Homosexuality can be defined as the practice of erotic behaviors or activities with a person of similar gender or sex. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). The practice which is a growing trend in America today has been one that is very controversial not only t religions but also to the law and society at large. One of the controversies on homosexuality includes the debate on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children or acquire a family an idea that I highly disagree with. Nine million children in the United States of America are being brought by a gay or lesbian parent while 25% of all same-sex couples have adopted children. (Duke journal, p 127).
A policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) seeking the authorization of homosexual couples is one to highly debate upon. AAP argues that both homosexual and heterosexual families have equal ability to provide a healthy and stable family life with equally sufficient emotional, psychological and physical support. This is however not true. The policy only seems to represent the interests of same-sex couples but not those of the children. (Byrd, A. Dean p 11). The following discussion gives the various reasons that strongly disagree with same-sex parenting.
The marriage of a man to a woman is the foundation of childbearing hence the man-woman union is vital for the well-being of the child physically, emotionally, mentally, and even academically. Allowing couples to adopt children violates the role of the man-to-woman union in childbearing and turn disrupts the social norms. Evident studies have proven a great difference between parenting among homosexual parents and that of heterosexual parents with those children from homosexual unions being prone to drug and substance use and abuse, psychological problems, stress, and depression that could result in suicide and the risk of losing their parents to HIV and AIDS. (Edding Richard, p 67).
Homosexual couples are more likely to separate or completely break their relationship hence cannot provide the necessary security to their children a factor that poses a risk to the adopted children within that union. Research has proven that same-sex couples are highly promiscuous hence less likely to establish a stable healthy family setting for their children like that of a normal heterosexual family.
A study was done recently indicates that men in homosexual relationships averagely stayed in the relationship for only two years during which they still had regular sex outside their relationship. This behavior is one of those that proves how inadequate same-sex partners are as parents.
The high level of promiscuous behavior among homosexuals poses them at risk of HIV infection hence places the children at risk of losing their parents to HIV and AIDS a situation that would leave them not only emotionally disturbed but also helpless.
Naturally, children should be brought by a father and a mother. In a situation where the heterosexual couples are in a stable marriage especially, the child develops healthily and in a stable emotional, physical, and psychological environment. Studies have shown that the healthy development of a child requires that both the mother and father be present. Same-sex adoption of children does not recognize the specific roles played by each of these parents due to the fact that only one gender is present hence cannot provide the child with a mother and father in the real sense.
The existence of a father and a mother in the life of a child serve as a way of teaching the child certain correct gender roles that define relationships in adulthood. Mothers and fathers each play a different role in the life of a child hence the existence of both parents is essential for the normal growth of a child. (Ross D. Parke et al, p 236).
A survey done on lesbians indicated that 75% of those that had been interviewed had sought psychological support mainly due to persistent depression and sadness. A study done by the Archives of General Psychiatry indicated that those identified as homosexuals and bisexuals had mental complications. Dr. Bailey mainly associated this condition with the discrimination and stigmatization against the homo and bisexuals that lead to their unhappiness and depression. (J.M. Bailey et al, p 243).
An ever-growing concern is that of the psychological trauma and adjustment issues children in same-sex families face. Such issues include low self-esteem, depression, behavior problems, anxiety, and the likelihood of parents having mental complications. Another concern is that of children being discriminated against by their peers resulting in an adverse effect on their social interactions. There has been frequent fear of discrimination reports of children with same-sex parents by their peers with most children preferring to keep the nature of their parents a secret.
These children are more secretive about their parents being homosexuals than their parents themselves. ( G.A. Javaid ). One teenage girl explained the situation during an interview and said, “ life is hard while having a lesbian.parent, we have never revealed this to anyone but people always find out and mock me. No one else has same-sex parents and it hurts to have no one to talk to. (l. Rafkin, p 14). A case study performed in 1993 of eleven children who found the fact that one of their parents was a lesbian after the parents divorced indicated that the children strongly felt the urge to keep the incident a secret from their friends with the explanation that they wouldn’t risk losing their friends. At the same time, the children reported feeling the need to talk to someone. This confusion brought a lot of loneliness, depression, shame and anxiety. (Tamar D. et al p 453).
Studies have continued to show that those children, especially boys, with same-sex parents are highly likely to be made fun of by their peers about their parent’s or even their sexual preferences and sexuality. Most school students said that they have witnessed anti-gay groups in their respective schools a finding that shows the high level of discrimination against gay or lesbian students or families in schools. This stigmatization is not only common in high schools but also among college students who according to the study reported their lack of willingness in involving themselves with friends whose parents were homosexuals.
Another study conducted at Mid-Western University by Professor King indicated that children from lesbian parents received similar discriminatory treatment to those whose parents were ex-convicts. An Australian research study carried out in 1996 gave findings on the peer interactions fifty-eight children in primary school whose parents were homosexuals. The teacher respondents reported that the children had been rudely harassed by their peers and were mainly viewed as homosexuals themselves.
The respondents further reported that some heterosexual parents had given instructions to have their children separated from those of homosexual parents. These children evidently went through social, psychological and even emotional suffering a situation that no child should be allowed to go through hence a more reason why same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children. (Norman Anderssen et al p 43).
Some studies have indicated that children brought up by homosexual parents are more likely to engage in same-sex relationships later in life. A study by Tasker and Golombok indicated that 67% of the homosexual children interviewed were those brought up by lesbian mothers. No child from a homosexual mother reported any involvement in a same-sex relationship. According to the study, there is a strong connection between a child’s sexual preference and the tendency of the mother in exposing her physical affection to her same-sex partner when the children are still young, the number of lesbian partners the mother has had, and her frankness to her children about homosexuality. (Tasker and Golombok, p 422).
A study was done recently indicates that only 21% of lesbians wanted their children to be heterosexual while 65% did not care. These study findings clearly show that a child’s sexual preference is likely to be affected by a family environment that practices or accepts homosexuality. A recent study found out those children with lesbian mothers fear that they will turn out to be homosexual. (Ann O’Connell p 290-291).
Other studies further show that children brought up by same-sex parents are confused about their gender. The children do not conform to their gender and as a result, do not adapt to any gender roles. According to the study, lesbian mothers tend to instill feminine roles in their sons and masculine roles in their daughters resulting in homosexuality in the future. (Stacey & Biblarz p 21). Girls with fathers who are gay on the other hand were said to have indicated boyish behavior and attitude with boys from lesbian parents showing more interest in girls’ toys and games than those from those in heterosexual parents. The boys cried much more often under the same pressurizing situations and were also noted to seek consultation from the female teachers. (J.M. Bailey et al p 45).
The recent scientific and medical studies have eliminated homosexuality from being a mental illness as was the belief in the early years. Further research proves it to be a major cause of psychological disorders, drugs, and substance abuse, and also suicide. Suicides among gay people have been reported to be 3 to 4 times higher than those among heterosexual men.
In a survey carried out worldwide in 1985 and that included a sample of one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five lesbian between the ages of twenty-five to forty-four years, a high prevalence in mental complications was recorded with 21% of the respondents reported their regular thoughts to commit suicide.18% had made several suicide attempts while 68% reported long-term mental health complications that included anxiety, depression, fear and constant sadness. The study also marked a high rate of drug and substance use among the respondents. (Theo G. M. Sandfort et al, p 45).
A larger survey done in the Netherlands in 2001 found out that homosexuals experienced more mental as well as physical complications than the ordinary population. (Susan D. Cochran & Vickie M. Mays, p 64). The involvement of homosexuals in extremely risky sexual activities biologically makes them prone to mental disorders. (George F. Lemp et al, p 14).The National Comorbidity survey study indicated that homosexuals are more likely to suffer from psychological health problems, engage in drug and substance abuse as well as thoughts about suicide. (Stephen E. Gilman, et al p 33-939).
A series of three research studies carried out nationally in the United States of America found out that men who are gay are more likely to experience panic attacks and attempt suicides than heterosexual men. Lesbians on the other hand are more prone to substance and drug abuse, stress, depression, and anxiety disorders than non-lesbian women. Higher rates of depression were marked among the gays and lesbians with both indicating constant psychological disorders and frequent visitations to mental health institutions for observation and treatment. (Graaf, Rob V. Bijl, & Paul Schnabel p 23).
Parental mental complications can adversely affect children in certain ways. Depression is a mother may for example hamper the psychological as well as the cognitive growth of a child and also hinder the development of a child’s brain during infancy and early childhood. A higher psychopathology rate among children is also evident in instances where a mother is depressed. Depressed parents are seen as ineffective parents who are not likely to practice sufficient parental roles on their children. The children brought up by depressed parents show academic, emotional, and behavioral complications. (Geraldine Dawson et al, p 209)
Another recent research carried out between the years 2003 to 2005 by the Centre for Disease Control indicated that 42% of ten thousand bisexual and gay men had at one time abused drugs with 77% having used marijuana,37% used cocaine, 28% amyl nitrate,29% ecstasy and 27% having used stimulants. ( Michael C. Clatts, et al. p 31). The findings are shown in these studies that were carried out in different regions and using a representative sample gives a clear indication that same-sex couples are not fit to adopt children. Aside from depression and mental disorders, drug use and addiction is another major factor thatt promotes a parent’s neglection for his or her children.
There is evidence enough that homosexual parents are unfit to be parents and are more likely to neglect their children at one point in life, a situation that will heavily affect the children. The lives of homosexuals are filled with promiscuity, drug and substance abuse, mental disorders, stress, depression, and other vices indicated in the above discussion. Clearly, these are not the kind of parents we want for our children in society.
The characteristics of this type of parents and the many complications that surround them are the same reasons why children are taken away from their biological parents to be placed under foster care. Why then should we place our children under parental care similar to that which they experienced in the hands of their neglectful biological parents? It is not right. Homosexuals should not at all be allowed to adopt children. Allowing them to adopt children will not be in the best interest of the child but will instead be to satisfy the needs of these same-sex couples.
Ann O’Connell, Voices from the Heart: The Developmental Impact of a Mother’s Lesbianism on her Adolescent Children, Smith Coll. Studies in Soc. Work 4 (1993):290–91.
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Timothy J. Dailey, Comparing the lifestyles of homosexual couples to married couples. Family Research Council Report. Web.