tv The Stream Al Jazeera November 20, 2013 12:30pm-1:01pm EST
from ernie banks, oprah winfrey and all parts in between. we'll be right back. ♪ you're in "the stream." when a child is raised in a loving home with two loving parents, does gender matter in we'll hear from two raised by same-sex parents. >> all right, raj is bringing in all of your questions in the show. we have 600 lights on facebook right now. >> check out my page. this has set the record for the amount of community feedback.
600 lights, and 140 comments, and an ongoing debate on this comment. look at my tweet. i was raised in an lgbt household. and nothing bad happened to me. but lina says gender of the parents matters, and that child will be confused. i have two same-sex parents, and their household is much like mine, and real choice, not same-sex, but between same-sex and no parents. >> definitely something. parenting, they say it's the hardest job you'll ever love. and across the u.s., 26 million couples are parenting kids, and while the majority of these households are made up of a mother and a father, some are two moms and some are two dads. >> he came to us as a four-month-old. a baby. >> in the u.s., roughly 95,000 same-sex couples are raising children.
most are raising one parent's biological child, but some are choosing to adopt. 19 states and the district of columbia are allowing sim sex couples to adopt. and in many of those states, same-sex can adopt the biological children of their partners. mississippi and utah have banned gay adoption. >> when people and me what it was like growing up with two mops, i usually ask them, what was it like growing up with a mom and dad? they usually reply, normal. and i say, me too. >> recent studies have offered conflicting impact on the impact, and while the majority of those as well as being raised by a mom and a dad, studies show that not having a parent is harder than having gender roles
in the home. but is it the parents or the quality of the parenting that has a bigger impact? a gay rights advocate who was raised in a lesbian household. and david, he's a researcher and author in the field of adoption, foster care and gay parenting. welcome, everyone, to "the stream." and david i want to start with you. we mentioned that a number of these studies have emerged and they focus on the success or failure of these households. there's data on whatever a person holds on the subject. do you see anything scientifically that points to any valid conclusions? >> i do, and i think i would like to correct you. because you're giving an impression that there's a body
of research that says that children raised in gay and lesbian households are disadvantaged. there are one or two studies that found that. but the vast majority of consistent research has found no disadvantage of children raised by gay and lesbians. the most recent, the critical review, found it extreme flawed. >> yes, can i respond to that. >> sure, bobby, go ahead. >> first of all, i want to say that as a child of a same-sex couple, and as a by sexual dad myself, i think that the reliance on both sides is a problem. because it leads to a report card system where you're judging whether the kids are better or worse, rather than judging the
hopes that they place kids into, and responding to the kid's biological origins. so i would say that there's no consensus one way or the other. and i think that the two studies that came out presented enough persuasive counter data to prove that it was a wash. there's no disadvantage, but they define that. and for instance, let's look at the australian study that came out, and they asked children who were being raised by same-sex couples if they spent a lot of time with their parents and i think there are deeper human rights issues that i want to focus on. those of us involved in the debate, i want to move past social science because i'm not a fantastic. >> anna marie, you were raised by two lesbian parents, and tell us about that. >> i think it was normal. that's the only way i can say
it. it was normal. and i don't want to say i had an advantage. but i had the experience of growing up with a mother and a father and two moms, and impircly, i could say that my relationship with my two moms was far better than the relationship with my father and my mother. and my relationship with my father was non-existent, not because of my mom but thaws of him. and to sit there and say that there's? ethical boundary or scene that we're keeping children from their biological parents is also a very limiting view. it's not taking into account the other biological parent who chooses not to be in that child's life. it's not taking into account circumstances, death. a number of things like family dynamics are different. they're not contingent on sexual assault. and children are able to find
their gender roles other places. i found it with teachers, and my friend's parents, and my brother. i was able to find those influences. i was not hurt by not having my dad in my life. >> you have touch odd the critical question in the community. whether or not there should be at least one gender parents, and we have had a flood of comments. comments: and this great video comment from zack. >> the american midwest, son of a same-sex couple. and my family often encountered people who were sceptical of our family. and we were told that we were not good enough.
and people like me with same-sex parents, we would have all kinds of challenges, but i think it's important to remember, even though there were challenges for kids like me, they only existed because other people insist odd putting us through them. and if they hadn't called it into question, we would not have had to do that. >> what we are hearing are the narratives we have been hearing for 20 years. children came forward and saying that it was fine. and parents in a love family. and i congratulate anna and the young man because i'm happy for them that they found love in their home of the but the problem is, there's no one size fits all solution for anybody. and when you change the policies, changing what goes on in the child's birth certificate. what the priorities of an adoption center are, and trying to adjudicate the cases. and then you bring it internationally, who gets the
right to go to an orphanage and bring the baby home to the united states. you're changing the principle of the family and opening a loophole for abuse to happen. >> bobby -- hang on. >> struggles, i'm not going to deny it, and i miss the fact that there was a father. but i -- >> bobby, i'm going to give you plenty of time to talk, bobby, i need you to listen to questions because we need to put this in >> start with one issue ad guests on all sides of the debate. and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america
instruments, as well as direct observations, showing no disadvantage to these children. not only children, but as they move into the teenage years and adulthood as well. and that's important to take into k.. and it's the quality of the research, and the same quality ta we find in any other area of child development or family development. >> something that we haven't gotten into enough, and raj and i have wanted to talk about, are your personal experiences, but external forces. i mean, you didn't come out, so to speak, in terms of being raised by lesbian parents until you were 16. >> so the world around me had a problem with my family. my family had our problems like any other family, and all of my friends had our problems, but the world around me had problems, and i have to stand up to that world in so many different ways, and that world kept my mother from coming out
and it kept her from coming out for years because she didn't feel safe, and therefore we didn't feel safe. i have had friends, and i had to fight people in philosophy class, of all places on whether my family had merritt. and i continue to hesitate to tell people that i have two moms because i know those looks, and people talk to me differently. so it's not my family itself that caused the issues i have, if i have any, it's the people around me, so that's the hardship i had. it's hearing that i'm an abomination, and i'm going to grow up to be a lesbian. doesn't matter how straight i say i am, i'm going to be a lesbian somehow. and my mom is a child -- i haven't heard this, but many families do.
my mom is a child molester or my brother would be a child molester, and these are the things that we battle. >> i guess that straight parents couldn't possibly raise gay children? >> apparently not. it only comes out in gay families. >> denise says some people think that homosexuality is contagious. >> i got sick with it once. somehow i came out of it. you know? >> i totally agree with what anna says, but the problem is all sides of the debate have focused so much, talking about how we as kids come out damaged. and there's too much pressure on the pro gay adoption side for all of us to prove that we're success stories. and all of it is miss appropriated. and that's where i'm trying to take the conference because i think, i feel for anna, and we shouldn't focus the discussion
on whether gay parents are sick or twisted or molested, but we have to look instead at what are the ethical decision that's a gay adult can make and bring a child into the world and respect that child's link to other people. kinship and how can you do that ethically. that's the question i want to ask. i want to shift the conversation away from whether i'm less of a person or anna is because her mom was a lesbian. >> what would it have been growing up? >> me, i think my mother and father should have stayed together. in my case, i have gotten good contact from my father and that marriage could have worked if they worked out their differences. i'm a by sexual father and i'm raising my child with the mother. i believe that the kid belongs
half to the kid and half to the dad. and it's important to respect the gender because half of your child is rooted in that gender. >> it's important to remember. parenting is not contingent on sexual assault. you can be a great parent and be a single mother and father. and you can be a great parent and have two moms. great parents, mom and dad. it's not contingent on sexual assault. and everyone's family dynamics are different. are you going to say the same thing to a single mother or
father that want to adopt? are you going to say the same thing to a brother who is raising his dead brother's kids? are you going to say the same thing? we want to shift the focus in. but we're keeping sexua sexualin the conversation, when parenting is not hinged on sexuality. it's just not. >> no, i agree with you. i don't think that's the question of the sexuality of the parent. >> we're going to pause and hit a quick break and be right back. more states are legalizing same-sex marriage, and we're going to see whether or not that may create a shift in attitudes toward same-sex parenting. tweet us, and we're going to tackle that, right after the break.
>> my partner and i get to adopt our son, gabriel, say hello, on friday, november 22nd, and we have had gabe since birth in foster care, and unfortunately, because we're a same-sex couple, i do feel that we encounter issues that maybe if we were a heterosexual couple that we would not have encountered. we had a lot of issues with gabriel, he has a biological brother that we were not able to be placed with, and i feel it's due to the fact that we are a same-sex couple. >> the laws are already in place in a lot of states for same-sex couples to adopt. and what else needs to be done? >> there need to be a lot more laws passed. one thing is adoption laws and marriage equality are not the only things that affect families.
the employment non-scrim ac, those also affect families. it would be great if a transgender person is able to adopt someone, but if they don't have unemployment security, that family is going to be threatened. >> is marriage equality follow adoption equality? >> it's all part of it. it helps put in certain prokes into place concerning federal taxes and requirements and things like that. but it's not the only thing that we need. we need workplace protections, and public protections and so many other types of rights and protection. i mean, i know i'm repeating myself on that one. but we do, especially since so many different brackets in the lbgt community are living in poverty because of the discrimination that we face.
>> i'll let you get in in a second, bobby... and i have to get into this comment from gabriel for family he equal. >> there's no debate about the ability of lgbt people to be good parents. and almost every child welfare organization agrees. the truth is, there are five times as many protective parents who are lgbt as others. it's time to put the children front and center for the one thing. and stop eliminating parents
simply because they're lgbt. >> go for it. >> i wanted to bring another protection, brought about by legalizing gay marriage, and that's the protection of the child if one of the parents dies. right now, legally adoptive parents, that child runs the risk of having a relationship with the non-legal parent disrupted if the legal parent dies. and that's why we need second parent adoptions that would come with the protection and as well as the protections that another person has already acknowledged. >> and if i can, i do want to say something to what he just said in terms of, without adoption, i don't care its fair that i
legally can not continue to have a relationship with her as my mother. i don't think that it's fair to not continue a relationship with a mom who supported me for 19 years. something my father has not done. when he started getting into my life. but i get to continue my relationship with him legally, but i can't with my mother. >> one of the things is that we're confusing orphans, and abandoned children and children removed from abusive hopes, and then children of divorce and widows, who have come out of the closet after they lost their heterosexual partner and these are all different situations. and i would caution people listening that some of these situations really require that we protect the gay parent bond to the child. but other situations leave us open to the system where the gay
lobby, which is very wealthy and has a lot of money and political connections, can strong arm adoption centers, like catholic charities, and how many babies were they placing and they were shut down because of the pressure by the lgbt lobby. we have to continue the conversation with the global scope to interest i to understand what works and what doesn't. i agree. and one thing that we can find common ground is, because a person is same-sex-attracted doesn't mean that they're going to be a horrible parent. i'm a bisexual and loving parent. but i made the choice to raise my daughter in a loving home with her mother. and that's a choice that i hope more gays and lesbians and aspiring parents will consider. you have to put aside your desires and dreams.
>> welcome to al jazeera america. i'm del walters. honoring jfk. president obama set to lay a wreath at his grave in just a few moments. negotiations and concessions. world powers arriving in geneva around iran's nuclear program, and new abortion law, one of the toughest in the country. president obama honored 16 individuals a short while ago with the nation's highest honor. the