Reply to D.C. McAllister’s “Harry Potter” criticism of gay parents

By Stephen Richer

Dear D.C. McAllister,

You titled your article “The Harry Potter Generation: Denying that kids do best when both biological parents raise them is not just naïve, it’s cruel and abusive.”  Your trick worked.  You got me to trudge through your 38 paragraph criticism of gay parenting just to get to your ONE paragraph about Harry Potter.  Well done.  But don’t you find it a bit ironic that your bait — Harry Potter preaches the toleration of others and even has a scientifically-registered ability to reduce prejudice among its young readers?  Also, Dumbledore is the wisest and most loving character in the book, and he serves as something of a surrogate father to Harry.  Did knowing this, and knowing that Dumbledore is gay, give you pause while writing your article?

As to the substance of your article, I found it to be rubbish (to use a favorite Harry Potter word).  Let’s go through it.

Actual Statistics Of Gay Parenting

You say that children raised by gay parents aren’t complete.  These kids are allegedly spiritually incomplete — a nice, nebulous, non-scientifically measurable term.  You then link to various studies that show that moms are important, dads are important, and two parents are important.  But you never link to studies that compare children raised by two gay parents to children raise by two straight parents.  So I looked for some.  Here’s what I found:

Or if Wikipedia is more your speed, then here you go:

A consensus has developed among the medical, psychological, and social welfare communities that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents.[5] The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.[6] Based on the robust nature of the evidence available in the field, the Third District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida was satisfied in 2010 that the issue is so far beyond dispute that it would be irrational to hold otherwise; the best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.[7]

Gay Couples Don’t Steal Children From Straight Parents:

Most criticisms of gay parenting — including the beginning of yours — read as if gay parents sneak into happy Leave-It-To-Beaver-esque homes and steal their children.  But you know that’s not how it works.  Gays adopt children from broken homes, orphanages, or foster parents.  According to Dr. Elisa Rosman, there are 107,011 children in foster homesThe New York Times puts the number of children waiting to be adopted at 115,000 in the United States.  Gay couples play a significant part in providing these kids with homes — 65,000 adopted children live in gay homes, 4% of all adopted children in the country. (Gary Gates study).

It’s The Lab Babies That Are The Real Problem:

Nevermind the gay parents that adopt unwanted children, you write.  Focus instead on the artificially inseminated children who are cruelly brought into this world, doomed to a life of gay parents.

“Lesbian couples are going to sperm banks, having kids, and then raising them as a ‘family.’ . . . To intentionally deny children the opportunity to know both parents–and to be raised by them– is not only naive and foolish, it is cruel.  It is a form of neglect–and those who advocate it are advancing the neglect, the abuse, of children.  Such people aren’t to be legitimized and they’re certainly not to be admired.”

“Abuse” seems a bit strong a word for giving somebody life.  To take a page from the Tim Tebow-centered abortion debate: Don’t you think all of these children are happier living, even with sub-optimal parents (which is statistically inaccurate), than not living (their alternative had they not be artificially inseminated)?  I know I’d take the “living” option over the “non-living” option.

Your Preference For Anecdotes And Generalizations:

How can you read your own “proofs” and “evidence” with a straight face?  Examples:

How many times do you hear, ‘You look just like your mom!’ Or ‘You have your grandfather’s stubborn disposition . . .?”

I don’t know.  How many times do you hear that?  And does that ruin the lives of kids?  It’s a nice little story, but not backed by any statistics or evidence.   Speaking of nice little stories, is this really supposed to be the foundation on which gays shouldn’t be parents:

“There is a reason men who were raised without a father weep when they watch ‘A Field of Dreams.’ . . . There is reasons a woman–with tears in here eyes–told author Sue Monk Kidd at a book tour stop . . . that [she] accurately reflected . . . an ache that could only be soothed by connecting with her mother’s past.”

And you’ll hopefully forgive me for not treating your selective culling of anonymous online reflections (Anonymous Us) about gay parents as hard facts that accurately describe a broader trend.

Why Are You Writing This?

You do a good job of showing that parents matter and that two-parent households are better environments for kids than are one-parent households.  But you never show any statistics that two gay parents are discernibly worse than two straight parents.  And you certainly never show that two gay parents are worse than an orphanage, foster parents, or single-parent households.

I’m curious as to why you wrote this.  Presumably you’re not a big fan of state intervention (most people writing at The Federalist aren’t; I’m certainly not).  So why recommend this as the domain in which the state gets involved?  If you’re really looking after the well-being of children, why not make strong, two-parent households — gay or straight — your fight?  (This is what the conservative group Institute for American Values does).  Or awful public schools?  Or awful nutrition?  Or blighted neighborhoods?  Or crime?  Instead, you hone in on the newly wed gay couples who — gasp — take affirmative steps to start a new, two-parent household.  And that makes me think your piece is really just about disliking the trend toward gay marriage for other reasons.  Am I wrong?

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