Oakes

Gay Parents

86 posts in this topic

I read most of the Homosexuality thread at the other forum, and it seems that most Objectivists agree that as long as the love is a response to shared values between two mature adults, it is legitimate and moral. My question is more specific: Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

The question that needs to be answered first is: Do children need a father and a mother? Do they need both a masculine and feminine authority in their lives? This is most likely a question for psychology rather than philosophy, but I thought parents on this board might be able to answer.

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[...] Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

[...] Do children need a father and a mother? Do they need both a masculine and feminine authority in their lives?

For my contribution, I would like to question the questions. Are you equating male and masculine, female and feminine?

Is it possible, based on observation of homosexual relationships, to say that every man-man relationship will contain two masculine models for the child, and every woman-woman relationship will contain two feminine models for the child?

What do you (anyone) mean by "masculine" and "feminine"? As formal a definition as possible might be helpful to this discussion. I don't have one.

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Is it possible, based on observation of homosexual relationships, to say that every man-man relationship will contain two masculine models for the child, and every woman-woman relationship will contain two feminine models for the child?

What do you (anyone) mean by "masculine" and "feminine"? As formal a definition as possible might be helpful to this discussion. I don't have one.

Those are good questions. I am using the terms purely as the adjective-forms of their equivalent nouns: "masculine" is expressing the characteristics of males, "feminine" is expressing the characteristics of females.

Of course, these are generalizations, so there may be some males or females (including homosexuals) to whom these adjectives don't apply. As long as they are unusual cases, however, they can probably be left out of the discussion.

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Those are good questions. I am using the terms purely as the adjective-forms of their equivalent nouns: "masculine" is expressing the characteristics of males, "feminine" is expressing the characteristics of females.

I think it might be helpful if you were able to list which characteristics, specifically.

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I think it might be helpful if you were able to list which characteristics, specifically.

The whole point of that broad definition is that it subsumes all characteristics applicable to that gender. At the risk of stating the obvious, males are stronger and women are gentler. Sexually, males are usually dominant. With regards to children, males are more disciplinarian while women are more nurturing.

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I read most of the Homosexuality thread at the other forum, and it seems that most Objectivists agree that as long as the love is a response to shared values between two mature adults, it is legitimate and moral. My question is more specific: Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

The question that needs to be answered first is: Do children need a father and a mother? Do they need both a masculine and feminine authority in their lives? This is most likely a question for psychology rather than philosophy, but I thought parents on this board might be able to answer.

Pyschology yes, I agree. And where does our make-up originate if not through evolution. I think the answers lie in the interactions between mankind and the rest of nature. We were born with needs such as love, and affection. A child who never had love, would be unlikely to be healthy in his mental outlook. Would the lack of a father figure also be a failure to satisfy a need of nature and lead to similar problems? This is a specialized area of investigation I think.

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the question that needs to be answered first is: Do children need a father and a mother? Do they need both a masculine and feminine authority in their lives?

(I would recast that last question as "presence" rather than "authority.")

A father can be every bit as nurturing as a mother, so the question really falls on what we mean by "need." The child's home should be (for an extended time) the center of his universe, and the evidence for what he learns about right and wrong, good and bad, value and dis-value, how to think, how to identify feelings, etc. will come (should come) primarily from his parents. All of these things, and all of the fun, pleasures, and joy of a family, can be served equally well by two fathers, or two mothers, instead of the traditional mother and father.

And, compared to emotionally dysfunctional heterosexual parents, I would greatly prefer to see a child with two same-sex parents who truly love each other, and who openly express affection and show respect for each other. But, I do think, assuming all else being equal, the ideal for a child is to have a father and a mother. There is nothing like example for a child to learn about a proper male-female relationship. In a same-sex home the child can still get those examples elsewhere, but I think having it at home is ideal.

In short, most all the important needs a child has can be served by same-sex parents, with the noteable absence of the male-female relationship.

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And, compared to emotionally dysfunctional heterosexual parents, I would greatly prefer to see a child with two same-sex parents who truly love each other, and who openly express affection and show respect for each other. But, I do think, assuming all else being equal, the ideal for a child is to have a father and a mother.

I agree here; I've been thinking for a while that we can't really assess whether same-sex parents, or single parents, or financially-troubled parents are being irresponsible to adopt a child without knowing the alternatives. If the alternative is no parents, or bad parents, they aren't so bad.

In short, most all the important needs a child has can be served by same-sex parents, with the noteable absence of the male-female relationship.

Do you think that is significant enough to make it a moral issue when same-sex couples use artificial insemination to have a child?

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Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

I'd like to ask from a different point of view: in what way could it possibly be immoral?

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I'd like to ask from a different point of view: in what way could it possibly be immoral?

This is an excellent question because it leads back to a more basic question (that has not been addressed fully): Are we in this thread addressing this issue of homosexual parents as philosophizers or as scientists working in the field of the specialized science of psychology?

If the issue is philosophical (particularly in ethics as one of its branches), then all we need to do is look around, think, and use logic to check our conclusions. No special methods are required.

If the issue is one of psychology then we must use, in addition to philosophical methods (which, by definition, apply to everyone, everywhere, at all times), the methods of the science of psychology, that is, the methods that distinguish psychology from other sciences (and from philosophy). I don't know what those methods are.

I am unsure where Oakes, the originator of this thread, wants to take the discussion You, Oakes, have asked about the morality of such parentage, yet the discussion so far as centered on specialized observations of a certain type of people and on issues of child development -- which are both in the province of psychology, are they not?

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Do you think that is significant enough to make it a moral issue when same-sex couples use artificial insemination to have a child?

No. But I do take moral exception to couples bringing children into the world without devoting the time necessary in raising them. I would morally condemn those having children who do not make financial plans for them. There are a multitude of things related to children that I might morally condemn, but a loving, caring, same-sex couple dedicated to properly raising a child, is certainly not one of them.

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Are we in this thread addressing this issue of homosexual parents as philosophizers or as scientists working in the field of the specialized science of psychology?

Just speaking for myself, I am neither a professional philosopher nor a professional psychologist, but I am speaking with knowledge in both fields.

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Are we in this thread addressing this issue of homosexual parents as philosophizers or as scientists working in the field of the specialized science of psychology?

Both fields are relevant. If (child) psychology finds that children greatly need both a mother and a father, I would consider it immoral for a couple to deprive them of that need.

I'd like to ask from a different point of view: in what way could it possibly be immoral?

Perhaps I answered your question above.

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I read most of the Homosexuality thread at the other forum, and it seems that most Objectivists agree that as long as the love is a response to shared values between two mature adults, it is legitimate and moral. My question is more specific: Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

For reasons already stated by others, the moral issue is how rationally parents treat a child and not their genders.

In today's context, however, there are legal issues involved, too, and most of the time, there shouldn't be. While I think the government should get involved if a child is, or might be, being abused or negected, I don't think it is any of the government's business as to who may use reproductive technology or adopt.

A government has no business preventing same sex couples from adopting or white couples from adopting a black baby, etc. as they do now. Adoption should be arranged by the voluntary agreement of the parties involved, wherever possible. If a birth mother doesn't want her baby adopted by a gay couple, or a Christian couple, or a poor couple, that should be her choice and the government should butt out.

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While I think the government should get involved if a child is, or might be, being abused or negected, I don't think it is any of the government's business as to who may use reproductive technology or adopt.

Oh I definitely agree - I was just wondering the moral question. I hear a lot of nonsense from Christian conservatives, but the suggestion that children need a mother and father always seemed the least unreasonable to me.

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If (child) psychology finds that children greatly need both a mother and a father, I would consider it immoral for a couple to deprive them of that need.

Yes, if that premise were true, then the conclusion of immorality would follow (assuming, for example, the parents know about the alleged need).

But, then, single parentage, regardless of cause, would also be immoral under those circumstances. Of course, Christian conservatives have an answer for that too: Marry up! And even if it means you won't be happy in your marriage, so what? You will be doing it for the children and for your standing in the eyes of God!

Thus we see another abomination advocated by Christian and other religious conservatives.

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Is it moral for a same-sex couple to adopt and raise a child?

If you share Miss Rand's view on homosexuality--which I do--then the question essentially boils down to: "Is it moral for an immoral couple to adopt and raise a child?" The answer to that is obvious.

The best a father can do for his child is to do the best for himself and become as great a man as possible. That is what allows him to provide for the child materially--and, even more importantly, that is what allows the child to look up to him and learn from him. The more masculine a father, the better he is for his son as a role model and for his daughter as a standard against which to measure men. The same applies with the genders exchanged.

This is why it is the most auspicious for a child to be raised in a family where the father is a real man and the mother is a real woman. What is best for the parents is also the best for the child, and vice versa.

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If you share Miss Rand's view on homosexuality--which I do--then the question essentially boils down to: "Is it moral for an immoral couple to adopt and raise a child?" [...]

I have not read Ayn Rand's views on homosexuality. What publications contain her views?

Also, did you infer from her comments that she believed homosexuals to be immoral because of their homosexuality -- or did she say that herself?

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If you share Miss Rand's view on homosexuality--which I do--then the question essentially boils down to: "Is it moral for an immoral couple to adopt and raise a child?" The answer to that is obvious.

I can't recall reading anywhere that Miss Rand a homosexual couple was acting immorally. I do recall that she found it personally disgusting, but that is an emotional reaction, not necessarily a moral judgment. Could you please tell me where she says it is immoral. I'm interested to see her reasons.

I'll add that I work with a lesbian (who has a life-partner), and I think that both of them are fantastic people, more than capable of caring for a child. In fact, my coworker has a daughter from a heterosexual marriage (a great girl, from all I've seen), who is now raising her own son - and doing a fantastic job at it.

A few years back, I also had a gay male roommate, and I would never say he was less of a man than me. I wouldn't hesitate to put a child in his care. He's a fantastic person: goal-oriented, capable, responsible, financially stable, and a really nice guy.

Not all gay men are incapable of being male role models, and not all gay women are incapable of being female ones. Again, it depends on the individual. Yes, there are those men that I call "super-queens," and I don't generally think they should be raising children. The reason isn't because of their lack of masculinity, though. The reason is because I've found that such people are usually "leading a lifestyle," rather than living their life, and that particular approach to living is destructive - both to the person doing it, and any children they are trying to raise. That's a completely separate issue, though. I've seen a great many heterosexuals doing exactly the same thing, with the only difference being the particular "lifestyle" the are replacing real life with.

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If you share Miss Rand's view on homosexuality--which I do--then the question essentially boils down to: "Is it moral for an immoral couple to adopt and raise a child?"

I don't recall where (and I can't find it at the moment), but I remember with absolute certainty reading that she didn't find homsexuality immoral, though she personally found it "disgusting" (that's the word she used - I remember that specifically).

On the question, I agree with those who made the point that it's the rationality of a child's upbringing that matters. A rational gay couple would be better for a child than an irrational straight couple.

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If you share Miss Rand's view on homosexuality--which I do--then the question essentially boils down to: "Is it moral for an immoral couple to adopt and raise a child?" [...]

I have not read Ayn Rand's views on homosexuality. What publications contain her views?

Also, did you infer from her comments that she believed homosexuals to be immoral because of their homosexuality -- or did she say that herself?

He is referring to Miss Rand's comments during the Q & A portion of her November 1971 Ford Hall Forum speech. I transcribed those words and presented them previously, on more than one forum. This is the verbatim transcript.

This question says she read somewhere that you consider all forms of homosexuality immoral. If this is so, why?
Because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral. But I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit it.  It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it. That's his legal right, provided he is not forcing it on anyone.  And therefore the idea that it's proper among consenting adults is the proper formulation legally. Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting.

However, I also told Capitalism Forever that Harry Binswanger he has indicated that, in private conversations a decade after this speech, Miss Rand was not prepared to say that all homosexuality is necessarily immoral. According to HB, she acknowledged that these are complex psychological issues that we need to learn more about. HB interpreted their conversation as meaning that Miss Rand had either changed her mind since that 1971 speech, or that this was her more considered view.

We always have to keep in mind that extemperaneous remarks cannot be held to the same standard as written ones. It is unfortunate, however, that there is so little information to go by regarding Miss Rand's views on homosexuality. Regardless, I think it is a bit unfair for Capitalism Forever to refer to this as "Miss Rand's view on homosexuality," considering what HB has communicated.

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Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting.

I don't recall where (and I can't find it at the moment), but I remember with absolute certainty...

So much for my certainty. :)

I wasn't aware of the subsequent (potential) modification of her view. Brings it more in line with what I thought I remembered, but I still have to keep workin' on that omniscience thing... :)

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I think it is a bit unfair for Capitalism Forever to refer to this as "Miss Rand's view on homosexuality," considering what HB has communicated.

Let's make it "Miss Rand's view on homosexuality as of 1971" then.

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Because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral. But I do not believe that the government has the right to prohibit it.  It is the privilege of any individual to use his sex life in whichever way he wants it. That's his legal right, provided he is not forcing it on anyone.  And therefore the idea that it's proper among consenting adults is the proper formulation legally. Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that quote suggest that specialized knowledge (psychology) is needed to determine the morality of homosexuality? That would make sense, since such knowledge is needed to determine the morality of same-sex parenting.

However, I believe the one Objectivist who does have such specialized knowledge (Dr. Michael Hurd) has come out in support of homosexuality.

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