Same-Sex Marriage: Not in Kids' InterestGEORGE A. REKERS
A recently published review of the scientific literature — compiled by George A. Rekers, professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine — lends strong support to the Church's objection to homosexual parenting, adoption, and foster parenting.
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and Canada are steadily moving toward the legalization of same-sex "marriage."
In past months the bishops' conferences in both countries have issued numerous
declarations assailing the attempts to put heterosexual marriage and same-sex
unions on the same level.
This opposition, explained the Spanish episcopal
conference in a declaration April 21, does not mean that homosexuals should be
discriminated against or maltreated. As individuals they have the same rights
and dignity as all other persons, the bishops said. Yet, this does not mean that
two persons of the same sex have any right to contract matrimony, the episcopal
Opposition has been equally firm in Canada. "Because
the relationship of a man and woman committed in a marriage is the strongest core
of the family, and because the family is the most vital unit in society, we run
great risks in tinkering with the definition of marriage and the family,"
explained a note published March 16 by the Canadian bishops' conference.
Of particular concern to the Church, and other groups, is that the proposed
laws in Spain and Canada would allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
Adoption, insisted the Spanish bishops in a statement Oct. 1, should be about
looking after the good of children, and not "supposed" rights of those
who wish to adopt. Two people of the same sex do not constitute an adequate point
of reference for adoption, the bishops stated.
evidence supporting the Church's objection on the issue of adoption was published
earlier this month in the United States by the National Association for Research
and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The organization was founded in 1992 to
provide psychological understanding of the cause, treatment and behavior patterns
associated with homosexuality.
On May 6 NARTH published a study titled,
of Research on Homosexual Parenting, Adoption, and Foster Parenting."
The paper was written by George Rekers, professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral
science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
study, accompanied by extensive documentation and bibliographical references,
was prepared for use in U.S. legal proceedings on the question of whether homosexuals
should be allowed to adopt children.
Rekers explains that
the inherent nature of a household formed by homosexually behaving adults "uniquely
endangers foster children by exposing them to a substantial level of harmful stresses
that are over and above usual stress levels in heterosexual foster homes."
The professor observes that adopted children are "among the most
vulnerable of all citizens," as by the time they arrive at their new home
they have already gone through a series of difficulties, often involving separations,
neglect, and traumas such as the death of parents. Added to this is the stress
of adjusting to a new home and neighborhood.
He then goes on to cite
a number of studies that detail how, even when adopted children are placed in
favorable family circumstances, they already suffer from substantially higher
rates of psychological disorders.
Citing a wide variety of academic
studies from countries around the world, Rekers explains that homosexual adults
suffer from significantly higher rates of psychological disorders such as suicide,
conduct disorder and substance abuse. Living with a parent who suffers from a
mental disorder or has problems with drug or alcohol abuse will only trigger further
stresses and problems for adopted children, he contends.
conclusion from these findings would be that heterosexual adults generally have
significantly and substantially better health, more energy, and better emotional
stamina to devote to foster children," argues Rekers.
Another factor that militates against homosexuals being given
the possibility to adopt children is the well-demonstrated fact that same-sex
partner relationships are significantly less stable and more short-lived on the
average compared to a marriage of a man and a woman.
For adopted children
this will lead to a substantially higher rate of household transitions in foster
homes for youngsters placed with a homosexually behaving adult. Foster children
have already suffered one or more traumatic transitions, notes Rekers, and more-frequent
transitions result in greater psychological harm and psychosocial maladjustment.
Rekers observes that a longitudinal study based on population registers
in Norway and Sweden, which included legally registered same-sex partnerships
in the latter nation, reported that homosexual male couples were 1.5 times as
likely to break up as married heterosexual couples.
Breakup rates were
even higher for homosexual female couples, who were found to be 2.67 times as
likely to split as heterosexual married couples. Rekers goes on to explain that
according to this study, when controls for demographic characteristics associated
with increased risk of divorce were added to the analysis, male homosexual couples
were 1.35 times as likely to divorce, and lesbian couples were three times as
likely to divorce as heterosexual married couples.
a mom and dad
Another series of problems arises from the
lack of role models, normally present in a household headed by a father and a
mother. A household with one or more homosexually behaving members "deprives
foster children of vitally needed positive contributions to child adjustment,"
Lacking is the mother/father relationship and model as
related to child rearing. Also absent is the model of a husband/wife relationship
"which is significantly healthier, substantially more stable socially and
psychologically, and is more widely approved compared to homosexual lifestyles,"
the professor writes.
Rekers notes that openly identified homosexual
researchers frequently argue that an adult's sexual orientation has no bearing
on whether they can carry out important parenting functions. He admits that this
capability is necessary in a foster home, but it is not the only condition needed.
Adopted children not only require parents who can carry out basic parental
functions. They also need parents who provide a family structure where there is
an environment that is propitious for a child's development. In fact, for this
reason, he notes, the state already puts restrictions on those who can adopt,
and normally excludes, for example, newly married or elderly couples, and recently
Children placed for adoption have normally already
lost a positive role model of a married mother and father, and placing them in
a household headed by two persons of the same sex will leave them still bereft
of this model.
Marriages that consist of both a man and a woman provide
special advantages in raising children, Rekers explains. Children see and experience
the innate and unique abilities and characteristics that each sex possesses and
contributes to their combined endeavor. As well, children learn lessons for later
life by seeing both parents working together in child rearing.
argues that a heterosexual marriage provides a child with four models that provide
strong advantages to a child who grows up to become a married adult:
role model of a stable married male/female relationship.
A heterosocial role model of mother and father coordinating co-parenting.
parenting role model of father-child relationship.
A parenting role model of a mother-child relationship.
The study observes
that the best child adjustment come about when they live with a married man and
woman. "It is clearly in the best interests of foster children," Rekers
states, "to be placed with exclusively heterosexual married-couple foster
families because this natural family structure inherently provides unique needed
benefits and produces better child adjustment than is generally the case in households
with a homosexually behaving adult." Whether such arguments impress legislators
in Canada and Spain remains to be seen. ZE05052101
pdf version of "Review of Research on Homosexual Parenting, Adoption, and
by George A. Rekers is available here.
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