Poll: Should Same-Sex Marriages be Legalized Nationally?

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Thread: For or Against Gay Marriage

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    If you consider calling judicial activism what it is, then I guess I'm guilty.
    Meaningless. Much like how the right wing uses the term "politically correct" to attempt to discredit anything they don't agree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    Wrong again. I've given lots of numbers and references to back up my claims.
    I've given mortality numbers, Federal costs of treating AIDS and a host of others. I suggest that you go back and do some rereading before making false assertions about what I did or didn't do.
    Love your compassion. It's all about the costs of treating people with diseases. Really warms my heart.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    Show me where I put down gay people. I've stated many times that I don't care what they do as long as it doesn't impact me or my family. I wouldn't call that putting them down.
    So why are you against gay marriage? It doesn't impact you or your family.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    I even said that I would favor civil unions that gave gays all of the non-fiscal rights that married couples enjoy. Was that putting them down?
    Does that include the right to not have to pay equal taxes?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    Or was I putting them down when I said that the gay lifestyle decreased their average life expectancy and supported the claim with CDC statistics?
    I suggest that you rethink your blanket statements in the future. They don't stand up to scrutiny.
    What is the gay lifestyle? I know many gay people, and they seem to have many different lifestyles. You haven't supported your claim that gay people have a lower average life expectancy. Even if you could support that, we don't base rights on that. You are like the Ku Klux Klan who schreech that blacks are the ones spreading AIDS.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    Meaningless. Much like how the right wing uses the term "politically correct" to attempt to discredit anything they don't agree with.
    It's not meaningless. It is a REAL phenomenon. Here's a definition from Auburn University's website:

    Judicial activism
    The view that the Supreme Court justices (and even other lower-ranking judges as well) can and should creatively (re)interpret the texts of the Constitution and the laws in order to serve the judges' own considered estimates of the vital needs of contemporary society when the elected "political" branches of the Federal government and/or the various state governments seem to them to be failing to meet these needs. On such a view, judges should not hesitate to go beyond their traditional role as interpreters of the Constitution and laws given to them by others in order to assume a role as independent policy makers or independent "trustees" on behalf of society. "

    Two quick examples: Florida 2000 election and NJ 2002 Senatorial election. In both instances, state SCs practiced judicial activism and actually attempted to rewrite election law. In the first example, the USSC shut them down, but in the second, they were succesful in getting an illegal candidate elected, Frank Lautenburg.
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    Love your compassion. It's all about the costs of treating people with diseases. Really warms my heart.
    Liberals never cease to amaze me. You want a compassionate government yet you fight tooth and nail to keep the most compassionate organizations, Churches, out of the equation. What a bunch of hypocrites. The Federal government has no business meddling in social affairs and it wouldn't be if it hadn't been for past judicial activism. (We've come full circle).

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    So why are you against gay marriage? It doesn't impact you or your family.
    But it does, both financially and principly.

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    Does that include the right to not have to pay equal taxes?
    I thought the marriage penalty was still in effect. Did I miss something?

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    What is the gay lifestyle? I know many gay people, and they seem to have many different lifestyles. You haven't supported your claim that gay people have a lower average life expectancy. Even if you could support that, we don't base rights on that. You are like the Ku Klux Klan who schreech that blacks are the ones spreading AIDS.
    I posted this on another forum. If you check the links as well as the snipets, it certainly shows a high risk lifestyle.
    But, you're right. Even if it is a high risk lifestyle, why is that my concern? It wouldn't be if it wasn't for the fact that $10 Billion's of taxpayer money is going to treat AIDS/HIV and the largest infected segment is gays. Just as our government seems to think it's their job to try to stop smokers, it should be consistent and advocate against another unhealthy lifestyle, homosexuality.
    You see, it is liberals like you that got Uncle Sam involved in social issues in the first place. Now that they are, they should be used fairly. I'm hoping that, in this instance, liberals will be hoisted on their own petard. Maybe then both Conservatives AND Liberals will see the folly in ever getting Uncle Sam involved in the first place. ...but I doubt it.
    More than half a million people have died with AIDS in the USA. Nearly three-quarters of these people did not live to the age of 45.

    Age at death Year of death Cumulative Total
    1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
    Under 13 104 102 51 49 33 5071
    13-24 9 19 10 5 10 244
    15-24 258 232 206 261 190 9507
    25-34 3785 3252 2765 2377 1971 139977
    35-44 7991 7679 6998 7077 6401 207324
    45-54 4784 5004 5082 5202 5395 97027
    55-64 1511 1546 1584 1758 1728 31179
    65 or older 562 622 652 673 641 11340
    Total* 19005 18454 17347 17402 16371 501669

    http://www.avert.org/usastata.htm

    Table 1. Estimated numbers of diagnoses of HIV/AIDS, by year of diagnosis and selected characteristics of persons, 1999200230 areas with confidential name-based HIV infection reporting
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/stats/hasr1402/table1.htm

    Lots of info out there on the health effects of homosexuality. The above are just a couple from the CDC and Avert.org, an international AIDS charity.
    Again, you're not only asking for my acceptacne of gay marriage, you're asking for my financial support for a lifestyle that I fundamentally disagree with. I choose not to participate and will use my voice to encourage other not to as well.
    Should gays agree that only non-fiscally impacted rights would be granted via a civil union, then I'd consider voting in favor of it. But, right now, my principles and my pocketbook say NO. Feel free to convince me otherwise, though. That's why we're all here.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    It's not meaningless. It is a REAL phenomenon. Here's a definition from Auburn University's website:

    Judicial activism
    The view that the Supreme Court justices (and even other lower-ranking judges as well) can and should creatively (re)interpret the texts of the Constitution and the laws in order to serve the judges' own considered estimates of the vital needs of contemporary society when the elected "political" branches of the Federal government and/or the various state governments seem to them to be failing to meet these needs. On such a view, judges should not hesitate to go beyond their traditional role as interpreters of the Constitution and laws given to them by others in order to assume a role as independent policy makers or independent "trustees" on behalf of society. "

    Two quick examples: Florida 2000 election and NJ 2002 Senatorial election. In both instances, state SCs practiced judicial activism and actually attempted to rewrite election law. In the first example, the USSC shut them down, but in the second, they were succesful in getting an illegal candidate elected, Frank Lautenburg.
    It's pretty subjective, isn't it? Marriage law is part of common law tradition. It's meant to evolve as society evolves. The original marriage laws were written by judges, and judges are allowed to interpret it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    Liberals never cease to amaze me. You want a compassionate government yet you fight tooth and nail to keep the most compassionate organizations, Churches, out of the equation. What a bunch of hypocrites.
    What bull. There are other ways to show compassion, without imposing religious beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    The Federal government has no business meddling in social affairs and it wouldn't be if it hadn't been for past judicial activism. (We've come full circle).
    It's sad that groups have to go to court, because the government won't allow for equal protection of minorities.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    I posted this on another forum. If you check the links as well as the snipets, it certainly shows a high risk lifestyle.
    Unprotected sex is a high risk lifestyle, gay or straight, black or white.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    But, you're right. Even if it is a high risk lifestyle, why is that my concern? It wouldn't be if it wasn't for the fact that $10 Billion's of taxpayer money is going to treat AIDS/HIV and the largest infected segment is gays.
    The largest infected segment is those who have unprotected sex. This CDC link also shows that African Americans have larger infection rates in relation to their numbers. It also shows that there is a link to low income and HIV risk....

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/Facts/afam.htm


    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    Just as our government seems to think it's their job to try to stop smokers, it should be consistent and advocate against another unhealthy lifestyle, homosexuality.
    Big, big yawn. Seriously, I knew I should have bet money that you would bring up the tired faulty analogy of smoking. Then it should also advocate against the unhealthy lifestyle of being black, the unhealty lifestyle of having a lower income, but most of all it should advocate against the unhealthy lifestyle of having unprotected sex. Being gay, in itself, is not an unhealthy lifestyle, like some of the other things I mentioned. There is no way to safely smoke.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    You see, it is liberals like you that got Uncle Sam involved in social issues in the first place. Now that they are, they should be used fairly. I'm hoping that, in this instance, liberals will be hoisted on their own petard. Maybe then both Conservatives AND Liberals will see the folly in ever getting Uncle Sam involved in the first place. ...but I doubt it.
    Right, if a minority group only would know it's place, and not challenge inequality and oppression, it would be so much easier for the government to practice inequality and oppress.

    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre
    Again, you're not only asking for my acceptacne of gay marriage, you're asking for my financial support for a lifestyle that I fundamentally disagree with.
    Nonsense. How so? The disease thing? Why aren't you arguing that heterosexual couples who have, had, or may get, diseases, should not have the right to marry?

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    So it's better to spend our taxes supporting unwed mothers who have 6 children from 4 men, none of whom they have ever been married to? And it's OK to subsidize this "lifestyle" because, hey, at least it's heterosexual sex thats draining the money. ? I too have a number of gay friends. And to see these upstanding, productive, loving, caring and compassionate members of the community treated as second class citizens based wholly on their sexual preference makes me just shake my head and wonder about the meaning of the word "freedom".
    Somewhere in Texas a village is missing it's idiot.

  5. #65
    JPSartre12 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by OceanHippie
    So it's better to spend our taxes supporting unwed mothers who have 6 children from 4 men, none of whom they have ever been married to? And it's OK to subsidize this "lifestyle" because, hey, at least it's heterosexual sex thats draining the money. ?
    If you had been a member for a while, you'd know that I'm against all Federal social engineering endeavors, so why would I want to add one more?
    I too have a number of gay friends. And to see these upstanding, productive, loving, caring and compassionate members of the community treated as second class citizens based wholly on their sexual preference makes me just shake my head and wonder about the meaning of the word "freedom".
    I'm glad to hear that you know responsible gays, but that doesn't change the fact that AIDS and other STDs are more prevalent in the gay community than they are amongst heteros.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    If you had been a member for a while, you'd know that I'm against all Federal social engineering endeavors, so why would I want to add one more?


    I'm glad to hear that you know responsible gays, but that doesn't change the fact that AIDS and other STDs are more prevalent in the gay community than they are amongst heteros.



    And sickle cell anemia is still highest among African Americans...TB is running rampant in many native Alaskan villages...

    Not allowing responsible adults to form a legal union based on their propensity towards disease/health concerns, seems to be teetering on the brink of running out of legitimate reasoning.

    I AM new to this forum, and I don't know everyone's politics. But, I'm a quick learner.
    Somewhere in Texas a village is missing it's idiot.

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    we've gone from a simple question to, .. can you drive at 16 in NY to,.. they cause disease... i'm dizzy. i'm just ging to adress the first question. why not let people live the way they want if it dosen't harm any one else. and regardless of sex if they care enough to try to acomplish this they must place some value on it!.. which i can't say for all those married hetro couples that end in divorce in just a few years
    Last edited by johnson; 10-03-2004 at 08:27 PM.

  8. #68
    JPSartre12 Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by OceanHippie
    And sickle cell anemia is still highest among African Americans...TB is running rampant in many native Alaskan villages...

    Not allowing responsible adults to form a legal union based on their propensity towards disease/health concerns, seems to be teetering on the brink of running out of legitimate reasoning.

    I AM new to this forum, and I don't know everyone's politics. But, I'm a quick learner.
    My point was that since Liberals have given Uncle Sam carte blanc to meddle in social engineering, we shouldn't be promoting unhealthy lifestyles. If we allow the Feds to control cigarettes because of their health risk, isn't it hypocritical to NOT do the same with homosexuality? Or, at least, not to reward the practice of homosexuality? But, that's a philosophical argument lost on pragmatic liberals.
    As I've stated in the past, to me there are two arguments against gay marriage, one is fiscal, the other is society as a whole doesn't want it. And since homosexuality isn't a protected individual right, the majority has a right to enforce its position. Louisianna just voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriages, for example.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPSartre12
    My point was that since Liberals have given Uncle Sam carte blanc to meddle in social engineering, we shouldn't be promoting unhealthy lifestyles. If we allow the Feds to control cigarettes because of their health risk, isn't it hypocritical to NOT do the same with homosexuality? Or, at least, not to reward the practice of homosexuality? But, that's a philosophical argument lost on pragmatic liberals.
    The risk comes from people such as yourself who promote ignorance about HIV for your own political purposes. It is NOT spread by homosexuality, it is spread from unprotected sex, heterosexual or homosexual. Only education will stop the spread of this virus.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by OceanHippie
    And sickle cell anemia is still highest among African Americans...TB is running rampant in many native Alaskan villages...

    Not allowing responsible adults to form a legal union based on their propensity towards disease/health concerns, seems to be teetering on the brink of running out of legitimate reasoning.

    I AM new to this forum, and I don't know everyone's politics. But, I'm a quick learner.

    OceanHippie, what are you thinking? There are innocent victims of disease, and there are guilty victims of disease. When it comes to AIDS, heterosexuals are the innocent victims..err..sometimes. Gays are the guilty victims of that disease, always.
    Last edited by JakeCJB; 10-04-2004 at 03:08 PM.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeCJB
    OceanHippie, what are you thinking? There are innocent victims of disease, and there are guilty victims of disease. When it comes to AIDS, heterosexuals are the innocent victims..err..sometimes. Gays are the guilty victims of that disease, always.

    I edited this one because ...I get jake's point now!


    As usual....go jake!
    Last edited by joebrummer; 10-04-2004 at 03:17 PM.
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  12. #72
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    Hi Joe. I edited my message with an eye roll at the end, to indicate I was being facetious in case that wasn't clear. I was trying to illustrate just how subjective and hypocritical that type of moralizing is.

  13. #73
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    I don't think homosexuals should have to go through all the hassle to be together. My argument spawns from two different viewpoints: marriage should be about uniting two people who are in love and secondly, the government should be more focused on other problems. Gay marriage is not a problem or a negative issue. It is just an issue because alot of people have hate in their hearts. I agree that people can have their own opinions, but not every opinion has to be voiced or even listened to. Let people live their lives the way they want.

  14. #74
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    For or Against Gay Marriage?

    The issue, to my mind, is considerably complex - yet the principle factor is not homosexuality, nor even lifestyle, it is legal entitlements.

    We have an existing sytem of government that has removed itself from protecting the individuals under it and their right to be themselves (and be left alone), to a system wherin the Government determines what is "right and good" for the citizens and enforces compliance.

    Should Gay Marriage be allowed? The only reason this is a question is due to the legal implications whereby individuals who are morally against the "lifestyle" are legal bound to financially support it. If the Governement had not gotten its nose under the tent with Social Programs (and particularily the resultant laws impelling compliance) to begin with there would be no question. Individual Churches would be allowed to determine whether a union was 'religiously' accepted, anyone could be 'legally' married, and the homosexual lifestyle would NOT impact anyone else - it could THEN truly be 'your' choice but not 'mine'

    Since it is, implicitly, this financial entitlement that those vying in favor homosexual unions are seeking, lets make the question more accurate: Should an individual be compelled to support, in any manner, another individual's life choices?

    When we look at the question with truly open eyes we realize it is not whether homosexual unions are right or wrong, but rather whether I am forced to support such a union against my will.

    As there are so many other entitlements behind a legal reconition of Marriage, the question of homosexual marriage DOES affect all of us on grounds other than religious, thus the Question must be viewed in THAT light (legal) rather than with a subjective (religious) bias.

    What are some of the legal entitlements a legally married couple gain:
    MSN Money (http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Taxes/P48908.asp)

    "The people who got a tax break by marrying were those with disparate incomes. The wider the gap between the paychecks of the husband and wife, the bigger the bonus."

    Workplace health and pension benefits coverage.

    Social Security retirement and survivor benefits

    Lower insurance rates.

    Automatic inheritance rights

    Preferential estate tax treatment

    Let us examine the 'healthiness' of the homosexual union (as that would impact the greatest financial burden - increased health insurance premiums):
    Following excerpts from: The American College of Pediatricians (http://www.acpeds.org/?CONTEXT=art&cat=22&art=50)

    NOTE: this article has to do with homosexual parenting, with an emphasis on the scientific studies revolving around the homosexual lifestyle. Bibliological references listed at the site.

    "Violence among homosexual partners is two to three times more common than among married heterosexual couples"

    "Homosexual partnerships are significantly more prone to dissolution than heterosexual marriages with the average homosexual relationship lasting only two to three years"

    "Homosexual men and women are reported to be inordinately promiscuous involving serial sex partners, even within what are loosely-termed "committed relationships"

    "Those current studies that appear to indicate neutral to favorable results from homosexual parenting have critical flaws such as non-longitudinal design, inadequate sample size, biased sample selection, lack of proper controls, and failure to account for confounding variables"

    "The research literature on childrearing by homosexual parents is limited. The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development. Given the current body of research, 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. This position is rooted in the best available science. January 22, 2004"


    SO, from a sound financial reason homosexual unions would entitle partners to Social Security and Healthcare benefits. As these are systems whereby participants "equally" (?) share the burden of assistance/services, individuals other than the immediate homosexual couple are financially impacted by the un-healthiness of the homosexual lifestyle. Thus on a financial basis, LEGAL recognition of homosexual unions should be denied as they would compell an unfair burden on the rest of society.

    Finally, given the current legal compulsions inferred by marriage on the rest of society, my vote would have to be against the legal recognition of homosexual unions. If we were to do away with those compulsory supports, for BOTH hetero- and homo- sexual unions, my vote would very likely change because - even if I don't like it - at least I am not supporting it.

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    Lesbian and Gay Parenting from APA website


    I. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS

    Charlotte J. Patterson

    University of Virginia

    Like families headed by heterosexual parents, lesbian and gay parents and their children are a diverse group (Martin, 1993). Unlike heterosexual parents and their children, however, lesbian and gay parents and their children are often subject to prejudice because of sexual orientation that turns judges, legislators, professionals, and the public against them, frequently resulting in negative outcomes such as loss of physical custody, restrictions on visitation, and prohibitions against adoption (Falk, 1989; Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990). As with all socially stigmatized groups, the beliefs held generally in society about lesbians and gay men are often not based in personal experience, but are instead culturally transmitted (Herek, 1991). The purpose of this summary of research findings on lesbian and gay parents and their children is to assist psychologists and other professionals to evaluate widespread beliefs in the light of empirical data and in this way ameliorate the negative effects of unwarranted prejudice.

    Because many beliefs about lesbian and gay parents and their children are open to empirical test, psychological research can evaluate their accuracy. Systematic research comparing lesbian and gay adults to heterosexual adults only began in the late 1950s, and research comparing children of gay and lesbian parents with those of heterosexual parents is of a more recent vintage. Research on lesbian and gay adults began with Evelyn Hooker's landmark study (1957) and culminated with the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 (Gonsiorek, 1991). Case reports on children of gay and lesbian parents began to appear in the psychiatric literature in the early 1970s (e.g., Osman, 1972; Weeks, Derdeyn, & Langman, 1975) and have continued to appear (e.g., Agbayewa, 1984). Beginning with the pioneering work of Martin and Lyon (1972), first person and fictionalized descriptions of life in lesbian mother families have also become available (e.g., Alpert, 1988; Clausen, 1985; Jullion, 1985; Mager, 1975; Perreault, 1975; Pollock & Vaughn, 1987; Rafkin, 1990). Systematic research on the children of lesbian and gay parents did not, however, begin to appear in major professional journals until 1978, and most of the available research has been published more recently.

    As this summary will show, the results of existing research comparing gay and lesbian parents to heterosexual parents and children of gay or lesbian parents to children of heterosexual parents are quite uniform: common sterotypes are not supported by the data.

    Without denying the clarity of results to date, it is important also for psychologists and other professionals to be aware that research in this area has presented a variety of methodological challenges, not all of which have been surmounted in every study. As is true in any area of research, questions have been raised with regard to sampling issues, statistical power, and other technical matters (e.g., Belcastro, Gramlich, Nicholson, Price, & Wilson, 1993); no individual study is entirely invincible to such criticism.

    One criticism of this body of research (Belcastro et al., 1993) has been that the research lacks external validity because it may not be representative of the larger population of lesbian and gay parents. This criticism is not justified, because nobody knows the actual composition of the entire population of lesbian mothers, gay fathers, or their children (many of whom choose to remain hidden) and hence researchers cannot possible evaluate the degree to which particular samples do or do not represent the population. In the long run, it is not the results obtained from any one specific sample, but the accumulation of findings from many different samples that will be most meaningful.



    Research in this area has also been criticized for using poorly matched or no control groups in designs that call for such controls. Particularly notable in this category has been the tendency in some studies to compare development among children of a group of divorced lesbian mothers, many of whom are living with lesbian partners, to that among children of a group of divorced heterosexual mothers who are not currently living with heterosexual partners. It will be important for future research to disentangle maternal sexual orientation from maternal status as partnered or unpartnered.

    Other criticisms have been that most studies have involved relatively small samples, that there have been inadequacies in assessment procedures employed in some studies, and that the classification of parents as lesbian, gay, or heterosexual has sometimes been problematic (e.g., some women classified by researchers as lesbian might be regarded as bisexual by other observers). It is significant, however, that even with all the questions and/or limitations that may characterize research in the area, none of the published research suggests conclusions different from those that will be summarized below.

    This summary consists of four sections. In the first, results of research on lesbian and gay adults (and parents) are summarized. In the second section, a summary of results from research comparing children of lesbian and gay parents with those of heterosexual parents or with established norms is presented. The third section summarizes research on heterogeneity among lesbian and gay families with children. The fourth section provides a brief conclusion.

    A. Lesbian and Gay Parents

    One belief that often underlies both judicial decision-making in custody litigation and public policies governing foster care and adoption has been the belief that lesbians and gay men are not fit to be parents. In particular, courts have sometimes assumed that gay men and lesbians are mentally ill, that lesbians are less maternal than heterosexual women, and that lesbians' and gay men's relationships with sexual partners leave little time for ongoing parent-child interactions (Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990). Results of research to date have failed to confirm any of these beliefs (Falk, 1989, 1994; Patterson, 1994b, 1995b, 1996).

    Mental Health of Lesbians and Gay Men

    The psychiatric, psychological, and social-work professions do not consider homosexual orientation to be a mental disorder. More than 20 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association removed "homosexuality" from its list of mental disorders, stating that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities" (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). In 1975, the American Psychological Association took the same position and urged all mental health professionals to help dispel the stigma of mental illness that had long been associated with homosexual orientation (American Psychological Association, 1975). The National Association of Social Workers has a similar policy (National Association of Social Workers, 1994).

    The decision to remove homosexual orientation from the list of mental disorders reflects the results of extensive research, conducted over three decades, showing that homosexual orientation is not a psychological maladjustment (Gonsiorek, 1991; Reiss, 1980; Hart, Roback, Tittler, Weitz, Walston, & McKee, 1978). The social and other circumstances in which lesbians and gay men live, including exposure to widespread prejudice and discrimination, often cause acute distress; but there is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning (Freedman, 1971; Gonsiorek, 1991; Hart et al., 1978; Hooker, 1957; Reiss, 1980).



    Fitness of Lesbians and Gay Men as Parents

    Beliefs that gay and lesbian adults are not fit parents likewise have no empirical foundation (Cramer, 1986; Falk, 1989; Gibbs, 1988; Patterson, 1996). Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly either in their overall mental health or in their approaches to child rearing (Kweskin & Cook, 1982; Lyons, 1983; Miller, Jacobsen, & Bigner, 1981; Mucklow & Phelan, 1979; Pagelow, 1980; Rand, Graham, & Rawlings, 1982; Thompson, McCandless, & Strickland, 1971), nor have lesbians' romantic and sexual relationships with other women been found to detract from their ability to care for their children (Pagelow, 1980). Recent evidence suggests that lesbian couples who are parenting together tend to divide household and family labor relatively evenly (Hand, 1991; Patterson, 1995a) and to report

    satisfaction with their couple relationships (Koepke, Hare, & Moran, 1992; Patterson, 1995a). Research on gay fathers has similarly found no reason to believe them unfit as parents (Barret & Robinson, 1990; Bigner and Bozett, 1990; Bozett, 1980, 1989).

    B. Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents

    In addition to judicial concerns about gay and lesbian parents themselves, courts have voiced three major kinds of fears about effects of lesbian or gay parents on children.


    The first general concern is that development of sexual identity will be impaired among children of lesbian or gay parents*for instance, that children brought up by gay fathers or lesbian mothers will show disturbances in gender identity and/or in gender role behavior (Falk, 1989; Hitchens & Kirkpatrick, 1985; Kleber, Howell, & Tibbits-Kleber, 1986). It has also been suggested that children brought up by lesbian mothers or gay fathers will themselves become gay or lesbian (Falk, 1989; Kleber et al., 1986).

    A second category of concerns involves aspects of children's personal development other than sexual identity (Falk, 1989; Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990; Kleber et al., 1986). For example, courts have expressed fears that children in the custody of gay or lesbian parents will be more vulnerable to mental breakdown, will exhibit more adjustment difficulties and behavior problems, and will be less psychologically healthy than children growing up in homes with heterosexual parents.

    A third category of specific fears expressed by the courts is that children of lesbian and gay parents may experience difficulties in social relationships (Editors of the Harvard Law Review, 1990; Falk, 1989; Hitchens & Kirkpatrick, 1985). For example, judges have repeatedly expressed concern that children living with lesbian mothers may be stigmatized, teased, or otherwise traumatized by peers. Another common fear is that children living with gay or lesbian parents may be more likely to be sexually abused by the parent or by the parent's friends or acquaintances.
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