Married versus Gay Parenting

Here’s some controversial findings from a large study published in the States in 2003.

Same-sex couple families

The 2000 Census revealed that out of 5.5 million cohabiting couples, about 11 percent were same-sex couples—with slightly more male couples than female. One-third of female same-sex households and 22 percent of male households, or about 163,000 same-sex households in total, lived with children under 18 years old. (This compares with about 25 million married-couple households with children under 18.)

Although the research on these families has limitations, the findings are consistent: children raised by same-sex parents are no more likely to exhibit poor outcomes than children raised by divorced heterosexual parents. Since many children raised by gay or lesbian parents have undergone the divorce of their parents, researchers have considered the most appropriate comparison group to be children of heterosexual divorced parents. Children of gay or lesbian parents do not look different from their counterparts raised in heterosexual divorced families regarding school performance, behavior problems, emotional problems, early pregnancy, or difficulties finding employment. However, as previously indicated, children of divorce are at higher risk for many of these problems than children of married parents.

Cranmer has picked up on Lord Winston’s comments on gay parenting, highlighting that by eliminating the need for a father when considering IVF treatment, the House of Commons has legislated the creation of children brought into families where they will experience a lower life outcome than if they were born into a married family.

Although the research has evident limitations, the findings are consistent: children raised by same-sex parents are no more likely to exhibit poor outcomes than children raised by divorced heterosexual parents. Since many children raised by gay or lesbian parents have witnessed and endured the separation of their parents, researchers have considered the most appropriate comparison group to be children of heterosexual divorced parents. In terms of educational attainment, children of gay or lesbian parents are indistinguishable from their counterparts raised in heterosexual divorced families, and the same applies to their social, emotional and behavioural development, and also their attitudes towards teenage pregnancy and their employability.

All the evidence, apart from individual anecdotes, shows that on average, children born and raised outside of marriage do worse than those raised inside marriage. Yet our Govenment is so obsessed with its equality agenda that statistics and hard facts don’t matter.

Discuss.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

33 Comments on “Married versus Gay Parenting

  1. If though, we do not yet have any studies done on children raised in same sex relationships without the majority of them having experienced the breakdown of an earlier family unity, how can we say that they will not do as well, on average, as those raised in married relationships? Surely, the data is not there to support such conclusions?

    I wonder: if marriage is so vital for the raising of children, whether or not we could oblige all married couples to enter into a legal binding contract to not divorce on the birth of their child/children? Secondly, I wonder if we might make it illegal for someone to produce a child outside of the married state? It seems to me that if marriage is so vital for the raising of children, we need to be actively campaigning for this. Surely, it is much more important to campaign for this than the ‘ivf and parenting issue’ in that the abuses caused by divorce and cohabitation on children is immense if many of the conservative arguments are accepted. We would though struggle to convince many of our politicians to support us in this endeavour.

  2. Making it illegal to produce a child outside of marriage is not the answer (and I think you’re being deliberately provocative aren’t you Winston?!). Rather, we require both a cultural mindshift AND legislation to financially support the best social arrangements for raising children rather than financially penalising them as at present.

    We could though make divorce much harder to achieve by removing “no fault divorces”. A divorce is always someone’s choice and therefore there is always fault, because a marriage doesn’t break down unless at least one spouse chooses not to engage in the relationship in the correct loving way any more.

  3. Maybe though Peter, it would not be good to encourage people to have children by rewarding them financially, but better to deter to them somehow. It seems to me that it could be argued that the raising of children is such a precious responsibility that we ought to do all that we can to dissuade those not capable of living up to the responsibility from doing it. If this means a drop in birth rate so be it, the global economy cannot sustain such high levels of population anyway. In Europe, we can invite in more people from more traditional, and conservative cultures to make up for our short fall in population. For example, my Muslim neighbours from Pakistan are very traditional in their approach to marriage, and the raising of children. If we were to dissuade our own liberal populace from raising children because the data shows that they are so bad at it, we can make up the short fall in population, if it were arise, by supporting those who conservative family units would better serve society, even if they are not traditionally European or even Christians.

  4. Listen to you Winston! You’ll be joining Christian Voice next!!!

    I still think the key to this is a fiscal framework that supports a new moral framework. You can’t legislate to make people act morally, but you can encourage them not to act immorally (as it were).

  5. Don’t people fall out of love? That’s certainly a cause of divorce and I’m not sure it’s a “fault”.

  6. You can’t fall out of love. You can fall out of lust and romantic idealism, but love is more than a feeling – it’s an act of the will. We *choose* to love, it doesn’t just happen to us.

  7. If taken literally that would suggest that one could just *choose* to love someone and make them one’s spouse, whereas I’m guessing that real marriage is more complicated than that. It seems to me needlessly punitive to force people to stay together out of a misguided sense of what Christians should do. Proposing (as I believe you do) a more fluid model of sexuality does raise the possiblity of a heterosexual husband having a reoccurance of unwanted same-sex attractions and, if that happened, I would expect (and certainly wouldn’t fault) a wife in that circumstance to look for a divorce. And if someone got married *because* they regarded romantic idealism as a good reason to marry and said romantic idealism faded wouldn’t they have a right to divorce as what they expected from marriage (even if said expectation was naive) wasn’t fufilled?

  8. Marriage is more complicated than that, but it is definitely *not* just about being lovey-dovey.

    Let’s take your example of a husband who experiences same-sex attraction. Let’s call him “Gene” just for the sake of argument. Ten years ago Gene made vows that he would love his wife for better or for worse. Those vows weren’t based upon “as long as I feel like it”, they were made in the presence of God and were for their entire lives. The question that needs to be asked is, “Why should Gene leave the marriage”? Is it because he is incapable now of caring for his wife who he loves? Of course not. Is it because he suddenly can’t have sex with her because he wants a bloke? Well, as a student of male sexuality let me tell you that failure to “get it up” will have less to do with same-sex attraction and more to do with time of life. Sex isn’t just about what I get out of it – in fact, the best sex can be had by simply taking the attitude “How can I give my wife the best night of her life”. Let the reader understand.

    Love grows as a result of the choices we make everyday to commit to our spouses. It isn’t dependent upon gushy feelings (though they take a part occasionally). It is dependent upon a mutual self-giving in a framework that God has specifically designed for that self-giving. Sexual attraction that proceeds love is just lust. Sexual attraction that comes from love is true attraction because it is not self-absorbed.

    As for the couple who got married because of romantic idealism, well if they made the life-long vows, why aren’t they committed to making them work? I know that sounds rather naive, but at some point we need to make people understand that marriage is a serious commitment, and while sexual attraction is part of it, it is ultimately so much more.

  9. It sounds like you’re talking about the ideal of *Christian* marriage, a standard that I’m not sure most marriages have to live up to.  You can be committed to “making something work” and still have it fail; surely you concede that no fault divorces might be the reluctant outcome of recognising that a union is no longer in either party’s best interests? I don’t think “time of life” is the primary issue in tempory impotence and think this is the kind of area where one should defer to medical authority on the subject. Not to be vulgar, but isn’t the Bible traditionally seen as promulgating the importance of “real” (i.e. penetrative) sex (I remember Clinton trying to get out of the Lewinski scandal by claiming that oral sex isn’t in the Bible) which means that merely trying to give the wife a good time falls short of Christian sex ideals? It doesn’t seem very manly.

  10. If both parties want a marriage to work, it will work, like any other contract. That is the bottom line. Once you have made the vows then you have committed for life and the only reason a marriage fails is because one or more party is not fulfilling their side.

    I don’t think the Bible promotes penetrative sex and I’ve never heard that Clinton quote before. If you don’t think trying to give your wife a good time is “manly” then I think you have a very distorted view of masculinity.

    Might I humbly suggest that it is you who has the fundamental problem with *Christian* marriage. All the research shows that married couples provide the best social and developmental outcomes for their children then any other family arrangement. Yet despite this, our current government seems intent on destroying marriage as the foundation of society.

  11. I certainly have no problem with Christian Marriage; I am not to be blamed for the ideology of the “current government” that you disagree with. In fact, don’t (as a rule) those who believe in the legitimacy of Christian same-sex coupledom *accept* the ideal of Christain heterosexual marriage and then try and find a form of same-sex bonding that lives up to it? I certainly don’t think that permitting gay marriages is an attack on heterosexual ones.  I didn’t say there was anything wrong with giving one’s wife a good time, you (deliberately?) ignored my use of “merely”. If a *woman* was *solely* commited to giving her husband sexual pleasure and didn’t get anything of it herself, wouldn’t that be the sort of thing that could be condemned as being patriachal and dehumanising? Why is it any better if the husband is the one who’s doing all the giving?  Tangentially, I would have thought that you would regard anyone who’s pro-gay as having a “distorted” view of masculinity.

    If marriage is a contract, then shouldn’t it be allowed to be terminated like any other one ? Most contracts work because they refer to rights and expectations (e.g. an employment contract that says what you should do and refers to renumeration); I don’t think Marriage is a case where a person just has to do or say x to keep things going.  Saying “what do you want me to do/believe etc” to keep the marriage together is degrading, a bit like a guy who’s been dumped asking the girl how he can change so she’ll still go out with him. Except for life! 

    Isn’t the history of proscribed sexuality in the UK at least partly reflective of what people thought Scripture says constitutes “real” (or at least ideal) sex? I can quite easily conceive of a married Christian  fretting over whether or not things like oral and anal sex  are allowed by God.

  12. Those who support gay unions by definition do not support the sanctity of marriage, because if they did they wouldn’t encourage men and women to enter into relationships that by their very nature deny the opportunity to signify Christ and the Church, which is part of the mystery of marriage.

    Humans have been created by God to glorify him sexually in their willing singleness and within permanent marriage. Sex inside marriage is worship because it represents what Christ has done for the Church (Eph 5). Sex outside of marriage is therefore idolatorous because it says wrong things about God.

    As for the sex example you give, if a husband didn’t try to give his wife an orgasm but always simply went for one himself, then there would be a problem. But the answer isn’t divorce, the answer is the for husband to live up to his vows. The Bible makes it very clear that the only grounds for divorce are adultery, and that is only a ground for the non adulterous spouse to divorce.

    The history of proscribed sexuality in the UK isn’t just about “what the Bible says”. If Christian married couples fret about oral and anal sex then perhaps they need to see a pastor who deals with sexual matters about it.

  13. Peter-

    “Those who support gay unions by definition do not support the sanctity of marriage, because if they did they wouldn’t encourage men and women to enter into relationships that by their very nature deny the opportunity to signify Christ and the Church, which is part of the mystery of marriage.”

    What about those who aren’t Christians? Would, for instance, an atheist married couple who suported gay unions somehow not be supporting the sanctity of marriage? By definition, surely, two atheists getting married would not be an opportunity to “signify Christ and the Church”, so does that mean that their marriage is somehow inferior to that of a Christian couple?

    “Humans have been created by God to glorify him sexually in their willing singleness and within permanent marriage. Sex inside marriage is worship because it represents what Christ has done for the Church (Eph 5). Sex outside of marriage is therefore idolatorous because it says wrong things about God”.

    Again- what about those of any other faith, or of no faith at all? How could a couple, both of whom are atheists, having sex outside of marriage be considered idolatry?

  14. Peter, will give a proper reply presently but just noted that the time stamp on posts seems to be wrong. Jonathan’s post say it was made 12.05pm on the second of June – as I type this, it’s only 11:30 am on the second of June! Not a big problem, but thought you might want to know .

  15. Jonathan,

    You raise a number of very good points. Let me try and address them one by one.

    What about those who aren’t Christians? Would, for instance, an atheist married couple who suported gay unions somehow not be supporting the sanctity of marriage? By definition, surely, two atheists getting married would not be an opportunity to “signify Christ and the Church”, so does that mean that their marriage is somehow inferior to that of a Christian couple?

    Hmmmmm…… There are two possible answers here. The first is that Christians who get married have a superior marriage to non-Christians. I’m not sure I like that idea because the Genesis 1 and Ephesians 5 theology doesn’t seem to suggest that. The Genesis 1 argument (“for this reason, a man….”) is I think a coverall for all male/female marriage, so I take the view that an atheist married couple *do* signify Christ and the Church, even if they have no idea they are doing so.

    Interestingly, we just married a couple who had lived together for 17 years and raised 4 kids. When I began to explore with them what was going to change being married they began to realise that there was a societal and religious nature to marriage that was utterly different to their previous decade and a half of relationship. The more they thought about it, the more they realised that there was something hugely special about the status they were about to enter into.

    Again- what about those of any other faith, or of no faith at all? How could a couple, both of whom are atheists, having sex outside of marriage be considered idolatry?

    Using the same reasoning as above (the universality of the Gen 1 / Eph 5 model) one would say “yes”. To be unaware of the law or the spiritual state of things does not abrogate one of being held accountable to it!!

  16. But this is not a theocracy. If two men want to get married then it’s hardly justified to prevent them from doing this on the basis of bronze age religious texts.  

  17. Peter-

    “so I take the view that an atheist married couple *do* signify Christ and the Church, even if they have no idea they are doing so.”

    I thought you might say that. The question then becomes how could an atheist couple signify Christ and the Church if that is not what they believe? It is not as though the concept of marriage was invented by Christianity. Would you say that a couple who were both devout Satanists would signify Christ and the Church by getting married?

    “Using the same reasoning as above (the universality of the Gen 1 / Eph 5 model) one would say “yes”. To be unaware of the law or the spiritual state of things does not abrogate one of being held accountable to it!!”

    In order for you to claim that they should be held accountable to the “spiritual state of things”, you would first have to demonstrate: a) that there is such a thing as the spiritual, b) that the spiritual has standards that we should be held accountable to and the reasons for that, and c) that those standards are what you think that they are. Until you can justify that, you can’t really get away with claiming that sex outside of marriage is idolatry. And what is the idol in question?

  18. c-boy,

    You keep falling back to this argument that “who are the Christians to impose their views on others”? I have to say, that’s a specious argument, because you can use it against absolutely anybody. Who are Stonewall to attempt to impose their views on me? Who are the National Secular Society, the tobacco lobby, the pharmaceuticals industry, the train passengers associations? Just because Christians arrive at their conclusions about how society should govern itself in a different way to others doesn’t mean that they have no right to engage in the democratic process in this country. We live in a society where others viewpoints are constantly imposed upon us – that’s why we have laws and a judicial system. We don’t let a minor and an adult marry because society (and Parliament) agree that we shouldn’t (for various reasons). Ultimately there is no difference between that and society deciding that two men shouldn’t marry, and just because you disagree with the way some people come to an opinion on the subject doesn’t mean that their viewpoint shouldn’t be considered.

  19. There are degrees of imposition. The National Secular Society don’t want to curb your religious freedom whereas the religious right very much would love to impose all sorts of laws on non-believers. And the larger point was seeking to impose views on the basis of religious texts that most people don’t adhere to. Very few contemporary christians would seek to recriminalise homosexuality so the “Gay marriage is contrary to God’s will” argument is hardly compelling when seeking to convince another Christian of your position, never mind the wider secular world.

  20. Ryan,

    The National Secular Sociery *DO* want to curb my religious freedom. They want a society where no-one can bring any religious argument to the political table. They want religion taken out of education, church schools closed down and any funding for religious charitable bodies removed. They want to impose laws on believers as much as I want to impose laws on non-believers.

    I’m well aware that a “gay marriage is against God’s will” argument is not going to impress most people, but that’s OK. What’s not OK is the belief that I shouldn’t be able to make that argument in the public arena in the first place. Either we are a democracy or we are not.

  21. Jonathan,

    The answer to your question is that unbelieving married couples signify Christ and the Church in their sexual activity because human beings have been designed by God to do that. I don’t really understand how the internal combustion engine in my car works, but it does the job. Or to take the analogy further, I don’t believe in macro-evolution, but if macro-evolution were true, I wouldn’t suddenly not exist just because I don’t believe in the method by which I did actually exist.

    As to whether I can prove the “spiritual” exists, well I guess I would argue that ultimately the Resurrection proves that the supernatural is existent. You choose not to believe in the Resurrection, I do, and I do so because firstly I believe that all the evidence points to it having happened, and secondly, once I accepted the evidence I found that God invaded my life and transformed it in a way that I hadn’t let him before.

  22. Peter-

    “The answer to your question is that unbelieving married couples signify Christ and the Church in their sexual activity because human beings have been designed by God to do that.”

    That violates point c)- where’s the evidence for that? Where is the evidence that humans have been designed to have sex only when married? In my experience marriage is not a prerequisite. Also, you forgot to mention what the “idol” is regarding the “idolatry” that unmarried couples who have sex perform.

    ” Or to take the analogy further, I don’t believe in macro-evolution, but if macro-evolution were true, I wouldn’t suddenly not exist just because I don’t believe in the method by which I did actually exist”

    I’m really, really, not going to get into a discussion about evolution.

    “As to whether I can prove the “spiritual” exists, well I guess I would argue that ultimately the Resurrection proves that the supernatural is existent. You choose not to believe in the Resurrection, I do, and I do so because firstly I believe that all the evidence points to it having happened, and secondly, once I accepted the evidence I found that God invaded my life and transformed it in a way that I hadn’t let him before.”

    What evidence is there for the Resurrection that “points to it having happened”? Is there no evidence for the spiritual now bar what supposedly happened 2000 years ago? I “choose” not to believe in the Resurrection because I haven’t seen any convincing evidence to support it, not because I willfully shut my eyes to the reality of it.

  23. The evidence for the significatorial role of sex within marriage is Genesis 1 and Ephesians 5. The fact you choose to disbelieve the evidence is not a reason the evidence isn’t valid.

    As for the Resurrection, go and read a copy of Frank Morrison’s “Who moved the stone” and then get back to me.

Leave a Reply

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