One Quick Addition on the Marriage/Children Link

Here’s one timely illustration of the marriage/children link being invoked in support of access to marriage.   (This ties back to a post from yesterday.)  The American Academy of Pediatrics (apparently the major national organization of pediatricians) has endorsed access to marriage for same-sex couples.   The rational for this is all about what is good for children, which is, of course, the primary concern of pediatricians.

Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal
supports provided to married couples to raise children.”

(This is from the press release on the AAP website.)

It’s clearly crucial to this argument that significant numbers of lesbian and gay couples are already raising children.   You can see how critical that premise is by looking at the discussion in Europe.






21 responses to “One Quick Addition on the Marriage/Children Link

  1. I guess this brings me back to the point I made in the other post. I don’t like marriage being privileged over other shared households with so many tax breaks, etc. I get that most people want to find a life partner, and get married if they do, but I don’t think there should be so many federal benefits, tax breaks, etc for getting married just because most people want to get married and it’s the “ideal.”

    But yeah, again, I’m biased, because I’m sick of people asking when I am going to start dating, don’t I want to ever get married, etc etc. No, it’s not the ideal for me to get married but if I say that people get even more confused. I know that on this site, most people who object to donor conception do so because they think the genetic father should help raise the child, but in real life, I’ve gotten way more comments along the lines of “Why would you do that NOW? You still have so much time to get married! Go find someone to marry! You could always just have a baby with a donor at 35 or something if you have no luck.” Now it’s one thing if it’s my 92 year old grandmother telling me I should get married because I’d be such a wonderful mom – she’s 92! – but I hear these things from many younger people. They have no problem with the donor sperm, but they seem to have a problem with someone not even trying to find someone to marry.

    I just don’t get it?

  2. I think most people are not totally ok with donor sperm- they can accept it but only a last resort. That’s why they don’t approve of you at least trying to find a partner. Not that it’s any of their business.

    • That may be the case for some of them, but others just seem totally puzzled that anyone would have zero interest in marriage whether they wanted kids or no kids.

    • Oh and these also tend to be (at least among the people my age) people who very strongly support gay marriage and gay couples raising kids (who obviously will, at most, be genetically related to one half of the couple). It really seems that marriage is the issue for them. Don’t get it….

      • A big part of my objection to legal sperm donation is that the option to use it leads to people rejecting marriage. Marriage is good for society and for individuals and the option to have kids without having to find a spouse is just obscenely disruptive of how people date and think about their futures.

        What would you do if sperm banks were closed down and intentional unmarried conception was a crime and people were punished for attempting to facilitate it? Would you marry someone? Or try to “accidentally” get pregnant on a one night stand with a stranger? Or just stay single but not have a child? Any of those options is better than thinking having a child as something single people have a right to do.

        • I would not marry, no matter what. I’ve never wanted to get married, even when I was a child, before I knew what sperm donation was. I thought it would be nice to grow up and adopt a baby back then. But I disagree with you that being single and childless is preferable than single with a child. You can say all you want that I don’t have a “right” to make this choice but fortunately for me and unfortunately for you, it’s legal therefore I do have the right.

          • It should be illegal to intentionally make human beings, they aren’t property or amusement projects. There is certainly no right for unmarried people to make babies, not since marriage was invented anyway, which was the invention of the right to reproduce. People that don’t want to get married just won’t be making any babies, no big deal, there is no right to a baby, even for married couples. Married couples are allowed and approved to make babies, but that’s it, if they can’t, they just don’t.

            • I’d much rather be a planned and wanted child. I am glad my parents planned and wanted their kids. Reproduction far predates marriage and there is no law anywhere in the US that would allow only married people to have kids. The world would be a far kinder place if every child were planned. Less abuse, neglect, and poverty. The idea that a child is better off being an oops from a one night stand instead of being born to parents ready and wanting to raise a child is absurd.

            • In fact I think your position is far crueler to children than anything else. Children deserve to be raised by parents who love and want them, not just because they were an obligation and nothing more.

        • As for good for individuals, no marriage is not good for every individual. It would wreck my mental health to have to marry when I JUST DON’T WANT TO GET MARRIED for tons of personal reasons. Marriage is only good for people who WANT to be married.

        • Hi John: I strongly disagree with you that a “one night stand” is superior to using donated sperm. There is a lot of risk involved with going to a private place with a stranger. There are also the risks of STDs and genetic problems that the stranger may have. While it’s an imperfect system, sperm clinics do attempt to screen for genetic problems. It’s also very difficult to quickly screen for other desired traits from a one-night partner: it would be socially awkward to verbally ask a stranger about his IQ, family medical history, and so on. In the medical clinic setting, that information is readily supplied, albeit with lax verification.

          • An occasional unapproved accidental unwed pregnancy is better than condoning unmarried intentional pregnancy as a policy. Legal sperm donation is bad precisely because of the eugenic pressure it puts on people. That’s not a plus, that’s the problem.

            • Hi John: I don’t understand what “eugenic pressure” is being placed on people by the existence of sperm banks. I can possibly agree that sperm banks offer “eugenic opportunities” in that the woman can select for traits. I’m not a big fan of the “eugenic” buzzword being thrown around for shock value in these discussions, though.

              You seem to be of the opinion that if sperm banks didn’t exist, single women who want to be mothers wouldn’t find other methods to get pregnant. I believe they still would, and those methods could be risky, as noted in my post about “one night stands.”

              Moreover, I believe that it’s better for a single woman to use a sperm clinic rather than “oops” a man. Men already have problems trusting women. Why increase that problem?

              • With regards to selecting for specific traits – I would guess most people who date and marry tend to do that anyway. With the exception of wanting a donor with similar physical features to myself (hair/eye/skin color) just to increase the chances of the child resembling me, which I wouldn’t really care about if I wanted to get married – the other traits I want are ones I would strongly prefer in a man if I did want to date/marry – similar education level, interests, values, etc. And I don’t really think trying to have a brown haired, pale child is really eugenics – the poor kid would probably inherit my tendency to get sunburned, which is hardly advantageous.

                • what difference does it make what the guys interests and education are? he’s not going to be your partner.

                  • I would rather pick someone similar to myself for if any of that is at all influenced by genetics. It can’t hurt in any case, so why not?

              • Also, I imagine the single woman in that situation would probably sleep with a guy she doesn’t know and will never see again so he won’t ever know how/where to chase her down and file paternity, and she will have sole parental rights. Depending on the guy, he could be relieved to not have to pay child support or upset he’ll never know if he has a child.

                I’d prefer the turkey baster method, myself, if it came to that…. (only half joking)

                • Hi Rebecca: With the internet making the world even smaller than it already was, a single woman shouldn’t count on never seeing a one-time fling ever again. I actually knew a single guy in college who quietly kept track of his former sex partners in order to confirm that he didn’t have any kids “out there.” Maybe that sounds creepy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some other single men do this. It’s a fear that men have, thus the joke, ” I don’t have any kids– that I know of!”

  3. With regard to marriage being the best framework for gays and lesbians to raise children, there is really no evidence as far as I know on this, either one way or the other- the conclusion is extrapolated from data regarding heterosexual parents raising their own biological children.

  4. What’s more stable for a same-sex couple raising a child: Having all the legal protections and benefits of marriage but in the form of Civil Unions defined as “marriage minus conception rights” with federal recognition and a resolution to the marriage debate, versus the same couple being allowed to make more children together with unknown parentage and a continued fight against same-sex marriage? I think the couple that is presented with an option to have experimental children created for them is going to be unstable for the existing children.

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