Table of Contents
Relationships between people of the same sex date back to even before civilization, to the Old Testament days to be more precise. Today, the number of same sex couple households in the United States is above 500000. With a good number of states legalizing the institution of marriage between persons of the same sex, same sex couples are now empowered and as such, there has been a notable increase in same sex marriages and other arrangements allowing same-sex partners to live together. As is the case with heterosexual relationships, same sex partners who choose to be together decide to raise children together at some point. Some of the ways in which these same-sex couples acquire children is through adoption, surrogates or seeking donors. Children in such relationships are somewhat special, at least to the public eye. The interactive article by Gabriela Herman addresses the question of what life is like for children from same-sex couples by interviewing such children to get their experiences. A comparison between ideologies put forward in the article and Chapter Six of Lamanna and Riedman’s Marriages, Families and Relationships is drawn further in the essay.
Summary of the Article
The author begins by stating that the main consideration that courts make when they consider unions between people of the same sex is the outcome of the children. One of the interviewees, a lady brought up by two dads, admitted being curious of what her birth parents were like and particularly so her mother. Aside from that, she did not feel like being raised by gay parents did her any injustice. If anything, she feels that her parents did a great job in raising her to become a strong woman. Another interviewee had a gay mother who came out around 20 years before the article was written, a move that led to the separation of this interviewee’s parents before she eventually married her longtime partner. For a long time, the interviewee was in denial, felt like this was not something that he would want anyone around him to find out and even went out of communication with the mother for a while. At the age of 29, the interviewee finally came into terms with the reality and even began an initiative to meet, interview and photograph other people in the same situation as his. Through his sister, he was able to get to an organization that supports persons with LGBT parents. Since then, he has documented stories of several dozens of children and met even more. He admits that the experience is rather therapeutic to him.
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The author also mentions the move by the Supreme Court to make a ruling that legalizes same-sex marriages in every state. Justices confronting this sensitive issue have questioned the possible impact that such a ruling would have on the wellbeing of the children involved. The author mentions that in the course of her interviews, she met people who have had to defend their same-sex parents in the public and others who felt that their parents needed salvation from the lifestyle. The latter mostly occurred to children raised as evangelical Christians. The author, who also comes from a same-sex parents background also acknowledged that interacting with other people brought up under circumstances similar to hers helped her fight the solitude that came with it.
The interviewees had different experiences growing up with same-sex parents. One 23-year old boy admitted that in spite of always being very close with his two moms, he went through a teenage phase of hatred for them which he eventually outgrew. A 34-year old lady raised by her mum and her partner confessed that when she moved to a new school that had a straight-gay alliance and that had children in circumstances similar to her was so relieving. Another interviewee felt that her mother was going through midlife crisis when she came out. A 23-year old man brought up by his two mums admitted having issues finding himself especially on matters pertaining to race and ethnicity as all his siblings were adopted.
This article by Herman (2015) relates closely to Chapter Six of Lamanna and Riedman’s Marriages, Families and Relationships. In their topic on same-sex parents and outcomes for children, the authors acknowledge the increased prevalence of same sex couples in the United States over the years. They explain that as opposed to the past when gay persons would be married to heterosexual partners, have children and later divorce after coming out, with the reduced stigmatization of same-sex couples, such persons are now more likely to enter same-sex relationships from the onset. In the article, quite a number of the interviewees are from same-sex parents who were at one point in their lives in heterosexual marriages before they came out which is an issue that it mentioned in the chapter by Lamanna and Riedman (2012).
The relationship between religion and policies on same-sex relationships and parenting is also mentioned by Lamanna and Riedman (2012). They mention the Catholic Church and the church of Jesus Christ of the latter days as some of the faiths that are opposed to legal marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. This goes to say that they deem it wrong or rather sinful. In the article by Herman (2015) , one of the interviewees; brought up in a Christian setting, admitted being bothered by her mum’s same-sex union and feeling that she needed to save her mother. This confirms Lamanna and Riedman (2012) ’s point that some religions are opposed to same-sex unions.
Lamanna and Riedman (2012) mention that children from same-sex parents face the dilemma of whether to come out about their parents’ orientation or whether to keep it secret. From the interviews by Herman (2015), this is very true as one of the interviewees admitted being in denial about her mum’s sexual orientation and even keeping it secret before he eventually came into terms with it. COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) a support group that engages, connects and empowers children of same-sex parents is mentioned by Lamanna and Riedman (2012) in their text. Herman (2015) also mentions that one of her interviewees, a young man who had problems coming into terms with his mum’s coming out found help with that group.
At some point, the ideas by Lamanna and Riedman (2012) and those by Herman (2015) conflict. Lamanna and Riedman feel that children of same-sex parents experience prejudice from teachers, classmates and other people around them. This is not necessarily true from the interviews done by Herman as none of the people she interviews mentions that they have at any instance been discriminated against because of their parents’ sexual orientation. According to the interviews, the main issues that such children go through are internal and include such concerns as lack of identity of self, not coming to acceptance with their parents’ orientation and also being in a dilemma of whether to come out about their parents.
- Gabriela Herman (June 13, 2015). What Could Gay Marriage Mean for the Kids? The New York Times.
- Lamanna, M.A. & Riedmann, A. (2012). Living Alone, Cohabiting, Same-Sex Unions and Other Intimate Relationships. In Marriages, Families, and Relationships: Making Choices in a Diverse Society, 12th ed. (pp. 155-157). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.