“No (traditional) family has ever been strengthened or made more secure by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.”
Six months ago, during the beginning of the 2015 summer heat wave, the Supreme Court of the United States passed a historic ruling. This decision allowed for the legal marriage of same-sex couples in all fifty states. This was an enormous step for the assurance of legally recognized equal rights for homosexuals in America all across the board, but it's also only the first victory in what has long been an uphill battle. Legal recognition, after all, does not necessarily imply social acceptance. Despite the old hat that marriage “often leads to a baby carriage,” this step has often failed to gain widespread acceptance – both before and after SCOTUS rendered their decision.
There is a long way to go before surrogacy is generally accepted, even as a practice that enables gay couples to raise a family. At the very least, however, we are on the right path.
“If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.”
For most of the United States’ history, the climate of public opinion openly permits discussion of what ought to happen concerning a controversial issue, regardless of the legal state of affairs at any given time. In fact, it is widely encouraged. This is an aspect of individual personal freedom which has long made the US so remarkable, but it also allows resistance to progressive ideals to remain manifest.
The argument has even been put forward that it is unhealthy for children to be raised by gay partners because of the experience of discrimination from an early age. There are few more accurately depicted examples of circular reasoning in existence. Not only that, but – as of very recently – major academic studies have begun to demonstrate that these “traditional family values” views are conclusively false. According to all available data, the sexuality of a child's parents has no discernible effect upon their children's quality of life, in and of itself. Ratios reflecting financial success, physical health, personal satisfaction, job security, and adult sexuality are the same across the board.
That's right. Gay parents raise straight and gay children. In a study conducted by the University of Colorado Denver, researchers found that there is “no difference” in the social or behavioral outcomes between gay children and straight children. This study in question is based on 19,000 other research efforts conducted between 1977 and 2013.
“Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different- sex parents,” University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light said a child is more likely to be affected by whether or not his or her parents are Star Wars fans than they are to be impeded, in any way, by having gay parents. This has been the well-established view of the scientific community for years, incidentally: the aforementioned recent study made use of the data from multiple studies conducted over the last two decades, all of which reached the same conclusion. Scientists and doctors who have long understood its findings to be factual have celebrated the recent Supreme Court decision, which perhaps does more than anything else to advance the social cause of maintaining the rights of gay couples to pursue the services of a surrogate mother.
“If this traditional understanding of the purpose of marriage does not ring true to all ears today, that is probably because the tie between marriage and procreation has frayed.”
Just as the institution of marriage has been evolving, so has the definition of family. In making their landmark decision, the US Supreme Court recognized that we no longer live in a world where the traditional family unit is the only way to put a family together. Arguments persist to the contrary, of course, some of them based upon the association of marriage with reproduction; however, these ring falsely. There are many personal, financial, legal, and social benefits to marriage aside from the ability to create children, nuclear-style.
Meanwhile, human civilization is at least eleven thousand years old, but over the last forty years the number of people on Earth has quite literally doubled. Homosexual marriage hasn't exactly plunged our population into a sharp decline; more than ten percent of all human beings to ever walk the face of the Earth are alive today. The upholding of marriage as existing for the sole purpose of bearing children is clearly a matter of personal opinion. It is rooted, not in practicality or necessity, but in the traditions of a bygone era, which were themselves built upon once-vital concerns that simply no longer apply.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.