the matter. While I am certainly not generalising from my own experiences, I just simply don’t see what the huge deal about biological relatedness is for the actual act of parenting.

  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    Hestia:

    1. Marriage is broke”“very broke, in fact. The divorce rate is rising and the marriage rate is dropping.

    Just as a nit-pick, this isn’t entirely true; the divorce rate has been dropping for the last few years. I don’t know about the marriage rate.

  26. 26
    Avenir says:

    “My thoughts exactly, marriage ain’t broke so there’s no need to fix it. ”

    Psh, whatever. As you already know, it wasn’t marriage, but the well-being of children raised by same-sex parents I was referring to as not broken.

    But since you bring up the well-being of children raised by same-sex parents in the context of marriage…

    “It’s not romantic notions of biological parenthood, but rather the belief that children do best when raised by their married biological mother and father in a low conflict marriage. Same sex parents aren’t the only non-traditional family arrangement in which kids have been known to thrive.”

    Ok, so. Children thrive with same-sex parents. They thrive with bioparents. They thrive with grandparents. I’m glad we agree.

    I guess the next step is to agree that, since two lesbian mothers make just as valuable a family unit to a child as two bioparents, it is the duty of the state to NOT discriminate against the lesbians, but to provide the same legal protection to the lesbians as to the bioparents. For the sake of the children, if nothing else.

  27. 27
    Barbara says:

    The state’s interest in marriage is definitively not the same as its interest in “optimal” child rearing. The last time I looked there is no law against children being raised in comparably “suboptimal” homes, that is, homes in which they most definitely are not being raised by a married biological mother and father. This would be true for children being raised by single parents or parents who are living together, adoptive children, and children in homes where they are related to one parent but not a custodial step parent. Why don’t we make all those arrangements illegal (e.g., outlaw divorce, outlaw adoption, and so on)? Because we value giving humans the freedom to decide for themselves what living and child rearing arrangements are optimal. The only time the state intervenes in a person’s family life is when the care of children falls so far below a minimal standard of safekeeping that its is considered to be dangerously abusive or neglectful. This happens irrespective of the marital status of the guardians or whether or not the child is biologically connected to the guardian. The alternative to having a single parent, or parent to whom you are not related by DNA is not having been born. There may be some children who wish for that, but I would warrant, not many.

  28. 28
    Pietro Armando says:

    Here’s a link that offers a different perspective on the studies. I respond to the rest of the post later.

    http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/MothersFathersMatter.pdf

  29. 29
    mythago says:

    We’ve been there before, Pietro. If every child deserves a mother and father, make out-of-wedlock childbearing illegal. If you’re not willing to go there, stop picking on the queers.

  30. 30
    Ampersand says:

    Regarding Pietro’s link, to an article by Maggie Gallagher and Josh Baker:

    They’re more than a little biased even discussing the general state of research on marriage; see this summary (pdf link) for a much less biased view (from people who are, like Maggie Galligher, part of the marriage movement, but who are more responsible in how they sum up the social science research).

    Your link lists five objections listed to the social science research finding that kids of lesbian and gay parents turn out fine:

    1. No studies were done using a national sample.
    This was true at the time that Maggie and Joshua wrote their piece, but isn’t true any longer.

    2. Some studies used outcome measures derived from psychology rather than sociology.
    So what? They don’t provide any evidnece that the outcome measures used by developmental psychologists are useless or should be ignored. If this is one of their top four objections, they’re clearly feeling desparate.

    3. Many studies relied on maternal reports of child well-being, rather than objective measures.
    First of all, this still leaves all the studies that didn’t rely on maternal reports. Second, I’m not sure why they think maternal reports of child well-being are meaningless, unless they think lesbian parents will systematically lie more about their child’s well-being than straight parents.

    4. No long-term studies.
    This is simply untrue; several long-term studies have been done, and more will be done over time.

    5. Regarding the claim that the studies just consider single lesbian mothers, that’s true of some studies, but there many look at same-sex-couple households; consider the study I just linked to, for example.

    I’d also point out Judith Stacey’s comments, quoted here.

    The studies that have been conducted are certainly not perfect – virtually no study is. It’s almost never possible to transform complex social relationships, such as parent-child relationships, into adequate, quantifiable measures, and because many lesbians and gay men remain in the closet, we cannot know if the participants in the studies are representative of all gay people. However, the studies we reviewed are just as reliable and respected as studies in other areas of child development and psychology. So, most of those so-called experts are really leveling attacks on well-accepted social science methods. Yet they do not raise objections to studies that are even less rigorous or generalizable on such issues as the impact of divorce on children. It seems evident that the critics employ a double-standard. They attack these particular studies not because the research methods differ from or are inferior to most studies of family relationships but because these critics politically oppose equal family rights for lesbians and gay men.

    The studies we discussed have been published in rigorously peer-reviewed and highly selective journals, whose standards represent expert consensus on generally accepted social scientific standards for research on child development. [...]

    So I’m not altogether persuaded by your link.

  31. 31
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Thanks Amp, I was about to post something similar after reading Pietro’s link, but then scrolled down and read yours :)

    I was also actually going to make a similar comment to that of Judith Stacey about the apparent double-standard when it comes to the critiques and the opposing research of anti-gay activists. I have noticed that they critique well established social science techniques within the research, but then provide research to ‘prove’ their arguements that barely, if at all, makes the grade.

    *kisses Amp on the cheek* if I weren’t lesbian … ;)

  32. 32
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    ah, Amp, is there any way you could possibly send me a copy of that ‘blackwell-synergy’ study you link to above? It’s just that the site doesn’t like my cookie settings.

  33. 33
    AndiF says:

    Sarah: *kisses Amp on the cheek* if I weren’t lesbian … ;)

    Hey, you can kiss whoever you want, however you want, for whatever reason you want because you are a woman and this is only a problem for men (cause everything I know I learned from aegis).

  34. 34
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    AndiF -

    Nah, I was saying that if I weren’t lesbian I’d really go for a guy like Amp, the kiss on the cheek certainly stands :)

  35. 35
    Ampersand says:

    ah, Amp, is there any way you could possibly send me a copy of that ‘blackwell-synergy’ study you link to above? It’s just that the site doesn’t like my cookie settings.

    Well, normally I hate doing anything nice for anyone, but since you just kissed me on the cheek I’ll make an exception. Check your email for the study. :-)

  36. 36
    Barbara says:

    And Pietro, even if a study shows a higher degree of family pathology in children of same sex couples, is there any reason to believe that the level of pathology is not the result of the hostility and non-acceptance these families face? Indeed, the semblance of normality is striking given the overt denigration of such families by large numbers of people.

  37. 37
    AndiF says:

    People who make arguments against same-sex parents all seem to assume there is some platonic ideal of family. 15 minutes with decent cultural anthropologist would disabuse them of this notion but I doubt that they really want to lose it.

    They also like to ignore the adaptability of kids. My father died when I was young and I was raised by my mother, an unmarried aunt (who lived with us), my mom’s best friend (who lived a block away), and our next-door-neighbor. I’m sure that my mom greatly missed my father but we kids recovered and moved on in no time. What was important to us was to feel loved, wanted, and secure. Those four wonderful women made sure that we always did. I find the idea that there is some sort of ‘correct’ configuration’ that should determine whether people get to be parents to be both insulting and ridiculous.

  38. 38
    Pietro Armando says:

    Wow…it looks like I’m back to being the sole defender of Western Civilization. Relax folks, I say it in jest. It seems that this current line of discussion has expanded somewhat from what I had originally commented on, that being the intentional creation of a child in such a way as to elimnate it’s opposite sex biological parent, or I should say father which is far more common. Apparently this is seen as “picking on queers” to quote mythago. Is the notion that denying a child a father is somehow anti-gay? Why? If a single heterosexual woman desires a child and ungoes the same route, and I were to comment on such, which I did, then would I be picking on “straights”? Are there not enough children growing up without a father, after birth whether it be through death, divorce, or abandonment, in our society that it has become acceptable to say why not eleminate Dad to begin with?
    Should one’s sexual orientation or personal relationship choices take precedence over the needs of the child? Why would a woman not want her child to have a father?

    As to the studies which you folks have so kindly pointed out, which ones deals specifically with children created from scratch, so to speak, by alternative reproductive technology, in which the opposite sex parent is unknown and uninvolved? Of the others which ones factor in the opposite sex biological parent interaction with his/her child/children?

  39. 39
    mythago says:

    Should one’s sexual orientation or personal relationship choices take precedence over the needs of the child?

    Your rhetoric gets sillier all the time. Let’s now go scold women who marry for love instead of money, as such women are clearly putting their personal relationship choices over “the needs of the child.”

    it has become acceptable to say why not eleminate Dad to begin with?

    Couples consisting of two gay men should then be superior to any other parenting arrangement. Twice the Dad!

  40. 40
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Should one’s sexual orientation or personal relationship choices take precedence over the needs of the child?

    I am getting to the point where I am honestly thinking you’re just simply not reading what we have been writing. By asking if sexual orientation is ‘taking precedence’ over the needs of a child, you are implying that somehow having two parents of the same gender takes away something from a child’s growing up. ie They aren’t going to be socialised as well, and hence not as mentally, emotionally or socially healthy.

    But every single piece of evidence we have been providing on this thread shows that there is NO compromise between sexual orientation and parenting. There is no zero sum game here where somehow if you are true to your sexuality you are taking away from your child by not providing a parent of the opposite gender. Being in a lesbian or gay relationship AND being a wonderful parent is completely possible, and as the research has been showing, it’s not only possible, but occuring. The studies have been covering BOTH blended families and birth families.

    Your comments ARE homophobic Pietro, and have been answered repeatedly.

  41. 41
    Pietro Armando says:

    Well …..and your comments ARE heterophobic, so there! Now that we have exchanged sexual phobia allegations, perhaps we can deal with the issue.

    Children of same sex parents is a bit of a biological oxymoron. Children of SSPs are from one of three sources, 1-One or both partners previous heterosexual relationship which is the largest group, 2-adoption, and 3-Created through alternative reproductive technology. Two women or two men do not a baby make. Can we at least except the facts of human reproduction? This is not a commentary on sexual orientation and parenting ability. If the over whelming number of children of same sex “parents” are from previous heterosexual relationships, it is reasonable to conclude that the opposite sex parents is involved in raising his/her child/children to varying degrees depending on custody, living arangements, parents involvement, etc. Therefore they would also contribute to the childs’s well being. In that sense the child/children would be groing up with both mom and dad in additon to a co-mom or co-dad. Now are there any studies which take this into account?

    Remember what started this line of blogging is the story of two women creating a child through ART., and my comments on that particualr point.

    The fact that anyone, SSC male or female although the latter are more predominate, or heterosexual women, or men for that matter, would purposely create a child so as to elimate such child from having an opposite sex biological parent is unethical. That is the issue I am raising. Why is denial of one of the most fundemental of all human relationships, that of a father or mother to his/her child and vice versa, suddenly wrong. Why would a mother not want her child to have a father, or vice versa?

    Children are raised in a variety of non-traditonal family structures, not only w/same sex parents.

  42. Pingback: The pain that comes with denying same-sex union/marriage protections and benefits

  43. 42
    mythago says:

    Children are raised in a variety of non-traditonal family structures, not only w/same sex parents.

    Then why, again, pick on same-sex parents?

    You seem to be perfectly OK with people intentionally eliminating one same-sex parent as long as, oh, Mommy has lots of pictures of Daddy so that the kid can have “memories” (that is, second-hand memories) of him. Why do you accept that a single mother can substitute for biological Daddy with a video, but two women who do pretty much the same thing are unethical?

  44. 43
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mythago

    If you reread the post I clearly stated I do not endose such action. I merely pointed out that it was possible for a child in that situation to “know” his/her father to a degree, something that would be impossible in the case of two women who use an anonmyous “freeze pop”. Eihter senario eliminates dad.

    I’m not picking on “same sex parents”, nor claiming they are incapable of being good parents. However same sex parents” is a bit of an oxymorn. For a person to become a parent, s/he must engage in sexual intercourse, utilize ART, or adopt. Sex resulting in conception creates a biological father and a mother. If it occurs within marriage the husband is presumed to be the father of any child born within the marital relationship, barring evidence to the contrary. In the case of adoption, the adopter is granted parental rights over the child.

    The use of ART by SSCs has forced the courts to intervene in situations like, absent any pre existing legislation, one that started this line of discussion. The two women decided to create a child knowing full well the legal ramifications in the event they split. They assumed, like many a couple, gay or straight, that they would be together always. Obviously they split. Now the courts are asked to step in to create some form of female “paternity”. This is contrary to the biological mother’s wishes, if I understand the situation correctly.

    Should the court rule for or against the biological mother? Should legislation be enacted to address this issue? Is a matter for the state, or is it a private issue?

  45. 44
    mythago says:

    If you reread the post I clearly stated I do not endose such action.

    You also clearly stated that “at least” Mom could pass on second-hand memories of Dad. In other words, it’s not as bad as two women conceiving (what is your obsession with ‘freeze pops,’ anyway?).

    The law recognizes biologically-impossible parents all the time.

    Your example of court intervention is precisely why the law should recognize SSM. If a male-female couple uses a sperm donor to conceive, the husband is Daddy as far as the law’s concerned. Even if it is biologically impossible for him to be a father. Why not apply the same logic to SSM?

  46. Pietro,

    Same-sex parents is not an oxymoron. You even note that same-sex couples may adopt giving a child two parents of the same sex. The specific case here deals with a situation of ART. Heterosexually married couples who turn to ART in order to have children are now the largest consumers of that technology. You may find this unethical but it is accepted and states have been dealing with the issue for awhile as noted in a brief before the Vermont Supreme Court:

    Virtually without exception, when both spouses jointly agree to use ART to create a family, courts have refused to permit either parent to challenge the parentage of the consenting spouse. See, e.g., In re Baby Doe, 291 S.C. 389, 392, 353 S.E.2d 877, 878 (1987) (“courts which have addressed this issue have assigned paternal responsibility to the husband based on conduct evidencing his consent to the artificial insemination”?); People v. Sorensen, 68 Cal.2d 280, 285, 66 Cal.Rptr. 7, 437 P.2d 495 (1968) (husband’s consent “cannot create a temporary relation to be assumed and disclaimed at will”?); In re Marriage of Buzzanca, 61 Cal. App.4 th 1410, 72 Cal.Rptr.2d 280 (1998) (holding that man and woman who consented to have a child through egg donation and artificial insemination were legal parents despite no biological relation to the child); R.S. v. R.S., 9 Kan.App.2d 39, 670 P.2d 923, 926-28 (1983) (husband who orally consented to wife’s insemination impliedly agreed to support the child); Levin v. Levin, 645 N.E.2d 601, 604-605 (Ind. 1994) (same); Brown v. Brown, 83 Ark.App. 217, 125 S.W.3d 840 (2003) (husband equitably estopped from denying child support where husband knew that wife was using ART to have a child); State ex. rel. H. v. P., 90 A.D.2d 434, 441, 457 N.Y.S.2d 488 (N.Y. App. Div. 1982) (wife could not deny paternity of husband where she fostered father-daughter relationship); Brooks v. Fair, 40 OhioApp.3d 202, 207, 532 N.E.2d 208, 213 (1988) (wife could not disavow paternity of husband in context of consensual use of ART)

    They all agree that this is in the best interest of the child. Do you think because couples should not be using ART that it is therefore better to allow either parent to terminate the non-biological spouse’s relationship with the child at will? At the very least one can see it is not the use of ART’s by same-sex couples that forced this issue, but the use of ART’s in general and it has mainly been by heterosexual couples.

    What is amazing about this case is that Virginia is so dead set against any state offering protections to same-sex couples that they are willfully ignoring the Parental Kidnapping Protection Act which was designed to address exactly this problem of forum shopping in custody disputes. Here we have legislation that was enacted to address the issue, but Virginia claims it is trumped by DOMA and Virginia’s 2004 Affirmation of Marriage Act. If the lower court order in Virignia were to be upheld by higher courts there and then federal courts (although I doubt it will be) it would undermine the security of children of same-sex couples as well as the security of same-sex couples themselves everywhere. If someone doesn’t like the way a divorce or dissolution proceeding is going they need only hop on down to Virginia and ignore their obligations. If the custody proceedings don’t look good, grab the child and the next flight to Virginia. A same-sex spouse has sued you for wrongful death, well you always have a home in Virginia. It does nothing to “affirm marriage” to invite others to evade their obligations.

  47. 46
    AndiF says:

    For a person to become a parent, s/he must engage in sexual intercourse, utilize ART, or adopt.

    Utter and complete crap. A parent can be anyone who takes the role of a mother or father for a child; anything else is just legality. No kid who loves someone who loves and take care of them gives a rat’s ass about your definition.

    And I’m sure there are a lot of step-parents (many of whom love their step-children but don’t adopt for a variety of reasons) that would be glad to tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about.

  48. 47
    mythago says:

    Pietro also misses a very common and legally recognized way to become a parent: be married to somebody who is. Paternity in marriage is presumed. If M and F marry, and M is sterile or M and F have never engaged in sexual intercourse, M is still legally the father of any children F bears. Some states have provisions under which that paternity can be challenged, in very limited circumstances. But if F gets knocked up, the law assumes that M is the father in all ways.

  49. 48
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mythago

    You also clearly stated that “at least”? Mom could pass on second-hand memories of Dad. In other words, it’s not as bad as two women conceiving (what is your obsession with ‘freeze pops,’ anyway?).

    It could theoretically be Dad, assuming he wished to preserve his wife’s eggs, and find a womb in which to create the child.

    My “obsession with freeze pops” is that as a married father of four girls it is inconceivable to me that a father, or mother for that matter is somehow disposable. The first man in any girls/woman’s life should be her father if at all posssible, not some “male role model” that her two mom’s decide is a substitute for the “freeze pop”. The same applies to boys. It could be two men that decide to eliminate the mom, although that takes a bit more planning. I would think that any self respecting feminist would opposse the idea of treating women as nothing more than walking incubators, by anyone, gay or straight.

    If a male-female couple uses a sperm donor to conceive, the husband is Daddy as far as the law’s concerned. Even if it is biologically impossible for him to be a father. Why not apply the same logic to SSM?

    1.-That is the notion of presumed paternity, the husband is presumed to be the father of any shild born wth in the marital relaionship.

    2.-Human reproduction is sexual of which I can personally attest to. If a couple cannot conceive naturally, and the technology exist to correct that, why should’t it be used. Humans are meant to see, therefore if someone cannot, medicine/technology should be used to correct that if possible.

    3-I don’t buy the backdoor aproach to SSM. If one wishes to apply a legal solution for use of ART by SSCs or single people for that matter, one could argue pro or con, second parent adoption laws , or use of ART only for married male female couples Either one could address the situation.

  50. 49
    Pietro Armando says:

    Galois

    I said it a “bit of an oxymoron” in that human reproduction is sexual. Obviously people can become parents through adoption which I did note. All the cases you mentioned falls under, if I understand it, the presumption of paternity. The husband by agreeing to ART assumes “paternity” even if he is not, biologically, the father. Thus the law presumes the husband to be the father. I’m aware that ART is used by heterosexual couples far more often than SSCs. If I recall one famous case in dispute was later made into a TV movie. Anyway in this particular instance, two women forced the issue. Obviously the non bio-mom or NBO, can’t assume paternity, so the courts are asked to create a new form of legal parenthood. I agree that in the best interest of the child, in this situation, the NBO should be acknowledged to include visitation, financial issues, health care issues, etc. This situation can easily be turned numerous ways. Suppose after the split the bio mom sought financial support from the NBO, who in turn refused to give it. Under VA law she’d be off the hook. Or instead of an unknown donor, the couple utilized a male friend with the understanding that he would be ackowledged as the father, allowed involvement in the childs life ,but they would be the parents. The couple splits up and bio mom with child leaves the state. Both the NBO and Dad file suit seeking visitation. How should the court rule? Give visitation rights to NBO, Dad, or both? Has there ever been such a case? What about two men who create a child utilizing a egg, and rented womb? Womb mom, although not the genetic mom is involved in the child’s life. The couple split. DNA test reveal the bio dad. The womb mom seeks visitation. Who gets what?

  51. 50
    mythago says:

    Obviously the non bio-mom or NBO, can’t assume paternity

    If the two women could get married, she could.

    Both the NBO and Dad file suit seeking visitation. How should the court rule?

    I know you think this is a cutting-edge legal problem, but it isn’t. Dad never relinquished parental rights. He was intended to be a parent. The biological parents are legal parents.

  52. All the cases you mentioned falls under, if I understand it, the presumption of paternity. The husband by agreeing to ART assumes “paternity”? even if he is not, biologically, the father. Thus the law presumes the husband to be the father.

    Not quite. The traditional presumption of paternity is rebuttable. (Exactly who and how it may be rebutted varies from state to state). The law may presume the husband to be the father, but the husband can if he wishes rebut paternity by demonstrating that he is not the biological father. In these cases the courts ruled that by agreeing to the ART all parties are henceforth prohibited from raising this issue.

    Anyway in this particular instance, two women forced the issue.

    And in dozens of previous cases a man and a woman rasied the issue. The issue is not a new one. What’s new in this cas is a state disregarding federal law in an attempt to seize jurisdiction from the court of another state that had valid jurisdiction and attempting to justify by a claim that the government said they could do so when same-sex couples are involved.

    Obviously the non bio-mom or NBO, can’t assume paternity, so the courts are asked to create a new form of legal parenthood.

    No. The courts are being asked to recognize a means the Vermont legislature provided for establishing legal parenthood. Vermont statutes say:

    The rights of parties to a civil union, with respect to a child of whom either becomes the natural parent during the term of the civil union, shall be the same as those of a married couple, with respect to a child of whom either spouse becomes the natural parent during the marriage.

    The court was asked to folow this law, and it complied.

    This situation can easily be turned numerous ways.

    Sure, as with heterosexual couples having children–with or without ART–a particular case might bring up difficult issues. Sometimes it even goes to the Supreme Court. This case was actually pretty straight forward until Virginia stepped in. As I said, I believe the lower court decision in Viriginia will get reversed on appeal, but if not this could very well also end up in the Supreme Court, but again not with regards to issues of establishing parentage, but rather with regards to the interpretation of DOMA and the PKPA.

  53. 52
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    The first man in any girls/woman’s life should be her father if at all posssible, not some “male role model”? that her two mom’s decide is a substitute for the “freeze pop”?. The same applies to boys. It could be two men that decide to eliminate the mom, although that takes a bit more planning. I would think that any self respecting feminist would opposse the idea of treating women as nothing more than walking incubators, by anyone, gay or straight.

    So basically what you’re saying is that you support ‘gender roles’ and think they are a necessary part of child rearing. Heh.

    Also, any self-respecting feminist RESPECTS another woman’s reproductive CHOICES. That includes reproduction for hire, providing the woman is not offering services to people she believes will make poor parents. That’s just a really bad argument.

  54. 53
    mythago says:

    So basically what you’re saying is that you support ‘gender roles’ and think they are a necessary part of child rearing.

    You got it. He’s not really opposed to male-female couples using alternative insemination, or adoption; he didn’t even think that a couple procreating, knowing Dad won’t be around to raise the child, is so very awful. It’s all about there being a mixed set of parents. Biology is the fig leaf homophobes use when they wail about same-sex parents.

  55. 54
    Pietro Armando says:

    Kim

    Basically what I’m saying is that mothers and fathers are a basic part of not only baby makin’, but baby raisin’ as well. Sounds crazy but there are two genders.

    Are you implying that you won’t be celebrating Fathers day?

    Do self respecting feminists encourage reproductive responsibilty? Do they reccognize the importance of men and the contributions they make to child creation and rearing? Or is it that in your world men need not apply?

  56. 55
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mythago

    Wow! Man oh man…uh I mean woman oh woman…you hit the nail right on the head. Silly me for supporting the idea of moms and dads. To think that millions of kids would be better off not having mom and dad. If only I had know this four kids ago. Thanks for setting me straight, no pun intended. I hope this is discussed at the next meeting of the she-woman man haters club. Will you be joining Kim in not celebrating Father’s Day?

  57. 56
    piny says:

    >>Basically what I’m saying is that mothers and fathers are a basic part of not only baby makin’, but baby raisin’ as well. Sounds crazy but there are two genders.

    Are you implying that you won’t be celebrating Fathers day?

    Do self respecting feminists encourage reproductive responsibilty? Do they reccognize the importance of men and the contributions they make to child creation and rearing? Or is it that in your world men need not apply?>>

    Why is it that every time someone takes you to task for illogic, you start talking like Gomer Pyle? Are you Italian-American by way of Tennessee, or are you closing escrow on a ranch in Crawford?

    Many same-sex parents are men, remember? Mythago is arguing for a broader access to parental rights and recognition, not a narrower one. You’re the one who’s refusing to acknowledge the contributions of certain parents, both male and female.

  58. 57
    Pietro Armando says:

    Piny

    Why is it that every time someone takes you to task for illogic, you start talking like Gomer Pyle? Are you Italian-American by way of Tennessee, or are you closing escrow on a ranch in Crawford?

    How is advocating the importance of having both a mother and a father somehow “illogic”? Why should someone be “taken to task” for doing so? Gomer Pyle wasn’t Italian. Sono italiano Americano via mi nonni, tutti quattro, capisce?

    You’re the one who’s refusing to acknowledge the contributions of certain parents, both male and female.

    Not at all. I don’t deny that SSCs are raising children, nor doubt their ability to do so. There are some gay parents who are better parents than straight ones. I’m simply questioning the concept of creating children from scratch in such away as to eliminate it’s opposite sex parent. Even male couples have done this. Is it okay for a child to be raised not knowing/interacting with his/her mother? Have there been any child custody cases whereby a male couple has created a child utilizing ART w/surrogate non genentic mom, later split up?

    I’ve read news accounts whereby a female SSC interacted, for lack of a better word at the moment, with a male SSC to create children. Both women became pregnant, and each man fathered a child. Gay parents who recognized the importance of both mom and dad.

  59. 58
    piny says:

    I was talking about your faux-folksy attempts at humor. I wasn’t saying that they sounded Italian-American, but that they sound like the faux-folksy attempts at humor of our commander in chief. And I was wondering why someone who is Italian-American via all four grandparents would suddenly start talking like a resident of Mayberry. The Aw Shucks routine is irritating, particularly when you use it to act as though you aren’t really insulting people.

    It’s unsupported to insist that children need parental role models of both sexes, or that children who grow up with two same-sex parents are somehow injured or deficient. It is illogical to keep circling back and forth between hetero IVS/surrogacy/adoption and gay IVS/surrogacy/adoption as you switch between, “Gay parents are not ideal parents,” and, “…But I ain’t fixin’ to be no bigot, Opie.”

    Why does this have anything to do with same-sex partnerships and same-sex child-raising, given that it happens so frequently with heterosexual couples, and given that it existed long before legal same-sex marriage was even on the horizon? You’re talking about visitation and disclosure rights for biological parents, _not_ a situation endemic to same-sex couples who decide to have children. Why is a substitute parent okay in a heterosexual situation, but not in a gay one? Is it jes’ dandy for Mommy to be shut out of a child’s life as long as there’s some other woman to stand in?

  60. 59
    Pietro Armando says:

    Piny

    The Aw Shucks routine is irritating, particularly when you use it to act as though you aren’t really insulting people.

    No more irritating than being labeled a “homophobe” simply because one offers an opinion that differs from the gay rights orthodoxy that some espouse.

    It’s unsupported to insist that children need parental role models of both sexes, or that children who grow up with two same-sex parents are somehow injured or deficient.

    Unsupported by who? The children who are told that, hey you don’t need a Dad or Mom, even though you may secretly want one. I find it interesting that all the studies address what children need with out necessariy considering what they want. Any child who is adopted or created through ART, regardlesss of the love they feel for their parents, or thier family structure, will have a natural inclination to ask where they came from, or who their biological mother, father , or both, was or is. There was an article in Men’s Health magazine regarding sperm donation, last year, I’m not sure of the date. Any way it profiled a few people whose bio dad was an anonymous sperm donor. One woman went to great lenghts to find her biological father. She wanted to know what was he like, did he have any unique talents or skills, what is his ethnic background, was he married, did he have any other kids, etc.. He, although aprehensive at first agreed to meet with. According to the article the meeting went well. I realize that other children created through similar means have also sought out their biological father, some successful, others not. The point is that kids do want a mother and father, or at least know who they are. What do they like or don’t like, do I ( the child) look like him, do I have any brothers or sisters, etc. All the studies in the world cannot change that. So when two women or two men decide to eliminate mom, or dad, it robs a child of something precious. I understand their desire to have a child. I’m not questioning that, nor their ability to raise such child. But I have to wonder why they feel a child doesn’t want a mother or father.

  61. 60
    mythago says:

    The children who are told that, hey you don’t need a Dad or Mom, even though you may secretly want one. I find it interesting that all the studies address what children need with out necessariy considering what they want.

    By your standards, children will grow up damaged if they do not have a pony, a Nintendo DS, and a diet consisting of ice cream and Happy Meals.

    If all the evidence you can offer is a vague invention about “what children want” and a third-hand citation to a Men’s Health article, and pretend that your assertions are facts that “all the studies in the world” cannot change, are you truly surprised that nobody takes you seriously?

    If a study found that children of same-sex parents don’t, in fact, pine for a missing Mommy or Daddy, would you change your mind? I rather doubt it, because you’re not really about “what the children want.” You believe that men and women are complementary opposites. Period.

    The point is that kids do want a mother and father, or at least know who they are.

    There’s nothing about same-sex marriage or parenting that prevents kids from “knowing who they are.” You’re arguing against adoption by heterosexual couples, you realize?

  62. 61
    Pseudo-Adrienne says:

    No more irritating than being labeled a “homophobe”? simply because one offers an opinion that differs from the gay rights orthodoxy that some espouse.

    Don’t act like it, idiot, and you won’t be labeled as such. Take responsibility for your words and comments, and quit whining, and stop with your pathetic attempts to be portrayed as the victim in all of this. And there is no “gay rights orthodoxy.” That’s another bullshit attempt on your part (and people like you) to be portrayed as being oppressed on this thread all because you have a different opinion. Different opinions is one thing and I have no problem with that. But repeating your homophobic bigotry is quite another, which is what you are doing. And your excuses for your bigotry are ridiculous, not to mention they have now become cliche.

  63. 62
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    Wow, thanks PS, I wondered if it was just me feeling this way (hence why I gave up trying to reason with him about half way up the thread).

    :)

  64. 63
    Jesurgislac says:

    Is it okay for a child to be raised not knowing/interacting with his/her mother?

    What, women should not be allowed to give children up for adoption?

  65. 64
    Pietro Armando says:

    Mythago

    I’m not quite sure how one makes the leap from a child wanting to know who their biological father, and/or mother is, to a child wanting a Happy Meal. It’s not a issue of growing up “damaged”, but simply a basic human desire to know who bio mom , dad, is, or was, that’s it. Regardless of how loving one’s parents were/are, the desire to know one’s bio parents still remains. Why you would easily dismiss even the possibility of such a simple human desire is beyond me, perhaps a case of intellectual dishonesty.

    Here’s just a few website which references people who have sought or are seeking their biological parents, primarily fathers.

    http://www.fathersforlife.org/dale/hparent2.html

    http://www.fathersforlife.org/dale/deconres.html

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/02/28/should-anonymous-egg-and-sperm-donation-be-legal/

    http://www.christianity.ca/news/commentary/2004/10.001.html

    http://familyscholars.org/index.php?p=3915

    http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/15/9/2041#SEC4

    http://www.farfilm.com/peggy/articles/lookingforadonor.htm

    http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/321/7262/654

    I could go on. But it’s clear that children conceived via ART, regardless of family structure, wish to know their biological origins. Thus I am not arguing against adoption by heterosexual couples, nor homosexual couples for that matter.

  66. 65
    Pietro Armando says:

    Pseudo-Addrienne

    But repeating your homophobic bigotry is quite another, which is what you are doing.

    Exactly what is that you feel is “homophobic biogtry”? You put forth the allegation without citing specifics.

    Does my objection to, a single woman, a single man, two women, or two men, creating a child via ART in such a way as to eliminate the opposite sex biological parent, fall under the “homophobic biogtry” category? If I object to single heterosexuals creating children in such a manner is that still “homophobic biogtry” or would that be “heterophobic bigotry”?

    I’m all for honest debate. If you have an objection to something specfic I wrote, by all means say so. Let’s dispense with the name calling.

  67. 66
    Pietro Armando says:

    Jesurgislac

    What, women should not be allowed to give children up for adoption?

    I don’t ever recall posting such an opinion. I object to the philosphy that mothers and fathers are somehow dispensible, that children can be created so as to eliminate one or the other. If you see in that an objection to adoption then perhaps I wasn’t clear.

    I do have a question is there any one else on this blog during this line of discussion that has children besides me?

  68. 67
    Pseudo-Adrienne says:

    Pietro, all of your posts attest to your bigotry. One of your own links doesn’t help your claim that you’re not being homophobic. “Fathers for Life” is just your usual hateful, anti-feminist, “beware of the queers!” sites, which pushes the whole “blame everything on feminists, extremist-queers, and non-traditionalists” hysteria. And I believe that everyone here would agree on a certain level that ‘yes’, people sometimes seek out their bio-parents and family. That’s understandable and I believe it.

    But you’re using this “best interest of the child, need traditional mommy and daddy, same-sex parents are psychologically/socially negligent to children” distraction-rhetoric in a pathetic attempt to conceal and sugar-coat your bigotry. Your “arguments” are nothing but Trojan horses. You’ve enjoyed your little soapbox here long enough. You’re banned, homophobic bigot. No amount of sugar-coating and distracting you do will ever blind people to your true, underlying contempt and bigotry for same-sex parents and their families. People like you are the reason why same-sex parents have to put up with so much shit and injustice within our legal system–all because they want a family. Like I said, you’re banned. Comment #67 shall be your last post here.

    If I object to single heterosexuals creating children in such a manner is that still “homophobic biogtry”? or would that be “heterophobic bigotry”??

    Nope. Just you going around and imposing your pompous and false sense of “I know what the ideal family structure is, because I have a traditional/nuclear family which grants me ultimate moral authority within this issue, and the rest of you are psychologically/socially negligent to your kids if you don’t have a family structure like mine” on everyone else.

    Oh and look at all of this oh-so-not homophobic rhetoric from ‘Fathers for Life’ about Gay/Lesbian people. The links and “studies” further on down are a doozy. And their Destruction of Families tirade is really good too. Nope. You’re not a bigot at all–you just link from them. Yep.

    I do have a question is there any one else on this blog during this line of discussion that has children besides me?

    People’s personal lives and relations are none of your damn business, especially for someone like you who enjoys passing bullshit moralist and offensive judgements on other people’s families and relationships. And you don’t even know them.

    This was never about the children. This was just you peppering and seeking validation for your bigotry with distraction-rhetoric, unfounded evidence, and own personal reservations. Bye. You’re done here.

  69. 68
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Pietro;

    Plenty of posters here have children. My husband and I have one and are expecting another in October. Our children are the focus of our lives, and we take our jobs as parents very seriously. HOWEVER, your secret desires of children claims hold no wash for us. My husbands mother is a married lesbian in MA. She’s been with her spouse for well over a decade and my husband spent the last several years of his childhood in a lesbian household after his parents split up. He quite vocally will tell anyone that asks that his life was much better having two parents who should not be together making each other, and through fall out him and his brother miserable. He’s well adjusted, kind, smart, a great father and maintains a relationship with both of his biological parents, as well as having a great relationship with his mothers wife.

    Regardless, marriage isn’t about children. Parenting is about children. Mixing the two is both erroneous and pointless, and done as a cover to less noble intentions (with-holding rights of others without cause). I ask you to ask yourself this, if we can’t hold straight people to the rigid standards of what marriage should be made up of, how can you in any good conscience ask it of gay people and still deny that you’re unfairly discriminating?

  70. 69
    mythago says:

    I do have a question is there any one else on this blog during this line of discussion that has children besides me?

    Of course. You may be sorry you asked, because now whenever you offer a “I know more than you because my kids are like X, Y and Z,” somebody else’s epxerience may be different.

    Does my objection to, a single woman, a single man, two women, or two men, creating a child via ART in such a way as to eliminate the opposite sex biological parent, fall under the “homophobic biogtry”? category?

    Yours does. You’ve already admitted that you are far less upset about a married heterosexual couple deliberately creating a child when one parent will be “eliminated” from that child’s life before it is born.

  71. 70
    Pseudo-Adrienne says:

    Pietro, this is where your comment was. But apparently you can’t read. You’re banned. You’re not allowed to post anymore comments here. Amp has given me that authority. You’re done. Anymore comments from you will be deleted. You lost your privilege. Fucking deal with it and learn how to read. Bye.

  72. 71
    Hellcat says:

    After reading all the different posts, I think Pietro is trying to say that fathers are important, and that kids should know them if at all possible. Kim your response sorta reinforces that. You state that your husband is a great father which would indicate you feel that fathers are important. You also state that his mother is a married lesbian in Ma, and despite his parents rocky marriage, he still has relationship with both his biological parents, and his mother’s wife. Is that the gist, or did I misunderstand it. As for the other stuff, I’m not sure if I understand his intentions.

  73. 72
    Robert says:

    P-A, in fairness to Pietro, I don’t think he saw your “banned” statement. It was buried in the middle of your argument with him.

  74. 73
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Hellcat,

    My response reinforces the need for good parenting and good choices surrounding your children. That disincludes subjecting your children or the children of others to discriminatory actions that do not encourage strong and healthy familial units, regardless of the make-up. I’m of the belief that if you genuinely feel that children come first, you will put them first, which means not attempting to control who gets to be recognized as a family or have the legal benefits afforded to families based on discriminatory notions.

  75. 74
    Hellcat says:

    Kim

    Okay, but wouldn’t a good choice for children include involving both parents in their lives? Obviously children have both a biological mother and father, and including them if at all possible doesn’t necessarily mean one hates other types of families. I grew up with a married mother and father, and who remained so until my Dad passed away. We had our ups and downs like any family, and yet looking back I couldn’t think of not having both my mom and dad. I guess I was lucky, considering some of the kids I knew growing up came from broken homes.

  76. 75
    Desiree says:

    I dont see how this is any different than a sad stepfather who his kicking himself right now because he never adopted his stepchild, and his wife has divorced him and wont allow visitation. Which she has every right not to even if it is ‘mean’ based on the fact that a step-parent is not a birth-parent even if they were their for the birth. This is what happened to my uncle and his stepsons. He doesnt get to see them anymore its not ‘fair’ and it sucks. But hey, he has no legal rights. And he knows that, he regrets not adopting them but he ‘never though this would happen’. I dont see why this Jenkins lady is any more special than my uncle, who was there from day one. But I guess its because its a ‘hot button’ issue, and therefore deserves more special attention ;) Hetero divorces are ‘so yesterday’ anyways.

  77. 76
    mythago says:

    I dont see how this is any different than a sad stepfather who his kicking himself right now because he never adopted his stepchild, and his wife has divorced him and wont allow visitation.

    Your uncle had the legal right to adopt his stepchild. If he had, it wouldn’t have mattered if his ex-wife moved to Virgina; he would be a parent.

    If you don’t get why that makes your uncle’s situation different from this one, it’s because you don’t want to get it.