I am beyond tired of the old “children need a mother AND a father” insult.

It says to all people that they should not hope to ever be an effective parent to a healthy kid unless paired up with the “right” co-parent. It says that no amount of compassion, devotion, competence, or love by a single parent or a gay/lesbian couple can be good enough to create healthy family space for a child.

The argument also strikes at the heart of the “traditional” families it supposedly promotes:

Men, you’d better be the fully masculinized parent, and women, keep your feminine cred front and center. God only made two kinds of people, and if you want to be a good parent, you’d better be true to your type.

The message to LGBT youth, especially in churches and strong families where this stuff is being spouted, is particularly heinous.  It starts here:

Hey, kid… you may be figuring out that you’re a little different from your straight family members… you may be struggling with or worrying about what that means for having a family of your own some day… you’ve been wonderfully loved by your parents and extended family, inspired to think about being that kind of parent yourself some day.

Then it gets darker:

But let me stop you there, kid.

You may have learned love and compassion, leadership and discipline, from your family. You may have seen that the men and women in your family aren’t limited by gender stereotypes when it comes to parenting. You may think that you have it in you to be a solid parent some day.

But you are wrong.

There is nothing you can do to create a family that shares the love you have received from your parents with children of your own. If you have a child some day, it will not be possible for you and your beloved to give her the full range of parenting skills, aptitudes and resources that she needs.

And it wraps up with:

Your family will be less than your siblings’ families, and God will not be pleased.

That’s where the “mother AND father” argument lands, right?

It says to LGBT parents:

If you think you’re doing well for your family, you are wrong.

You may believe you are providing the full spectrum of nurturing, guidance and care that mother-father-headed families are, but that is either unlikely or impossible.

While its proponents congratulate themselves:

We — mothers paired with fathers — have the exclusive lock on raising kids to be happy, productive adults.

We — mothers paired with fathers — have the exclusive expertise on exposing kids to what is masculine and feminine.

We — mothers paired with fathers — are the only viable option for boys to become men and girls to become women.

We — mothers married to fathers — can only be successful if we keep the privilege of marriage to ourselves and teach our kids that families with moms married to moms and dads married to dads aren’t real families.


It must stop.

Photo from normalityrelief licensed under Creative Commons