Last Tuesday, Feb. 7, guest speaker Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation came to the University of Dallas to speak on the topic of religious liberty and to defend the rights of religious people to deny services to gay clients.
Using “throuples” — romantic relationships between three people — to delegitimize same-sex relationships, Anderson lamented the breakdown of marriage in the U.S.
“People who believe the truth about marriage are increasingly coming under fire from the government for trying to live out their beliefs in day-to-day life,” Anderson said.
These beliefs include the rights of adoption agencies, hospitals and other businesses who receive government funding through taxes, which all taxpayers have to fund regardless of sexual orientation, to refuse services to gay people.
If Anderson can use the “slippery slope” argument to claim that polyamory is the result of monogamous same-sex couples, then it seems fair to say that denying same-sex couples the right to adopt, obtain marriage licenses, and seek life insurance and medical records of their partners may also lead to wider-spread discrimination.
In fact, this kind of rampant discrimination against gay people occurs all over the country each and every day, extending to facets of life far beyond marriage and adoption privileges.
If Arizona Governor Jan Brewer hadn’t vetoed a bill giving business owners the right to refuse service to gay men and lesbians on religious grounds, this kind of spiritually based hostility would have been frighteningly legalized. Even our own vice president, Mike Pence, has a disturbing history of trying to jail homosexual couples simply for applying for marriage licences.
Anderson’s insistence that religious freedom excuses the inequality perpetuated by this kind of thinking is alarming.
“The two best moms in the world can’t replace a missing dad,” Anderson said with regard to same-sex adoption. “The judgment that [adoption agencies] are acting on isn’t based on sexual orientation, but on mothers and fathers. This is a distinct consideration from sexual attraction.”
However, single heterosexual people adopt children from these Catholic agencies all the time. If the true issue with gay parenting is the lack of a mother or father in a family, then why didn’t the exemption these Catholic agencies requested extend to single candidates as well?
The two best moms in the world can, in fact, replace a missing dad. There is simply no compelling scientific or moral evidence to suggest that a child could not thrive just as well in a stable, monogamous, two-parent household with gay parents than he could in a single-parent heterosexual household.
The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study followed 154 lesbian mothers and their children, comparing parents’ and children’s self-reported status against national standardized samples. These children had high levels of social and academic success, and far fewer behavioral problems, rule-breaking, and aggressive behavior compared with their counterparts.
Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA) has declared that “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: Lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.”
According to the APA website, their research has shown that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.
We cannot deny loving, supportive, financially and emotionally stable parents the right to care for children in homes where they will be protected, accepted and raised with courage and strength — qualities of resilience that could follow a lifetime of being told one’s family is illegitimate.
If we instead suppose that one straight parent is better than two gays, we are telling our children that they are undeserving of the love and stability that a family, regardless of its parents’ sexual orientation, can provide. We are sending the message that a religious principle is more valuable than the nurturing of a couple wanting nothing more than to do right by a child in need.
Anderson is right in his proposition that the best households consist of two parents. He’s exactly right — children do best when raised under one roof with a combined support system of one unified couple. This is exactly why refusing to let same-sex couples adopt is the absolute worst thing we can do for the wellbeing of children.
When we turn away capable and loving people who want to adopt, limiting the already small group willing to care for a massive pool of unwanted children, the kids who are supposedly protected from gay parenting instead often end up in foster care, or worse, aborted.
If we truly want to value the dignity of the human person, we can’t limit that respect for the sanctity of life only to straight lives. That love and compassion we have for the unborn must also extend to those who have already been birthed, and it must most importantly extend to the children whose futures are at stake when they are denied the stability of a family, gay or straight.