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Monday, September 30, 2013

A Child Needs a Mother and a Father, but not Sexism and Homophobia

Let me now address one important argument of those who are against gay family rights.

I think, speaking generally, it could be agreed that a child NEEDS a mother and a father. After all, most children have as their biological and legal parents a mother and a father. In those cases, the ideal thing is to have the child brought up by both of them. It would definitely not be a good scenario if there is, for example, a divorce of the parents and only one parent gains sole custody. That is why I am a staunch proponent of shared custody, and also creating restrictive terms for ending couple relationships.

However, there are problems like infertility out there, and society's compassionate response is that infertile couples shall be able to create children using donor material. In that case, the infertile couple will be the parents. Some may say that this idea puts adult desires before child welfare, but children grow up to be adults too, and it is not good for child welfare for a society to be rigid and uncompassionate. After all, nobody can dispute that children who come to the world in this way generally do no worse than other children. This is a good arrangement, it's not perfect but we cannot let perfect be the enemy of good.

Now there's another type of infertile couple out there being discussed - gay and lesbian couples. If we uphold the idea of equality, and accept that their infertility, caused by their sexual orientation, is an inborn thing rather than a lifestyle choice (which most of us do), then they too should be treated the same way as straight infertile couples.

Now here is where some people take the 'a child needs a mother and a father' idea in the wrong direction. They argue that a child always needs male and female parents, even when they are not their biological parents. So such equal treatment of gay couples should not occur. Now this is not only a strange way to think, as unsubstantiated ideas should never be used to justify unequal treatment, it is also downright sexist. People are not their sex or gender. There are as many types of males as there are females, and I can guarantee you that the average geek girl is more similar to the average geek guy than the average girly party girl. I do acknowledge that gender stereotypes as often generally true, but they are only true on average. But even biological parents are not always the typical male and the typical female, yet everybody just accepts this as part of nature's diversity. Nor would anybody seriously say that only infertile couples who are the typical male and the typical female should get assisted reproduction - that would be incredibly sexist. Having different rules just because the couple's gender is different is both sexist and homophobic.

It is true, for 97%+ of cases, that 'a child needs a mother and a father'. After all, a child needs two parents and is best served by being raised by their biological parents. However, rigid application of this idea is stupid, and unfortunately is often a front for bigotry.