WASHINGTON — Today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments about same-sex “marriage” and then in a few weeks, will hand down a decision with innumerable ramifications.
The court’s decision can’t be predicted, though the thrust toward the nationwide legalization of same-sex “marriage” seems to have unbreakable momentum. But some representatives of a largely voiceless group in the debate — the now-adult children raised by same-sex couples — say legalizing same-sex “marriage” is a mistake.
As the debate has been working its way through courts, adults who were raised in same-sex households have been filing amicus curiae briefs, to give the judges an inside look into what might become increasingly common.
There’s no doubt they are facing a big battle to make their voices heard, as even the decision handed down by the Sixth Circuit Court last November (which sent the issue of same-sex “marriage” to the Supreme Court by upholding a state’s right to ban it) favors same-sex parenting.
The court’s opinion states: “[G]ay couples, no less than straight couples, are capable of raising children and providing stable families for them. The quality of such relationships, and the capacity to raise children within them, turns not on sexual orientation but on individual choices and individual commitment.”
But that’s simply not true, according to the adults who are now making their appeal to the Supreme Court. The justices have received briefs from a group of six adults represented by the attorney David Boyle of Long Beach, Calif.
The personal stories told in these briefs, and those filed earlier for a lower court case, vary significantly. One of those filing describes her childhood positively, “I had two loving mothers who cared for nearly my every need and with whom I have many wonderful and sweet memories.”
Another explains how life with her father and his many male partners was so traumatic and abusive that she was suicidal. A third account elaborates how growing up in the care of his mother and her same-sex partner left him with a desire for adult male affection that was so strong he became a teenage sex worker.
Yet another explains the psychological trauma she suffered because of her father, who told her at age 9 that he was really a woman.
The briefs thus cover a full spectrum, from stable homes to severe dysfunction.
‘This Is About the Missing Parent’
But what’s fundamental to the issue, various of the briefs assert, is not whether a specific same-sex couple might do a better or worse job of raising children. What they oppose is the necessary separation of a child from at least one of his or her biological parents, as an implied consequence in every same-sex parenting relationship.
Heather Barwick and Katy Faust were both raised by female couples. In their joint brief, they recognize, “Same-sex parenting is not unique in the alternative family landscape. What is unique is promoting an alternative parenting structure guaranteed to deny a child’s right to a biological parent. In no other situation does society promote such a loss. It doesn’t matter who the ‘new’ parent is, losing one of the first parents will always feel ‘strange.’”
Barwick and Faust insist, “We are not saying that gays and lesbians are incapable of parenting. This is actually not about the gay parent at all. This is about the missing parent.”
Even as Barwick speaks lovingly about her “two mothers,” she affirms, “There was one need, however, that they could never meet no matter how much they loved me: the need for a father.”
Their attorney noted to the Register that “surrogacy, adoption, divorce, and death may also separate a child from a biological parent; but same-sex marriage makes that separation an ideal. … Mandatory national legalized same-sex marriage makes the separation a role model,” Boyle explained.
Robert Oscar Lopez and B.N. Klein are two more adult children of same-sex relationships who filed a joint brief before the Supreme Court.
In their statement, they quote a passage from another brief filed by supporters of same-sex “marriage”: “We plan to have children together,” that brief says, “and we want our kids to know that our relationship is a marriage, equal in dignity to relationships between opposite-sex couples.”
Lopez and Klein contend that these words “echo the damaging ideas and emotions that saddened our lives.”
“In this schema, children are demands from society, possessions, and entitlements tied to state-recognized marriage,” they warn. “Consider the phrase, ‘We plan to have children.’ Whose children do they plan to have? The court must consider that granting marriage ‘rights’ to same-sex couples will mean, effectively, granting them other people’s children, and turning those children into a suspect class denied the rights to their mother and father.”
Klein, who has written under the pen name Rivka Edelman, endured a psychologically abusive childhood with her mother and her mother’s alcoholic partner.
She explained to the Register that she does not consider her own home life typical of a same-sex household, but she expressed concern about the way her same-sex community failed to react to her situation.
“There were many people coming in and out of our home from the LBG community and they all saw what was going on. Not one ever stepped in to help because protecting the adults is more important,” she said. “This speaks volumes.”
Still, she added, “I would like to think that abuse is never ‘typical,’ and statistically speaking I do not see why there would necessarily be a higher rate in LBGT homes, of what we would all, as a society, consider ‘abuse.’”
Regardless, Klein insists that children need a mom and a dad.
“Children are never a natural consequence of any [same-sex] relationship,” she said. “Even the children that I know that have not been used [to promote an agenda] still feel they were denied something essential by not having an opposite-sex parent. And they also feel unable to express this to their parents. Just like most kids of divorce feel a loss. Because adults choose something that works for them does not mean it works for children.
“Children want a mother and a father — they do. They are not politically correct beings and that is because their wanting a mother and father is because we are all ‘born that way.’ It isn’t something society made up to oppress LBG.”
Klein expressed her worry that same-sex “marriage” will be legalized despite her and others’ attempts to stop it.
“I think that when it really hit me that SSM will come with demands for other people’s children, I found it terrifying — like watching a train wreck. […] I filed [a brief] because while I know it may not have any impact whatsoever — because as a movement, they have more access to the courts than any other group in history — I needed to, both as a parent, as much as an adult child, to know I did what I could to protect children.”
Klein and others have asserted that the stories of children raised by same-sex couples are only permitted to come to light if they are in accord with the prevailing social narrative in favor of same-sex “marriage” and parenting. Thus the briefs submitted by the six adults to the Supreme Court actually represent many others who aren’t able to come forward.
If children’s experiences contrast with the acceptable narrative, Klein says there are those who will do their best to make sure their voices are silenced, or never raised at all.
She told the Register, “I am an adult child of LBG and I was outed and attacked [for speaking against same-sex ‘marriage’] […] They said point blank they would destroy me. They will destroy people because they are destructive and powerful. [...] Imagine a child in that situation, day in and day out. No other adult in that child’s circle will come forward if there is abuse or neglect.
“I filed the amicus to let people know that there are two sides to everything. And my experience and others’ experience was not happy, abuse aside.”
Register correspondent Kathleen Naab writes from Houston,
where she covers news of the Church as a coordinator for Zenit News Service.