Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Kuznicki on Gay Adoption and Family

Jason Kuznicki has a terrific post at Positive Liberty about the legal and personal difficulties he will encounter as he and his husband Scott prepare to adopt a child. Yes, the post rambles a bit, but it really touches on how difficult it can be on him. Imagine this scenario and think about how you’d handle it: his parents do not accept his marriage, his husband’s parents do. His parents will not allow his husband in their home, nor will they even speak about it in their home. And now they’re going to adopt a child. So does that child have one set of grandparents, or two?

This is the very real and tangible result of the bigotry that still pervades our society far too much (though obviously much better than it was in the past). There are still far too many who have to face situations like this, choosing between the one they love and the parents who raised them. It is unimaginably cruel and unfair. Can you imagine ignoring a grandchild because your son is gay? Can you imagine refusing to allow the person your child loves into your home? It’s unconscionable in my view.

Comments

  1. #1 skipevans
    April 30, 2006

    I was thinking last night about the gay adoption issue, specifically conservative Christians objections to allowing gays to adopt.

    I think it’s safe to assume that their objections stem in part from a concern that the child will turn out gay, thereby engaging in a lifestyle that places their soul in jeapordy. In other words, gays adopting children are essentially condemning innocents to the fires of hell.

    So if we carry this reasoning to its logical conclusion, what other groups should we forbid from adoption? Jews? After all, they’d probably raise the kid to reject Christ as savior, and in do so condemn him to ol’ brimstone as well.

    So what we need is a law that ensures only people who are committed born-again Christians are allowed to adopt. That way, these little tyles have the best chance to enter the pearly gates, play harps sitting on clouds and all the other cool stuff awaiting the saved in the after life.

  2. #2 Skemono
    April 30, 2006

    [W]hat other groups should we forbid from adoption?

    The GOP.

  3. #3 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2006

    I think it’s safe to assume that their objections stem in part from a concern that the child will turn out gay, thereby engaging in a lifestyle that places their soul in jeapordy. In other words, gays adopting children are essentially condemning innocents to the fires of hell.

    I don’t think this is fair. At least in Poland, a lot of people who object to gays adopting children do it for the same reason they think single parents should not adopt children: lack of a role model. The argument goes: most probably, the adopted child will turn out to be heterosexual, and being raised in a heterosexual family will suit this best. I tend to accept this argument.

    I personally would not exclude gays from adopting children, but would give a preference to heterosexual families, for the reason stated above. I know it’s not fair, but neither is prefering rich adoption families over poor, or well educated over poorly educated. Child’s well being should come first, fairness to the adopting family — later. On the other hand, if for some reason the child has strong ties with a gay family (like: a gay uncle wants to adopt a child of his brother), then by all means they should be given the right to take care of the kid.

  4. #4 Matthew
    April 30, 2006

    I don’t think that’s the real reason skipevans. We know, scientifically, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice like joining a goth clique. It’s biological. So that the lifestyle excuse for homophobia only gets worse as we learn more. But scientific evidence hasn’t stopped them from rejecting evolution so I don’t expect it to change their minds here.

  5. #5 Gretchen
    April 30, 2006

    The argument goes: most probably, the adopted child will turn out to be heterosexual, and being raised in a heterosexual family will suit this best. I tend to accept this argument.

    Given that there is no evidence to support this idea, and there is, in fact, evidence against it, why do you accept it?

  6. #6 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2006

    The studies concentrate on the teenagers. I am curious how do people raised by gay parents develop their own families, as adults. My limited knowledge shows that being raised by a single parent does not help to establish one’s own family.

  7. #7 Gretchen
    May 1, 2006

    My limited knowledge shows that being raised by a single parent does not help to establish one’s own family

    Why do you think being raised by a single parent is analogous to being raised by gay parents?

  8. #8 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    Lack of the pattern how a man and a woman interact in a family. Since most children are heterosexual, there is a high probability that in a gay adoption family they will be lacking something which will be useful to them in the future. You can tell that many heterosexual families do not provide such pattern either, but the point of adoption is that we hold adopting families to the higher-than-average standard.

    To make things clear: in principle, I’m not against gay adoptions. BUT, until proven otherwise, I consider them a sub-optimal option, just like single-parent adoptions. If I see enough data pointing otherwise (like: sound divorce statistics among people raised in gay families), I will change my mind. It’s just that if we have a traditional model which has been working for ages, we cannot just out of hand say that new models are just as good. In things like that, it pays to be a bit conservative. Which does not exclude that some gay families may adopt a child, when other alternatives are worse.

    A Conservative Believes:

    1. That in human life there never have been and never will be improvements that are not paid for with deteriorations and evils; thus, in considering each project of reform and amelioration, its price has to be assessed.
    [...]
    2. That we do not know the extent to which various traditional forms of social life–families, rituals, nations, religious communities–are indispensable if life in a society is to be tolerable or even possible. There are no grounds for believing that when we destroy these forms, or brand them as irrational, we increase the chance of happiness, peace, security, or freedom.

    http://www.mrbauld.com/conlibsoc.html

    On the other hand, I have nothing against gay civil marriages. Even if they won’t work for some reason, it’s a matter of choice between two adults, and entirely their business. If some gay peopel feel happier because of the fact they have a paper saying they are married, let them have the paper! If it hurts, it hurts just them and noone else. But with adoption, there is the child whose welfare is more important than the happiness of adopting couple.

  9. #9 Gretchen
    May 1, 2006

    Three primary assumptions I see in your thinking:

    1. Heterosexual children need to see a pattern of how a husband and wife interact– that is, they won’t be able to figure it out on their own when it’s time.
    2. Heterosexual children of gay parents will not get, or will not get a sufficient chance, to see how a husband and wife interact in the families of most of their friends or their own extended family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.), not to mention in literature or other media.
    3. The male and female parents of heterosexual children will present a model of husband and wife interaction in a family that heterosexual children should emulate.

    I consider all three of these suspect. Plus the rational extension of your argument would be that gay children should be raised by gay parents, because otherwise they will not be given a model of same sex parenting that they will later be able to emulate.

  10. #10 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    1. Their future wife/husband may not have the patience to wait until they “figure it out”.
    2. Who has more influence on the child: its own parents, or someone elses? W/r literature and media: most of the presented material is utter crap which has nothing to do with reality (“Dynasty” as a family model? please…)
    3. There are certain differences between men and women, which force people who start to live together to “adjust” to each other; havin a pattern for that is a big plus.

    W/r to the extension: yes. The problem is, we can’t tell the sexual orientation of a 12–year old child. Most probably, it will be heterosexual so assuming this is a safer choice (although not politically correct).

  11. #11 Gretchen
    May 1, 2006

    1. Their future wife/husband may not have the patience to wait until they “figure it out”.

    This connects to point three, but I am just having a harm time seeing why one specific example of a husband and wife (one’s parents) for an extended period of time will necessarily help a straight child any more than not having one when it comes to their own marriage. I mean, gay or straight, any kid is going to have ample opportunities to practice relationships of his/her own prior to getting married (that is, if they want to get married at all). There is going to be no shortage of time or opportunity to figure out what the opposite sex is like and how one relates to them. Straight people know how to be straight. They know how to have sex with other straight people. They know, biologically, the basics of how straight people interact and the rest they will learn socially. This complaint against gay parenting strikes me as bizarre because it seems to assume that the children of gay parents will be raised in a vacuum, separate both from their own genes and from the 90% of other straight people roaming around in the world.

    Who has more influence on the child: its own parents, or someone elses?

    One’s own two parents compared to all of the parents in the rest of the world? Are you sure you want to bet on the former?

    Also, you seem to be assuming that there is some necessary and essential difference between the way two gay parents relate to each other and the way two straight parents do. I haven’t seen any evidence for that.

    W/r literature and media: most of the presented material is utter crap which has nothing to do with reality (“Dynasty” as a family model? please…)

    Family Ties as a family model? It works both ways. A kid could easily have two alcoholic abusive straight parents and find hope for a better model to emulate outside of that.

  12. #12 JanieM
    May 1, 2006

    For Dispatches 5/1/06:

    Having been in serious relationships at various times in my life with people of both genders, and having raised 2 heterosexual children to adulthood, I have some personal perspective on the questions Gretchen and Roman are exploring. I have no “scientific” support for what I am about to say, and to tell my own story as a form of anecdotal “evidence” would be a book-length enterprise for which I have no time right now. But in general:

    I think Roman is desperately oversimplifying how relationships work, how gender roles work, how families work, and how children develop.

    From lots of experience in workships that explored gender-in-relationship, where typically I was the only person who wasn’t what I call a garden-variety heterosexual, I can say that straight people tend to make an unexamined assumption that I think is completely unfounded but is a predictable result of being straight, i.e. of having no experience in same-gender relationships. That is, they assume that all kinds of qualities and challenges that are really inherent in relationship itself are actually inherent in gender.

    Having been in both kinds of relationships and watched a lot of relationships I wasn’t part of, I can say that a huge amount of what happens in straight relationships happens in gay ones too. That is, in a lot of ways a relationship is a relationship is a relationship. The balances may be a bit different as between gay and straight (but they are different as from one straight couple to the next as well), and I would never discount the fact that gender roles and the experience of gender play a part. But lots of what happens in relationships has to do with relationship itself, and not with gender: kindness, forbearance, compromise, generosity, boundary-setting, partnership parameters, and all kinds of polarizing around different qualities. What I mean by polarizing is: in one relationship I was considered the rational/logical partner while my partner was seen as the emotional one, and in another I was considered the (over-)emotional one. I think most of us have some qualities from either side of this kind of divide, and the dynamics of particular personalities can bring about this kind of polarizing (and both conflict and collaboration….) no matter what the genders of the partners are.

    It would be nice to think we could make sure every child has exposure to various kinds of role models of both genders (do we think boys don’t need to see good female role models or v.v.?) (for that matter, it’s ridiculous to think there’s just one kind of “male” or “female” to be modeled) and various kinds of viable, successful adult relationships. But this is the real world, and I deeply doubt that we can control or engineer an optimal mix for adopted children any more than we can do so for children living with their birth parents.

    I also agree with Gretchen about the fact that kids don’t learn, or need to learn, everything about gender and relationships within their birth families. Quite the contrary. It’s virtually impossible to shut out the influence of the world in this respect, even if you try.

    Role models are important to kids; I would never dispute that. But one of the reasons I have had a rocky relationship life (besides the fact that I am probably a difficult personality!) is that all my role models had rocky relationships. None of it had anything to do with the distinction between gay and straight.

    Sorry this is scattered — it is far too big a topic for a comment post. But it’s hard to sit by and watch vast oversimplifications be perpetrated to justify foregone conclusions…….

  13. #13 Chance
    May 1, 2006

    a lot of people who object to gays adopting children do it for the same reason they think single parents should not adopt children: lack of a role model. The argument goes: most probably, the adopted child will turn out to be heterosexual, and being raised in a heterosexual family will suit this best. I tend to accept this argument.

    A single parent can raise a child to be a perfectly suitable adult. My wife was raised by a single mother. She is an excellent wife and person. I know several students of mine are raised by gay families as well and each and every one is heterosexual.

    What amazes me about this ‘argument’ is that is presumes just because one has male/female genitals one provides the proper ‘role’ models for children. Or even for that matter appropriate marital roles. I know many heterosexual families where the wife emasculates the man. There is so much variance in human experience and human children are very resilient.

  14. #14 Jeff Hebert
    May 1, 2006

    JanieM, I just wanted to say thank you for your post. It was very refreshing and honest, and I think it had a lot of wisdom in it.

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    May 1, 2006

    I agree with Jeff. I think JanieM hit the nail on the head in many ways.

  16. #16 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    Well, my anecdotal evidence is that being raised by a single parent does not help in becoming a husband.

  17. #17 Ed Brayton
    May 1, 2006

    Roman, your language is getting more and more slippery. Being raised by a single parent “does not help” in becoming a husband. Would having two parents, one of whom is a lousy husband, help more? Or would it hurt? The point everyone is making above is that it’s just too simplistic to say that one particular arrangement is automatically better than another. There’s no way to weigh a single parent against having two parents and decide which one is better because every situation is going to be different. It’s undoubtedly better to have one good parent than two lousy ones, for example.

  18. #18 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    Ed, but adoption is not choosing between one good parent and two lousy parents. Lousy ones are not even considered. In the process of adoption, you have to choose between one good parent and two good parents. The fact that there are heterosexual families in which parents are drinking or using violence is irrelevant here, since they wouldn’t be considered eligible for adopting a child anyway.

  19. #19 Chance
    May 1, 2006

    The fact that there are heterosexual families in which parents are drinking or using violence is irrelevant here, since they wouldn’t be considered eligible for adopting a child anyway

    I can assure you that their are more than a few adoptive families out there who do both of these. I can also assure you that adoptive families are no different from the run of the mill households you see in non-adoptive families.

    Ohh the stories I could tell here.

  20. #20 Ed Brayton
    May 1, 2006

    Yeah, I’m with Chance. I have two cousins who were adopted and mistreated beyond belief. My brother literally went and stole them after he found out what was going on and told the abusive adoptive parents that they either sign over their parental rights or he’d make their lives a living hell. But that’s neither here nor there for the issue at hand. Roman wrote:

    Ed, but adoption is not choosing between one good parent and two lousy parents. Lousy ones are not even considered. In the process of adoption, you have to choose between one good parent and two good parents.

    No, the issue is gay adoption vs straight adoption. Gay adoptions are typically between gay couples adn straight couples, so it’s between two good parents and two good parents. But “good” here only means minimally qualified by the adoption standards. There is still a vast range, from good to bad, among adoptive parents. And the point still remains that it is far too simplistic to say that a straight family is, by definition, better for a straight child than a gay family.

  21. #21 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2006

    And the point still remains that it is far too simplistic to say that a straight family is, by definition, better for a straight child than a gay family.

    Well… it’s the simples assumption we can make. I think anyone claiming otherwise has to prove his assertion. Until I see the proof, I think we should give preference to straight families. This does not rule out gays from adopting children completely, though. Let’s say thay have the same chance as single parents do.

  22. #22 Ed Brayton
    May 1, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    Well… it’s the simples assumption we can make. I think anyone claiming otherwise has to prove his assertion. Until I see the proof, I think we should give preference to straight families. This does not rule out gays from adopting children completely, though. Let’s say thay have the same chance as single parents do.

    Anyone making any assertion has to prove that assertion. Why is your assertion assumed merely because it’s “simple” and any other assertion must be “proven”? This is epistemological insanity. It would also be the “simplest” assumption, and according to the same sort of reasoning, that a black child should be with black parents and not with white parents. But here again we run into the same people – what if the parents who don’t fit the simplest assumption are better parents than the ones who do? This will surely be the case not just occassionally, but often. The mere fact that your assumption is simple certainly does not mean it’s accurate.

  23. #23 JanieM
    May 1, 2006

    An attempt at a response to Roman’s latest –

    Like I said: “vast oversimplifications perpetrated to justify foregone conclusions…….”

    “The simplest assumption we can make?” This is so inanely unsupported that I don’t even know where to start.

    The simplest assumption we can make is that decent people are decent people, gay or straight has nothing to do with it, and anyone claiming otherwise has to prove his or her assertion. Until I see the proof, I think we should give preference to loving human beings who are so incredibly generous as to be willing to raise children who need homes. (It’s not as if there’s a glut on that market, by the way.)

    You are right in implying that anecdotal evidence isn’t proof of anything. I implied the same thing myself. But maybe you are having trouble being a husband not because you grew up in a single-parent family, but because of your genes, or your education, or your sloppy habits, or your arrogance in assuming you can always cleverly outtalk and refute anything anyone opens her mouth to say. Maybe if you had grown up in a 2-parent family, your father would have provided you with role modeling that would have made you an even less satisfactory husband than you think you are as it is.

    It’s so easy — I’ve spent a lot of my life doing the same thing — to assume that we can pick out one big factor that, if it had been different, would have meant all the difference in some chronic difficulty we face in life. But this is nonsense. We can never know what difference changing one factor might have made, for better *or worse*. As I said before — nothing much about human beings is simple, and single-factor analysis is hardly ever useful.

  24. #24 Skemono
    May 2, 2006

    This is epistemological insanity. It would also be the “simplest” assumption, and according to the same sort of reasoning, that a black child should be with black parents and not with white parents.

    And, of course, that is the assumption made in some cases. Heck, a few states passed laws banning interracial adoptions.

  25. #25 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    The difference between interracial and gay adoptions is that it has been proven for sure that there are little differences between people with different colors of skin who have been brought up in the same culture.

    A better argument would be: “if we discriminate against gay adoption, we should also discriminate against intercultural adoptions”, like an English marriage adopting a French child. Well, each developed culture has marriage patterns, so this isn’t an argument against interracial adoptions either.

    Several people have displayed their certainty that being adopted by a gay family will provide a kid with enough gender and role models to let it live a fruitful life. I do not understand where this certainty comes from. One model has been tested for a long time, the other not. Prudence dictates we should wait a bit and observe, until we declare them equally good.

  26. #26 Gretchen
    May 2, 2006

    Several people have displayed their certainty that being adopted by a gay family will provide a kid with enough gender and role models to let it live a fruitful life. I do not understand where this certainty comes from.

    I haven’t displayed such certainty. Rather, I have questioned your assertion that placing children with straight parents rather than gay is automatically preferable.

    You say that prudence dictates we should wait and observe….well, what exactly will we be waiting for and observing if people follow your advice and favor straight parents?

  27. #27 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    How children adopted by gay parents manage in adult life. Divorce statistics, crime rate, etc.

  28. #28 Chance
    May 2, 2006

    How children adopted by gay parents manage in adult life. Divorce statistics, crime rate, etc.

    Well if thats the case we should give all the kids to gay parents then as heterosexual parents will always lead the way with those statistics.

    And as an aside I think it’s high time we change our view of divorce as a moral failing. Not every marriage is good or even one that should be maintained. In the past women in particular suffered immeasurably at the hands of many men. Staying in a bad marriage is certainly not morally better than getting a divorce and potentially forming a stronger union later.

  29. #29 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    Chance, I cannot imagine a person who would not prefer to have a good marriage from the start, than to have a bad marriage, divorce, and start a good marriage. It’s not about suffering a “moral failing”, it’s about surviving a rather unpleasant experience.

  30. #30 Chance
    May 2, 2006

    Roman,

    I agree. Most seek to have a good marriage but I’ve lived enough years to know that people marry for a whole host of reasons and a good many people have many reservations on the wedding day. People also simply grow apart among a whole host of other reasons.

    Some marriages can be saved. Some can’t and should not be. This should have no bearing on whether gay couples can adopt a child.

  31. #31 JanieM
    May 2, 2006

    Three things, first briefly and then at greater length. Assume that the words “model” and “tested” are in quotes throughout, because they are Roman’s, not mine; I am just responding to them.

    1) To the extent that a particular model has been tested — the results don’t inspire confidence, at least in me.

    2) But even prior to that, logically speaking, the notion that the model has been tested is wishful thinking.

    3) Even if there was a way to do this kind of testing with any kind of confidence, what then?

    Now at length:

    1) The world is a mess. It is littered with dysfunctional people taking drugs (legal or not) to get through the day and dysfunctional marraiges taking divorce as the best way out; the prisons are overflowing (at least in the good old U.S. of A., where I live); global warming probably triggered by human activities is looming; sexual predators prey on little children; the marriage of religious fundamentalism with politics is threatening all of us; etc. etc. etc. All this has been brought to us (apparently) by people raised mostly in families with 2 heterosexual parents of opposite genders. Maybe we should try letting gay people raise all the kids; they could hardly do worse. (This observation is somewhat tongue in cheek, but it grows out of many real situations I have followed in the news, even in my little backwater corner of the world. When sexual abuse of children is in the news, if the people involved are of the same gender we get calls for banning gay teachers or gay priests. If the people involved are of the opposite gender, do we ever get calls for banning heterosexual teachers or priests? Ha ha ha. Scapegoating, anyone?)

    2) American politicians of a certain stripe are fond of blathering on about how marriage between a man and a woman has been customary and sacred for thousands of years. Even the tiniest bit of attention to the reality provides evidence that this is the utterest poppycock. As far as child-raising and role-modeling go, even as recently as the 1950′s, when I grew up, we spent almost as much time with my large Italian-American extended family as we did in our own nuclear family home. Some of my cousins’ families lived for extended periods of time with my grandma. Etc. We had oodles of role models. My point is that even if the heterosexual-pair-of-parents model has been “tested” — the results are not at all necessarily because of, or only because of, the configuration of the nuclear family itself. All aside from the fact that it is simply untrue that the one-man, one-woman model has been the only model for thousands of years, or all over the globe…. (For an entertaining reflection on marriage in this light, read Bernard Shaw’s play “Getting Married” — including the preface. Just for starters……..)

    3) Someone with better analytical or debating skills can probably address this more effectively than I can, but at some level I would ask: wtf is the point of statistics? If you do studies for 100 years (leaving how many potentially adoptable children without families while you wait for “evidence”), what variables besides hetero/homosexuality are you going to control for? And what kinds of results do you want to see? Who gets to decide? If 50% of the children raised by heterosexual parents are well-adjusted (by some set of agreed-upon criteria) and only 40% of the children raised by homosexual parents (in otherwise similar family circumstances, economic, religious, whatever) are well-adjusted (by the same set of criteria) — what then? Would that be grounds for banning all adoption by gay parents? What if the numbers come out the reverse? Would we then ban adoption by straight parents? Of course not. We would do what we (should be) do(ing) now: we would look at individual prospective parents and make the best judgment we can about what kind of parents they would be, give them all the help we can, and hope for the best. That’s kind of how life works…….

  32. #32 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    I never said I want to ban gay couples from adoption. Please do not misrepresent my opinions.

    I think we should isolate these two factors, since most others we have some idea about: it’s better to have well educated parents than not educated, it’s better to have wealthy than poor parents, it’s better to have healthy parents than sick parents. What we don’t know is how, in the long term, being raised by gay parents influences the kid’s life.

    Some marriages can be saved. Some can’t and should not be. This should have no bearing on whether gay couples can adopt a child.

    I still think it’s better to prepare your child to be able to have a good marriage from the start. I don’t think the parents are helpless and cannot do nothing in this regard.

  33. #33 Ed Brayton
    May 2, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    I think we should isolate these two factors, since most others we have some idea about: it’s better to have well educated parents than not educated, it’s better to have wealthy than poor parents, it’s better to have healthy parents than sick parents. What we don’t know is how, in the long term, being raised by gay parents influences the kid’s life.

    But we have literally dozens of studies that show that children raised by gay parents are no different from children raised by straight parents in any meaningful way at least through their whole childhood and adolescence. As a group (which is the only way such things can be measured) they are just as well adjusted, just as emotionally healthy, no more likely to be gay, just as good in school, and so forth. And this despite the fact that many of them also face societal disapproval, taunting and sometimes bullying as they grow up because of the bigotry of others. So even with that handicap, all of the evidence – every single study ever done on the subject, mind you, not just a few here and there – says that they do just as well as kids raised by straight couples. Yet you still want the presumption to be against gay parents. For what possible reason? Do you think that at 25, 50% of the people raised by gay couples are going to suddenly become horrible people? It’s possible, I suppose, but why on earth should we treat that as an assumption given the volumes of evidence we already have that all points to the same conclusion?

  34. #34 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    I didn’t say they might become “terrible people”. I said they might have some problems in adult life which people raised in heterosexual families will have to less extent. Let’s just wait these 15 more years and see.

    (Anyway, the studies done in the USA might not be relevant in Poland, which has different social norms and customs).

  35. #35 Ed Brayton
    May 2, 2006

    But you still demand that all those studies that point in one direction be ignored and the opposite conclusion be treated as an assumption, with the burden of proof all on the other side. That’s completely illogical.

  36. #36 JanieM
    May 2, 2006

    I don’t think anyone can say anything that Roman doesn’t have an answer for, so I am now taking bets on whether he gets the last word in no matter what. (Ed, you have raised the stakes by replying to his last…..)

    To make it more interesting, we can try to decide whether this characteristic (getting the last word in an argument no matter what) is caused by being raised in a single-parent household, being Polish, being male, being young at this particular era in history, or whatever other big single-factor cause you want to point to. I’m not betting on this part; I know too many people like this of all varieties to think there’s a single-factor cause or a link to any particular identifiable group. ;)

  37. #37 Soldats
    May 2, 2006

    Actually, Mr. RW keeps making an incorrect assumption. Considering the abundance of adoptions available, it is not a matter of giving the child to a hetero or homosexual family, but whether to give the child to a homosexual family or let him/her rot in state custody.

  38. #38 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    But you still demand that all those studies that point in one direction be ignored

    I’m not ignoring them. I’m just considering them insufficient for fully equating gay and straight adoption families. You seem to think there is no middle ground between no gay adoption and full access of gay families to adoption. I think there is, and we should stick to it until we know it is safe to abandon our previous standards.

    and the opposite conclusion be treated as an assumption, with the burden of proof all on the other side. That’s completely illogical.

    The “opposite conclusion” (that straight families should be preferred to gay families for adoption) has the advantage of being status quo. We should not change status quo lightly and without reason in such delicate areas like child welfare.

    I don’t think anyone can say anything that Roman doesn’t have an answer for, [..]

    Rude ad hominem.

  39. #39 Skemono
    May 2, 2006

    Rude ad hominem.

    And your position is just an appeal to tradition.

  40. #40 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    Actually, Mr. RW keeps making an incorrect assumption. Considering the abundance of adoptions available, it is not a matter of giving the child to a hetero or homosexual family, but whether to give the child to a homosexual family or let him/her rot in state custody.

    If this is the case, then by all means give the child to a homosexual family! (assuming they pass the usual procedure, of course).

    But I don’t think this is always the case, is it?

  41. #41 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2006

    And your position is just an appeal to tradition.

    Even if it were, it still is a legitimate position in a debate, while being rude is not.

    I don’t think I am just appealing to tradition. I’m rather more cautious than you when it comes to making social changes.
    (BTW, I love it when people think “tradition” is something inherently wrong).

  42. #42 Ed Brayton
    May 2, 2006

    As opposed to thinking tradition is something inherently right? We’ve got all of the actual evidence on our side and there’s simply no reason to think that it’s going to suddenly change when they enter adulthood. The fact that you have the status quo doesn’t make it automatically right when the actual evidence is on our side. You want the side with no evidence to be assumed true; that’s absurd.

  43. #43 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    As opposed to thinking tradition is something inherently right?

    No, as opposed to thinking there is some value in tradition. Anyway, I DID NOT appeal to tradition. I appealed to caution.

    We’ve got all of the actual evidence on our side and there’s simply no reason to think that it’s going to suddenly change when they enter adulthood.

    Yes they are and I gave them in my posts. I don’t want to repeat myself.

    The fact that you have the status quo doesn’t make it automatically right when the actual evidence is on our side.

    It makes the burden of proof lie on YOU. If we don’t follow this principle (“if you want to change something, show that it won’t be a harmful change”), we shall be always changing something, just for the sake of “modernizing”.

  44. #44 Gretchen
    May 3, 2006

    It makes the burden of proof lie on YOU. If we don’t follow this principle (“if you want to change something, show that it won’t be a harmful change”), we shall be always changing something, just for the sake of “modernizing”.

    Actually, the change in question would be stopping (or inhibiting) gay couples from adopting children. The default is allowing them, until you pass a rule or law against it. And I believe such would be a harmful change, because it amounts to limiting freedom with no justification.

  45. #45 Chance
    May 3, 2006

    No, as opposed to thinking there is some value in tradition.

    Some traditions do have value, like playing football on Friday nights in Texas. But when it comes to social issues and morality you need more than ‘tradition’ to even have a functional argument. It’s the evidence that matters.

    Also I think Gretchen nailed it. You must provide evidence that gay couples are somehow inferior to straight parents to limit the rights of a free individual. In this case I think it is clear the burden of proof has been met that they are not. Especially since gay parents have been raising children since, well, there where gay people.

  46. #46 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    It makes the burden of proof lie on YOU. If we don’t follow this principle (“if you want to change something, show that it won’t be a harmful change”), we shall be always changing something, just for the sake of “modernizing”.

    Even if this was true, I think the burden of proof has been satisfied. Burden of proof doesn’t mean “prove it until Roman is satisfied”. The problem is that your argument, which has no evidence for it whatsoever and is based solely on presuming the status quo is good, would prevent any change. You refuse to accept logical arguments for this conclusion, you insist not only on actual studies but on studies that follow kids through their entire life. But your argument would have prevented any such adoptions from taking place (I know you say you’re not against them completely at this point, but if the status quo is the default, your argument would have prevented any and all gay adoptions in the not-so-distant past) – and without some of those adoptions taking place, there’s no way to meet your standard of proof. Voila, you have an unassailable position – if you must stick with the status quo until you have undeniable evidence that a change won’t cause any harm, then no change can ever take place.

    The fact is that all of the evidence we do have is on our side, dozens of studies that show that the children of gay parents are no different throughout childhood and adolescence than children of straight parents. No one, including you, has come up with any logical reason why that would suddenly change after they become adults and logic would seem to dictate that if they’re just like other kids for the first 18 years, they’re going to be just like them as adults too. Faced with all of that evidence and absolutely none to offer for your position, all you can do is appeal to the status quo and set the burden of proof so high that it would take decades more to meet. That’s convenient for your position, but it’s not very logical.

  47. #47 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    Even if this was true, I think the burden of proof has been satisfied. Burden of proof doesn’t mean “prove it until Roman is satisfied”.

    Neither does it mean “as soon as Ed Brayton is satisfied” ;-).

    The problem is that your argument, which has no evidence for it whatsoever and is based solely on presuming the status quo is good, would prevent any change. You refuse to accept logical arguments for this conclusion, you insist not only on actual studies but on studies that follow kids through their entire life. But your argument would have prevented any such adoptions from taking place (I know you say you’re not against them completely at this point, but if the status quo is the default, your argument would have prevented any and all gay adoptions in the not-so-distant past) – and without some of those adoptions taking place, there’s no way to meet your standard of proof. Voila, you have an unassailable position – if you must stick with the status quo until you have undeniable evidence that a change won’t cause any harm, then no change can ever take place.

    Not at all. Even under “my” rules, a lot of gay couples would adopt a child (eg relatives of the kid or people adopting children from, say, Ethiopia). I’m sure we would have a decent sample, if we don’t already have it and it’s not just a question of time (as you said, we have data for adolescence — so why don’t we wait 10-15 more years and collect the data for the life period I was mentioning?). Even if the sample is not large enough, we can set some sort of a quota for gay adoptions “without handicap”, and create a sample. Really, I’m open minded about that and I’m not an extreme conservative sneaking around, trying to covertly prevent any form of gay adoption ;-)

    The fact is that all of the evidence we do have is on our side, dozens of studies that show that the children of gay parents are no different throughout childhood and adolescence than children of straight parents. No one, including you, has come up with any logical reason why that would suddenly change after they become adults and logic would seem to dictate that if they’re just like other kids for the first 18 years, they’re going to be just like them as adults too.

    I think I did, but I’ll try to express it maybe more clearly (sorry, I’m not a native English speaker): watching your parents interact is a sort of training for building your own relationship (and I don’t think watching other people’s parents can substitute for that, since you’re only a guest in their houses). If you’re denied this training, you’ll probably have it more difficult to develop your own relationship. What is illogical in that?

    Faced with all of that evidence and absolutely none to offer for your position, all you can do is appeal to the status quo and set the burden of proof so high that it would take decades more to meet. That’s convenient for your position, but it’s not very logical.

    I could offer a similar “interpretation” of your position: you cling to the dogma that “everyone is equal” so desparately that you can’t see that this is not always true.

  48. #48 Skemono
    May 3, 2006

    I think I did, but I’ll try to express it maybe more clearly (sorry, I’m not a native English speaker): watching your parents interact is a sort of training for building your own relationship (and I don’t think watching other people’s parents can substitute for that, since you’re only a guest in their houses). If you’re denied this training, you’ll probably have it more difficult to develop your own relationship. What is illogical in that?

    The fact that you seem to believe that there is something inherently different about a relationship between two people of opposite sexes as opposed to one between two people of the same sex. And that you appear to think that children only enter into relationships when they’re fully-grown and getting married.

  49. #49 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    Not at all. Even under “my” rules, a lot of gay couples would adopt a child (eg relatives of the kid or people adopting children from, say, Ethiopia). I’m sure we would have a decent sample, if we don’t already have it and it’s not just a question of time (as you said, we have data for adolescence — so why don’t we wait 10-15 more years and collect the data for the life period I was mentioning?). Even if the sample is not large enough, we can set some sort of a quota for gay adoptions “without handicap”, and create a sample.

    But your argument is based solely on the status quo and the burden of proof (yes, you made a half-hearted attempt to make a logical argument below, but I’ll get to that in a minute) being automatically against change. But if you really thought there was a big risk in allowing gay parents to marry, why would you endorse using kids as guinea pigs in this way? It makes no sense. Not long ago, it was absolutely forbidden for gays to adopt kids, at least in this country. Given your argument, there’s no way to even get started.

    I think I did, but I’ll try to express it maybe more clearly (sorry, I’m not a native English speaker): watching your parents interact is a sort of training for building your own relationship (and I don’t think watching other people’s parents can substitute for that, since you’re only a guest in their houses). If you’re denied this training, you’ll probably have it more difficult to develop your own relationship. What is illogical in that?

    Several things. First, it ignores all of the studies we already have that show that the kids of gay parents don’t interact any differently with those of the opposite sex than kids of straight parents. That may not be as conclusive as you want it to be, but it’s still evidence in our favor and you’re ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist. Second, and most importantly, you’re assuming that there is something different about gay relationships than straight relationships. Two gay parents can model all of the most important aspects of a relationship for their children – cooperation in raising children, how to handle disagreements, respect for one another, compassion for one another, and much more. All of the important aspects of a relationship are about how to interact with one’s partner – the gender of that partner does not change the nature of how to interact with them in a healthy, constructive manner. If a child is exposed to a healthy relationship, one marked by mutual respect, cooperation, kindness, and compromise, then it doesn’t matter whether the relationship is gay or straight – the correct behavior and the correct means of interacting with the person you love has been modeled. The gender is completely irrelevant.

    you cling to the dogma that “everyone is equal” so desparately that you can’t see that this is not always true.

    Jesus H. Christ, Roman, where in the world did you get the idea that I – of all people – believe that “everyone is equal”? I believe nothing of the sort. In fact, I emphatically believe the opposite – some people, maybe even most people, are ignorant and virtually useless. But that doesn’t mean that no two situations are equal. I do believe that gay relationships and straight relationships are equal in this context in all relevant ways. And furthermore, I believe that when two people or groups are equal in relevant ways, they must be treated equally as a matter of law. All of the actual evidence on this question supports me. All of the logical argument supports me. And you are left with nothing but a hypothetical “well maybe some unknown reason will crop up and make us regret the change”. I’m willing to take that risk. More importantly, I’m not willing to allow thousands of kids to languish in foster homes when they could have loving families to take care of them just because some bigots think that they’re less capable of raising children.

  50. #50 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    But if you really thought there was a big risk in allowing gay parents to marry, why would you endorse using kids as guinea pigs in this way?

    Because I don’t think there is a BIG risk. There are worse things which can happen to you than not having a perfect role model in your childhood. Which is not the same as no risk at all.

    I’m more subtle in my opinions that you think ;-)

    That may not be as conclusive as you want it to be, but it’s still evidence in our favor and you’re ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist.

    I’m not ignoring it. I think there is too little evidence for us to consider gay couples to be exactly equal to straight couples. I think being adopted by an otherwise perfect gay couple is a suboptimal solution for the kid than being adopted by an otherwise perfect straight couple. It’s different than being opposed to any gay adoption. Don’t attribute to me things which I did not say.

    Second, and most importantly, you’re assuming that there is something different about gay relationships than straight relationships. Two gay parents can model all of the most important aspects of a relationship for their children – cooperation in raising children, how to handle disagreements, respect for one another, compassion for one another, and much more. All of the important aspects of a relationship are about how to interact with one’s partner – the gender of that partner does not change the nature of how to interact with them in a healthy, constructive manner.

    I think you’re wrong here. Women are different than men, they react differently and an average relationship between two male lovers will surely be different than an average relationship between a male and a female lover. The most basic thing: a woman is physically weaker than a man. If you think it does not matter, better thing again. It’s not just my imagination, I talked about it quite a lot with my wife.

    More importantly, I’m not willing to allow thousands of kids to languish in foster homes when they could have loving families to take care of them just because some bigots think that they’re less capable of raising children.

    Neither do I. I made myself quite clear that if the choice is between a gay adoption and a foster home, the gay adoption is of course a better option which should be chosen. You’re fighting a strawman here.

  51. #51 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    PS. Thanks for calling me a bigot, Ed. I thought this discussion could do without name-calling, but it seems I was wrong.

  52. #52 Jeff Hebert
    May 3, 2006

    Roman said:

    It’s not just my imagination, I talked about it quite a lot with my wife.

    That’s the best line I’ve read in a week.

  53. #53 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    That’s the best line I’ve read in a week.

    If you consider you spouse to be stupid cow, it’s your problem, Sir.

  54. #54 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    I think you’re wrong here. Women are different than men, they react differently and an average relationship between two male lovers will surely be different than an average relationship between a male and a female lover. The most basic thing: a woman is physically weaker than a man. If you think it does not matter, better thing again. It’s not just my imagination, I talked about it quite a lot with my wife.

    Of course women are, as a rule, physically weaker than men. But what on earth does that have to do with modeling a healthy relationship? If your wife could beat you up, would that change anything whatsoever about how you interact with each other? If it would, that says something rather frightening. Relationships are about mutual respect, compromise, working together toward a common goal, keeping intimacy alive, and much more. None of those things should be changed even the slightest bit by which of the partners is physically strongest.

    Neither do I. I made myself quite clear that if the choice is between a gay adoption and a foster home, the gay adoption is of course a better option which should be chosen. You’re fighting a strawman here.

    No, you’re still missing the point. I know that you personally don’t want to do away with all gay adoptions. But the argument you’re making would have prevented all gay adoptions if it was accepted only a short time ago. It’s the logic of the argument that matters, not whether you’re willing to apply it consistently. The fact that you say you wouldn’t have applied that same logic at a time when there were no gay adoptions only goes to show that you don’t really believe your argument about the presumption always being with the status quo is true.

    PS. Thanks for calling me a bigot, Ed. I thought this discussion could do without name-calling, but it seems I was wrong.

    I didn’t call you a bigot. I called those who believe gays can’t raise children as well as straight parents bigots. I take you at your word that you’re an agnostic on that count and are simply awaiting more evidence.

  55. #55 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    If you consider you spouse to be stupid cow, it’s your problem, Sir.

    Okay, seriously Roman, you’re starting to go off the deep end, as you seem to do here every few weeks. Jeff didn’t say anything even close to thinking his spouse is a “stupid cow”, for crying out loud. You’re starting to flounder and make really idiotic arguments. The claim that who is physically stronger should have something to do with how a healthy couple interacts with each other was ridiculous; this one is even more so. You really need to back off before it gets worse.

  56. #56 DougT
    May 3, 2006

    I’ve been lurking on this debate since it started (little time to comment). My perspective is that of a gay man in a relationship that has endured for nearly 25 years- over half my life. I find Roman’s premise that same sex coples have an inherently different dynamic from opposite sex couples to be off the mark. When people ask what we attibute the success of our relationship to, one of the factors that both of us cite is that our respective sets of parents both modelled strong and enduring marriages for us. We have been able to apply many things that we learned from our heterosexual parents to our own relationship. The fact that the lessons apply- and have been applied successfully by ourselves and other long-term couples that we know- supports the assertation that Ed, JanieM and thers have been making that the essential components of a good marriage are independent of the gender of those involved. I’ll go out on a limb here and surmise that Roman has not had a lot of direct exposure to gay and lesbian couples.

    Parting thought. I’m 5’7″ and my partner is 6’1″ and phisically stronger than I am. I don’t think it really affects the relationship one way or another, but it’s a good reminder that such physical inequities are not exclusively a feature of heterosexual relationships.

  57. #57 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Thanks Doug, you illustrated my point perfectly. What makes a healthy relationship is how you interact with your partner and their gender doesn’t change that. The child of straight parents who sees healthy interactions modeled for them – mutual respect, working out disagreements calmly and through compromise, each providing support for the other when they’re having difficult times physically or emotionally, responding with kindess rather than judgement, etc – can apply those traits in any relationship they have as an adult, gay or straight. The child of gay parents seeing those same healthy traits modeled can likewise apply them in adult relationships, whether gay or straight. Good parental relationships are the model for children to follow, regardless of the gender of the parents.

  58. #58 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    None of those things should be changed even the slightest bit by which of the partners is physically strongest.
    It changes the fact that one of the partners looks to the other for physical protection… women often feel insecure in the streets (at least in Poland).
    But the argument you’re making would have prevented all gay adoptions if it was accepted only a short time ago.
    But I’m making it NOW.
    What makes a healthy relationship is how you interact with your partner and their gender doesn’t change that.
    Well, that’s an ideological assumption: gender is irrelevant.

  59. #59 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    Roman wrote:

    It changes the fact that one of the partners looks to the other for physical protection… women often feel insecure in the streets (at least in Poland).

    And what on earth does that have to do with this issue? Do you think that if a child has two male parents of equal physical strength and later has a wife, he won’t protect her? Make an argument, for crying out loud, not just an empty implication.

    Well, that’s an ideological assumption: gender is irrelevant.

    And this is a completely empty argument. It says nothing. Is that assumption wrong or is it right? You haven’t even attempted to dispute the reasoning behind it. What relevant element of a straight relationship is missing from a gay relationship? Do gay couples not have all of the same problems that straight couples do? Do they not have disagreements that require healthy means of working through them? Do they not have to be supportive of each other when the other is feeling down? Do they not have to reach compromises or show compassion toward each other? Do they not have to treat each other with respect and establish healthy boundaries between their individuality and their partnership? Every single trait that is relevant to having a good relationship is as present in gay relationships as it is in straight relationships. And the sum total of your response to this logical argument is to label it an “ideological assumption” – as though that label somehow proves it wrong? Roman, sometimes I really appreciate your comments here and sometimes they’re just plain dumb. This is one of the dumb ones.

  60. #60 Roman Werpachowski
    May 3, 2006

    Ed, to each of your questions I can answer: yes, they do. But they do it in a different way than between a man and a woman. That’s the whole point! Everybody (almost) knows WHAT you should do. The problem is HOW…

  61. #61 Ed Brayton
    May 3, 2006

    I give up. You can’t make anything even approaching a coherent argument here and you know it. A caring gay person doesn’t compromise with their partner any differently than a caring straight person. A caring gay person doesn’t support their partner or show compassion worse than a caring straight person. And healthy gay couples interact in the same way that healthy straight couples interact. I know that because I’ve seen it, up close, in real life. This is like talking to a brick wall.

  62. #62 Roman Werpachowski
    May 4, 2006

    Yes, I think we *did* hit a brick wall here. From both sides :( I think we should end the discussion as we’ve been going in circles for some time.

    To clear one thig: my temporary (?) “discrimination” of gay couples in adoption would be a mild one — I think it’s better to be adopted by two gay parents than by a single parent. I’m not a bloodthirsty neocon ;-)

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