Recently, Colleen shared her thoughts on parenting and “traditional marriage.” Her observations remind me of the following from a 2002 article in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children’s optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes.*
Following is an excerpt from Colleen’s reflection.
The Church’s current emphasis on “traditional marriage” is poorly conceived in my humble opinion. What worked to support marriages in the idyllic 1950’s has been completely undermined by those very same generations. My parents’ generation, whose lives culminated in large houses and Lincolns and Jaguars, cannot begin to conceive of the fact their children became parents, spouses, and adults in a society which could only support that same concept of family on mobility, isolation, and huge personal debt.
This form of traditional marriage is not only unsustainable, it’s almost destroyed the economic and social fabric of this country. We cannot go back. We must develop a concept of marriage and family which is sustainable, realistic, just, and places equal responsibility on both partners to make the parenting part work.
Marriage might be crucial to the well being of a society, at least in so far as marriages produce future generations, but all kinds of relationships can parent those future generations. Frankly I’m tired of all the rhetoric about traditional marriage. Like the rest of the country seems to be, I'm not particularly vested in the success of individual marriages, but I am vested in what happens to the children in that marriage. I’d much rather the social conversation swirled around competent parenting. Successful parenting is what the future is all about, not traditional marriage.
It’s one of the lessons we should be taking from our current president. He wasn’t the product of a successful traditional marriage, he was the product of successful parenting. Just because we as a society no longer do marriage all that well, doesn’t mean we can’t do parenting well. It’s time we separated the two notions of marriage and parenting. Whether we like it or not, that’s the way society is moving. Adjusting to this is not caving into secularism, it’s realism, and it’s about putting children first.
To read Colleen’s reflection in its entirety, click here.
* Pediatrics, Vol. 109 No. 2 February 2002, pp. 341-344.
Recommended Off-site Link:
The Gospel’s Queer Values - Queering the Church, January 26, 2009.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Celebrating the Presence of God Within All Families
The Changing Face of “Traditional Marriage”
One Catholic Gay Parent Who Isn’t Leaving the Church
Gay Adoption: A Catholic Lawyer’s Perspective