RE: Heather has Two Mommies….: It’s About Heather

I’d like to thank Justin for elaborating upon my initial post and also direct you to Stanley Kurtz’s post on the NY Times Magazine piece, “Gay Donor or Gay Dad?“. As Justin explains:

With “alternative” families, it’s not so much that the family’s story is more complicated as that it must be made complicated in order to create the illusion of this intangible purpose. Merely from the fact that the parents inherently refuse to acknowledge that their relation to their child is not “normal” — let alone “ideal” — the emphasis changes. Their relationship was never about merging themselves in the person of a child. The surrogate parent — from the start a necessity — was chosen, at best, for “traits that I want for my child” or, at worst, for being “amenable to the lifestyle that I wish to live.”

Kurtz also treads along a similar path:

Implicitly and explicitly, the NYT article makes the case for accepting this radical new family form–using arguments we’re familiar with from the battle over same-sex marriage. These families want the same thing as everyone else, we’re told. Structural novelty notwithstanding, it’s said that the day-to-day lives of these bold family experimenters are boringly normal. Yes, we’re told, there are problems and instability, yet the same can be said of conventional families. And we’re led to believe that many of the problems faced by these unconventional families stem from the lack of role-models and legal safeguards. That lays the groundwork for a “conservative case” for defining conventional marriage and family out of existence. Just give us the legal safeguards and social precedents for three- and four-parent arrangements and we can prevent many tragic misunderstandings between potentially warring adults…

To be clear, my primary concern is for the children, not the parents. Do I have sympathy for parents in alternative relationships who want to start a family? Yes. But just because they have the legal ability to bring a child into this world, it doesn’t mean it is right. In the aforementioned piece, Kurtz points to a study, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs, which can be read here. Here is the explanation of the problem that needs to be confronted (for the entire Executive Summary, please read the extended entry, below):

This report examines the emerging global clash between adult rights and children’s needs in the new meaning of parenthood. It features some of the surprising voices of the first generation of young adults conceived with use of donor sperm. Their concerns, and the large body of social science evidence showing that children, on average, do best when raised by their own married mother and father, suggest that in the global rush to redefine parenthood we need to call a time-out.

Whether it is through redefining marriage or genetically rengineering children (so they can have, say, 3 genetic parents): all are done to sate the desire of the parents–the children are secondary. These same undesirable motivations are not unique to non-traditional families, but the innovations that are cropping up to accomodate the changing definition of family are being implemented with little forethought for the consequences that will be most felt by the children of such genetic creativity.
The call for a time-out–to say “Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”–needs to be heeded. In 1955, William F. Buckley was referring to the political and ideological movement of Liberalism. Now, we are confronted with forces that are changing the meaning of the definition of family, which is the fundamental cornerstone of civilized society. Yes, I think the least we can do is say, “Time out.”


Executive Summary
from The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs
Around the world, the two-person, mother-father model of parenthood is being fundamentally challenged.
In Canada, with virtually no debate, the controversial law that brought about same-sex marriage quietly included the provision to erase the term “natural parent” across the board in federal law, replacing it with the term “legal parent.” With that law, the locus of power in defining who a child’s parents are shifts precipitously from civil society to the state, with the consequences as yet unknown.
In Spain, after the recent legalization of same-sex marriage the legislature changed the birth certificates for all children in that nation to read “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” instead of “mother” and “father.” With that change, the words “mother” and “father” were struck from the first document issued to every newborn by the state. Similar proposals have been made in other jurisdictions that have legalized same-sex marriage.
In New Zealand and Australia, influential law commissions have proposed allowing children conceived with use of sperm or egg donors to have three legal parents. Yet neither group addresses the real possibility that a child’s three legal parents could break up and feud over the child’s best interests.
In the United States, courts often must determine who the legal parents are among the many adults who might be involved in planning, conceiving, birthing, and raising a child. In a growing practice, judges in several states have seized upon the idea of “psychological” parenthood to award legal parent status to adults who are not related to children by blood, adoption, or marriage. At times they have done so even over the objection of the child’s biological parent. Also, successes in the same-sex marriage debate have encouraged group marriage advocates who wish to break open the two-person understanding of marriage and parenthood.
Meanwhile, scientists around the world are experimenting with the DNA in eggs and sperm in nearly unimaginable ways, raising the specter of children born with one or three genetic parents, or two same-sex parents. Headlines recently announced research at leading universities in Britain and New Zealand that could enable same-sex couples or single people to procreate. In Britain, scientists were granted permission to create embryos with three genetic parents. Stem cell research has introduced the very real possibility that a cloned child could be born—and the man who pioneered in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment has already said in public that cloning should be offered to childless couples who have exhausted other options. The list goes on.
Nearly all of these steps, and many more, are being taken in the name of adult rights to form families they choose. But what about the children?
This report examines the emerging global clash between adult rights and children’s needs in the new meaning of parenthood. It features some of the surprising voices of the first generation of young adults conceived with use of donor sperm. Their concerns, and the large body of social science evidence showing that children, on average, do best when raised by their own married mother and father, suggest that in the global rush to redefine parenthood we need to call a time-out.
Right now, our societies urgently require reflection, debate, and research about the policies and practices that will serve the best interests of children—those already born and those yet to be born. This report argues that around the world the state is taking an increasingly active role in defining and regulating parenthood far beyond its limited, vital, historic, and child-centered role in finding suitable parents for needy children through adoption. The report documents how the state creates new uncertainties and vulnerabilities when it increasingly seeks to administer parenthood, often giving far greater attention to adult rights than to children’s needs. For the most part, this report does not advocate for or against particular policy prescriptions (such as banning donor conception) but rather seeks to draw urgently needed public attention to the current revolutionary changes in parenthood, to point out the risks and contradictions arising from increased state intervention, and to insist that our societies immediately undertake a vigorous, child-centered debate.
Do mothers and fathers matter to children? Is there anything special—anything worth supporting—about the two-person, mother-father model? Are children commodities to be produced by the marketplace? What role should the state have in defining parenthood? When adult rights clash with children’s needs, how should the conflict be resolved? These are the questions raised by this report. Our societies will either answer these questions democratically and as a result of intellectually and morally serious reflection and public debate, or we will find, very soon, that these questions have already been answered for us. The choice is ours. At stake are the most elemental features of children’s well-being—their social and physical health and their moral and spiritual wholeness.

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jayson
jayson
14 years ago

RE: Heather has 2 Mommies
Poor cofused Heather Gingrich,she has 3
mommies.Bob Barr’s kids had 4+,no wonder
so many GOP kids are cofused.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Let’s make this simple. If you’re going to bring children into the world, only one thing matters: what is best for them?
Studies have shown that what is best is that they be raised by a reasonably harmonious mother and father all together in the same house. (Not sure if marriage status was specified.)
Tragedies are one thing and then there is no choice but to make the best of the situation. To start out with something short of that, however, is selfish and not good for the children.
And short of that seems to be where too many adults, straight and gay, start. The biggest problem, as in affacting the most number of children, are women who think it’s fine to bring a child into the world without the presence of a committed father. It’s shocking how that has become the norm, carried out without a second thought.
The second biggest is probably a couple who has children too soon, usually at the insistance of one parent, and then they figure out they cannot hold it together because they married the wrong person (substance abuse or personality or whatever). We can then go on to Marc’s list.
Marc did not state it strongly enough: put the children first. Don’t have children for selfish reasons or under selfish circumstances.
There are no lofty Victorian morals behind my comments – believe me, glass houses. But it is very hard to watch the confusion and struggle of children who been brought into disadvantageous (not talking finances here) circumstances knowing that so often it could have been avoided if the parent(s) had acted more responsibly or patiently.

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