20 March 2015, The Tablet

Children raised by gay parents thank Dolce and Gabbana

by Dawn Stefanowicz

I was filled with gratitude towards Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for their statements supporting the reality that every child needs to know and be raised in a natural family. “The only family is the traditional one,” Dolce boldly declared in an interview with the Italian Panorama magazine. The designers – one-time partners –spoke endearing common sense comments about marriage and family, focused on children’s rights and their need for their biological mother and father.

I and five others – all of us raised by gay parents – wrote a letter of support to Dolce & Gabbana for standing up for the traditional family where children know and are raised by their father and mother. You can find their names here. We said: “We know that gay parents can be loving, since we loved our parents and they loved us. Nonetheless, we have all had first-hand experience with the harsh backlash that follows when the dominant view of ‘gay parenting’ as universally positive is questioned.”

I was raised in a gay household from babyhood in Toronto, Canada. My father and a number of his partners came into our home during my upbringing among LGBT communities. I loved my father and respected his business ethic, but he did not value or love women, and that left me deeply hurt.

Children of gay parents are not just blank slates. We are a combination of both nature and nurture. Gay parenting removes one of our biological parents, creating an unrecoverable, permanent loss for us. We are silenced as dependants and cannot speak about this loss for fear of offending our parent(s) and their partner(s).

Parenting is not just about care-giving, making meals, cleaning the house, or putting on sticking plasters. A grandma or an auntie can do these things. Parenting has to do with children’s identity and security above all else, and supports complementary genders, as male and female in relationship with each other, so that children see both their biological parents being equally esteemed and loved. The children need to learn how to relate in all the various interactions a family has – mother and father, wife and husband, mother and child, and father and child.

In place of the missing biological parent, a child does not want a pseudo-mother or pseudo-father or a substitute female or male role model; rather, a child craves a secure family which consists of their biological mother and father. What child does not want to know her biological parents? Knowing our ethnicities, religious backgrounds, health issues, family trees give us time to pause. We see striking resemblances, mannerisms, personalities, quirks and hear family stories, providing the important markers which connect us and provide that sense of belonging to our natural history and roots.

In effect, same-sex marriage deprives children of their own rights to natural parentage. In expressing its opposition to gay marriage, the Church should focus on children’s rights to know and be raised by their biological mother and father, and to mediate support to single mothers and poor families, so their children are not taken into the care of the state. And the focus of adoption must be on the children who need a mum and a dad, and not on adults who want children.

Dawn Stefanowicz is the author of Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting (Redemption Press, 245 pages)

What do you think?


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User comments (6)

Comment by: khanh
Posted: 10/06/2015 16:56:44

Hm I must say that this is a curious letter ( As the five signatories' letters comes from askthebigot- a notably anti-gay- not just anti-gay marriage- website). Apart from that, I am inclined to interpret this presumably accurate person's experience of her gay father is likely a single gay father. ' His partners from the LGBT community.' does not sound exactly like a person in either a same-sex marriage nor a partnership. More worryingly, 'multiple' partners may indicates a degree of promiscuity- to which would be damaging to children (hetero-or-homosexual alike). Another strange feature is the mention of misogyny, which is in any case a bad feature in any families (ie. in heterosexual families this easily amounts to domestic abuse).

Also, reading Debrrr's comment...correct if I'm wrong. Are you referring to conception via Artificial insemination or adopted children? Because they do differ. I am inclined to be careful with artificial insemination as certain 'anonymity' in AI largely lies with legal policies. AI is great for infertile couples (heterosexual) and equally infertile couples ( homosexual).

Comment by: Kippy
Posted: 25/03/2015 21:03:20

I must admit to being a little taken aback by this letter. If the writer's father had something against women, I'm not sure how it was much different from the case of many children living with one half of a bitter divorce. If I'm reading correctly, she was living with one biological parent, as are countless children, for any number of reasons. I'm a teacher, and I see so many children who have grown up with both parents or their mother and stepfather(s) and been treated horribly or given inappropriate examples. I cannot help but contrast them with the much-loved daughters of a lesbian couple I know; they were adopted from overseas, wouldn't know their biological parents anyway, and have been joyfully received by the couple's entire Jewish temple.

Comment by: Debrr
Posted: 21/03/2015 14:33:04

As being an adult adoptee of heterosexual parents I have a little bit of insight to how adopted children feel and think. We have a natural curiosity to know who our biological parents are, where do we come from, who do we look like.. It is no disrespect to our adopted parents, we love them dearly. Unless people don't know who their biological parents are, they believe just being loved makes everything perfect and will make up for anyone missing from the picture. YOU'RE WRONG! In my opinion, for adults to purposefully create another human being with the intention of not letting that child know one of its parents is child abuse at the worst and pure selfishness at the least. This is true for anyone, heterosexual or homosexual.
As for the Catholic Church's teaching regarding marriage being only between man and woman, I would recommend you seriously study St John Paul II's Theology of the Body. He explains this truth of God, natural law, and how our bodies are related to who we are in a rational, loving way. He explains why the Church reveals and teaches these truths. Open your minds and hearts as you study it. It can be a life changing experience.
When quoting scripture to support your beliefs you need to look at it in context, not plucked out to mean what you want it to mean. Galatians 3:28 is speaking about everyone being a Christian, not that male/female does not exist. Everyone is equally loved by Christ whether you are male/female , free/slave, Gentile/Jew.

Comment by: Quentin
Posted: 21/03/2015 10:37:03

R. C. Reville Joy is confused. Love is not abstract in its expression, it varies according to the relationship. Thus love between friends differs in its demands from love between relatives. The love of an employer for his staff differs from the love of a doctor for his patients. Gender complementarity is simply a characteristic of our created natures -- that, too, must be respected if our love is to be true.

Comment by: Anon
Posted: 20/03/2015 20:19:38

How lovely to read a letter on a very delicate subject from someone intimately involved in the situation who has the ability to bring the matter to attention without bitterness and with such personal clarity of perception.

The last sentence is particularly relevant.

Comment by: R. C. Reville Joy
Posted: 20/03/2015 18:48:21

Whilst I agree with certain aspects of this argument, namely that children should not deliberately be denied one of their biological parents, it is idolatry of the ideal to oppose adoption of a child by a same sex couple. It is also idolatry of gender, & a false logic to oppose same sex marriage based upon opposition to unnatural conception amongst same sex couples.

It is not gender, but love that makes a parent. The notion of gender complementarity is one that is not in sync with Christ's Kingdom. In Christ, there is no longer male & female, as St. Paul tells us in Galatians 3.28. Either we are in Christ or we are not, & the ideology of complementary gender roles, is a false theology; the Catholic Church are gravely mistaken in this respect. However, this does not deny the fact that all children, where possible, should not be denied their natural parents. But all the same, nor does this negate a same sex couple’s ability to love and raise an adopted child. If we exalt gender & the ideal over & above love, therefore idolising both, we are at risk of denying many the love that Christ has shown us. Please let's not use the ideal parent combination argument as an opposition to same sex marriage, or same sex adoption. Marriage does not automatically lead to children - especially same sex marriage. The first & foremost primary purpose of marriage is not procreation, but unity. 'It is not good for man to be alone.' (Gen. 2.18) This is the first and primary reason for marriage.

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