(Reuters) – The Vatican newspaper on Sunday stressed that children should be raised by a father and a mother after Italy’s top appeals court granted a gay mother custody of her son, prompting a debate over gay adoption.
Italy’s Court of Cassation on Friday rejected an appeal by a father who feared his son would not have a balanced upbringing if he lived with his mother and her female partner. The court ruled it was “mere prejudice” to think that a child could not be brought up normally by homosexual parents.
While gay rights group Arcigay hailed the decision as a “historic ruling” in Italy, where it is illegal for gay couples to adopt, Catholic leaders were quick to defend the traditional family unit.
L’Osservatore Romano, the 151-year-old mouthpiece of the Holy See, on Sunday ran an editorial which sought to play down the ruling of the court, saying that children often grow up in difficult circumstances without a mother or father.
“But no one believes that these situations should be created just because in some cases they don’t cause damage,” wrote Adriano Pessina, director of bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
THOSE who oppose gay marriage often argue that having gay parents is hard on children. This has been a hard argument to make, because there simply isn’t that much data about the effects of growing up with gay parents, and what little there is—such as the 2010 study that found a 0% rate of child abuse in lesbian households—tends to undermine it. Some will believe that has changed this week with the publication of a new study by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas, on “adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships.” As Mr Regnerus explains, in an accompanying essay at Slate, there are significant differences between that group and those who grew up in intact biological families (ie, a mother and a father, no adoption, no divorce). “On 25 of 40 different outcomes evaluated, the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families,” he writes, “displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents.”
The study has been greeted with fierce criticism, and for good reason. Mr Regnerus’s methodology stacked the deck against gay parents. There aren’t that many young adults around who grew up with openly gay parents, so he drew a bigger circle. Anyone who reported that either of their parents had a same-sex relationship while they were growing up was put into the “lesbian mothers” or “gay fathers” category, regardless of whether their parents had been married or divorced, whether the kids were adopted or biological, whether the parents seemed happy or not, whether the same-sex affair was a one-time encounter or the basis of the household, and so on. (By this silly standard, the number of children growing up with a gay parent is about to skyrocket.)
-more at Economist
The real lesson, as the Economist points out in their conculuding paragraph, is that children need stable families. For those who are being raised by same- sex parents, that probably means we should support gay marriage – for the sake of the children.