The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


The changing definition of “family”

posted by jmcgee

A new study indicates the meaning of the word is evolving:

A majority of Americans now say their definition of family includes same-sex couples with children, as well as married gay and lesbian couples.

At the same time, most Americans do not consider unmarried cohabiting couples, either heterosexual or same-sex, to be a family — unless they have children.

The findings — part of a survey conducted this year as well as in 2003 and 2006 by Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University, Bloomington — are reported in a new book, “Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family,” to be published on Wednesday by the Russell Sage Foundation. Since the surveys began, the proportion of people who reported having a gay friend or relative rose 10 percentage points, said Professor Powell, the book’s lead author.

“This is not because more people are gay now than in 2003,” he said. “This indicates a more open social environment in which individuals now feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality. Ironically with all the antigay initiatives, all of a sudden people were saying the word ‘gay’ out loud. Just the discussion about it made people more comfortable.”

Check out the rest at the link.



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LSOhio

posted September 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm


This is extremely troubling, it basically indicates a further erosion of Christian biblical values in American society. A family should only be a mother, father, and/or children. An extended family can be blood relatives or adopted children living with the rest of the family. Any gay partners should not be allowed to marry or raise children. This is biblical principle no matter what our perverted society is jamming down our throats.



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Henrietta22

posted September 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm


People give birth to heterosexual and homosexual children, they came from the love of two people, or should have. The only thing that is perverted is people who can not see this is in Gods plan for humans on this earth. In your fundamentalist Churches you can do as you please, but heaven help your children. In our society of America we are all equal according to our Constitution. When this can be written across the headlines of our American newspapers the arguments will stop at least in our governments business, and that is what runs our nation, not Churches. My husband and his sister were adopted, and their mother and father never, never considered them extended family. They brought them up with their natural children and called them their own. Never heard of this term for adopted children. It sounds very dividing.



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pagansister

posted September 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm


This is excellent news for all. Love and marriage should never be restricted to just heterosexual couples. Children raised by loving adults is what is important, no matter what the combination of that couple.



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Andre John

posted September 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm


this really reminds me of the tv show “Modern Family” (don’t we just love Sofia Vergara), they won the EMMY awards.
SIGNS OF OUR TIMES! (G=D bless America, and the whole world)
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BobRN

posted September 15, 2010 at 9:51 pm


Every ounce of research on the question of what environment best works for raising children as healthy, happy and invested in society points to intact families with mothers and fathers and participation in the life of a faith community. And what two institutions are under constant attack by our secular culture? The family and the church.
The family is the bedrock of our society. The church is the bedrock of our moral bearings.
We can pretend it doesn’t matter. We can demand that others see it differently. We can insist that our social policies reflect our agendas rather than our needs.
But we cannot avoid the consequences.
Pope Paul VI predicted that the separation of the unitive and pro-creative ends of marriage/sexuality with the wide spread acceptance and use of contraception would result in:
*a general lowering of moral standards throughout society
*a rise in infidelity
*a lessoning of respect for women by men
*the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments
People laughed and ridiculed Paul VI. Anyone laughing now?



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Andre John

posted September 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm


BobRN, you are right!
Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (Of Human Life) is really prophetic and appropriate for our times.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanae_Vitae
CAPTCHA: mocauner 1939.



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Henrietta22

posted September 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm


Pope Paul the VI said (in comment above) a general lowering of moral standards in society using contraception? He should have listed in his own Church, shouldn’t he? What happened here with all the moral teachings of his religion? Seems I’ve read of mistreating orphans in Ireland, sexual abuse, and these Priests didn’t even use contraception to blame their conduct on.



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RomCath

posted September 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm


“Pope Paul the VI said (in comment above) a general lowering of moral standards in society using contraception?”
Well he was right on target wasn’t he? Moral standards certainly haven’t been elevated since the day Humanae Vitae was issued.



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BobRN

posted September 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm


Henrietta22,
The Church is part of society. It was not devotion to Humanae Vitae by Catholic clergy that led to the sex abuse crisis, but just the opposite. The professors who taught the seminarians back in the 60s and 70s, the ones largely responsible for the sex abuse crisis, taught their charges that they could ignore Humanae Vitae and many other moral teachings of the Church, including teachings on homosexual acts. These priests then taught the laity the same. What a surprise that they acted on what they had been taught.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted September 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm


BobRN…
It’s worth noting that, according to the John Jay report, 70% of priests accused of abuse were ordained before 1970. Humanae Vitae was published in 1968. Ignoring its teaching wasn’t the problem.
Dcn. G.



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npr prn

posted September 16, 2010 at 9:20 pm


Hey BobRN- what studies? Everything I read shows little or no difference between kids raised by heterosexual or homosexual couples. Being loved and wanted and in a family with enough resource are more important then having parents with the same or different sexes.
Also since when we are less moral today. I’m 50 yo and really don’t think that our society is doing worse. I see alot of good in the world today; maybe not perfect but some good things happening. Wish you had more faith in god and us non-perfect human he created.



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BobRN

posted September 16, 2010 at 11:59 pm


Dcn. Greg,
Your point is worth noting. I don’t think it merits your conclusion that ignoring the teaching of Humanae Vitae was not the problem, however. Humanae Vitae did not promulgate a new teaching, but re-interated the Church’s centuries old teaching that the use of contraception represents an objective wrong against the procreative purpose of the marriage act. So, while technically correct if adhering to the chronology of Humanae Vitae and the ordination dates of the majority of priests involved in the sex abuse scandal, I still think my point stands that dissent on Humanae Vitae or, more broadly, the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality, was a major contributing factor to the sex abuse scandal. Given that, according to the bell curve of abuse, the number of cases peaked between 1975-1980, perhaps the sad fact is that the lack of respect for Humanae Vitae specifically and the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality in general, was not only rampant in the seminaries but in the rectories, as well. I recall my wife and I participating in a presentation on NFP to the priests of the Diocese of Memphis some years ago. When I asked my pastor why so few priests attended, he was very frank in admitting, “They don’t accept the teaching.”
npr prn,
Where to begin? First, I concede that there are a number of studies from recent years that conclude that children raised in same sex households do as well academically, emotionally, etc… as children raised in traditional homes with mothers and fathers. There are questions, however, regarding the credibility of those studies, on a number of grounds, and not only that many of those studies were conducted by those, including the American Pediatric Assn and any number of gender studies programs, who have taken a stand in favor of same sex unions.
Stronger questions of credibility are grounded in the fact that the studies are asking us to accept conclusions that are counter-intuitive and contradict the results of other studies related to the homosexual lifestyle. The reality that committed homosexual relationships don’t last as long as heterosexual marriages (“Largest Gay Study Examines 2004 Relationships”, GayWire Latest Breaking Release); that homosexuals, even in committed relationships, have many more sexual partners than heterosexuals in committed relationships (“Gay Couples Likely to Try Non-Monogamy, Study Shows”, Washington Blade, 8/22/03); that health risks abound for homosexuals, moreso, it seems, in committed relationships (“More Gay Men are Contracting HIV from Steady Partners”, GayHealth 7/25/01), that domestic violence is far more prevelant among same sex couples (“Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence”, US Dept of Justice: Office of Justice Programs, 2000). The list goes on to include higher rates of drug use, depression and suicide. Yet, these are the same sex couples we’re asked to believe have no negative effect on the children they’re raising. Hmmm …
You’ll recall a few decades ago the numbers of studies that came out concluding that children were not negatively impacted by the divorce of their parents, or were not negatively impacted by being raised in day care. Now, we’re seeing the real statistics on divorce and day care children, and it isn’t pretty. Those earlier studies were as much or more politically motivated as they were scientifically based. I fear the same is true of the studies that would have us beieve that children raised by same sex couples are as well adjusted as those raised by mothers and fathers. Consider the “studies” that “proved” that homosexuals represented 10% of the population, or that there exists a genetic etiology for homosexual orientation. Both “facts” have been discounted by further studies, or the studies that proved them have been rejected for their lack of scientific integrity.
“Wish you had more faith in god and us non-perfect humans he created.” Why do posters on this blog so often feel the need to include a bait in their comments? In any case, if you feel that we are as moral today as we were in times past, you go guy. What we have lost, in my mind, is the idea that humans possess a dignity given them by God, a dignity that demands respect. That’s a longer discussion than either of us have time for, I suspect, so we’ll have to agree to disagree.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted September 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm


“Every ounce of research on the question of what environment best works for raising children as healthy, happy and invested in society points to intact families with mothers and fathers and participation in the life of a faith community.”
I sure would love to see even ONE of those “ounces of research” – but only if it doesn’t come from the likes of the Familiy “Research” Council (since they don’t actually DO any research at all, except to look in certain translations of the Bible for condemnatory, anti-gay passages). Ditto for the American “Family” Association. Etcetera.
“The church is the bedrock of our moral bearings.”
Balderdash! This week in Britain, a lovely sign went up that says “2 million Scots are good without God”.
Please keep YOUR religion out of other people’s lives. Thanx very much in advance.



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RomCath

posted September 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm


No, whether you like it or not I think we will continue to teach others what Jesus taught us. That is what we are commanded to do. If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Kind of like you sticking your nose into the teachings of the Church.



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npr prn

posted September 18, 2010 at 12:24 am


So exactly what did Jesus say about specifically about homosexuality. Nothing. He did say to love one another and judge not- 2 major themes.



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RomCath

posted September 18, 2010 at 7:30 am


Well Jesus did quote Genesis regarding marriage–you know, when a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his WIFE etc. The fact that he said nothing about homosexuality means nothing. He said nothing about rape, taking drugs, incest–are they all ok because Jesus said nothing specifically about them? Huh? Are they?



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BobRN

posted September 18, 2010 at 8:45 am


npr prn,
We are commanded not to presume to judge the state of another’s soul. We are likewise, however, commanded to judge the good or evil of acts committed by others. We’ve had the discussion on fraternal correction, and the Scripture passages that recommend it, on other posts. Simply google “fraternal correction in the Christian tradition” and you’ll find many passages that refer to the duty to correct a brother who is in error. This is part of what it means to love one another.
As Catholics, we don’t rely only on what the Scriptures reveal to us about our relationship with God, including our understanding of what is moral or immoral. The Church is the instrument of God’s revelation, and the Scriptures came to us through the Church. It’s the long held teaching of the Church that homosexual acts are disordered and intrinsically evil. This teaching is understood by faithful Catholics to be just as authoritative as the Scriptures.
Grumpy Old Person,
Sorry so late in responding. I couldn’t get on the internet last night.
You can start here:
“Gender Complementarity and Child-Rearing: Where Tradition and Science Agree”, Dr. A Dean Byrd, 2004.
“The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation”, Dr. Paul Amato, Penn State.
“Father-Child Relations, Mother-Child Relations, and Offspring Psychological Well-Being in Early Adulthood”, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Dr. Paul Amato, Penn State.
“A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age”, Richard Layard and Judy Dunn, Children’s Society, 2009.
“Fatherhood: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child”, Dr. Kyle Pruitt, Yale Medical School, 2000.
“The Power of Mother Love: Transforming Both Mother and Child”, Dr. Brenda Hunter, 1997.
“A New Generation of Young Families: Raising Young Children”, Canada Human Resources, 2003.
“The Future of Children”, The Brookings Institute and Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School.
“Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence that Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society”, Dr. David Popenoe, Rutgers University, 1996.
You may also want to check out the work of Dr. Kathy Edin, University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sharon Ramey, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Dr. William Crunk, University of Alabama, Birmingham and Dr. Ludwig Lowenstein, Southern England Psychological Services.
On the matter of participation in the life of a faith community being a positive factor in the moral, social, emotional and even physical health, I recommend starting with research done by the Barna Group and the National Study of Youth and Religion (funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc and chaired by professors at Notre Dame and UNC, Chapel Hill). Studies on that topic have also been done by researchers at Duke University, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the Center for Disease Control and National Institute for Healthcare Research.
One of the misunderstandings regarding this sort of research is that it offers if/then conclusions. In other words, “IF a child is raised in an intact home with mother and father, THEN he or she is going to grow up happy and healthy”. Thus the temptation to point to anecdotal evidence to the contrary, while proclaiming, “See there, it isn’t true!” All research can do is tell us what factors contribute to the likelihood that a child will be well and happy, what factors decrease the likelihood that a child will engage in risky behaviors, what factors give a child the best shot at turning out healthy and whole, etc… For that, it’s clear that the research points to an intact family with mother and father as the environment best suited to raising healthy, happy children. As Dr. David Popenoe writes, “The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary — culturally and biologically — for the optimal development of a human being.”



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nnmns

posted September 20, 2010 at 11:14 pm


I see this has been up for some time. I’ll just comment on the original post. Good! People are reaching the reasonable conclusion that a loving, stable pair, perhaps with children, is a family. Again, good.



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Emily

posted September 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm


BobRN-
Maybe you shouldn’t be so convinced about what the literature says. I challenge you to read through some of these articles supporting the view that heterosexual parents are not necessarily better than homosexual ones and vice versa:
Allen, M., & Burrell, N. (2002). Sexual orientation of the parent: The impact on the child.
Biblarz, T. J., & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter? Journal of Marriage & the Family
Bos, H. M. W., van Balen, F., & van den Boom, D. C. (2007). Child adjustment and parenting in planned lesbian-parent families.
Brewaeys, A., Ponjaert, I., Van Hall, E., & Golombok, S. (1997). Donor insemination: Child development and family functioning in lesbian mother families.
Brooks, D., & Goldberg, S. (2001). Gay and lesbian adoptive and foster care placements: Can they meet the needs of waiting children?
Chan, R., Raboy, B., & Pattetson, C. (1998). Psychosocial adjustment among childten conceived via donot insemination by lesbian and heterosexual mothers.
Crowl, A. L., Ahn, S., & Baker, J. (2008). A meta analysis of developmental outcomes for children of same-sex and heterosexual parents.
Flaks, D. K., Ficher, I., Masterpasqua, F., & Joseph, G. (1995). Lesbians choosing motherhood: A comparative study of lesbian and heterosexual parents and theit children.
Telingator, C. J., & Patterson, C. (2008). Children and adolescents of lesbian and gay parents.
Vanfraussen, K., Ponjaert-Kristoffetsen, I., & Brewaeys, A. (2002). What does it mean for youngsters to grow up in a lesbian family created by means of donor insemination?



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Anthony

posted September 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm


I see a lot of books and doctors been mentioned. Since when have doctors, or any other person’s views for that matter, replace the knowledge that comes from our Creator? It seems to me you are looking for answers or justification from the wrong source. Maybe you already have the answer but you don’t like it and are trying to convince yourself of something different, or maybe you are already blinded and cannot see the Light of Christ. You will not find the answer through debate with your brothers but by asking the source of all knowledge through humble prayer. Ponder the question at hand, open you mind and your heart to the point where you are willing to submit to God’s will and ask in humble prayer if homosexuality is good. If you are prepared and have faith; through the Light of Christ you will receive the answer. A clear conscience and uplifting felling will be a positive answer, a feeling of confusion and uncertainty will be a negative one. Is not that complicated. In fact, is so simple that most people tend to disregard the truth because of it’s simplicity.



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Mark Patrick

posted September 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm


From what I have read here, most of you miss the whole point of the essay. This guy claims that a majority of Americans now say that their definition of family includes same sex couples with children. Unless this guy has gone door to door to every household in America, his statement is invalid.
The problem with most of you is that you simply believe, verbatim, anyone with a “Phd” after his name and/or a professorship, who has written a book or magazine article, no matter what he or she writes. How gullible and naive can you be?



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Emily

posted September 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm


Mark- This individual surveyed 830 households. That is comparable in number to the number of homes the pollsters call around election time. Those polls are remarkably accurate. Polls are not perfect, but can have value. Can I ask, why do you believe this poll was invalid?



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BobRN

posted September 27, 2010 at 5:17 am


Emily,
I suppose the admonition about not being so convinced by what the literature says could work in both directions. I’ve read a number of articles arguing that heterosexual parents are not necessarily better than homosexual ones. I conceded that such studies exist, as I’m sure you read, in one of my earlier posts. I hope you took the time to read some of the reasons I question those studies. Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the citations and am happy to take a look at them, even without being “challenged” to do so. I’ll let you know here what I think of them.
Be aware, however, that if we’re going to accept the premise that the sex and the sexual orientation of parents is neutral to the health and well-being of children, which is what the proponents of the new definition of family argue, then we have to chuck what we know of evolutionary biology and human development. We have to conclude that children need neither mothers nor fathers for optimal human development, contrary to how humans have evolved over the centuries, and contrary to what, I would argue, the most reliable and objective research shows on the matter. Mothers and fathers then, if we even want to still call them that, have no necessary role beyond that of reproduction. We also have to willfully ignore the research I cited on an earlier post, much of it from gay-oriented journals, delineating the struggles of creating a healthy homosexual family environment over against a heterosexual environment. Again, the increased levels of infidelity, broken relationships, domestic violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, disease, etc…
Mind you, we’re not arguing particulars here. It’s certainly possible that two particular lesbian women who are thoroughly committed to the well-being of a child, are capable of raising well that particular child, as opposed to a particular mother and father, who are not committed in the least to doing so. The same is true, for that matter, of two heterosexual women, a mother and grandmother for instance, who find themselves with the responsibility of raising a child without his or her father. That’s not what the proponents of the new definition of family are arguing, however. What they are arguing is that sex and sexual orientation simply do not matter in raising children: that sex and sexual orientation and, therefore, the distinct roles of mother and father, have no bearing whatsoever on the health, well-being and optimal development of children.
In my mind, that’s a hard case to make. I think we try to make it, and try to force it on society, to our detriment.



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Emily

posted September 27, 2010 at 11:12 am


“Be aware, however, that if we’re going to accept the premise that the sex and the sexual orientation of parents is neutral to the health and well-being of children, which is what the proponents of the new definition of family argue, then we have to chuck what we know of evolutionary biology and human development.”
I’m not sure why you think this is the case. I don’t think that the existence of homosexuality or that homosexual couples can do a perfectly fine job of raising children negates evolution. Humans have lived in all kinds of arrangements ranging from polygamist societies where one man parents every child in the community (and thus probably doesn’t have time for each of his offspring), societies where mothers and fathers share the responsibility of caring for the young, mothers raising children alone, and now homosexual couples raising children. Nothing about evolution says that the mothers and the fathers have to RAISE the child together, they only need each other to produce the offspring in the first place.
While (caring, nurturing) mothers and fathers may have distinct qualities to offer children, I think each (caring and nurturing lesbian mother (or gay father) would also have distinct qualities to offer their children. I actually don’t think the sexual orientation of the parents matter (so long as the parents are invested in their children), as you obviously do. We will have to agree to disagree.



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BobRN

posted September 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm


“… they only need each other to produce the offspring in the first place.”
Ah, yes, I can see the bumper stickers now for the Absentee Fathers of America Association! You might want to think on it a bit more before you so reduce the roles of mothers and fathers to mere producers of offspring. Surely, you’re aware of the consequences our society suffers related to the epidemic of absentee fathers.
Evolution is directed toward the success/survival of the species. From an evolutionary perspective (which is different from though not inherently counter to a Catholic perspective) the point is not how many and what kinds of arrangements humans have chosen for the raising of children. The point is, which work best? The evolutionary assumption is that not all arrangements are equal. Some are better than others. This is why most human communities have abandoned polygamy, and those that haven’t are by and large less sophisticated and more primitive. That’s not a moral judgment. It’s not more moral to be more sophisticated. It is, however, an evolutionary judgment. Over the centuries, the model of family life that has proven most successful from the perspective of human evolution is that of a mother and father raising their own children. Is it the only model? No. Is it the only model where success is possible in particular cases? No. But it is the model that has proven itself the most successful. Other models have been shown to be less successful, in general, or even disastrous for the human community. If we pretend that all models are equivalent on terms of human evolution and development, we do so at great risk to the human community.
As far as same sex marriage is concerned, I’m hard pressed to see how a model of family life that reduces the possibility of perpetuating the species to zero is going to be an evolutionary success story. As far as same sex couples raising children, by definition any child of such a union is going to have a stronger biological bond to one of the parents over the other. While this has proven successful in particular cases (ie: those men who marry single mothers and adopt their children), it’s been shown generally that such a model is rife with difficulties (ie: the difficulties children and step-parents have in developing a secure bond and the tension that creates). Add to that, again, the struggles and negative characteristics inherent in the environment of the homosexual sub-culture, and those difficulties are exacerbated many fold. The studies you mention notwithstanding, that would be the common sense conclusion. So much so, I think, the burden of proof is on those who insist that it’s not problematic. That burden of proof, in my mind, hasn’t yet been managed.
Not to worry, Emily. Same sex couples will be imposed on society and we will be expected to accept such, the consequences be damned.



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Emily

posted September 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm


“You might want to think on it a bit more before you so reduce the roles of mothers and fathers to mere producers of offspring.”
My point was evolutionary. Mothers and fathers do not need to raise children together from an EVOLUTIONARY perspective. Just look at all of the animals who are raised by their mother. Whether or not having a mother and father present to raise is preferable the child is a separate issue and not related to evolution.
“As far as same sex marriage is concerned, I’m hard pressed to see how a model of family life that reduces the possibility of perpetuating the species to zero is going to be an evolutionary success story.”
My goodness! You speak as though allowing same sex couples to marry will result in end of human existence! Even if same sex couples do marry, and raise children, I am confident that heterosexuals will continue to procreate and have children. Human existence will not end with gay marriage, I am confident. I personally do not care that they are unable to have biological children, many heterosexual couples have the same problem. Do you know how many children out there need to be adopted? We should be encouraging every individual who wants to give one of these children a second chance.
“Add to that, again, the struggles and negative characteristics inherent in the environment of the homosexual sub-culture, and those difficulties are exacerbated many fold.”
I have no idea what you are talking about. I have many gay friends. I am unaware of this “sub-culture” you speak of. If you are referring to promiscuity, that is equally prominent among straight people.
“From an evolutionary perspective (which is different from though not inherently counter to a Catholic perspective) the point is not how many and what kinds of arrangements humans have chosen for the raising of children. The point is, which work best? The evolutionary assumption is that not all arrangements are equal. Some are better than others. This is why most human communities have abandoned polygamy, and those that haven’t are by and large less sophisticated and more primitive.”
The fact that most cultures have abandoned polygamy has more to do with the spread of Christianity through brute force and colonialism than evolution. Africa went from a primarily polygamist society to one that is more consistent with Christian traditions when they were colonized by England, France, etc. While you and others within western culture may consider communities that have not abandoned polygamy to be more primitive, I imagine they would beg to differ. (Read “Savages” by Joe Kane).
“Not to worry, Emily. Same sex couples will be imposed on society and we will be expected to accept such, the consequences be damned.”
I would welcome same sex couples to be more prominent in our society. I think it would be wonderful.



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Mark Patrick

posted September 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Emily-
Oh, Emily, Emily, where do I begin? This guy polled 830 households and that constitutes a valid poll? Good grief, we have over 250,000,000 people living in the United States, not counting all the illegals, and you really believe 830 households constitute any kind of valid majority? I suppose it would be possible if those 830 households happened to be part of a gay community.
Suppose I had posted as “Professor Mark Patrick, Phd.”, and I stated that I had taken a poll and found that a majority of Americans were using cocaine in all of its many forms and this majority wanted cocaine legalized as a recreational drug. I mean, after all; since the majority is already using it, why not just legalize it? Would you believe I was really a professor with a Phd? Would you believe my poll was valid? If I had taken a poll of 830 Hollywood residents, I’m sure I could honestly say that a majority of Americans wish to have cocaine legalized. Polls are so easily skewed; the various news medias do it all the time to get the results they want.



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BobRN

posted September 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Emily,
Polygamy was certainly impacted by Christianity, thanks be to God! I wasn’t aware that culture had nothing to do with human evolution. I rather thought it did. Consider the preference for males in Asia, or against children with Downs. Will these not impact the evolution of the human community? Does evolution take place only over millions of years?
We’re not talking about how baboons, parrots and spiders raise their children, but how we humans raise ours. Given that evolution is directed toward the success/survival of the species, I would think how children are raised has much to do with evolution. I find your insistence that merely reproducing children is sufficient for success/survival curious, especially given the pattern now of couples having fewer and fewer children. More and more is invested in each child.
I suspect if you lived within a community that has not yet abandoned polygamy, the way these communities tend to treat women might give you second thoughts about how primitive or sophisticated they are.
You have many gay friends but are unaware of a gay sub-culture? You may want to ask them. If you read my post of September 16, 11:59 you may have an idea of what I’m talking about. Most of the research cited in that post were published in gay-oriented journals, and it affirms that promiscuity is much higher among homosexuals. Do you have anything to back up the claim that promiscuity is just as rampant among heterosexuals, other than anecdotal?



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Emily

posted September 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm


BobRN,
Evolution has everything to do with what works. Animals, including humans, with certain traits that are better for survival are more likely to reproduce, and thus pass down those traits genetically. As far as I can tell, the fact that western Christians had mightier swords than the African, South American, and Asian countries they conquered and colonized has little to do with whether or not their way of raising children was superior and more to do with the value placed on military might by those countries. And yes, the preference for males in Asia and against Downs will impact human evolution. That is rather obvious.
Also, if indeed there is higher rates of promiscuity among homosexuals it does not mean that all homosexuals are promiscuous. Maybe we should just allow the monogamous ones to adopt children? Works for me.
Also, I still am not sure what the terrible “consequences” to society that you keep referring to are if more homosexuals raise children. What terrible things could happen anyways? Enlighten me.



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BobRN

posted September 28, 2010 at 12:20 am


The history of Christianity in Africa, South America and Asia would be an interesting discussion for another day. I suppose it would be too much to say that the story has a lot more to it than mightier swords. But, it’s late.
I’m not surprised, I suppose, that one who would argue that a homosexual couple model for raising children is just as generally successful as a mother/father model for the optimal development of a human being would also argue that a polygamous model is just as successful. If we accept that the only objection to the homosexual family model is prejudice, and that the happiness of the individuals trumps all concerns related to the benefit of the human community at large, then there are no barriers to polygamy, either. Neither are there barriers to incest, so long as both parties are adults (I’m assuming you regard maturity and age of consent as a barrier, though others would not). Neither are there any barriers to society recognizing the marital union a young woman insists she shares with the Eiffel Tower (yes, true story). Or, if there are barriers, you’ll have to enlighten me with what those are.
If you’ll read my post of September 27, 12:41, I touch on what I believe some of the consequences are of society adopting a homosexual couples model for raising children. The fact is, it’s not been around long enough, or hasn’t been studied in enough depth, anyway, to know what the consequences will be. You’ll recall, as I mentioned before, that there was plenty of research back in the 60s and 70s insisting that the impact of divorce on children was minimal. So, we have a generation or two of children raised in a culture of no fault divorce. Well, that blew up on us. I’m personally convinced the same will happen here. Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Even still, one can imagine the outcomes for children raised in a sub-culture where one’s central identity is based on with whom one has sex, a sub-culture that promotes, at worst, or tolerates, at best, sexual experimentation and promiscuity (btw, on this point, I would suggest that society would never tolerate such from heterosexual couples who are raising children, the whole point of marriage being to bind the man and woman to one other, which has many benefits to children and society), a sub-culture identified with much higher rates of broken relationships, domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism. We generally try to remove children from heterosexual couples that have this sort of history. Yet, we’re asked to tolerate it and pretend it will have no effect on the health, well-being and development of children raised in the gay sub-culture. Who are we kidding?
Based on the consistent findings of studies done over the last couple of decades or more, we are asked to accept that mothers matter to children. We’re asked to accept that fathers matter to children. We’re asked to accept that intact family life matters to children. Then, on the other hand and at the same time, in consideration of the desire of gay couples to raise children, we’re asked to accept that none of these matter to children. There is no where close to enough evidence to justify the tossing out of centuries of collected wisdom and common sense, of culture and biology, that point to the reality that the mother/father model of family life is the best and most successful model for raising healthy children. There is ample evidence to be concerned that raising children in a sub-culture marked by promiscuity, broken relationships, increased rates of domestic violence, etc… will be detrimental to them. The burden of proof, as I said earlier, is on those who insist that these models are equivalent. We can pretend it doesn’t matter, but we cannot avoid the consequences.



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BobRN

posted September 28, 2010 at 12:23 am


Just for clarification, when I wrote about the happiness of the individuals trumping concerns related to the larger community, I meant the happiness of the grown-ups. Rarely do our laws and social movements concern themselves with what is best for the children.



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Emily

posted September 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm


“Even still, one can imagine the outcomes for children raised in a sub-culture where one’s central identity is based on with whom one has sex, a sub-culture that promotes, at worst, or tolerates, at best, sexual experimentation and promiscuity (btw, on this point, I would suggest that society would never tolerate such from heterosexual couples who are raising children, the whole point of marriage being to bind the man and woman to one other, which has many benefits to children and society), a sub-culture identified with much higher rates of broken relationships, domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism. We generally try to remove children from heterosexual couples that have this sort of history. Yet, we’re asked to tolerate it and pretend it will have no effect on the health, well-being and development of children raised in the gay sub-culture. Who are we kidding?”
I said it once will say it again. I think it is a great idea to keep children away from couples who are constantly cheating on each other. There are many, many gay couples are not promiscuous drug abusers with no morals. There are many more children out there who need to be adopted than straight families willing to do the adopting. So, lets let monogamous gay and straight couples adopt children!



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Kiro

posted October 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm


The problem with same-sex “marriage” is that it assumes that children can be swapped around without harm.
Adoption works (goes the reasoning), therefore no harm is done, if I take this kid and just “give” it to someone else.
But part of growing up is learning to recognize that it’s not all about you. Adoption is justified because studies have indicated that it is more harmful to a child to leave that child with a parent who does not want the child (or does not want to be a parent) than it is to give the child to an adoptive couple. This does not mean that no harm is done.
The only way to grant to a gay couple the “right” to have one of them be presumed the parent of the other one’s child, is to reduce the child to a commodity.
If the child’s best interests are the ruling guide, then what is best for the child is for all prospective parents to recognize that, whatever their own needs, their child’s best interest is served by a long-term and stable relationship with both a mother and a father – and that the child’s own real mother and father are strongly preferable, if possible.



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Emily

posted October 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm


Kiro-
It is your opinion that it is in the best interest of a child to have a long-term and stable relationship with both a mother and a father. Much research has been conducted that this is not the case. Children adopted by gay couples have been shown in study after study to grow up with similar outcomes as children raised by adopted heterosexual parents. Certainly it is preferable for the child to be adopted by a gay couple than to grow up “in the system,” with no real family to speak of.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted November 12, 2010 at 11:26 am


“The problem with same-sex “marriage” is that it assumes that children can be swapped around without harm.”
What nonsensical drivel. Poppycock, say I. I’m guesstimating that about 80-85% of all same gender marriages don’t even involve children. Mine certainly doesn’t and no children have been “swapped around”, regardless of alleged “harm”.
Kiro, you are confusing/conflating the institution of marriage with the institution of parenthood. I know several opposite-sex couples who have no children, and they think your constant harping on children and marriage is as irrelevant as I do. If they had children, they think the idea of “swapping them around” is not only absurd but also heinous. That you ‘think’ gay people would do any such thing (where heterosexuals presumably would not) is a vile lie from the pit of Hades. Why on earth you think gay people think of chihldren as interchangeable commodities is beyond understanding. It’s a hateful, hate-filled lie, the only purpose of which is to re-inforce the contemptible lie that gay people are inhuman, child-hating monsters.
DO BETTER!



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Grumpy Old Person

posted November 12, 2010 at 11:36 am


BobRn,
“Same sex couples will be imposed on society and we will be expected to accept such, the consequences be damned”
Same gender couples have been part of society for millenia now, Bob, “accepted” or not. How we are going to be “imposed on society” escapes me, since we already are part of it. Care to clarify?
The “consequences” you imagine are just that – figments of your imagination. They haven’t much to do with reality that I can see.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted November 12, 2010 at 11:46 am


“Add to that, again, the struggles and negative characteristics inherent in the environment of the homosexual sub-culture”
HUH???
The “sub-culture” in the gay community I hang with is primarily church-going, hard-working, loving, committed couples. Those “struggles and negative characteristics” are NOT “inherent” – certainly not in the vast majority of the gay community. You speak of “sub-culture[s]; WE speak of actual, mainstream human beings. If you’re going to talk about ‘bad apples’, you’d do well to focus – equally – on the ‘rotten oranges’ of the str8 sub-culture.
Perhaps you are hanging with the wrong kind of gay person. Preumably you are referring to the ‘promiscuous’ sub-subculture – like that doesn’t exist in the heterosexual society at all! I’m sure promiscuous (or drug-addled, or any other) sub-sub set you care to bring up is equally prevalent amongst heterosexuals. And for them (on either side of the sexual panorama), I’m pretty sure that having and raising children is the furthest thing from their minds.



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