Saturday, May 24, 2008

Beyond Same Sex Marriage

A lively debate is brewing over at Mercator, where I published my latest article about the CA same sex marriage decision. I expect to have some response to their commentary posted over there soon.
But in the meantime, here is some of what needs to be said in response:
Someone at Mercator pointed out that many of the gay couples who are already raising children had those children from previous heterosexual relationships. In other words, the couple is not raising “their” child. One partner is raising his or her own child, and the other partner is similar to a stepparent. The gay partner doesn’t automatically get parental rights because the child’s other biological parent is not automatically out of the picture. Unless that parent surrenders their parental rights, or is found to be unfit, the child’s biological parent continues to have parental rights toward them. Under this scenario, the child who is living with a same sex couple is not “their” child. Marriage does not and should not attach the child to both members of the gay couple in this situation, any more than a heterosexual divorced woman getting remarried should automatically attach her children to her new husband.
Who are the same sex couples who are raising their own children? They can only be couples who have somehow acquired genetic material from some third party. It is that third party parent who is being ignored. Or more precisely, it is the child’s relationship to that third party that no one wants to look at too closely. One typical scenario is that one member of a lesbian couple gets impregnated by an anonymous sperm donor. All the adults agree to it, and we somehow think that is sufficient. But the child’s right to have a relationship with that parent is fundamentally violated. It is the exact opposite of the trend toward open adoption, which honors the child’s right to relationship.

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