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Commentary: Proposition 8 Ensures Equality For All Children

It's not just about marriage, but about protecting our children and promoting the fundamental right to a mom and a dad.

Nobody I know wants to be a bigot. In the American psyche, bigotry translates to the Ku Klux Klan, witch hunts, etc. That’s why most of us will go out of our way to avoid any behavior that could even be construed as bigotry. The accusation alone makes us recoil! So it is no wonder proponents of gay marriage have found it so effective to label anyone who supports Proposition 8 as a bigot.

Article Image
The Sorensen family: Paul, Allyson, Madeleine, Amanda, Christopher, Ashley and Jared. (Sorensen family photo)

So why risk the accusation, disappoint many of our gay fellow citizens, and vote for Proposition 8? In short, the consequences of distorting marriage are so critical I believe many gay individuals would themselves reconsider their vote if they would genuinely contemplate them.

For starters, ask yourself: Which parent are you prepared to give up, your mom or your dad? Which grandparent are you prepared to give up, your grandfather or your grandmother? Does this seem outlandish? Let me explain: Imagine two wonderful human beings who are both women. Imagine two exceptional human beings who are both men. Now imagine two terrific human beings, one of whom is a man and one of whom is a woman. At the local adoption agency, which couple should get the next child up for adoption? What if that child were you?

If Proposition 8 is defeated, adoption agencies will no longer be able to favor the heterosexual couple! The law and, therefore, society will not be permitted to favor heterosexual parenting. Unimaginable, you say? Au contraire. In Massachusetts — the only other state to redefine marriage — heterosexual parenting has already lost its favored status. Indeed, it was precisely the inability to favor heterosexual couples that led Catholic Charities, then the largest adoption service in Massachusetts, to close its doors in 2006 after more than 100 years in operation. If Prop. 8 is defeated, the Brave New World of California Marriage will intentionally create fatherless and motherless homes every day.

The science on parenting is in, and the consensus is overwhelming: the unique characteristics of both fathers and mothers are vital to the physical, mental and emotional development of children. A vast body of social science literature demonstrates that healthy heterosexual marriage protects children from a host of social and economic problems. Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center, reported that “family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

In contrast, reputable studies concluding children should ideally be raised by two moms or two dads are virtually unknown. But more important than any academic study, as we sincerely search our hearts, can any of us honestly advocate denying more children of a mom and a dad?

Every child has a “fundamental right” to a mom and a dad. Indeed the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child specifically guarantees children this right. Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can as a society to promote more children having a mom and a dad rather than considering denying this fundamental right to an entire swath of our population? How would we decide which little kids don’t get a mom? Or which little babies don’t get a dad? (Un)Luck of the draw? That hardly sounds to me like “Equality for All.”

Discrimination or prejudice against homosexuals is wrong, and Proposition 8 is not anti-gay. As then-President Bill Clinton said when he signed into law the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1996: “Throughout my life I have strenuously opposed discrimination of any kind. I have long opposed government recognition of same-gender marriage.”

It’s an unfortunate reality that little children — arguably the individuals most affected by this vote — have no voice in the debate. They don’t have the chance to call us bigots for denying them the right to a mom and a dad. Let us remember our responsibility to them and vote Yes on Proposition 8.

Click here for the Yes on Proposition 8 Web site. Click here for more information.

Native Californian Paul Sorensen lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Allyson, and their five children, Madeleine, Amanda, Christopher, Ashley and Jared.

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