[Marxism] Gay couples make terrific parents, government says (Ottawa Citizen)

Richard Fidler rfidler at cyberus.ca
Sun Apr 25 09:31:33 MDT 2004


In a recent post, José Pérez stated:

"Gay liberation was, by its very nature (and as we are seeing today once
again in the marriage debate) a movement with profound anti-hegemonic
implications..., one that is tremendously threatening to bourgeois
ideology."

Gary MacLennan and Philip Ferguson provided some evidence to the
contrary from Australia and New Zealand, respectively. Canada, too, is
moving to legalize gay marriage. Senior appellate courts in three
provinces (Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia) have already authorized
gay marriages, and the federal government, as the following news item
indicates, is planning to introduce legislation to that effect.

Replying to Gary, José wrote that in his view "women's liberation and
Lesbian, gay, transgender, bi and queer issues/movements present a
fundamental challenge to bourgeois ideological hegemony over society. It
is all about gender, and that is the original and most basic division of
labor in society, rooted to begin with in biology, but that, when
married to the creation of a social surplus that, as it turned out, was
under the control of men, gave rise to exploitation and oppression and
social phenomena and social institutions."

I think there is a distinction to be made between the oppression of
women, which is clearly based in the patriarchal division of labour
sustained and often reinforced by capitalism, and the oppression of
gays, which is an offshoot of patriarchal conceptions of family but is
by no means fundamental to patriarchy or class rule. In any case, we
should be wary of sweeping generalizations that suggest particular forms
of oppression (as opposed to class exploitation) are inherent or
essential to capitalist rule, or (as some comrades used to argue in the
Trotskyist movement of the 1970s, José's topic) that gay liberation had
some "revolutionary dynamic" that would more or less automatically point
the victims of gay oppression in the direction of revolutionary
socialism. Recent developments indicate that gays and lesbians, like
most people, above all want equal rights and acceptance as "normal"
human beings, and for many the right to marry -  to become part of that
quintessential patriarchal institution, albeit transforming its
definition - has become the central focus of their activism today. (RF)

   * * *

Gay couples make terrific parents, government says

Janice Tibbetts
The Ottawa Citizen (subscribers only)

April 25, 2004
Far from having inferior upbringings, the children of gay and lesbian
parents may have an advantage over other kids, the Justice Department
says in an impact assessment of its proposal to legalize same-sex
marriage.

There are suggestions the offspring of gay couples have extra positive
role models because their parents tend to have more "supportive and
egalitarian" relationships, with more equal division of labour, the
assessment says. "These strengths could contribute to parents'
relationship quality and have a positive impact on children."

The three-page impact summary of gay marriage on children was compiled
from dozens of international studies on the issue.

The Justice Department compiled the information last year, when the
government announced Canada would become the third country in the world
to legalize gay marriage, following several court rulings the existing
ban is unconstitutional.

The summary is labelled "Protected: for internal use only" and was
released to CanWest News Service through an access-to-information
request.

The summary notes gay fathers may have better parenting skills than
heterosexual fathers.

"There is also some initial evidence to suggest that gay fathers may be
more likely than heterosexual fathers to exhibit authoritative parenting
practices," the assessment says. "In North America an authoritative
parenting style that provides children with clear limitations in
addition to warmth, affection and support has been found to be
associated with positive child adjustment."

A Canadian government delegation used the impact assessment to support
Canada's legislative plans when appearing last September at the United
Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The assessment concludes the majority of research indicates there is no
difference between children of heterosexual and homosexual parents as
long as they are raised in loving and supportive homes.

"Family form alone does not appear to be a risk factor, unless combined
with other risk factors, such as low income, lack of support, high
conflict, low education and others," says the summary. "By the same
measure, poor parenting has a negative effect on children, regardless of
family form."

The government concedes, however, research on gay marriage and children
is controversial because of concerns about small, unrepresentative
samples of predominantly well-educated, middle-class American families.

Some research also shows almost half of the children of gay parents
report being bullied or teased, or say they experienced some form of
discrimination by age eight.

Other studies raise concerns about the potential negative effects of
being raised by gay parents, including gender identity confusion,
problems with social and emotional adjustment and "the fear that
children will be sexually molested by their gay or lesbian parents."

The Justice Department's advice to the members of the UN delegation is
they should accentuate the positive in addressing the effect of gay
marriage on children.

Briefing notes prepared for the UN meeting say the message should be
"allowing same-sex couples to marry will directly improve the legal
situation of children being raised by those couples, including clearer
access to child support obligations and division of family property on
breakdown of the relationship."

The federal government has asked the Supreme Court to vet a draft bill
that would allow gays and lesbians to marry.

A court hearing is scheduled for October and the bill is not expected to
be sent back to Parliament for a vote until 2005.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004






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