“I regard marriage as an institution that has developed over many centuries, essentially for the provision of a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children, which is clearly something that two same-sex partners can’t do,” declared British Member of Parliament David Jones on a Welsh TV program.
You can watch him here:
As the great-aunt of two delightful girls being raised by their gay parents, this makes me angry. Has David Jones actually spent time with any gay parents?
Jones was being interviewed because he is one of two of ministers in David Cameron’s cabinet to vote against gay marriage earlier this month. The House of Commons, Britain’s lower house of parliament, voted heavily in favor of the measure in the first of several votes required for its passage; however more than half of Cameron’s 303 lawmakers voted against or abstained. The Tory Party is in discord.
After declaring the ineptitude of all same-sex couples in the parenting sphere, Jones went on to add that he did not believe he was homophobic, insisting he had “people in my life who are important to me who are gay.”
The Welsh Secretary has been doing some major backtracking ever since, as a result of the torrent of criticism he has received, but it isn’t very convincing.
The Guardian reports that Jones tried to recover himself:
I simply sought to point out that, since same-sex partners could not biologically procreate children, the institution of marriage was one that, in my opinion, should be reserved to opposite-sex partners.
Jones’s clarification implies that he sees procreation as the chief purpose of marriage, and therefore gay people should be debarred. Where does that leave the many married heterosexual couples who do not have children? Should they be denied the right to marry also?
Also left out are the examples of bad parenting amongst straight couples. This is not to point the finger at gay couples or at heterosexual couples. Children need to be raised in loving, caring relationships, regardless of the sexual orientation of their parents or caregivers.
On the other hand, maybe gay parents are better parents than heterosexuals. Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting, points out to the Huffington Post that gay parents “tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents.”
She adds that gay couple rarely become parents by accident, whereas there is an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals.
A study last year called into question the ability of gay parents to raise well-rounded children, but the report has been widely discredited as being agenda-based and poorly researched.
Here’s what the American Psychological Association had to say:
On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association and other health, professional, and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.
Amen to that.
Many gay couples are parents and provide loving homes for their children. If Jones really believes in strengthening families, it would make more sense for him to allow same-sex parents to marry.
Gay people in Britain have had the legal right to adopt children since 2006. The new law to legalize same-sex marriage would take effect in 2014, although it still has several hoops to jump through. Meanwhile, memo to Mr. Jones and all those other anti-marriage equality Conservatives: step out of your cossetted world and see what’s happening in Britain in 2013.
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