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May 10, 2012

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I’m not sure what Alan’s argument really amounts to. Unlike STR’s discourse concerning abortion (where explicit and valid arguments are constructed), most of the discourse on homosexuality is buried in prose, leaving the reader the work of making the argument explicit. So, what’s the argument?

Alan cites “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?” in order to support the case that children do best when they are raised by their biological parents in the context of a long-term marriage. In fact, at least four times in his post he mentions contexts in which children do best. So perhaps the following is a premise of his argument:

(P1) In general, children raised by their biological parents in the context of long-term marriage are better off than children who are raised by same-sex couples.

Clearly Alan wants to move from (P1) to the conclusion that same-sex couples ought not legally be permitted to adopt children. What premise will get him to that conclusion? The following would:

(P2) If it is the case that, in general, children raised in circumstance A are better off than children raised in circumstance B, then laws concerning adoption ought to prohibit children being adopted and raised in circumstance B.

From which we may conclude:

(C) Laws concerning adoption ought to prohibit children being adopted and raised by same-sex couples.

Though valid, this argument is obviously unsound, because (P2) is obviously false. First, (P2) would have us legally prohibit adoption in circumstances that are only very slightly worse off than the best circumstance. (P2)’s policy is “Anything short of the best ought to be prohibited across the board,” which is clearly foolish. Second, (P2) betrays no sensitivity to the fact that what we ought to do is influenced by the available options. It could be that we ought to permit a child to be raised in context B, even though B is significantly worse than some other context A. This will be true whenever context A is not available to us and context B is the best of the options available to us. Third, (P2) has counterintuitive consequences. (P2) entails that, if we discovered that children raised by middle class white people are better off in general than children raised by other folks, then we legally ought to prohibit anyone that is not a middle-class white person from adopting, which is also ridiculous. Finally, (P2) betrays no sensitivity to the fact that the adoption laws can put in place procedures that tend to favor adoption in circumstance A over adoption in circumstance B without categorically prohibiting adoption in circumstance B. No reason has been for thinking this possibility should not be taken seriously.

Do these remarks undermine Alan’s argument? That’s hard to say, since I’m not sure what his argument is. If his argument is the one I gave above, then it is not a persuasive argument. If it’s not the one I gave above, then what is it? I’m not sure.

Suppose (for the sake of argument only) that

children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage

That looks like a reason to prefer a pair of straight adoptive parents over a pair of gay adoptive parents - assuming both choices are available and otherwise equal.

It is not a reason to disqualify gays from adopting.

RonH

Same-sex parenting doesn’t make sense and that is why it must be forced on the people by the state.

It looks like the referenda will soon begin to go the other way.

Will Alan then say

Same-sex parenting makes sense and that is why bans on it must be forced on the people by the state.
or something to that effect?

RonH


Respectfully, here are so many problems here.

The answer is straightforward: decades of published research in psychology, social science, and medicine demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage.

The main problem here is that we can't research what doesn't exist, namely, committed, monogamous homosexual couples raising children. It might be the case that children raised by such couples may do just as well as children raised by heterosexual couples, but we don't know from research yet.

Homosexual adoption, by design, will deny a child either a mother or father every time. By legalizing same-sex parenting, society declares by law that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. That means a mother offers no unique contribution to a child. A man could provide all the benefits of a woman.

In addition to the obvious nature vs. nurture problem here, this might as well be an argument that the government should take children out of the hands of single parents and put them in an orphanage until they can be adopted by a married heterosexual couple.

But you don’t determine public policy based on the exception or extreme case. For example, there might be some instances when it’s justified to run a red light – like rushing a dying person to the emergency room – but that doesn’t mean we should make running red lights legal. That’s bad public policy.


Many single fathers have to raise children by themselves. They do the best they can given their circumstances. I’m sure some of these children will declare themselves – like Zach Wahls – to be just fine. But does that mean we should promote single male adoption?

Fact: there is an incredible number of children waiting to be adopted but are not because there are not enough adoptive parents (especially of the married, heterosexual variety).

We should absolutely be promoting the idea that caring, loving, and qualified adults should be allowed to adopt kids who are in desperate need of being adopted, because the alternatives for those kids are bad.

The real question is whether a child who needs to be adopted is best served by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple – all things being equal.

The world doesn't work this way. All things are not equal for kids waiting to be adopted, so this is a moot point at best.

Homosexual adoption, by design, will deny a child either a mother or father every time.

The alternatives are: orphanages and foster care.

Do Rosie and her lesbian lover know how to raise Parker to become a man? Do they know how to teach him how to treat a woman or his future wife? How will they be his role model?

This is probably a stronger argument for expanding mentoring services than it is for banning gay adoption.

Furthermore, do all men instinctively know how to do this? What guarantee does any of us have that biological fathers will succeed at doing any of this? I don't see one.

n the end, children lose and we lose. Children are harmed, which in the end affects everyone in our culture

You have not come remotely close to showing this. At most, the only thing you've shown is that stable families tend to be best for kids, where stable is defined in a very specific way and important, different definitions haven't been studied yet.

Notice the attention is shifted from the needs of children to the wants of couples.

Alan, if I'm being honest, your entire series on homosexuality reads like you wanting to make your wants law over against the wants of homosexual people.

Thanks Alan,

Well said as usual.


This is not a fact: "There is an incredible number of children waiting to be adopted but are not because there are not enough adoptive parents (especially of the married, heterosexual variety)".

Where? Around the world or in America?

I am going through my states adoption program now, and I have many friends including some elected officials in my area who are foster parents. All of them have their own children, and all of them adopted kids from the state, and all are heterosexual.

I wanted to adopt privately, but it costs big $$! At least 25K to start the process. Maybe this is why people can't adopt privately? Its a little cheaper overseas, but they never tell you about the kids mental state. I have another friend who adopted a 7 year old girl from Russia and she has to go to the psych once every 2 weeks.

There are many many kids who are messed up coming to foster familes from the state that need real loving help and get it from real loving heterosexual families. Why confuse them that much more by bringing them into a homosexual family?

Gays saying the word "Love" reminds of of Bill Clinton and the meaning of "Is".

The main problem here is that we can't research what doesn't exist, namely, committed, monogamous homosexual couples raising children. It might be the case that children raised by such couples may do just as well as children raised by heterosexual couples, but we don't know from research yet.

I'll stipulate (Perry v. Schwarzenegger) that there is a dearth of data. As you suggest, committed monogamous homosexual couples raising children don't exist. (Frankly, I don't know what part of that sentence is holding back the data more: committed, monogamous, or raising children). As evidenced with another sweeping legal change, liberalization of divorce, the unintended consequences data won't arrive for 30 years.

this might as well be an argument that the government should take children out of the hands of single parents and put them in an orphanage until they can be adopted by a married heterosexual couple.

I'd prefer to put that argument on its head. Government should refrain from making law that reduces the number of children in the proven best environments for childrearing.

Fact: there is an incredible number of children waiting to be adopted but are not because there are not enough adoptive parents (especially of the married, heterosexual variety).

In the US? It is my understanding that there are relatively few adoptable children in the US.

The alternatives are: orphanages and foster care.

As Alan said, "you don’t determine public policy based on the exception or extreme case." Let me propose another alternative. Perhaps SS couples could show their love and care for children by underwriting the cost of an adoption by a couple living in the proven best environment for the child?

Furthermore, do all men instinctively know how to do this? What guarantee does any of us have that biological fathers will succeed at doing any of this? I don't see one.

Again with the exceptions. The data overwhelming supports the importance of a father. Incontrovertibly so!! And, at some point you just have to open your eyes and see the world as it is. Rampant fatherlessness is at the root of most of society's ills.

In the absence of data, would you accept the consensus of a group who would arguable know best and have no agenda?

“The American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation.” (ACP statement: 2006)

We can no more redefine "parent" than we can "marriage."

Rand,

Can you point me to where you got the ACP statement?

RonH

Nobody answers my objection to Alan's um... argument?
Or Malebranche's (which seems roughly the same)?

Alan's claim is heterosexual adoptive parents are better as a group.

He doesn't claim by what criteria or by how much the heterosexual

He doesn't claim all heterosexual parents are better than all homosexual parents.

Yet, he's sure that NO homosexual parents should be allowed to adopt.

How does it follow that Alan's policy is good?

Why not allow everyone to apply and do what's best for each kid?

RonH

Rand,

Never mind. I get it.

Very stealth name. Cute.

RonH

Correction to my next to last.

He doesn't claim by what criteria or by how much the heterosexual adoptive parents are better.

Alan,

>> "The question focuses on the needs of the child, not the wants of homosexuals"

I'm not sure if you really think the needs of the child come first...

Consider an adoption scenario:

Group 1 is a heterosexual man and women. Nice people, but with rampant obesity and who have no intention of changing their dietary lifestyle

Group 2 is a heterosexual man and women. But the male is older and has cancer that may or may not be currently in remission. If it returns, the child will grow up without a father.

Group 3 is a lesbian Christian couple from an upper-class peaceful northern California city, who are very into health and fitness.

Group 4 is a single mother on welfare.

Group 5 is a heterosexual man and women who already have 13 children of their own.

Group 6 is a couple with a criminal record.

Group 7 is a couple with millions of dollars in financial debt.

EVERY group that an orphanage would encounter NECESSARILY has strengths and weaknesses.

So, if it can be shown (based on the latest child development research) that COUPLE 3 (the lesbian couple) had the highest probability of raising a viable child, then, would you, Alan, give the baby to the lesbian couple?

After all, as you say, the decision should be based on the needs of the child. Not political agendas.

Right?

Something to add to the argument. He is simply wrong in his reading of the research he is examining discusses the difference between having one parent and two parents. More recent research has shown that having two stable adult parental figures in the home is beneficial to children regardless of the sex, age, generation, etc. In fact, recent studies have shown no difference between children raised in homosexual and heterosexual homes in areas such as psychological adjustment, likelihood of children becoming homosexual, and school performance.

Bahu,

Do you have references to these recent studies?

RonH

I didn't read the article, but: yes.

I just have a sneaking suspicion that in +/- 20 years time, we'll start hearing about a whole raft of cases where the gay couple sexually abused the child - or maybe not - as paedophilia will probably be legal by then, too.

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