Gay marriage may be the most divisive cultural issue of the century, but even more contentious than that is its alleged impact – either positive or negative – on raising children.
Reams of material have been published on the subject of child-rearing and every parent in the country has faced the question of how to evaluate the advice provided by science, religion and tradition. Reconciling these very different sources of information is very often impossible, which usually results in compromise and balance.
For many, though, there is no compromise when it comes to the abilities of same-sex couples to effectively raise children. Those opposed to gay marriage use this perceived inability like a weapon in their war against marriage equality, while advocates insist gay couples are perfectly capable of raising healthy, happy children.
So, who’s right?
It’s unfair to answer that question from a moral perspective, but the majority of experts agree that that the legal implications are a positive for children of gay couples. Tax benefits and other federal protections that result from the recent Supreme Court ruling will unquestionably level the parental playing field when it comes to providing financial care and security.
Economic benefits aside, many experts also agree that there is a raft of social benefits for children as well. Legitimizing their parents’ union makes it easier for kids to accept and be accepted as equals among their peers. This in turn leads to more positive development trends in terms of a child’s self-esteem and understanding of community.
Secular advocates also laud the decision because it will help same-sex couples in the adoption process, thereby creating a multitude of new possibilities for orphaned children to find loving homes. The darker side, however, is that many faith-based adoption agencies are claiming they are being “forced” to shutter their doors because they are no longer able to screen prospective parents based on moral considerations.
For better or worse, this last fact may most accurately answer the question of how legalizing same-sex marriage may affect kids: If people can’t agree to put kids first and work together despite their differences, then the ruling, the rights and the righteousness are all for naught.
Article written by James Madeiros.