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Dale's Web Pages

Response to the Vermont Psychiatric Association Amici Brief in the Vermont Marriage Case


VI. THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

The acceptance of homosexual marriage would create a situation under which the government would encourage homosexual individuals and couples to acquire children. Most of the research has focused on children conceived in previous heterosexual relationships, but as more homosexuals "come out" at an earlier age, fewer are marrying and having children in heterosexual relationships. Today homosexuals are acquiring children through artificial insemination, surrogacy arrangements, adoption and foster care.

The lower court in the Vermont case ruled that the only legitimate state interest in restricting marriage to one male and one female is that it "furthers the link between procreation and child-rearing;"

When a baby is born, everyone knows who the mother is. Legal marriage allows the state to assign fatherhood responsibilities to husband of the women. While persons of the same sex may acquire children through various means, they cannot conceive a child that is biologically the offspring of both members of the couple. The children acquired by same-sex couples have at least one other biological parent with whom they are not living full time. There is substantial evidence that children feel a tie to their biological parents. The desire of many adopted children seek out their birth parents has presented a major challenge to a social policy constructed on the premise that these children would have no interest or right to receive this information. Children conceived by anonymous sperm donation have also expressed an interest in contact with their biological parents. The following are comments from a young woman conceived by artificial insemination:

"I only recently found out my father was not really my father. My parents divorced when I was 7, and I have had very little contact with him since them. Two years ago, at 16, when I expressed an interest in seeing him again, my mother decided to tell me that my dad wasn't my father and that my father's half of me came from a test tube.

"Advocates of donor babies argue that biology is not an issue in parenting, the love and care a child receives is all that matters. ... I don't see how anyone can consciously rob someone of something as basic and essential as heritage. Parents must realize that all the love and attention in the world can't mask that underlying almost subconscious feeling that something is askew.

"That the child deserves the right to know a biological father is not a consideration. One couple that Elizabeth Noble, author of "Having Your Baby by Donor Insemination," interviewed said that telling the child "would serve absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever." That assumes the child would have no thoughts on the matter of paternity because the parents don't. It seems no one thought I might want to know of the other half of my genetic makeup. But children are not commodities or possessions. They are people with an equal stake in the process. (Brown 1994)

The following excerpts from another article on the subject suggests that this young woman's reaction is not uncommon:

"According to the American Fertility Society (AFS), nearly 30,000 children are born each year the products of donated sperm, and a few hundred of donated eggs. Most of these babies will never know their donor parent, even if they are told that they are the products of donor insemination.

"With early generations of donor offspring now well into adulthood, however, their experience has led more and more people to question the practice of anonymity.

"Instead of being thankful that a third party helped the couple to have a child, the infertile parent may grow to resent the process, the donor, the spouse, and sometimes even the child.

"...clinical social worker Annette Baran, co-author of Lethal Secrets, a study of the emotional effects of donor insemination... 'The tension,' says Baran, can strain couples to the breaking point. 'With one couple,' she recalls, 'problems began while the child was still in the womb.' The infertile husband couldn't stop thinking of the baby as another man's. So his wife had an abortion.

"Stephen Feldschul, operations manager at Idant Laboratories, a sperm bank in New York. "Open donation," he says, "opens up a whole psychological can of worms and can hurt bonding between the child and the nongenetic parent." Idant suggests that parent not tell the child she is a donor baby.

"Candace Turner... is the 43-year-old founder of Donors' Offspring, Inc., a network based in Sarcoxie, Missouri, that attempts to link donors and their children, as well as provide support and information to anyone involved in the donor process. Turner heard of her high-tech beginnings during an argument between her mother and stepfather. "I was relieved to know that the strain in the relationship between my father and me was not my fault," (Roman 1993)

If the right of persons of the same-sex to marry were granted, then theoretically the child conceived artificially by a woman in a same-sex relationship would be considered by the state as the biological offspring of another woman. There would be no need for adoption. This fiction totally ignores the child's rights and interests and cannot be considered in the best interests of the child.

Same-sex marriage affects the child's right to have a parent of both sexes. These children are not tragically fatherless or motherless, but purposely fatherless or motherless. This difference should not be overlooked. It is one thing for the society to try to determine the best interests of a child who is already in existence and already suffered the loss of a parent by the death or the dissolution of the relationship between the biological parents, it is another thing to encourage the creation of purposely, and permanently fatherless or motherless children.  

VII. DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS OF THE CHILD

Substantial evidence now exists that children benefit from exposure to persons of both sexes. Such exposure helps the child to fully develop his or her own sexual identity and to relate to persons of both sexes in the real world. New research on the way in which the brain functions makes clear that this need for exposure to persons of both sexes on an intimate basis is not a mere social preference, but a response to the biological imperative. For example, there is a growing body of research on the positive effects of contact with the father during the first 3 years of life. Henry Biller has studied parent child interaction and compared his findings with other work in the field. The following a few quotes from his book on the subject:

Differences between the mother and father can be very stimulating to the infant, even those that might appear quite superficial to the adult. Even if the father and mother behave in generally similar ways, they provide contrasting images for the infant. The father is usually larger than the mother, his voice is deeper, his clothes are not the same and he moves and reacts differently. Furthermore, parents differ in odor and skin texture. The father and mother offer the child two different kinds of persons to learn about as well as providing separate by special sources of love and support. The infant also learns that different people can be expected to fulfill different needs. For example, the infant may prefer the mother when hungry or tired and the father when seeking stimulation of more active play.

The infant who receives verbal as well as physical stimulation from both mother and father profits from the experience. ..Mothers and father, in addition to having distinctive sounding voices, have different verbal styles when communicating to infants and children as well as to other adults. Such differences provide the infant with an important source of stimulation and learning.

Because some of my initial findings suggested that father absence during the first few years of life might inhibit certain aspects of the child's development, I began to observe more closely parent-infant relationships in various types of two-parent families. I discovered that when they are involved with infants, father tend to be more physically active with them than mothers are, playing more vigorously. This seems to be not only because fathers may be less concerned with their children's fragility, especially if they have sons, but also because they themselves have more of a need for physically stimulating activities. It was also apparent that infants with involved fathers formed strong paternal attachments and were usually at a developmental advantage compared to those who had close relationships only with their mothers...

Involved fathers are more likely to stimulate the infant to explore and investigate new objects whereas mothers tend to engage their infants in relatively prestructured and predictable activities.

Infants who develop positive relationships with both their parents are likely to feel secure in exploring their environment in a relaxed manner and to enjoy being picked up by others...

In the second year of life, the boys began to demonstrate more interest in interaction with their fathers, although the girls did not display any consistent preferences. In fact, by the end of the second year, all except one of the boys seemed to have a stronger paternal than maternal attachment...

Infants who have two positively involved parents tend to be more curious and eager to explore than those who do not have a close relationship with their fathers. .. Well-fathered infants are more secure and trusting in branching out in their explorations, and they may be somewhat more advanced in crawling, climbing and manipulating objects.

Psychologist Frank Pedersen and his colleagues (1980) found that several measures of infant competence were correlated with the degree to which five- and six-month-old babies were involved with their fathers. (Biller 1993)

Advocates of homosexual marriage have admitted that it may better for a child to have two parents than one, but that the sex of the two parents is irrelevant. Biller discusses a study which appears to refute that claim:

Developmental psychology researcher Norma Radin and her colleagues (1991) have collected especially provocative evidence concerning the special significance of paternal involvement for infants and toddlers. They studied grandparent/ grandchild relationships in predominantly working-class households in which adolescent unwed mothers were living with one or both or their parents. Overall, young children who had positively involved grandfathers displayed more competent behavior than those with relatively uninvolved grandfathers or absent grandfathers. Although other researchers have sometimes noted the contribution of the grandmother to the development of the child living in a single-mother family, Radin reported no clear-cut impact, suggesting a redundancy between the two forms of maternal influence. On the other hand, the grandfather's nurturance seemed to contribute in several ways to the young child's adaptability. His observed nurturance was associated with infants being more responsive to maternal requests and with the cognitive competence of two year olds. Furthermore, relatively high grandfather involvement in child care was related to observations of less fear, anger and distress being displayed by one-year-olds, especially boys. (Biller 1993)

Barbara Eisold (1998) presents a case study of homosexual parenting in "Recreating Mother: The Consolidation of 'Heterosexual' Gender Identification in the young son of Homosexual Men." Two homosexual men "Daddy" and his partner Don, who is 20 years younger decided to have a child. Daddy arranged an artificial insemination "with a woman in another land. In exchange for relinquishing all parent rights, she received excellent health care and financial recompense." The child - Nick - was cared for by a hired nanny. He began attending school when he was only 2. When he was 2 1/2 the Nanny was abruptly fired and replaced. The replacement was also fired and replaced. The men then adopted a second child.

At age 4 1/2 Nick began acting out and was sent to a female child psychologist. He was struggling to understand family relationships. "Nick was often beside himself with anxiety. He wanted desperately to be liked by other children and by [his teacher]. He had trouble waiting and was not certain about what would make him likable." He was confused by his experience that "mommies" -- his birth mommy, his nanny -- were paid and could be fired. He talked of buying a new mother.

Eisold asks: "How do we explain why this child, the son of a male couple, seemed to need to construct a woman -- "Mother" -- with whom he could play the role of a loving boy/man? How did such an idea enter his mind? What inspired his intensity on the subject. And how, finally, did his construction affect the work he did to consolidate his sense of what it means to be a man."

Eisold's article is critiqued in the same journal by Karen Saakvitne. For Saakvitne, Eisold is applying cultural biases about gender, sexual orientation, attachment, and separation to this situation. Saakvitne believes that the two men should make their relationship more explicit to Nick.

Reading through the case and the critique, one sees precisely how the new parenting arrangements put children at risk.  

VIII. THE CHILD'S NEED FOR STABILITY

Separation from one's biological parents is a wrenching experiences. Even when the separation happens before birth or through early adoption there are residual effects. Children who have experienced one such loss have a greater need for stability and are more likely to react negatively to subsequent losses. Every child raised by a homosexual individual or couple has already experienced one such separation. It is therefore essential that they be placed in the most stable situation possible.

The VPA brief says that: "Social science research confirms that many gay men and lesbian women live in committed, long term relationships." What the VPA brief does not claim that "many" homosexual men live in faithful, sexually exclusive relationships, because it is well documented that relationships between homosexual men are rarely sexually exclusive.

The VPA brief quotes David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison's study The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop. as a "landmark study" to demonstrate that "marriages between same-sex partners would be functionally equivalent to marriages between opposite-sex couples." Here is what McWhirter and Mattison actually say -- quoted at length:

"Ninety-five percent of the couples have an arrangement whereby the partners may have sexual activity with others at some time under certain conditions. Only seven couples have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated in another way, all couples with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.

Our culture has defined faithfulness in couples always to include or be synonymous with sexual fidelity, so it is little wonder that relationships begin with that assumption. It is only through time that the symbolic nature of sexual exclusivity translated into the real issues of faithfulness. When that happens, the substantive, emotional dependability of the partner, not sex, becomes the real measure of faithfulness."(p.253)

"Each man grew up feeling that being sexually exclusive was an issue of morality. In addition, they grew up believing that heterosexuality had intrinsic moral value while homosexuality was basically immoral. To arrive at the acceptance of being gay and of extrarelational sex, each of these men has had to alter his own value systems. Because gay men are automatically placed outside mainstream values anyway, some find it easier to explore nontraditional sexual patterns."

"When we ask the men in this study why they want sex outside the relationship, their answers include the following responses:
 

  • "All my sexual needs are not met by my partner. Sex together gets boring at times and I need new material for my fantasies."
  • My partner is not really my sexual type. I still like to have sex with a certain type of man."
  • "It’s fun and adventure. The more variety and number of partners, the more adventure and fun."
  • "I have some kinky sexual interests that my partner doesn’t share."
  • "We have found that having sex with others often enhances our sex together afterwards."
  • "Sometimes I do it with another guy because I’m so angry at my lover."
  • "At times I get scared with how emotionally tied to each other we are. Having outside sex at times gives me a temporary distance I feel I need to have from my lover."(p.254-255)

"The biggest difficult we uncovered in the discussion on this issue was the intellectual and emotional dichotomy the couples experience in putting sexual nonexclusivity into practice. In principle most accept the idea of sex play with others, but when their partner exercises the option, feeling of jealous, fear of loss and abandonment, or just plain anger frequently erupt . In some instances the men are unaware of their own irrational responses. This invariably set the stage for a disagreement, fight or withdrawal. Many men say they recognize their double standard. "It’s OK for me to have sex with someone else because I know how I feel about you, but it’s not OK for you to do the same thing." The undelivered communication in these cases is, "because I can’t or don’t really trust you." It is a heritage of male training in our culture."(p. 256)

Children are negatively effected by divorce and separation and by the turmoil which usually proceeds the breakup. This is why the studies of children of homosexuals compared them with children of divorced or unwed mothers. The researchers knew that the majority of children of homosexuals had experienced the loss of divorce and couldn't be fairly compared to children who had both biological parents living with them in their home.

While the advocates for homosexual marriage insist that allowing marriage will decrease the rate of break-up in homosexual relationships. This is unproven. Given the infidelity and high rate of dissolution even a significant decrease would not protect the majority of children being raised in homosexual families. Having lost one or more biological parents, many would have to deal with the loss of a stepparent or a series of stepparents. There have already been a number of messy custody cases involving homosexual parents, in which the non-biological parent fought for visitation or custody after the breakup.

Even if the relationship continues the child may be effected by parental infidelity. Therapists and sociologists have found that children suffer from their parents' extra-marital affairs, even when these affairs appear to have been successfully hidden from the children:

While an affair is taking place, children sense that the parent is expending emotional energy outside the family, the specialists say, or they may sense rejection and feel they have done something wrong. Moreover, experts found, such children are prone to have affairs themselves when they marry. The assumption has been that unless a marriage was in jeopardy, a discreet affair had little if any impact on the child. But increasing clinical evidence and a recent study suggest that subtle changes in an adulterous parent's behavior can unsettle children regardless of whether the truth leads out and even if the children are too young to understand. (Brooks1989)

Even the advocates for same sex marriage such as Andrew Sullivan do not see sexual fidelity as an achievable or necessary condition for homosexual men. Sullivan notes that "there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extra-marital outlets between two men than between a man and woman. (Sullivan 1995)

While homosexual couples may be able to incorporate infidelity into their relationship, there is no evidence that the children of such couples would be as flexible. Indeed, as Andrew Sullivan further notes, "the lack of children gives gay couples greater freedom. Their failures entail fewer consequences for others." (Sullivan 1995) The establishment of same-sex marriage would create a class of children for whom these failures would have direct consequences.
 

IX. PARENTAL DISEASE AND DEATH

Homosexual males are highly likely to be infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Epidemiologist predict that one out of two men who have sex with men will be HIV positive before they are 50. Numerous diseases including human papilloma virus caused cancer and various forms of hepatitis are epidemic within the homosexual male community. Children created for or given to homosexual male couples may have to care for a sick or dying parent or parents.

While there is no evidence of family members contract HIV through casual contact, other diseases common among homosexuals can be contracted through non-sexual contact and the risks though small need to be considered.

X. ATTITUDES TO BOTH SEXES

The VPA brief claims "research to date has demonstrated that lesbian mothers and heterosexual mothers have comparable attitudes toward sex roles." (p. 19) There is, however, substantial evidence that homosexual women do not have positive attitudes toward men in general. For example, a study of 34 lesbian and 31 heterosexual women ages 21 to 63 by Miller et al (1980) found that lesbian women had more negative attitudes toward than heterosexual women. The following are quotes from the article:

"Feelings about men ...for the homosexual sample the consensus was quite negative... 21% said they were not even attracted to men as friends. A few of their comments are quoted as follows:

"I feel that for me it is non-productive to be involved with men as they are difficult to deal with as equals, i.e., lovers and friends all at the same time."

"Most men are too sexist to deal with on a deeper level."

"... men are socially conditioned, too dominant, cold, punitive and not loving. I don't like men in general because of the macho-stereotype. My experiences have all been negative."

"...We don't usually have a lot in common."

"I have a hard time dealing with the male ego."

"I was raped at age 12."

"...I believe that in this society it is not possible for non-equals to be friends (as women and men)."

"Negative, to the point of being repulsive, is the word to summarize the general feelings about men. This was the main difference between the two groups of women. The heterosexual women indicated very positive feelings about men."

According to Miller: "This evidence indicates that a significant number of lesbians experienced poor parental relationships with both parents, and especially with the father. This finding is consistent with a number of other studies of lesbians. (Bell & Wienberg, 1978; Caprio, 1954, Saghir & Robbins, 1973)"

Lesbians have frequently had negative experiences with their fathers; are more likely to rank their fathers negatively; are more likely to have been sexually assaulted; are more likely to have negative attitudes to men in general and toward masculinity. In a study by Loney (1973) homosexual women were more likely to strongly agree with the statement "Fathers neglect their children."

When their mothers harbor such negative attitudes toward men, their sons and daughters attitudes toward themselves and toward the opposite sex can be negatively effected. This can be complicated by the fact that many lesbians restrict their socializing to other lesbians.

XI. THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE FROM SEXUAL PREDATORS

Paedophiles are adults (over 95% male) whose primary sexual orientation is toward children. Contrary to popular opinion, boys are at substantial risk, Approximately 35% of paedophiles prey exclusively on boys. According to a study by Abel "the mean number of victims of nonincestuous offenders against female children was 19.8, while that of such offenders against male children was 150.2." (Abel 1988)

Paedophiles often take extreme measures to gain access to children, often choosing professions which give them contact with children of the sex and age range to which they are attracted. Some paedophiles marry in order to have easy access to children. Recognizing the extreme danger to children posed by the chronic paedophile, extreme caution should be exercisized in all adoption, foster care, or custody decision to assure that children are not turned over to sexual predators. Given the determined predatory nature of the paedophile, care must be taken to verify that single men or male couples, particularly those presenting themselves as homosexuals in adoption, custody, or fostering cases are not in fact paedophiles seeking victims.

Adults who were themselves sexually abused as children are more likely to be sexually aroused by children and adolescents. Homosexual men are far more likely than heterosexual men to report childhood sexual abusive and therefore at higher risk of being sexually attracted to children or adolescents. Remafedi (1994) questioned 239 men aged 13 to 21 who identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual and found that 42% had been sexually abused or assaulted. In another study by Doll et al. 42% of homosexual men attending an STD clinic reported sexual contacts prior to age 19 which could potentially be considered as sexual abuse, 40.8% definitely met the criteria for sexual abuse (force, difference in age, or included anal penetration before age 11). What is of particular interest is that only 39% of the men who reported abuse regarded the experience negatively both at the time it happened and at the time they reported it. According to the report, "many of our participants evaluated the contact neutrally or positively either at the time of the experience or as an adult. Clinicians have suggested that these responses may represent a reframing of the experience in a more positive light in order to deal with a potentially overwhelming negative experience."

Those adult homosexual men remember sexual abuse as a positive experience are more likely to view sexual relationships with a male child or adolescent as potentially positive. The following comments by homosexual activist and author Larry Kramer about the childhood sexual experiences of homosexual men suggests a willingness to tolerate this activity within the homosexual community:

In those instances where children do have sex with their homosexual elders, be they teachers or anyone else, I submit that often, very often, the child desires the activity, and perhaps even solicits it, either because of a natural curiosity that will or will not develop along these lines, or because he or she is homosexual and innately knows it. This is far from "recruitment." Obviously, there are instances in which the child is unwilling, and is a victim of sexual abuse, homo- or heterosexual. But, as with straight children anxious for the experience with someone of the opposite sex, these are kids who seek solicit, and consent willingly to sex with someone of the same sex. And unlike girls or women forced into rape and traumatized, most gay men have warm memories of their earliest and early sexual encounters; when we share these stories with each other, they are invariably positive ones.(Kramer 1981)

The propensity of homosexual males to engage in sex with minors has been documented in several studies. Goode & Troiden (1980) surveyed the sexual histories of 150 homosexual men and found that 69% of homosexual men ages 30 -4 0 had sex with a minor at least once since they were 21. "Slightly less than 1 out of 10 of the men in the sample (9%) had had sex with a boy 16 or younger" when they were 21 or older. In addition 45% had 6 or more under age partners, 78% had engaged in group sex, 65% had more than 100 sexual partners.

Other homosexual writers have justified sexual relationships between adults and adolescents, as this quote from Man to Man: Gay Couples in American by Charles Silverstein, a homosexual psychologist demonstrates:

"Gay boys frequently look for older men to show them what being gay is about or to be initiated into gay sex. For many, it is a necessary part of the coming-out process, a transition from childhood to adulthood, and not the beginning of a lifelong pattern of sex with older men. Some boys look for an adult who will assure them that their feelings are acceptable. Frequently, the boy is not primarily interested in secx, although here, too, variation exist. He wants reassurance, and although some boys are able to get it just by talking with an adult, others can accept it only when sex is included. The sex is often irrelevant and except as sexual lessons for the boy, not of great importance. But the comfort and reassurance are of monumental significance. The boys trusts and learns from the man, offering his loyalty in return. Most boys who have had such an experience go on to find a partner their own age."

Silverstein is clearly justifying sexual relations between adult homosexual men and adolescent boys -- regardless of whether or not the boy will become a homosexual adult. These comments would serve to reassure the homosexual man molesting adolescent and even pre-adolescent boys that his actions are not only not dangerous to the boy but beneficial. Such comments by an author popular in homosexual circles and not universally condemned must be viewed as laying open to question the homosexual male community's commitment to protecting boys from sexual exploitation by adults.

While Silverstein is considered to be a strong supporter of the more extreme forms of sexual behavior, even those in the homosexual community who condemn the excesses of sexual liberation such as Larry Kramer fail to recognize the danger toward boys of sexual experiences with adults.

Homosexual activists Kirk and Madsen in their book After the Ball encourage homosexual men to moderate the extreme aspects of their behavior as part of a campaign to achieve social acceptance, yet fail to condemn adult/adolescent sex. One of the items of their "Self-Policing Social Code" is: "If I am a Pederast or Sadomasochist, I'll keep it under wraps and out of Gay Pride Marches."

As a solution to the destructive behavior which is so evident within the homosexual community Kirk and Madsen offer "A modest proposal to resurrect the 'traditional gay family." According to Kirk and Madsen, "The 'traditional nuclear family' is, admittedly, defective, the source of much suffering and neurosis. But it also serves good and necessary social ends." They recommend resurrecting the Greek model of institutionalized pederasty under which, "An attractive boy --of say, sixteen or so "attracts the attention of 30 year old man and they form a sexual relationship. The youth shares his "beauty and enthusiasm." The adult "tangible assets." According to Kirk and Madsen, "this arrangement discharged a natural need -- for homosexual gratification -- in a manner advantageous to public character and morality."

Kirk and Madsen suggest that "Something like this, suitably updated (that is, without the wife and kids), is what we tentatively recommend as a new ideal for gay men -- a family structure of their own."

There are additional risks for a boy being raised by a homosexual male couple. Heterosexual couples normally socialize with other heterosexual couples or single adults, and usually the bond of friendship is closest between members of the same-sex and therefore contains no sexual risk. Sexual relationships with the husband or wife of a friend are considered a betrayal of the friendship. More importantly, the heterosexual community strongly discourages sexual relations between adults and children. Heterosexual parents would be horrified if a friend was to show even the slightest sexual interest in their children or adolescents.

On the other hand, homosexual couples generally socialize with other homosexuals and all those with whom they socialize are considered as potential sexual partners. Indeed, there is evidence that for homosexual men sexual relationships with friends are the norm rather than the exception. Sexuality is the organizing principle of the homosexual community. This creates jealousy, tension, suspicion, and opportunity. Of even more concern is the fact that many homosexual men consider the adolescent males as potential sexual partners and this includes the sons of their friends and lovers.

While homosexual activists like to deny even the possibility of sexual abuse in homosexual families, there is evidence that such abuse takes place. Caprio (1955) described sexual activity between a boy and his homosexual father and friends of his father.


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