Recently I did a little reading about the opposition to gay parenting online out of morbid curiosity, I suppose. I read an article by Glenn Stanton, “Why Children Need Father-Love and Mother Love”. Mr. Stanton stated, “Much of the value mothers and fathers bring to their children is due to the fact that mothers and fathers are different. And by cooperating together and complementing each other in their differences, they provide these good things that same-sex caregivers cannot.”
The article goes on to quote Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School who has written a book, “Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care For Your Child”. Dr. Pruett states that, “fathers do not mother” and that a father brings unique contributions to parenting that a mother cannot, and then the opposite for mothers. Some of the other claims I found in this article were:
- Fathers Push Limits; Mothers Encourage Security
- Mothers and Fathers Communicate Differently
- Mothers and Fathers Play Differently
- Mothers and Fathers Parent Differently
- Mothers and Fathers Discipline Differently
- Fathers and Mothers Prepare Children for Life Differently
- Fathers Provide A Look at the World of Men; Mothers, the World of Women
- Fathers and Mothers Teach Respect for the Opposite Sex
- Fathers Connect Children with Job Markets
The article concluded that children need access to the different and complementary ways that mothers and fathers parent. It also claimed that children of same-sex parents will suffer from a lack of confidence, security, and independence, among other preposterous assumptions.
I agree that two heterosexual men with the personalities and characteristics of my own father raising a child would not be a good thing. The child would live in squalor, eat nothing but fast food and junk food, be poorly clothed and probably grow up to be an insensitive sportsaholic!
But these “studies” are completely off base because they assume that homosexual parents have strictly heterosexual characteristics and personalities. It seems that gay men and lesbians are stereotyped as sissies and bull dikes by the anti-gay crowd, but for this argument, we suddenly all take on the characteristics of heterosexuals. So which is it?
If they would have examined gay and lesbian couples, they would have seen that masculine and feminine elements provided by heterosexual parents are present in gay relationships. They’re just not defined in the traditional, heterosexual way and may not be limited to one partner or the other. One partner doesn’t necessarily play the feminine mother role while the other plays a masculine father role, but feminine and masculine elements are represented just as well as in the average heterosexual couple.
I also didn’t see in this article any mention of heterosexual parents who don’t play traditional parenting roles. I know a couple where the mother is the aggressive and competitive primary wage earner for the family and the father stays home with the children, cooks, cleans, and does the laundry.
In our relationship, for instance, Nick is athletic and will teach our children sports. He’s also highly competitive and successful in the business world. He’s a great cook and a nurturer. I’m creative, keep a clean, well-organized home, and am likely to play more of a typical heterosexual father’s role with nurturing.
As far as teaching respect for the opposite sex, I don’t understand where this claim came from. I assume that this relates to the stereotype of man-hating lesbians and woman-hating gay men, but there were no facts to back up the claim that gay parents cannot or will not teach their children to respect the opposite sex. I’ve personally never encountered a disrespect of the opposite sex in the gay community and certainly wouldn’t teach it to my children.
Nick and I are not two identical personalities who will be two-dimensional parents. Our personalities complement each other and I have no doubt that we’re well-equipped as a couple to provide our children with a well-rounded childhood that exposes them to a healthy dose of femininity and masculinity. If neither of us had nurturing tendencies, we wouldn’t want to have children. Both of us will mother and father our children, as is fitting with our unique personalities. Anti-gay parenting claims are based on flawed thinking, prejudice, and fear. Only time and demonstration that we are capable parents will cause people to think for themselves, challenge prejudice and bigoted teachings, and eventually change negative attitudes toward gay parenting!