It cannot be denied that Martina Navratilova is a great tennis player. But can she be as successful at motherhood? The tennis star and up-front lesbian has recently declared that she would like to be a mother. The desire for any woman to have a child is, of course, normal, but critics queried whether lesbian parenting is desirable. Martina hit back at her critics, claiming that there is no reason why she should not raise a child.
Others agree, claiming that sexual preference has nothing to do with the issue of good parenting. But does the evidence bear this out? Initial research is beginning to show that children do suffer from being raised by same-sex parents. Before turning to this evidence, let me say that obviously many traditional families have poor parenting skills. But exceptions do not make the rule. The point is, in most cases, a child will do better with a mother and father, and in most cases, a child will suffer as a result of being raised by same-sex parents.
One person who has spent a lot of time looking into this question is Harvard psychologist Joe Nicolosi. He argues that kids raised by homosexuals are traumatised, emotionally and socially.
Children, he argues, are profoundly affected by parental behavior. For example, children of smokers often become smokers. “Homosexuality,” says Nicolosi, “is primarily an identity problem, not a sexual problem, and it begins in childhood. The process begins when a child realises that the world is divided between male and female and that he is not equipped to be identified as male. His father fails to sufficiently encourage male-gender identity. Because he is not fully male-genderidentified, he is not psychologically prepared to feel heterosexual attractions. In order to be attracted to women, a male must feel sufficiently masculine. Faced with this predicament, he goes into a world of fantasy and denies the imperative of being either male of female.”
The lack of a strong father figure seems to be a major factor in those who become homosexuals. Another researcher, Dr Paul Cameron, says the admittedly scant data on the subject confirms Nicolosi’s findings. These studies show that eight per cent and 33 per cent of adult respondents raised by homosexuals said they considered themselves homosexual or bisexual, far above the national (US) norm of two per cent of the adult population.
The absence of role models presents other problems. Now will a man raised by two men know how to relate to a woman? Or how will a man raised by two women know how to relate to men?
One woman who was raised by lesbians now runs a support and recovery program for those coming out of the homosexual lifestyle and their families. She put it this way: “I realise that homosexuals feel they can give a child love and support that even many straight families can’t provide, but I’ve been there. I know the finger-pointing and the shame one carries. For years, you struggle with the thought that you might be a homosexual. People say ‘like mother, like daughter’. Most of us become promiscuous to prove we’re straight.”
Children need to see how men and women interact together. A homosexual or lesbian union cannot provide that role model. Children deserve better. But the interests of the child is the last thing being considered in this debate. Indeed, today everyone is demanding rights to do this and that, but very few seem to realise that rights must be balanced by responsibilities. The right to have a child must be balanced by the rights of the child. Children should be given the first priority, and not be allowed to be used as a political football by the homosexual lobby in their efforts to seek legitimacy for their lifestyle. If the data is still not all in yet, then for the sake of children, we should not rush headlong into gay adoption and marriage.