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Old 03-03-2006, 03:36 PM   #91
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[q]Okay -- so change the question. Show me where gay family structures has ever been considered the optimal method of parenting. And I do ask about optimal, because we are talking about adoption, when optimal is the standard measure for potential families.[/q]

show me where children are unduly harmed by gay family structures and their development lacks behind their peers who grow up in straight households. Show me where heterosexual parents are always better than homosexual parents.

I agree with “optimal” – I just don’t think sexual orientation has anything to do with optimal or not. I will put myself out here – I’ve taught preschool, junior high, and high school. I’ve worked with kids since I’ve been 16 years old. I was one of the few male babysitters I had ever heard of. I have been a peer counselor in various capacities. I currently make educational programming for a large cable network. Within a few years, I expect to be in reasonable financial shape. I believe passionately in education. I was raised by parents who are models of commitment to each other and to their children. In short, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more ideal adoptive father than me, straight or gay.

I don’t’ see why my being in love with a man negates all of these qualities.

Tell me how it does.

[q]First of all, I don't think I've ever been anything but respectful to you, Irvine -- so I don't think I've ever called you a promiscuous AIDS-purveyor, or thought of you as such. While I don't doubt that such vile demonizing exists in this country, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find such a perspective in my posts.[/q]


that’s correct, you’ve always been very respectful (and i to you), and that comment wasn’t directed at you, though re-reading the paragraph I can see how you could interpret it that way, for that I apologize.
However, your beliefs are to the detriment of gay people everywhere. They really are. They hurt people first by reproducing social narratives that create self-hate, and second by working to prevent gay people from entering into pro-family, socially stabilizing institutions. If marriage is so wonderful, if being a parent is so wonderful, why do you want to deny this to 5-10% of the population?

[q]As far as the effect on marriage goes, we've already discussed in this thread how this issue points to a fundamental redefinition of society's views on family -- on mothers and fathers, men and women, husbands and wives, on children, and by proxy, society. Again when we're talking about a fundamental redefinition of these views, we need to explore historical, sociological, and biological precedent in these discussions.[/q]


An expansion is not a redefinition; homosexual adoption or marriage will do nothing to undermine the heterosexual normative. It simply will usher in a group of people into already existing structures that are probably a lot more flexible and durable than you give them credit for – these structures change from country to country, society to society, and throughout history.


[q]My perspective is as it has ever been -- that the best situation for a child with a mother and father. So far, nothing on this thread has made me think otherwise. [/q]

you really do seem hung up on homo vs. hetero. I’m not sure what else can be said if this basic prejudice refuses to budge.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:51 PM   #92
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Originally posted by nathan1977
You haven't contradicted the basic presumption that in families where both mother and father are present, children are better off.
Whose presumption? My point was that sociological data on family structures from any given country will naturally reflect a tendency towards bias in favor of the family structures prevalent in that country. I have yet to hear of any Indian studies addressing the impact of gay parenting on children, nor do I expect to hear of any anytime soon. They have precious few studies on the impact of single parenthood as well, whereas there are hundreds upon hundreds here, where that situation is far more common.
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The NCA makes concessions for less optimal situations. However, we are talking specifically about the case of pro-active adoption, where choices are made in advance about family situations, and the prevailing mentality of adoption is, finding "the family that best meets the needs of the child."
What do you mean, "makes concessions"? The NCA is not in a position to "pro-actively" decide what happens to children of divorce, so what they think about the optimality of divorced single parenthood is irrelevant *only because the law deems it so*. Why would what tradition-based views of which family structures are best for children have to say, be any more logically relevant to children up for adoption than for children of single parents? If it all boils down to what's best for children's welfare, shouldn't that be applied to any and all households? Are adoptive children somehow intrinsically more deserving of what tradition says is a better deal? If the implications of separating children from their divorced parents are staggeringly enormous, so are the implications of denying currently parentless children a place in the home of the thousands of gay and lesbian parents eager to love and care for them.
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One study by (did you say it was 8?) researchers, amidst a body of 60,000, does not overthrow an overwhelming amount of historical, sociological and biological data that quantifiably demonstrate the opposite.
So how many of those 60,000 have you read? And how many of the several hundred which deal, directly or indirectly, with the impact of gay parenting specifically are you personally familiar with? It is certainly clear to me at this point that you were not personally familiar with the AAP study at all. (And I would still like to see where you got your information about the dissenter's walkout and the findings report event.) Loyalty to a traditional ideal of family is one thing--willingness to read and consider studies drawing diverse conclusions about children's welfare in a society where few families live up to that ideal or ever will is something else.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:52 PM   #93
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Originally posted by Irvine511
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show me where children are unduly harmed by gay family structures and their development lacks behind their peers who grow up in straight households. Show me where heterosexual parents are always better than homosexual parents.
I'm sorry, but the evidence hasn't born your presumption out. Again, the burden of proof falls on whoever is the one providing the expansion.

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I agree with “optimal” ... I don’t’ see why my being in love with a man negates all of these qualities. Tell me how it does.
Because it's not the optimal environment for a child, as you yourself agree.

I agree with you at one level -- you sound fantastically qualified. You might be a great father someday. But when we're dealing with the situation we're in, with a lack of data to support your perspective, we've got to go with the experts on this. And I'm sorry, but the weight of data and opinion -- from developmental and sociological perspectives -- is that a mother and father are still the best situation for a child's optimal development. Not the only. Not the exclusive. But the best. And when we're talking about adoption, which is about the best situation for a child, we are talking about hetero families.

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An expansion is not a redefinition; homosexual adoption or marriage will do nothing to undermine the heterosexual normative. It simply will usher in a group of people into already existing structures that are probably a lot more flexible and durable than you give them credit for – these structures change from country to country, society to society, and throughout history.
But not, historically or sociologically speaking, in quite the radical redefinition we are discussing here. (And it is a redefinition -- of gender valuation, at the very least -- at the very core.) And I'm not sure the best place to experiment is children.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:57 PM   #94
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Originally posted by yolland

Are adoptive children somehow intrinsically more deserving of what tradition says is a better deal?
Adoptive children, many of whom are already at risk, certainly deserve the best situation they can be given.

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Loyalty to a traditional ideal of family is one thing--willingness to read and consider studies drawing diverse conclusions about children's welfare in a society where few families live up to that ideal or ever will is something else.
Statistically speaking, 75% of children are in a home with a mother and a father. I am not talking about an ideal -- I'm talking about a reality.
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:03 PM   #95
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Adoptive children, many of whom are already at risk, certainly deserve the best situation they can be given.
And you haven't addressed my point at all.

Is it the "best situation" for them to remain in the system or to be adopted by a loving gay couple?

There are thousands of children in the foster care system without any prospects of adoption. Shall we keep them there because that's better for them than a stable home with two men or two women? Whose best interest are you talking about here?
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:29 PM   #96
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Originally posted by nathan1977


I'm sorry, but the evidence hasn't born your presumption out. Again, the burden of proof falls on whoever is the one providing the expansion.[/QUOTE]


i really think you've got this mixed up -- gay people have been allowed to adopt for years and years; there is only now movements to bar gay people from adoption.

from what evidence do you support these measures?

my evidence to support the expansion would be measured in both the positive effects marriage and parenthood have on the lives of BGL individuals as well as the happy, successful children who have been raised by BGL families.



[q]Because it's not the optimal environment for a child, as you yourself agree.[/q]


no, i do not agree that i am unqualified to create an optimal home for a child. while i might not be able to create a "normative" home for a child, "normative" does not mean "optimal." i do not think my sexuality has anything to do with the "optimal" nature of a home; that should be determined upon the myriad other characteristics of quality parenting that we both agree upon, and that are not tied to sexual orientation.




[q]But when we're dealing with the situation we're in, with a lack of data to support your perspective, we've got to go with the experts on this. And I'm sorry, but the weight of data and opinion -- from developmental and sociological perspectives -- is that a mother and father are still the best situation for a child's optimal development. Not the only. Not the exclusive. But the best. And when we're talking about adoption, which is about the best situation for a child, we are talking about hetero families.[/q]


as has been pointed out, the lack of data is in your court. you've not shown how homosexual parents are harmful to a child, or even that heterosexual households are "optimal" -- merely that one is normative, and one is not. you've pointed to traditional notions of what a family is and isn't, and not much else.



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But not, historically or sociologically speaking, in quite the radical redefinition we are discussing here. (And it is a redefinition -- of gender valuation, at the very least -- at the very core.) And I'm not sure the best place to experiment is children.

it is not a redefition; heterosexual marriages and families aren't going anywhere soon. we are simply expanding who we consider a family, and then providing them the social affirmation and government assistance (those 1,049 tax breaks) that have hitherto been the domain of heterosexuals.
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:37 PM   #97
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Statistically speaking, 75% of children are in a home with a mother and a father. I am not talking about an ideal -- I'm talking about a reality.
I do not know of ANY studies suggesting that the mere presence of both mother and father in the household (or any other of the small handful of traits an adoption agency can realistically screen for) guarantees optimal child development. That is why the gap between ideal and reality matters. And what about the 1 in every 4--actually it's more like 3 out of every 10--children who are being raised by single parents (some of whom adopted them while single)? Their experiences can comfortably be overlooked as a statistically irrelevant exception to the norm?
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Old 03-03-2006, 04:48 PM   #98
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i also want to add that this has been a very interesting discussion -- passionate, but still respectful, and every post seems to advance the discussion.

this is FYM at its finest!

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Old 03-03-2006, 05:32 PM   #99
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^ Agreed. It's nice having a back and forth like this, Irvine.
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:07 PM   #100
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Originally posted by Irvine511

my evidence to support the expansion would be measured in both the positive effects marriage and parenthood have on the lives of BGL individuals as well as the happy, successful children who have been raised by BGL families.
Again, we're not talking about what is practiced, but what is best. No one in this thread -- no one in NCA -- is talking about taking pre-existing families and splitting them up. (In the NCA's policy paper, it explicitly addresses the horror of such an action.) But in the case of adoption, when we are talking about looking ahead to placing children in the best situation possible, the overwhelming majority of experts still define that situation as a mother/father family. One study wouldn't change minds in this regard.

As far as children adjusting to various family situations, of course children are flexible -- but should they always have to be? Just because children can adjust after tragedy takes a mother or father, do we then say that they have to? AIDS orphans can adjust in South Africa to living on their own -- should they have to? These are extreme examples, but I think they prove my point. Children can adjust to just about any situation -- but as far as long-term success is borne out, those who both have a mother and father are more likely to succeed, at least so far as studies comparing single-parent to two-parent homes have proved. More germaine to this conversation, particularly in the case of male development, it's clear from various studies (from the child development classes I took in college, at least) that boys without fathers -- despite the best efforts of single mothers -- are more likely to go down a road of violence and aggression without a positive male role model in the home. Without a mother, some studies also suggest that boys tend towards misogyny or outright sexism in their relationships with women, and may be suffer from excessive shyness or become abusive later in life.

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i do not agree that i am unqualified to create an optimal home for a child. while i might not be able to create a "normative" home for a child, "normative" does not mean "optimal." i do not think my sexuality has anything to do with the "optimal" nature of a home; that should be determined upon the myriad other characteristics of quality parenting that we both agree upon, and that are not tied to sexual orientation.
But do you agree that children are better off with a mother and a father who love them? You seem to have indicated as such. If you don't, I'm sorry for misunderstanding you. It certainly sounded as though you agreed that the optimal situation is for a child to grow up with a mother and a father.

If you don't think sexuality matters, I can see how this wouldn't strike a chord with you. But if you do believe that sexuality is critical to our core as human beings, then the sexuality of a woman or a man suddenly becomes tantamount to what is passed along to the children. To remove that element from the equation of human development, becomes detrimental to said development, particularly since children (certainly in the early staged, between 2-5 but often as late as their teens, which explains peer pressure) learn primarily through imitation.

The discussion here (at least from my end) has never been about diminishing other articulations of family. My focus has tried to be on what is the best situation for the child, since that is the stated principle behind adoptive placement -- and I still think the wealth of evidence of human development, cultural and social development, bears out that the best (not the only, just the best) situation for a child is with a mother and father who love them.

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those 1,049 tax breaks) that have hitherto been the domain of heterosexuals.
This is a rabbit hole for a different thread, but you do realize that married couples are taxed higher than single people, right? Real tax breaks come with home ownership.
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:28 PM   #101
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[q]Children can adjust to just about any situation -- but as far as long-term success is borne out, those who both have a mother and father are more likely to succeed, at least so far as studies comparing single-parent to two-parent homes have proved.[/q]


and this is about all one can say -- two parents are better than one parent. it has nothing to say about the sexual orientation of parents, and seeing as how all the studies indicate that children do every bit as well in gay households as straight households, it really seems as if your logic is flawed -- you're looking at studies that compare within heterosexual models of parenting and they are determining that children do better with two parents, which in a heterosexual household, means a mother and a father.

direct comparisons between children of two heterosexual parents and two homosexual parents do not reveal any discernable difference in development between the two.

in fact, when it comes to adoption, as i've mentioned, if we are to place sexual orientation aside, the majority of potential gay parents tend to exhibit more of the traits one associates with optimal parenting.



[q]More germaine to this conversation, particularly in the case of male development, it's clear from various studies (from the child development classes I took in college, at least) that boys without fathers -- despite the best efforts of single mothers -- are more likely to go down a road of violence and aggression without a positive male role model in the home. Without a mother, some studies also suggest that boys tend towards misogyny or outright sexism in their relationships with women, and may be suffer from excessive shyness or become abusive later in life.[/q]


i think this is entirely irrelevant to the discussion. you're comparing single parents to two parents, again all within a heterosexual context. there is nothing to suggest that boys of two gay fathers are going to become misogynists or sexists.



[q]But do you agree that children are better off with a mother and a father who love them? You seem to have indicated as such. If you don't, I'm sorry for misunderstanding you. It certainly sounded as though you agreed that the optimal situation is for a child to grow up with a mother and a father.[/q]


no -- how have i given that impression? i do think that heterosexual parenting is certainly "normative," but it cannot be logically construed as optimal, especially considering the carlessness with which so many straight people have children.

and this is my question to you, point blank: do you think that a gay couple's parenting skills are trumped by their sexual orientation? that no matter how good they might be, no matter how committed, no matter how loving, they are still going to be less-than-adequate because of their sexual orientation?

[q]If you don't think sexuality matters, I can see how this wouldn't strike a chord with you. But if you do believe that sexuality is critical to our core as human beings, then the sexuality of a woman or a man suddenly becomes tantamount to what is passed along to the children. To remove that element from the equation of human development, becomes detrimental to said development, particularly since children (certainly in the early staged, between 2-5 but often as late as their teens, which explains peer pressure) learn primarily through imitation.[/q]


sexuality is of course an important part of development, but i am arguing that sexual orientation has nothing to do with one's parenting skills.

this is a loaded paragraph, filled with lots of loose Freudian analysis upon the development of human sexuality, and it needs unpacking.

are you saying that it would be impossible for two women to raise a sexually healthy heterosexual son? are you saying it is likewise impossible for two men to raise a sexually healhty heterosexual son? by this logic, i should be all sorts of screwed up because i am a healthy homosexual who was raised by two heterosexuals, and the fact that children of gay parents are no more likely than their peers to be gay or straight or have gender-role issues pretty much thwarts your concerns.

likewise, are you saying that, as a homosexual, i cannot model proper male sexuality? that homosexuality is a perversion or a warped understanding of what it means to be a man? that i am unable to understand heterosexuality?

ultimately, that children learn how to be men and women -- and, as seems to be the case, heterosexual men and women -- through modeling by their parents? that it is nurture, not nature, that creates one's sexual orientation?

for your argument to have any merit, these would have to be your base assumptions.


[q]The discussion here (at least from my end) has never been about diminishing other articulations of family.[/q]

but by deeming one form as "optimal" you've done precisely that.


[q]My focus has tried to be on what is the best situation for the child, since that is the stated principle behind adoptive placement -- and I still think the wealth of evidence of human development, cultural and social development, bears out that the best (not the only, just the best) situation for a child is with a mother and father who love them.[/q]


i can't push this point any further.



Quote:
This is a rabbit hole for a different thread, but you do realize that married couples are taxed higher than single people, right? Real tax breaks come with home ownership. [/B]

that's not my understanding at all, but that might be a state-to-state thing.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:40 PM   #102
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Originally posted by Irvine511
it really seems as if your logic is flawed -- you're looking at studies that compare within heterosexual models of parenting and they are determining that children do better with two parents, which in a heterosexual household, means a mother and a father.
Yes. But if you consider that single-parent homes (which create a greater possibility for at-risk youth) are also single-sex, you can perhaps infer (as seems to have been done to this point) that instead, the best situation for a child is a mother/father scenario, precisely for the developmental reasons I described.

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in fact, when it comes to adoption, as i've mentioned, if we are to place sexual orientation aside, the majority of potential gay parents tend to exhibit more of the traits one associates with optimal parenting.
Not really, since the four qualities you mentioned as qualifying gay adoptive parents, also hold true for straight.

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and this is my question to you, point blank: do you think that a gay couple's parenting skills are trumped by their sexual orientation? that no matter how good they might be, no matter how committed, no matter how loving, they are still going to be less-than-adequate because of their sexual orientation?
I'm saying that the optimal situation for a child is a two-parent, mother/father home. You think this post is about tarring and feathering gay parents. It isn't. It's about the best situation for a child -- which, according to history and according to experts, is still a two-parent, mother/father household.

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are you saying that it would be impossible for two women to raise a sexually healthy heterosexual son? are you saying it is likewise impossible for two men to raise a sexually healhty heterosexual son?
What I'm saying is that boys need fathers, and girls need mothers. To deprive them of one or the other, does them a disservice.

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ultimately, that children learn how to be men and women -- and, as seems to be the case, heterosexual men and women -- through modeling by their parents? that it is nurture, not nature, that creates one's sexual orientation?
One of the more recent trends in psychology (at least, as I studied it) is to move away from an empirical either/or proposition when it comes to nature vs. nurture, across a variety of areas, but certainly including sexuality. There are a variety of factors than can create differentiation -- biological as well as social. Environment has more of an effect than has been given credit for in the past (consider the role of school relationships in child development, which was my primary focus in undergrad), though it can't be cited exclusively as a root cause.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:29 AM   #103
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Right-Wing Losing Gay Adoption Battle

by Kevin Cathcart, Lambda Legal Executive Director

In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about gay adoption - specifically about whether to ban it. While right-wing extremists may indeed be casting about for their wedge issue of the 2006 election season, it’s becoming clear that attacking the most vulnerable members of our society doesn’t play as well as it used to, even in states that often teeter between blue and red.

Take Florida, for example. I’ve been in the movement long enough to remember former beauty queen Anita Bryant’s homophobic crusade back in 1977 that led to the state’s all-out ban on gay and lesbian people adopting children. For almost three decades, qualified parents, many of whom have been allowed to care for children as foster parents, have been kept from providing them with a permanent home by the state. We’ve always known this was wrong; unfortunately the courts have not agreed with us. But now some Florida lawmakers are starting to come around. As the new legislative session opens this week, the Tallahassee Democrat reports that the chairman of the Senate’s Future of Florida’s Families Committee might consider scheduling a vote on legislation that would allow gay and lesbian people to adopt the children they’ve been caring for as foster parents.

This step would be a small modification to the most heinous antigay adoption law in the nation, but one of great significance for the estimated 35,000 children awaiting adoption in Florida and for gay and lesbian people throughout the state. Lambda Legal has been working with coalition partners across Florida to encourage a vote, and we brought in Rob Woronoff of the Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s most respected child advocacy organization, to testify at the legislative hearings. CWLA is Lambda Legal’s partner in “Fostering Transitions,” a project designed to change the way LGBT (and questioning) youth and adults are treated in the nation’s foster care system. Part of this change involves access to adoption.

The fact that the Florida legislature is even considering a vote of this sort is progress, and editorials in local newspapers have overwhelmingly supported this change in Florida’s law. Similarly, in Ohio (the only state that has actually introduced new antigay adoption legislation this year), there has been much public outcry against a bill pending that would restrict adoption and foster parenting by gay and lesbian people, and it is unlikely to go very far. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, seven members of the Catholic Charities Board have resigned to protest the Massachusetts bishops’ call for Catholic agencies to be exempt from a law requiring them to place some children in gay and lesbian households.

In other words, the people who work most closely with children know it’s wrong to keep gay and lesbian parents from adopting or becoming foster parents. The public knows it’s wrong. And so do many lawmakers across the country. Yet there are still places that have buckled to pressure from right-wing extremists. Lambda Legal is currently fighting one of the most antigay family laws in the country in Oklahoma. Under the law, the state refuses to recognize adoptions by same-sex couples from any other state or region, meaning that same-sex couples with children who move to Oklahoma are finding their legal family relationships officially invalidated. We think this is outrageous - and unconstitutional. When we launched the case in federal court two years ago, we believed we could convince a judge to agree with us. We still believe we can, and it’s looking like more and more people across the country would agree with us.
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Old 03-05-2006, 11:30 AM   #104
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It's so ridiculous not to allow gay couples to adopt. There are kids out there who need to be adopted. There's nothing that keeps a gay couple from being loving, responsible parents.
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:27 AM   #105
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Originally posted by nathan1977


I'm saying that the optimal situation for a child is a two-parent, mother/father home. You think this post is about tarring and feathering gay parents. It isn't. It's about the best situation for a child -- which, according to history and according to experts, is still a two-parent, mother/father household.

I've read an awful lot of rhetoric in this thread, pointing to "history," "norms," "optimal situations," and "experts," but I'm wondering - can you point the way to any recent scientific articles (say, within the past two years) that are from peer-reviewed journals as opposed to groups with clear biases and agendas, that back up these assertions?
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