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  • Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View

    by Robert Oscar Lopez

    gay family

    Between 1973 and 1990, when my beloved mother passed away, she and her female romantic partner raised me. They had separate houses but spent nearly all their weekends together, with me, in a trailer tucked discreetly in an RV park 50 minutes away from the town where we lived. As the youngest of my mother’s biological children, I was the only child who experienced childhood without my father being around.

    After my mother’s partner’s children had left for college, she moved into our house in town. I lived with both of them for the brief time before my mother died at the age of 53. I was 19. In other words, I was the only child who experienced life under “gay parenting” as that term is understood today.

    Quite simply, growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors. People in our community didn’t really know what was going on in the house. To most outside observers, I was a well-raised, high-achieving child, finishing high school with straight A’s.

    Inside, however, I was confused. When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird. I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast.

    My peers learned all the unwritten rules of decorum and body language in their homes; they understood what was appropriate to say in certain settings and what wasn’t; they learned both traditionally masculine and traditionally feminine social mechanisms.

    Even if my peers’ parents were divorced, and many of them were, they still grew up seeing male and female social models. They learned, typically, how to be bold and unflinching from male figures and how to write thank-you cards and be sensitive from female figures. These are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes come in handy when you inevitably leave the safety of your lesbian mom’s trailer and have to work and survive in a world where everybody thinks in stereotypical terms, even gays.

    I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mother and her partner were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers. As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Gay people who grew up in straight parents’ households may have struggled with their sexual orientation; but when it came to the vast social universe of adaptations not dealing with sexuality—how to act, how to speak, how to behave—they had the advantage of learning at home. Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.

    My home life was not traditional nor conventional. I suffered because of it, in ways that are difficult for sociologists to index. Both nervous and yet blunt, I would later seem strange even in the eyes of gay and bisexual adults who had little patience for someone like me. I was just as odd to them as I was to straight people.

    Life is hard when you are strange. Even now, I have very few friends and often feel as though I do not understand people because of the unspoken gender cues that everyone around me, even gays raised in traditional homes, takes for granted. Though I am hard-working and a quick learner, I have trouble in professional settings because co-workers find me bizarre.

    In terms of sexuality, gays who grew up in traditional households benefited from at least seeing some kind of functional courtship rituals around them. I had no clue how to make myself attractive to girls. When I stepped outside of my mothers’ trailer, I was immediately tagged as an outcast because of my girlish mannerisms, funny clothes, lisp, and outlandishness. Not surprisingly, I left high school as a virgin, never having had a girlfriend, instead having gone to four proms as a wisecracking sidekick to girls who just wanted someone to chip in for a limousine.

    When I got to college, I set off everyone’s “gaydar” and the campus LGBT group quickly descended upon me to tell me it was 100-percent certain I must be a homosexual. When I came out as bisexual, they told everyone I was lying and just wasn’t ready to come out of the closet as gay yet. Frightened and traumatized by my mother’s death, I dropped out of college in 1990 and fell in with what can only be called the gay underworld. Terrible things happened to me there.

    It was not until I was twenty-eight that I suddenly found myself in a relationship with a woman, through coincidences that shocked everyone who knew me and surprised even myself. I call myself bisexual because it would take several novels to explain how I ended up “straight” after almost thirty years as a gay man. I don’t feel like dealing with gay activists skewering me the way they go on search-and-destroy missions against ex-gays, “closet cases,” or “homocons.”

    Why the Central Objection to the Regnerus Study Is Flawed
    Though I have a biography particularly relevant to gay issues, the first person who contacted me to thank me for sharing my perspective on LGBT issues was Mark Regnerus, in an email dated July 17, 2012. I was not part of his massive survey, but he noticed a comment I’d left on a website about it and took the initiative to begin an email correspondence.

    Forty-one years I’d lived, and nobody—least of all gay activists—had wanted me to speak honestly about the complicated gay threads of my life. If for no other reason than this, Mark Regnerus deserves tremendous credit—and the gay community ought to be crediting him rather than trying to silence him.

    Regnerus’s study identified 248 adult children of parents who had same-sex romantic relationships. Offered a chance to provide frank responses with the hindsight of adulthood, they gave reports unfavorable to the gay marriage equality agenda. Yet the results are backed up by an important thing in life called common sense: Growing up different from other people is difficult and the difficulties raise the risk that children will develop maladjustments or self-medicate with alcohol and other dangerous behaviors. Each of those 248 is a human story, no doubt with many complexities.

    Like my story, these 248 people’s stories deserve to be told. The gay movement is doing everything it can to make sure that nobody hears them. But I care more about the stories than the numbers (especially as an English professor), and Regnerus stumbled unwittingly on a narrative treasure chest.

    So why the code of silence from LGBT leaders? I can only speculate from where I’m sitting. I cherish my mother’s memory, but I don’t mince words when talking about how hard it was to grow up in a gay household. Earlier studies examined children still living with their gay parents, so the kids were not at liberty to speak, governed as all children are by filial piety, guilt, and fear of losing their allowances. For trying to speak honestly, I’ve been squelched, literally, for decades.

    The latest attempt at trying to silence stories (and data) such as mine comes from Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, who gave an interview to Tom Bartlett of the Chronicle of Higher Education, in which he said—and I quote—that Mark Regnerus’s study was “bullshit.” Bartlett’s article continues:

    Among the problems Sherkat identified is the paper’s definition of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers”—an aspect that has been the focus of much of the public criticism. A woman could be identified as a “lesbian mother” in the study if she had had a relationship with another woman at any point after having a child, regardless of the brevity of that relationship and whether or not the two women raised the child as a couple.

    Sherkat said that fact alone in the paper should have “disqualified it immediately” from being considered for publication.

    The problem with Sherkat’s disqualification of Regnerus’s work is a manifold chicken-and-egg conundrum. Though Sherkat uses the term “LGBT” in the same interview with Bartlett, he privileges that L and G and discriminates severely against the B, bisexuals.

    Where do children of LGBT parents come from? If the parents are 100-percent gay or lesbian, then the chances are that the children were conceived through surrogacy or insemination, or else adopted. Those cases are such a tiny percentage of LGBT parents, however, that it would be virtually impossible to find more than a half-dozen in a random sampling of tens of thousands of adults.

    Most LGBT parents are, like me, and technically like my mother, “bisexual”—the forgotten B. We conceived our children because we engaged in heterosexual intercourse. Social complications naturally arise if you conceive a child with the opposite sex but still have attractions to the same sex. Sherkat calls these complications disqualifiable, as they are corrupting the purity of a homosexual model of parenting.

    I would posit that children raised by same-sex couples are naturally going to be more curious about and experimental with homosexuality without necessarily being pure of any attraction to the opposite sex. Hence they will more likely fall into the bisexual category, as did I—meaning that the children of LGBT parents, once they are young adults, are likely to be the first ones disqualified by the social scientists who now claim to advocate for their parents.

    Those who are 100-percent gay may view bisexuals with a mix of disgust and envy. Bisexual parents threaten the core of the LGBT parenting narrative—we do have a choice to live as gay or straight, and we do have to decide the gender configuration of the household in which our children will grow up. While some gays see bisexuality as an easier position, the fact is that bisexual parents bear a more painful weight on their shoulders. Unlike homosexuals, we cannot write off our decisions as things forced on us by nature. We have no choice but to take responsibility for what we do as parents, and live with the guilt, regret, and self-criticism forever.

    Our children do not arrive with clean legal immunity. As a man, though I am bisexual, I do not get to throw away the mother of my child as if she is a used incubator. I had to help my wife through the difficulties of pregnancy and postpartum depression. When she is struggling with discrimination against mothers or women at a sexist workplace, I have to be patient and listen. I must attend to her sexual needs. Once I was a father, I put aside my own homosexual past and vowed never to divorce my wife or take up with another person, male or female, before I died. I chose that commitment in order to protect my children from dealing with harmful drama, even as they grow up to be adults. When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest . . . forever.

    Sherkat’s assessment of Regnerus’s work shows a total disregard for the emotional and sexual labor that bisexual parents contribute to their children. Bisexual parents must wrestle with their duties as parents while still contending with the temptations to enter into same-sex relationships. The turbulence documented in Mark Regnerus’s study is a testament to how hard that is. Rather than threatening, it is a reminder of the burden I carry and a goad to concern myself first and foremost with my children’s needs, not my sexual desires.

    Conservatism a Corrective Response to Failed Liberal Social Policy
    The other chicken-and-egg problem of Sherkat’s dismissal deals with conservative ideology. Many have dismissed my story with four simple words: “But you are conservative.” Yes, I am. How did I get that way? I moved to the right wing because I lived in precisely the kind of anti-normative, marginalized, and oppressed identity environment that the left celebrates: I am a bisexual Latino intellectual, raised by a lesbian, who experienced poverty in the Bronx as a young adult. I’m perceptive enough to notice that liberal social policies don’t actually help people in those conditions. Especially damning is the liberal attitude that we shouldn’t be judgmental about sex. In the Bronx gay world, I cleaned out enough apartments of men who’d died of AIDS to understand that resistance to sexual temptation is central to any kind of humane society. Sex can be hurtful not only because of infectious diseases but also because it leaves us vulnerable and more likely to cling to people who don’t love us, mourn those who leave us, and not know how to escape those who need us but whom we don’t love. The left understands none of that. That’s why I am conservative.

    So yes, I am conservative and support Regnerus’s findings. Or is it that Regnerus’s findings revisit the things that made me conservative in the first place? Sherkat must figure that one out.

    Having lived for forty-one years as a strange man, I see it as tragically fitting that the first instinct of experts and gay activists is to exclude my life profile as unfit for any “data sample,” or as Dr. Sherkat calls it, “bullshit.” So the game has gone for at least twenty-five years. For all the talk about LGBT alliances, bisexuality falls by the wayside, thanks to scholars such as Sherkat. For all the chatter about a “queer” movement, queer activists are just as likely to restrict their social circles to professionalized, normal people who know how to throw charming parties, make small talk, and blend in with the Art Deco furniture.

    I thank Mark Regnerus. Far from being “bullshit,” his work is affirming to me, because it acknowledges what the gay activist movement has sought laboriously to erase, or at least ignore. Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard; it takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex. The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them—I know, because I have been there. The last thing we should do is make them feel guilty if the strain gets to them and they feel strange. We owe them, at the least, a dose of honesty. Thank you, Mark Regnerus, for taking the time to listen.

    Author’s Note: Some responses to “Growing Up with Two Moms” are addressed in this letter published by Frontiers, a Los Angeles LGBT magazine.

    This essay originally appeared August 6, 2012 in Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, NJ and is reprinted with permission.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Anonymous

      I thought this article was brilliantly written. I grew up “normal” with “normal” parents – and I feel like I’m going to flip out all the time. Life is hard enough to figure out when you are “normal”. I have been thinking for years that our world needs only ONE thing to get straightened out, and that is the self-mastery of chastity appropriate to our vocations, for the sake of our children, of course, but for the sake of ourselves and our spouses and our entire communities. Bless you for the courage to speak about your struggles. Glory to God for his unfailing grace every day.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

        Surely you are not proposing chastity for gays and lesbians? Sorry, but I think that idea has a lead balloon’s chances of getting off the ground. Personally, I am much more interested in pragmatic solutions, ones that take human sexuality into account instead of denying it.

        Same-sex marriage is a solution tailor-made for many of the issues that made Robert’s life difficult, especially gender confusion and social opprobrium. Same-sex marriage and parenting are working successfully in places where levels of social ostracism are low and gays and lesbians are free to marry the ones they love. Marriage is a stabilizing force, and marriage that is blessed–or at the very least accepted–by the surrounding society is even more stabilizing for everyone concerned, especially the children.

        • Anonymous

          Hi, Frank. Since you asked, yes, I am absolutely proposing chastity, but not just for “gays and lesbians” but for all people, in a way that is appropriate to their vocations, as I said. I know you’re not a Catholic, and you don’t believe in divine rights (as you wrote below), so I fully understand that you will not agree with our Catholic beliefs – I get it! You can come to sites like this and try to change our minds, but you won’t, I’ll be frank, Frank. We believe that God sets up the whole messed-up-but-redeemed system. And believe it or not, chastity is one of JUST A VERY FEW TEACHINGS that hasn’t changed for thousands of years. Monogamy was one teaching that set the earliest Jews apart from all of the surrounding tribes, as well as their refusal to abort babies or cast out unwanted children. I promote chastity for priests and nuns, for unmarried people, for married people whose spouses have headaches, for married people who both are in the mood but who are in a public location (shall I go on?) And please stop referring to “same sex parenting.” I do have a biology degree. Same sex partners may try raising children, with all good intentions, but you can’t both be the parents.-

          • Tout

            to ANONYMUS Thanks for a fine presentation. I hope people will learn from it. Proper teaching is very much needed. I, a Catholic widower went regularly to a Mary-statue downtown to pray the rosary in public, and hang a sign “Whether glad,sad or wary, pause a while, say a Hail Mary”. I led to the start of yearly Mary-procession, ending in church with crowning. And other Catholic presentations in public. I also acted to have a Sacred Heart-statue, in very bad shape, replaced by a new one; in the Belgian city of Turnhout in 2006. Why are so many Catholics afraid to worship in public ? Where are the KoC, the C.W.L. in these times when our faith should be presented to the public. Please, Catholics, 1) start receiving H.Host on tongue,not in hand. I never received in hand. In Tridentine (Latin) Mass, all receive on tongue. And 2), please, go every week to the Mass.

          • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

            Anonymous, I can’t very well stop referring to “same-sex parenting,” because it is a reality. Hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples the world over are raising children. What should I call them, “opposite-sex couples?” They’re not. Both the partners are considered “parents” by virtually the entire community of doctors, pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, and marriage counselors. You can’t redefine “parenting” in the face of that.

            I’m not trying to change your mind, believe it or not. I am offering witness to another point of view. When visitors come to this site, my hope is that they will see a diversity of opinions, not just the unanimous opinion of orthodox Catholics. Why live in a bubble or an echo chamber?

            The earliest Jews didn’t abort babies? Uh-oh. Maybe it’s time to re-read the books of Genesis and Exodus, where God specifically instructs the Israelites to rip out the fetuses of the Canaanite women.

            And no, I do not believe in divine rights. I am not a Catholic, but I am an American citizen, and my vote counts as much as yours.

    • hombre111

      Thought provoking. Thanks for your honesty and your integrity.

    • Pingback: First Wave of Children of Gay Couples…

    • MarylandBill

      Mr. Lopez might be “strange”, but he would be a welcome guest in my home anytime. People can be strange for many reasons, but it is most sad when it is the result of parents making what are essentially selfish choices.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

        MarylandBill, I don’t see Mr. Lopez’s parents as the ones who made bad choices. They were members of a marginalized minority, one that was often persecuted for their “difference.” It bears repeating that homosexuality is not a “choice.” But discriminatory treatment is.

        The bad choices were made by Mr. Lopez’s community. We know now that stable and monogamous same-sex couples who live in communities that accept them can make great parents.

        It’s time to change our thinking about homosexuality. When that thinking is negative and judgmental, the outcomes for children are social stigmatization and often bullying. It’s that simple.

        • MarylandBill

          I never said that homosexuality is a choice. No person has any control over who they are attracted to. We do have a choice about how we respond to that attraction. We are all called to exercise control over that response… whether it is someone who has attractions to members of the same sex, or a married person who is attracted to someone other than their spouse.

          Even if I was single, as a parent, my first responsibility must be for my children. If (God forbid) I was to loose my wife, and was single. Before I would enter a serious relationship with another woman, I would first have to make sure that both her and the relationship would be good for my children, no matter how good she might be for me!

          No one has to be in a sexual relationship with anyone. Yes, being celibate is hard.. but then again, so is marriage, so is raising children. We need to stop viewing relationships as something we need for fulfillment, and recognize them as amongst the most serious responsibilities we take on.

          • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

            MarylandBill, you write, “We are all called to exercise control over that response [of sexual attraction]. How are you proposing that a homosexual should respond to it? Become celibate? Not marry? Not have children? Those sound like very stark choices, and, as I said elsewhere, I favor pragmatic solutions that take into account not only human sexuality but the human need for companionship instead of denying them.

            Celibacy is not just hard; it is in almost all cases unhealthy and masochistic. If a young person in her/his prime succeeds in being celibate, she risks loneliness and depression. If she fails, she risks the heavy guilt and self-loathing that come with failure. Celibacy is not a path that you will find very many psychologists or psychiatrists recommending. Healthy sexuality is not repressed sexuality.

            What is healthy is for society to accept homosexuality and for homosexuals to accept themselves. We should be giving them every possible encouragement to do so, for their sakes and their children’s.

            I realize that viewing sex and marriage as “duties,” and as “responsibilities” is part of Catholic doctrine, but I believe there must also be some space in that doctrine for joy, love, and self-fulfilment. We are not put on this earth to be needlessly miserable.

            What is best for children is to be raised by loving AND responsible parents and to be nurtured by a community that accepts and respects them and their families.

            • MarylandBill

              You do realize that this article is being published in a Catholic magazine? You expect me to feel bad if someone feels guilty when they fail to live as God calls on us to live? We all fail to live as God calls us to live and we should feel guilty for those failures. I rejoice when someone feels guilty and repents their sin.

              Also, I find it interesting that you talk about marrying and having children as if they are rights. They are not. Yes, one has the right to try and find a spouse, and a right to attempt to have children, but success is never assured, even if you are a heterosexual.

              I agree we are not put on Earth to be needlessly miserable. We are put on Earth so that we can get to heaven. If we suffer in this life (and everyone will at some point or another), it is no less than what God himself accepted when he became man.

              Embracing a sin may give us the illusion of happiness, but in the long run, true happiness comes from living our lives the way God intended.

              • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                MarylandBill, there is an absolutely huge range of opinions about these matters in the Catholic community. Not all Catholics would agree with you about guilt and the purpose of life and suffering, etc.

                You write that marriage and having children are not rights. But in fact they are. Our Supreme Court has affirmed these rights many times.

                • MarylandBill

                  Since when did what was moral and right in Catholic teaching become a matter of opinion?

                  And yes, the right to marry is a right, but not in the sense you want it to be. You have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex who is free to marry (i.e., not married, of the minimum age, is able to form consent) who is willing to marry you… and that of course assumes you are free to marry as well. That is what I mean by marriage is not a right. It is not an absolute and unfettered right balanced only by the rights of others like say free speech or religion.

                  And you have the right to have children if you are able to, but you do not have right that extends beyond the biological ability to have children. I.e., you don’t have a right to adopt a child for example. Again, these are not rights in the exact same sense of free speech being a right.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                    MarylandBill, you write that I only have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. But in fact, homosexuals in 10 countries and six states have the right to marry. Why would you want me to marry someone of the opposite sex when I am homosexual? Would you want my heterosexual partner to enter into that kind of relationship with me?

                    Furthermore, gay couples DO have a right to adopt children if they qualify under the same criteria that heterosexual couples do. There are places (like Pakistan) where they do not have this right, but we’re hoping that such places will become as enlightened as Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Argentina, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Iceland, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.

                    • MarylandBill

                      Ah, and now I think we get to your basic definition or rights versus my basic definition of rights. You seem to believe that a right is something given to you by the state. A right, at least in American tradition, is something that exists outside of the state granted to us by our Creator. The state may recognize it or not, but that doesn’t change whether it exists.

                      There are states that will allow same-sex couples to claim to be married, and to claim the privileges of a married couple that does not, however, mean that they are married in the eyes of God (which for a Catholic is really the thing that matters!)… and therefore are married as a matter of natural law or natural right.

                      There are states that allow a man to marry more than one woman. That doesn’t mean he has a natural right to do so, only that the state allows it.

                      Regarding your statement about marrying a woman. I never said you had to marry anyone. And what you do in the privacy of your own home is none of my business. It does become my business when you want to redefine social institutions in a fundamental way.

                      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                        MarylandBill, you and I are on separate wavelengths concerning the origin of rights. I do not acknowledge the primacy of divinity or of natural law.

                        You write that there are states that allow a man to marry more than one woman. Are there, really? Which ones?

                        Redefine social institutions? Marriage has already been redefined–or, to be more exact, its definition has been expanded. Same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage are both forms of marriage, just as broad beans and pintos are both kinds of legumes.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                    MarylandBill, apparently a lot of Catholics nowadays are deciding that their own opinions should have some weight. Obedience to the magisterium is no longer what Catholicism is about.

                    You write that I am free to marry a woman of the opposite sex. Is that what you would want for that woman? Could you look that woman in the eye and say, “You should marry this gay man because he needs an opposite-sex marriage in order to be in conformance with Catholic teaching?”

                    There is some sense in which I do not have a right to marry. True, if I don’t find someone who will consent to marry me, then I do not have the right to force them. However, I do have a right to marry a consenting adult who is not already married, and in 10 countries and 6 U.S. states, that consenting adult can be a person of my own gender.

                  • Tout

                    MARYLANDBILL Thanks for your presentation. I must inform myself, where you say, married people have no right to adopt children. That’s a surprise. I will look into that.

                    • AdoptingMama

                      As a mother trying to adopt, it’s true. You do not have the right to adopt if you are a criminal, have a history of emotional or physical disabilities, too poor, too old or young, or many other such requirements. Most other countries allow only married individuals to adopt, or single women on a limited basis. There are requirements for age, health, finances.

                      In short, adoption agencies place the highest value on traditional families with a good income and stable life to place children. It is these families who can overcome the trauma of abandonment for our children and give them the best possible circumstances to life.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                    MarylandBill, I realize you live in a highly saturated Catholic environment, but most Americans, including myself, are not Catholics, and so we see many points of Catholic teaching as matters of opinion. I hope this will not come as too much of a shock to you.

                    I, a homosexual, have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex? Great, and thanks very much, but are you out of your bleedin’ mind? Would you wish that on me or on her? Do you have any idea what that kind of marriage would be like and what it would mean for children? Maybe you would also like me to start flagellating myself (and my wife and children) and wear a spiked belt against my flesh. No thanks. I am made for happiness, not guilt, self-denial, and masochism.

                    These “rights” that you speak of are not god-given. They are given by people, in the aggregate, who rise to higher states of consciousness and empathy that allow them to live out Jesus’s most important teaching: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

                • Tout

                  LOZERA Not in the Catholic Church.Real Catholics accept its teachings.. Just because some in the community call themselves Catholic, does not mean they are. Unfortunately some claim to be Catholic, but make their own rules, for they don’t have the courage to live by Catholic teaching. Some only go by our Supreme Court. It is up to you to make a serious study of the truth.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                    Thanks Tout. I think I see a major schism coming.

            • MarylandBill

              BTW, regarding celibacy. First, you realize that only 50 years ago very few psychologists or psychiatrists would have recognized homosexuality as anything other than a disorder.

              Perhaps the reason why celibacy is so hard psychologically, is because it is not accepted by society. I had to wait 37 years to meet my wife and I can assure you, in my single years, society sent me plenty of messages suggesting something was not right because I wasn’t living with someone and having sex; its even worse with women who are still sent the message that if they are not married and having babies, something must be wrong with them.

              Further, if we apply your argument rigorously, what do we do about people who have what are currently deemed deviant sexual attractions? Should necrophiliacs, zoophiliacs or pedophiles also not abstain from indulging?

              And while we are at it, lets be honest, ever since Freud, psychology has been obsessed with sex…. to the point that it reduces man to his sexual impulses.

              • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                MarylandBill, what you say about the state of medical knowledge 50 years ago is so true. We have come so far since then.

                You waited 37 years to meet your wife, but your choice of the word “waiting” suggests that you were never satisfied with the celibacy that preceded your marriage. If you had been satisfied with it, you would not have married, I presume.

                Regarding your question about zoophiliacs and pedophiles: Yes, they should and must restrain their impulses because of the power imbalances that are involved and the non-consensual nature of the acts they contemplate. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, are consenting adults of the same species. As for necrophiliacs, we must assume that the survivors of the deceased have some rights over them. So these comparisons are not valid.

                I agree with you about modern society’s reducing everything to sexual impulses. This is why I continually insist that same-sex marriage is about much more than sexual acts, though sexual compatibility and attraction are of course essential. Marriage usually has a strong sexual component, but it is much more about love, commitment, mutual support, and stability.

            • Tout

              It is very unlikely that one is born an homosexual. What about the boy/girl born with some bodily defect, that nobody will marry them ? We all must accept what live may throw at us. You are not the only one who has difficulties. Do not ruin your life by crying over what you may not have. Many may, at some point in life, have to make a difficult decision. You probably don’t believe in prayer. Try it. I say a prayer for you.

              • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

                Thanks, Tout. Your opinion about the origins of homosexuality is just uninformed speculation, I’m afraid. I am much more inclined to believe the scientific consensus, which is that about 35% of sexual orientation is genetic in origin, and the rest is “gene expression” and hormones.

                By the way, did I say I had difficulties? Was I crying over what I might not have? I’m now looking over my shoulder to see whom you are talking to. I am a happy homosexual.

                Thanks for the prayer, but I’m afraid you’ve wasted your time.

        • Tout

          There should be only the proper sexual act in marriage between man and wife. Homosexual act is wrong, is negative. We do not accept bullying. It’s that simple.

          • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

            OK, got it. Heterosexuality good, homosexuality bad. It’s that simple.

    • IWasASociallyAwkwardTeenToo

      Oh, the humanity! We see now that the immemorial years of legal subjugation of this subset of humanity were justified to prevent this horror of well-raised, high-achieving, physically and mentally healthy, socially awkward teenagers!

      • J G

        It is interesting that you dismiss so easily his pain because it is contrary to your agenda. He is a “subset of humanity” that you want to “subject.” I find your use of the term “subset” fits in perfectly with the liberal tendency to divide people in unnatural ways.

        • IWasASociallyAwkwardTeenToo

          It is interesting that readers here embrace his “pain” because it is supportive of their agenda, despite that it shows no difference from the social pain experienced by children in normal families (Like me! Feel my pain! Revile my wonderful, loving, heterosexual parents!). This article is just a tool to rationalize a moral belief that is not actually held for consequentialist reasons. The author lived in a broken home and he attributes his struggles but not his successes to his mother’s sexuality, and he does so without any evidence capable of discriminating between either these multiple effects or the multiple possible causes of them. On that basis, it is fair to call this article intellectually and functionally dishonest. The best one can say for its errors is that they were made sincerely.

          It’s also interesting that you falsely impute to me positions I don’t hold.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

        Socially awkward. Wouldn’t that describe most teens? When I was in high school, social awkwardness was almost pandemic except among the drama majors and the cheerleaders.

    • RevJames

      You didn’t have “gay parents” so your experience is irrelevant to the discussion. You had a bio mother who you lived with and who had a part time sex partner on the weekends who happened to be a woman. You had no father. This is not a description of having “gay parents” it is a trailer park scenario.

      I feel sorry for you but your experience offers nothing to the examination of a cultural issue about loving committed same sex parents who actually parent their children that they chose to have, raise together, love, support and who do not need of hiding their family and love in trailer park confined to secret rendez vous relegated to the week-ends.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

        This is exactly right. Of course, if Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor, couldn’t see the flaws in his study of same-sex parenting outcomes, we can hardly expect Mr. Lopez to. The critical flaw of both the study and Mr. Lopez’s account of his own upbringing is the failure to identify the real causes of the negative outcomes they report. But as one psychologist recently wrote, “Affect and intuition organize cognition.”

        • MarylandBill

          Again, you missed the whole point of the study.

          He was pointing out that the existing studies had serious problems as well. His methodology was clearly limited (as he indicated), but it was the only thing that allowed him to get any sort of sample size to work with.

          • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

            MarylandBill, the sample size was precisely the problem. The previous studies on same-sex parenting had only sampled children from stable, educated gay couples, and for that reason, they were too narrow. This is why Regnerus attributed his findings to “better methods.”

            However, Regnerus went to the other extreme. In order to get a large number of respondents, his triage had to begin with the question, “Did either of your parents ever have a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex? This question netted a large sample, but it was so large that it was dominated almost entirely by kids who had scarcely lived in same-sex households. A child of Larry Craig (Mr. “Wide Stance”) would not have been raised by a same-sex couple, but he would have qualified as a respondent in this study.

            Mark Regnerus writes in Patheos, “Only two respondents total said they lived with their mother and her [lesbian] partner nonstop from birth to age 18. Two more said they did so for 15 years, and two more for 13 years. To be sure, these 10 fared better on more outcomes than did their less-stable peers. They’re just uncommon, and too small a group to detect statistically significant differences, for sure.”

    • RevJames

      Funny how supportive comments, despite their post times are on the top vs challenging ones relegated to obscurity.

      • MarylandBill

        Lean how to use the site. By default the comments are sorted by how well liked they are. However, you can also sort them by age.

    • John

      This well-written article deserves our attention as Catholics for three reasons. 1. It confirms that Catholic teaching on the proper–that is, the morally correct–use of human sexuality (within sacramental marriage only) is essential not only for the good of the spouses, but for all the people their relationship affects. In other words, our moral actions are not ours alone, but have social consequences that are our responsibility. Few pop pseudo-moralities acknowledge or defend that truth any longer. 2. It reminds us that most of us are afflicted by one disordered appetite or another. Even long-married men (like me) find that they are not free to satisfy their sexual appetites as they wish. In other words, if your sexual temptations are strong and illicit, welcome to the club! On the other hand, most of us ought to empathize with the man or woman (unmarried or married) trying to live a life of chastity. It is extraordinarily difficult–but the Church also confirms that it is essential for holiness. Finally, 3. Behind whatever “homosexual agenda” that may exist is the ultimate goal of forcing society to approve of any/all sexual activity between consenting adults as “good.” As Mr. Lopez has seen, it is a cardinal sin among the LGBT community to express rational misgivings about the anti-social consequences of unconstrained sexual license. It may be the only sin some of them recognize, but I’m not willing to admit that all men and women so afflicted are happy with this agenda. This is where the Church has been prophetic in the past, and will likely be violently assaulted in the future: The church has long recognized that adultery, extra- and pre- marital sex, and homosexual sex causes both spiritual and social harm on ALL people connected to the event–not simply the “consenting adults” participating in the act.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

        John, I realize that your adherence to Catholic doctrine may require you to view homosexuality as a “disordered appetite,” but I at least hope you are aware that none of the nation’s health- and social-care associations share that view. I also realize that science may not get much respect in this zone of belief, except when it gets you quickly to the 35th floor of an office building or provides your dentist with the knowledge to treat a bad tooth.

        Nevertheless, homosexuality is not an affliction, and homosexuals simply want equal treatment under the law. You write that their ultimate goal is to “force” society to approve of any/all sexual activity between consenting adults as good. This is a myth. Some homosexuals may want such a thing, and some heterosexuals may also, but you are stigmatizing homosexuals by attributing this goal to them alone and “en masse.”

        Non-discrimination laws, like other laws, may indeed be backed by force. But there’s nothing wrong with force. That’s why we have a judiciary system.

        You equate homosexuality with “unconstrained sexual license.” That is also a myth. I am homosexual, and I have been in a monogamous domestic partnership for 13 years. I do not believe in “unconstrained sexual license,” and neither does my partner. Neither do any of our gay or lesbian friends.

        Gays and lesbians have good reason to be angry about such slanders, which are rife on Catholic web- and blog-sites. You, in turn, have every right to be angry about anti-Catholic slanders. The point is that none of should engage in them. If we are going to make defamatory claims about entire classes of people, let’s make every effort to AT LEAST ensure that those claims are true.

    • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

      Robert, I imagine you may underestimate the role of ambient prejudice in the personal confusion that you describe. You were probably “confused” because of that prejudice. And in fact, you state that your were a “social outcast.” One is not an “outcast” in an environment where neighbors and peers play no role. People in the community didn’t know what was going on in your house because your mother and her partner couldn’t invite them in.

      If there hadn’t been such a wall between your parents and the community, you might have adapted much better. A child raised in a community that is accepting of gays and lesbians finds suitable role models in that community. The by-product of the community’s ostracism of your parents was ostracism of you.

      I wouldn’t blame your parents for your lack of confidence or sensitivity to others. I was raised by straight parents and I also lacked these qualities. Your description of yourself would probably apply to most children. Childhood and adolescence are difficult, but there’s really no evidence that having same-sex parents makes things any more difficult in a community that is accepting of same-sex relationships.

      Yes, I, too, was odd, out-of-sync, and I felt strange. I had few friends, and I later had trouble in professional settings. And my parents were straight.

      Making oneself attractive to girls is not just a problem of boys who are raised in same-sex households. There can be many other reasons that have nothing to do with one’s inherent qualities or attractiveness.

      Why did you lisp? Because you identified with girls or lacked masculine role models? But girls don’t lisp. Lisping is an affectation of some male homosexuals. If you identified as gay at that time, maybe you picked up the lisp from gay friends.

      You left high school as a virgin? Congratulations! So did I. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

      Robert, in case you don’t already know this, your lesbian parents didn’t make you gay. We don’t “catch” sexual orientation from our parents. Otherwise, the vast majority of gay individuals, having been raised by straight parents, would be straight.

    • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

      Robert, I think you should know about some factual errors and omissions I found in your account of the Regnerus study.

      You didn’t mention the very important fact that Darren E. Sherket, who called the study “bullshit,” was appointed auditor of the publication process by none other than the editor-in-chief of the journal that published the study. (Social Science Research) Sherket also happens to sit on the journal’s editorial board. So the journal is now faced with the dilemma of what to do with the audit that they themselves commissioned. My guess is that they will eventually recall it. They’re due to publish the audit in their November issue.

      You didn’t address the problem that Bartlett identifies in the study: It is that Regnerus did not control the variables in his test group (children of gay and lesbian parents) and his comparison group (children of heterosexual parents).

      Regnerus’s study doesn’t document the failure of same-sex parenting. Instead, it shows the harmful effects of closeting and the devastations wrought upon children by irrational social opprobrium. The overwhelming majority of the children in the test group were raised by mixed-orientation parents, not same-orientation ones.

      A society that uses stigmatization and discrimination to force its same-sex-oriented young people into marriages with opposite-sex-oriented individuals should not be surprised when such families fall apart, damaging the children in the process. If we are to learn anything from Regnerus’s study, it is that children benefit from being raised in stable households. Not only does same-sex marriage offer such stability; it also helps to stabilize “straight” marriages by siphoning off closeted gays and lesbians who might otherwise stay in the straight-marriage pool.

      • MarylandBill

        Your double standard is showing here. You can’t disregard the conclusions of a study based on poor methodology and then at the same time claim a particular conclusion.

        In fact, in the Slate article that was published along side the journal article, Regnerus quite clearly states the limitations of his study. He specifically mentions that things might be different now that our culture is more accepting of same-sex relationships.

        The essential conclusion of the study is that the previous studies that talked about how there is essentially no difference between children raised by their married biological parents and those who are raised by their co-habitating same-sex parents are flawed.

        Indeed, common sense would suggest this since as far as I can tell pretty much every other study suggests that children who are raised by adoptive parents, unmarried parents, a biological parent and a step-parent are not as well off (on average) as children raised in homes with married parents. Are we suppose to believe that same-sex parents are the exception in that regard?

        • http://www.facebook.com/frank.lozera Frank Lozera

          MarylandBill, the study’s methodology was flawed insofar as it did not support its stated goals and its conclusions. If its goal had been to show the effects of broken homes and its conclusion had been that broken homes are bad for children, then the methodology would have been fine, because it would have supported that goal and that conclusion.

          I am saying that the study does document something, but it is not what the researcher claims–in the study itself–that he has documented. He may have said something different in the Slate article, but if it is that different, then maybe he should disavow the study.

          There are no studies showing that same-sex parents cannot do as good a job as heterosexuals ones in raising children. A study published two summers ago by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in fact, shows the opposite. The study measured the psychological adjustment of 17-year-old adolescents raised by lesbian couples. These adolescents were rated “significantly higher” in social and academic competence and “significantly lower” in problem behavior than their counterparts in a standard normative sample of American youth (known as the “Achenbach” sample). The means by which these children came into their families (e.g., adoption, artificial insemination, surrogate fathers) made no difference in the results. Nor did it matter whether the lesbian parents were still together or separated during the study.

          Are we to conclude from the AAP’s study that heterosexuals should not raise children?

          And what if it were shown that Norwegians are not as good at raising children as, say, Italians. What are you supposed to do, tell the Norwegians they shouldn’t raise children?

          • MarylandBill

            And it never occurred to you that the the other studies were not exactly scientifically valid either? Almost by definition, the kids compared to the “Achenbach” sample” knew that they were being studied because their parents were lesbians. You don’t suppose that their desire to protect their mothers might have led them to perhaps provide the researchers a rosier picture of their situation than other kids might?

            Also, the very results you site, suggest that the results are flawed. You say the study said it made no difference about whether or not the couple stayed together or separated during the study. Pretty much every study involving heterosexuals suggests that parents staying together has a major impact on how well children do; to me, this suggests that there must be serious flaws in the study you cited (BTW, are you a social worker, a sociologist, or just a Googler with a bone to pick with faithful Catholics?).

            Also, if the second study is valid, then you can’t claim the first study says anything, since you just said the second study said that a broken home (if it involved Lesbian parents) had no negative impact on the children!.

            At best, I think we can say that really there are no good studies regarding the impact of having same-sex partners playing the role of parents (which is really the conclusion of Regnerus anyway). In fact, lacking any real knowledge of what the impact would be, what proponents of same sex marriage are really proposing is social experimentation on a generation of children not yet born. And you think this is a good idea?

    • V.H.

      I could connect with what you said in the beginning about growing up weird and being strange even though I had straight parents. There was a lot going on…alcoholism of Dad, mom given very powerful tranquilizers by psychiatrists of the early 1960s, having a very messy house that shamed me before my friends, etc. Mom acted very weirdly under those pills. My brother and I used to think of ourselves as the Adaams Family.
      Like you, I’m still weird, and tight-bottomed (rather boring) types of people eschew me.
      I found that to be quite ok. All great saints and innovators were weird too. If people with your or my background would only look deeply inside, they’d find their personality probably equips them with some mighty talents and forces to do great things.
      Also there are a world of other weirdos–I’m thinking of the ones doing noble things with their lives–who will love you and inspire you to do great things. Look for the Auntie Maime types (or Franciscans :) …people who are very open, creative, and daring. Do this and be grateful for the many, many blessings you have and you will find happiness.

    • Tony

      As the troll on the site inadvertently makes clear, sanctioning sodomy implies a sanction of fornication generally. Bye bye, culture. AND the issue that no one wishes to talk about — the corruption of same-sex friendships, their attenuation, because of the prominence of the sodomitical.

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