There is much emphasis being placed on the gay rights debate with each passing day. We see it all around us in the political and policy debates. “Should gay men and women be able to openly serve in our military?” “Should our laws be redefined to recognize gay marriage?” “Should gay couples have equal opportunities to adopt children?” There are a number of arguments coming from critics and advocates of the LGBT cause and these arguments warrant a closer examination.
It seems that the number one argument to which most naysayers default is, “a child needs both a mother AND a father to develop into a stable, emotionally secure, productive member of society.” Fair enough, but has anybody ever offered-up any hard evidence to support this claim? Furthermore, how many single mothers and fathers are out there raising bright, healthy, emotionally stable children all on their own? Has anybody ever asked a child of a gay couple about his or her upbringing?
In January, we wrote about the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. Senator Gillibrand introduced the Act on November 1st, 2011. This act would prohibit any entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
And then in late January, early February, the interwebs were taken by storm by an intelligent and well-spoken young man named Zach Wahls who spoke to the Iowa House of Representatives as an example of a child/young adult having been raised by lesbian parents.
Whether or not you’ve seen this video, its’ message bears cause for repeating. Zach Wahls, who was raised by a lesbian couple, felt compelled to share his testimony about what a terrific job his mothers have done in raising him during a public forum on the House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Zach reveals that when his biological mother was artificially inseminated, his grandparents were all but pleased; however, it wouldn’t be long until “’they broke down as soon as they witnessed my infantile cuteness.” Zach goes on to say that over the years, his family functioned as any “normal” family does – “we go to church, eat dinner, and go on vacation together, and, yes, sometimes we even fight.” As a student at the University of Iowa, Zach says that the issue of gay marriage and “can gays raise kids?” often times comes up in his classes. Zach’s response is a resounding “yes.” He explains that he is a testament to the fact that gay couples can indeed raise good, productive, and emotionally stable kids. After listing all of his academic, extra-curricular, and professional accomplishments, Zach – a seemingly polite, respectful, intelligent, and charismatic young man – raises one of his most powerful points to the chairman overseeing the deliberations – “If I were your son, mister chairman, I believe I’d make you very proud.” Indeed you would, Zach.
Wahls goes on to explain that he is “not much different” than the children of those listening to his story, and that his family is also, “not much different” than their families. He adequately and eloquently relates that family cannot possibly be defined by what the government says it should be. Instead, “family comes from the commitment we make to each other.” This revelation propels us to the realization that not only are children a blessing to the world, but so too are loving, attentive parents – no matter what their gender or orientation – who foster commitment and caring within their homes.
To further the goal of Every Child Deserves a Family Act, we encourage you to write to the U.S. Senators and ask them to support this important legislation. Here is one example of a publicly shared letter of support, and another.