A New Kind of Family?

While watching some TV, I couldn’t help but contemplate about ABC Family’s tag line, “A New Kind of Family”. What kind of changes are we seeing among American families and what are the implications of this “new” family upon the future of our nation and society?

A new ABC Family sitcom entitled “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (while I have only seen the previews) seems to glorify the experience of an impregnated high school girl. By “glorify” I mean, using empathy to lead viewers to view such a situation as an acceptable norm, or at lease turn a serious and alarming issue into an entertaining one. But the issue is much larger than this one TV show. To me, the apparent shift to “a new kind of family”…one that abandons and mocks traditional family values…is of much greater concern.

Currently, the battle over homosexual marriage is the most obvious representation of this “shift”, attracting the attention and voices of the media and citizens across the nation. While similar legislative movements exist in Arizona and Florida, as a citizen of California, I will focus on Proposition 8…which proposes to overturn the decision of 4 of 7 California Supreme Court State Justices to make homosexual marriage legal…completely ignoring the voices of 61% of California voters who passed Proposition 22 in 2000.

Before I start, may I be completely clear…this is not a religious issue. No on 8 advocates, along with many in the media, pigeon-hole all those in favor of prop 8 as right-winged religious fanatics…playing on the image of an angry looking and hateful bible-basher holding a large sign that says “God hates fags”. Not many know that the majority opinion author Chief Justice Ronald M. George is a republican family man, while one of the 3 dissenting judges was lesbian Chief Justice Coral Corrigan. I have personally criticised supporters of prop 8 who can’t seem to get out of their little christian bubble where the bible is the end-all authority on the issue…instead of recognizing the many valid secular reasons all concerned citizens, christian or not, can rally behind. While people often vote their conscious and their morals, which may be tied to a religious belief, the words “bible” or “God” need not be included in the debate.

That said, the best secular and cultural reasons in favor of keeping marriage between a man and a woman were clearly articulated in an article issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yes, its a church…get over it. It is possible for valid secular arguments to be raised by a religious organization. So as some of my readers may need to be reminded, while biases always exist, address the argument and not the source.

The article reads:

“Strong families serve as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization….Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.”

This highlights a fundamental difference between the arguments being offered by either side of the debate. Those in favor of homo-sexual marriage argue its an issue of rights and being viewed as equals in the form of having their love “legally sanctioned” as it is for hetero-sexual couples. But who ever suggested the government was in the business of legally sanctioning love? As if the benefits and tax-rights offered to married couples (most, if not all, are provided for through civil unions) are the government’s way of celebrating and rewarding those who are in love. Those fighting to protect traditional marriage choose to focus on what is best for the up-bringing of children, and thus the future of our nation and society, than on adult desires. Indeed, its not about being mean and discriminating against those with different lifestyles of our own, but about what the government should do to respect and recognize what is best for the up-bringing of children. Just because a group of people shouts “we want” or “we deserve” doesn’t mean we should overlook or ignore the silent voices of children and what they deserve. I have yet to hear the pro-homosexual marriage side argue that having two mommies or two daddies are better than or even equivalent to hetero-sexual parents in regards to child development. This is likely because they know this is an argument they can’t win…standing against the majority of sociologists, psychologists, and other child development experts and professionals.

As the LDS articles states:

“Extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised. [6] This is not only because of the substantial personal resources that two parents can bring to bear on raising a child, but because of the differing strengths that a father and a mother, by virtue of their gender, bring to the task. As the prominent sociologist David Popenoe has said:

The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable. [7]

Popenoe explained that:

. . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development. It is sometimes said that fathers express more concern for the child’s longer-term development, while mothers focus on the child’s immediate well-being (which, of course, in its own way has everything to do with a child’s long-term well-being). What is clear is that children have dual needs that must be met: one for independence and the other for relatedness, one for challenge and the other for support.”

Obviously we cannot completely eliminate non-ideal situations. Divorce and other unfortunate scenarios will always arise. And yes, I recognize that not all hetero-sexual married couples will raise children…or that if they do, that they will all be good parents. However, this does not change the fact that the purpose of the government recognizing marriage is to provide for what we, the people, feel is best for children and society.

Opponents to proposition 8 have also used “separation from church and state” to suggest that legally recognizing homo-sexual marriage won’t negatively effect any religious organization and how they practice marriage and live their own morals. This is an outright lie, as made obvious by existing case studies.

As reported in the Boston Globe, the catholic church was forced out of providing adoption services because adopting children to homo-sexual couples disagrees with their religious views.

This conflict also reaches individuals who wish to follow their personal moral compass in how they run their business. As reported by the LA Times, Dr. Christine Brody was successfully sued by a lesbian woman for refusing to artificially inseminate her. Due to the California supreme courts decision, what used to be exercising your right to live what you believe and what you feel is morally correct, now legally condemns individuals, businesses, and churches as being discriminatory…and thus, illegal. While I do not claim to be a legal expert, it seems obvious to me that churches will be forced to either perform homosexual marriages or loose their tax-exempt status…or even worse…further down the line, be denied to right of have their marriages recognized by the government.

Another easy answer to opponent’s “how would this affect you?” question is that public school teachers, legally obligated (Education Code §51890) to teach about marriage, would be forced to teach that there is no difference between hetero-sexual and bi-sexual marriage. Prop 8 supporters feel that parents should have the right to teach (one way or another) this issue to their children without having the government indoctrinating their children.

In short…No on 8 is about what adults want and feel is their right and about the government legally sanctioning love, and Yes on 8 is about what is best for children and the future of society….backed by numerous studies and experts, regardless of the fact they are painted to look mean and heartless and against what’s politically correct. If that is what it takes to protect children and traditional family values…than so be it. I would personally feel more embarrassed to selfishly turn a blind eye to what is best for children…but that’s just me.

Those who agree with my comments can visit the campaign website or my “Protect California Marriage” Facebook group.


22 Responses to A New Kind of Family?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I dont think anybody is saying that 2 dads 2 moms or 1 man 1 woman is better or worse for children. I think they are simply telling you their stories. They are also saying that we have to look at and deal with each unqiue family that exist and accommodate them to the best of our abilities as a civlized society.

  2. garrettmyler says:

    If you feel that, all things being equal, 2 dads or 2 moms is just as beneficial to a child as a mom and a dad, or that that the differences between a man or a woman plays no significant role in the upbringing of a child, then that is where we respectfully disagree. We can always point to this isolated example or that one, but I know that (in this case at least) nature knows best, and that a mommy and daddy united through marriage, provide the best opportunity for a child. That will likely be a sensitive statement for gays, single parents, or divorced parents… but it’s what I know to be true.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have two dads and the lies that your yes on prop 8 people are saying are false, saying that we grow up screwed up and all that. This didnt confuse me in any way, I am straight, and I know I am, my dads never told me being straight was wrong. I am also moral, and dont have sex with everyone I see, and I love God. Times are changing, 50 years ago you couldn’t even say “pregnant” on TV, so even if marriage is gays isn’t legalized NOW, it will eventually be recognized as marriage as time goes on, when the new generation become adults. My 2 dads have been together for 20 years, and there are kids who are more effed up then i have seen that come from straight parents…so think about that one….

  4. Anonymous says:

    1) if gay marriage is not the way to go when it comes to a stable upbringing and what not for children, it isn’t necessary to make an amendment to our constitution to deem it illegal.2) it hasn’t been proven/disproven that gay couples cannot raise healthy and moral children.3) because i am pretty libertarian in my beliefs on how the government should work…i don’t think it is up to the government to decide what we do.4) how does one know what <>causes<> homosexuality? there are plenty of gay people who have had no disturbing/traumatic experiences, no sexual abuse, etc, and have liked their same gender ever since they can remember. remember your first crush? you didn’t choose the gender of the person you liked.when it comes to the 3rd one, the article’s stance on the government protecting our children and thats why they are involved, not to pick and choose what love is, is a fairly good argument except that it goes back to my second bullet. there have been plenty of sociologists and psychologists that have studied this issue and they are still at a standstill. if there was that much overwhelming proof that gay parents had a negative impact on children, i think it would be pretty public. but there isn’t. there are just as many effed up kids that have come from heterosexual marriages as there are that have come from gay civil unions or marriages.oh and another thing i was thinking when i was reading was that even if marriage was illegal, that would in no way stop gay couples from living together like married couples and having children. it would just suck for them benefit-wise. so why all the fuss over something that really isn’t going to change anything?

  5. Amelia says:

    Hello Garrett.I appreciate your approach to this issue as rational and thought-out. Although I disagree with you, I must admit I have seen some pretty ridiculous approaches to the pro-prop 8 stand point. I, as well as my adopted younger brother, have two gay dads. I also have several friends who have gay parents as well. I understand that those is support of prop 8 (and those who supported prop 22) have mostly the well-being of children and family values in mind. One question still burns in my brain, though;Do those who have gay parents not deserve to have parents who are married, as well? Are our families not equal or important? Divorce is truly hard on children: now imagine your parents aren’t even <>allowed<> to marry. It hurts just as much. I have experienced both and must say that the latter hurts more. This issue, ever since prop 22 passes when I was 7 years old, has hurt me so much. I have always felt that in this category, my family and I are viewed as unequal and unworthy of acceptance. Ever since a young age, I have lost friends once their parents have found out that I have gay parents, or they have not been allowed to have a sleepover at my house, although my home life is really no different than any other family with heterosexual parents (I know this because I also have a mother and a stepfather who are married. It is exactly the same.)This law is for the well-being of children and families… but my family… really not an ‘unfortunate’ case at all, but quite the contrary (as the situation has made my siblings and I less ignorant and more world-minded)… do we not deserve well-being and happiness too? The children in my family, my two half-sisters and two younger brothers… how are we to find peace in this proposition?Just another point of view, I know you appreciate comments.

  6. garrettmyler says:

    Matt Martin: I always have mad respect for anyone who can intelligently articulate their opinion, as well as take the time and thought to do research on the issue. Mad props.Your comment helped me realize that while different individual and groups of psychologists and experts may provide differing professional opinions, sometimes you have to go with your gut. To me, there is no question that what is best for all aspects of a child’s development is to be parented by a woman, and a man, committed to each other through marriage. This is a truth I know, independent of the “experts”. Plus, nature and biology seem to side with me anyways…the only natural way for children to come into this world is through a man and woman…natures hint as to how things should be.Your comment about the LDS church (Mormons) contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign are irrelevant. In fact, as the Mormon’s stand as such a united and well organized church, I’m surprised it’s only 40%!Anonymous: There absolutely exists a direct connection between marriage and parenting! In fact, it’s the only reason why the government is involved with marriage to begin with. What other reason could you provide? Is it to celebrate, reward, and legally sanction love? Anyone who believes that can go choke on their daisy pedal and rainbow soup. Why doesn’t the government legally recognize and give tax breaks for other institutions or unions? My Boy Scout of America membership…it even says “of America” in it! haha.Seriously though…it’s all about children and parenting.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Jake:I am an extremely happily married straight woman with a child; I am madly in love with my husband… and I lust him every chance I get on top of that. Your comment says “Yet as the love between a gay couple is coupled with lust, this doesn’t seem to be the ideal situation.” Are you saying straight people arent attracted to their partners? Thats not healthy at all. Everyone else: Why does the debate over gay marriage always become a debate over gay parenting? There is no direct connection to marriage and children. If marriages only exist to make kids, then impotent people, old post-menopausal women and all those couples out there who have been “trying” unsuccessfully for years on end should not be able to wed. Homosexuals can adopt kids, and have ones of their own. This isnt the issue at hand.

  8. Matt Martin says:

    I thank you for finally writing an article that didn’t rely on religious arguments to make your point, most of which are easily proven false even in the context of heterosexual marriage.However, I do have a problem with you focusing on the effects to children if Proposition 8 fails and marriage equality remains intact. If you do any research, you’ll find that the American Psychological Association (APA), along with many other social groups, played a key role in the supreme court’s decision to overturn California’s ban marriage being defined as only “one man and one woman.” In a statement from the APA on May 15, the day the supreme court’s decision was issued, the group’s executive director stated:“APA , joined by the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, NASW and its California chapter, filed an amicus curiae brief in the case providing extensive psychological research on key points relevant to the court’s decision…APA’ s brief clearly informed other important aspects of the majority’s decision such as the court’s discussion of the nature of same-sex relationships, <><>the role of child-rearing<><>, and the stigma resulting from denying the label “marriage” to same-sex unions all of which paralleled the points made in the APA’s brief about current scientific research on these issues.” < HREF="http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=6941" REL="nofollow">Source<>Furthermore, all the way back to 2004, the APA denounced denying marriage rights to same-sex couples. < HREF="http://www.apa.org/releases/gaymarriage.html" REL="nofollow">Source<> This decision came after a panel of experts assembled by the APA, including those whose focus was in the area of <>“family and couple relations”<>, examined the research and recommended to the APA that they support marriage equality. The press release by the APA even states, <>“…parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.”<>If you do any research at all on what the APA has said about children of gay and lesbian parents, you’ll find that time-after-time, evidence shows that there is no difference between children of gay and lesbian parents and those of heterosexual parents. < HREF="http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/kids.html" REL="nofollow">Source #1<> < HREF="http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgpchildren.html" REL="nofollow">Source #2<>I know you argue that we shouldn’t be looking at the source of the supporting article you reference, but it’s hard not to when you look at one major fact: the Yes on Prop 8 campaign has received at least 40% of its funding from Mormons! If you don’t believe me, go directly to the < HREF="http://mormonsfor8.com/?p=154" REL="nofollow"> Mormons for Prop 8 site<>. Any group that so vehemently opposes extending marriage rights to gay and lesbians clearly is going to find <>any<> data they can to support their claims. Personally, I would rely more on the APA’s findings and research, which includes the contributions of thousands of psychologists, to a statement made by one sociologist.I respect your attempt to take the argument out of the religious and into the social realm. However, when you dig deeper into the facts, it’s clear to see that Yes-on-Prop-8-for-the-sake-of-the-kids argument is just as fallible as the religious argument.

  9. garrettmyler says:

    Nick: While I feel annonymous’ comment was the best I’ve heard so far in regards to homosexual parents, and I value our friendship…I generally agree with the gist of what “The Jake” said.I did, however, want to let you know that I have great resprect and appreciation for your bravery in voicing your opinions…especially on a blog in which you know you will be out-numbered. In this respect, you and I share much in commen. Most people are too afraid to put themselves out there and voice their opinion, especially when they are out-numbered. Props bro!

  10. Nick says:

    The Jake. I am an ethical, financially succusful person that happens to be gay. I was with my ex for 7 years “lust” didnt keep us together. Love did. I am not saying gay folks dont have issues and minority group would after being marginalized. The most unethical gays are the closeted ones I.E Senator Craig has 4 kids. Good honest job Craig! The statistics on not letting gay people be a full part of this society just dont ad up anymore… sorry

  11. The Jake says:

    Nick, this isn’t about ‘rights’. Being a parent is a privilege/responsibility…not a ‘rite of passage’ afforded to all. Privileges/responsibilities are earned from good behavior and lifestyle, not simply because a person wants to do something. For example…a girl who gets pregnant simply because she wants a baby, yet is in no position to take care of it, is being VERY selfish and not thinking about the child whatsoever. In the same light, if a single person or homosexual couple wanted to adopt a child, they would NOT do this in the best interest of the child. Such selfish behavior should never be tolerated. I am aware that things like this do happen, but that doesn’t make them right, nor should we perpetuate an error. See the rest of my post for details.Anonymous, while your intentions are good, your basis is flawed. It’s inaccurate to base your arguments using exceptions as the rule. A homosexual couple simply cannot provide the same atmosphere in the home as a heterosexual couple for the reasons Garrett quoted in his post. You said the requirements of a ‘loving, stable, supportive’ home should be sufficient.The love between a gay couple is more unnatural affection, than love. I don’t argue that a gay person is incapable of loving a child however. Yet as the love between a gay couple is coupled with lust, this doesn’t seem to be the ideal situation. Most gay couples (the rule, not the exception) have many, many partners and don’t stick together for a period of time long enough to raise a child. That is an alarming statistic.Statistically, homosexuals choose their paths based upon instability in their adolescent years, such as abuse (most often sexual), or an imbalanced family life. Their ‘stability’ in life is based upon the instability from their developmental years. Hardly ‘stable’.If by supportive you refer to supporting people in doing whatever they feel like regardless of the ramifications on individuals and societies affected by such choices, I’d suggest a different word than ‘supportive’.You mention kids being ‘better off’ with a homosexual couple rather than an anger plagued heterosexual couple. This is an unfair comparison. The ideal is to be with a mother and a father who are loving and kind, but let’s be serious…no one is perfect. You assume that since a couple is gay, they are automatically the perfect example of loving role models. Can’t you admit that gay couples are also equally subject to anger and other issues? Such generalizations are absurd when attempting to make a valid argument. If a couple is guilty of anger or other issues which are detrimental to the development of a child, then social services should deal with them appropriately. However, placing them in the home of a gay couple is not the answer. The answer is to put them in a good home. I agree, there are many foster care issues that need to be resolved. We should work on the core of that problem though, not do something that’s simply ‘better off’ than something undesirable.I assure you that there are more than enough heterosexual couples who would provide an incredible upbringing to a child, and who would LOVE the opportunity. There is no need to place a child in the care of a gay couple, and thus at a disadvantaged upbringing.Lastly, quoting sources from the hardly credible Communist News Network (CNN) is probably not the most unbiased approach.

  12. S.Shepherd says:

    I just wanted to say hi to my cousin. I just found out that you have a blog. Come check out mine about my family.

  13. Jeff says:

    i think whether a new kind of family is about a remorseful girl or one who is just like “dang i got pregnant… oh well…” i dont think it matters… maybe there is a good message there but i still would be against my kids (if i had any) watching a show like that. i find it inappropriate

  14. garrettmyler says:

    Kelli: While I do have the right to give any opinion I want (wrong or uninformed as it might be), as you noted, I openly admitted I had only seen the previews as a disclaimer…I’m glad I’m wrong about the show. Thanks for the correction.

  15. Kelli says:

    Don’t knock it til you try it (in regards to the ABC family sitcom). You said you have only seen the previews, you definitely do NOT have any right to give any opinion on it. EVERY episode ends with the main (pregnant) character saying something like “the first time too many teens talk to their parents about sex is when they’re telling them they’re pregnant. parents, just because your teens ask you about sex doesn’t mean they’re doing it. and teens, just because you’re parents aren’t talking to you about sex doesn’t mean they don’t care.” It does not glorify a teen pregnancy. The girl is miserable, had sex with a guy she didn’t even like and wasn’t even sure if it was sex, wants to drop out of school because she’s so ashamed, and they quite frequently talk about adoption. If I had to guess I’d say they’ll end the show with the girl giving the baby up for adoption, but I can’t say for sure. Any teen pregnancy is too much and it’s obvious that it’s NOT RIGHT. This show doesn’t try to say it is, I think they’re using their influence to help teens not get pregnant. And I agree about 8, say yes.

  16. garrettmyler says:

    Anonymous: This is by far the best point I’ve heard from the other side!! I’m ubber impressed and thank you for your thoughtful and (seemingly) valid counter-argument. You are the first person to provide the type of dialogue I would love to see on this blog.While I am not all that aware of the adoption process, it would seem that the requirements and hoops necessary for any couple to adopt would ensure parents (homo or not) are prepared and capable of the responsibility.I still would recognize the observed benefits of “gender differentiated parenting”. I see crappy and unprepared parents as an unavoidable, yet still saddening, reality…one that doesn’t exist between homo-sexual couples because they must adopt and be deemed worthy for the responsibility. Also, as far as I know, one parent can adopt a child…which is also recognized to not be the ideal for children. Therefore, to me, there seems to be a gap between requirements of adoption, and requirements for marriage. Although, if marriage is recognized by the government because it is the ideal union for the raising of children…maybe there should be more stringent requirements (for hetero-sexual couples) before a marriage is legally recognized and rights (tax benefits, etc.) are provided…such as a common sense / parenting test, or even a financial analysis (probably a crazy idea…just thinking out-loud here). You’ve open my mind, my friend.I would have much greater respect if more No on 8 advocates made such valid counter-points instead of trying to make all us supporters look like hate-mongers, and focusing on “human rights”, legally sanctioning love, etc.You, my anonymous friend, have my respect.

  17. A Well Behaved Mormon Woman says:

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate what you are doing also, to stand for traditional marriage,which is NOT a vote against homosexuals.tDMgKathryn Skaggs

  18. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I agree with your point of view on the ABC family Sitcom. It’s inappropriate. I think that the rest of your article is completely off the mark. Your reasoning doesn’t make sense. Studies show that children growing up in supportive families do better in school and are more well adjusted than those growing up in unstable families. I think that it’s best for a child to grow up in a loving, stable, and supportive home that values education. If this can be provided by a same-sex couple than the child will probably end up better off than another child raised in a traditional family plagued by anger, too little time for their children, and financial struggles. Same-sex couples are forced to prove that they are financially stable and must jump through hoops to adopt children in the United States. The fact that they work so much harder to start a family shows that they are committed to being good parents. At the same time, many traditional couples have children unexpectedly, before they are financially stable, or before they have the time and resources to care for them properly. These are the children that are neglected and do poorly in school. According to the article below about 1% of children in the US are raised by same-sex parents. I’m not sure what percentage of parents in the US are financially unstable, unloving, and detached from their children’s lives, but I’m pretty sure that it’s higher than 1%. <>http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/25/gay.adoption/index.html

  19. Nick says:

    value “our friendship” 🙂 whoops

  20. Nick says:

    I value are friendship. I value the church. I value all Americans have the right to a family. If a household shows abuse something needs to be done. I see no reason to charge gay folk as criminal if they are not criminal.Homosexuals have gone from being consider mentally ill to leaders of nations companys and parents. It is hard to hear yopu talk about me like this…… Your fellow Mormon

  21. The Tyler Nelson Family says:

    Most churches don’t believe that LDS people are even Christian. LDS people are even siding by churches who have anti-Mormon literature printed and seminars that group them in with Satanism and atheism. That does not mean that when they do believe the same things regarding certain issues that they won’t stand by each other to fight for what they do believe in.

  22. Chino Blanco says:

    Just a heads up: Mike Huckabee recently gave an interview in which he holds Mitt Romney responsible for implementing gay marriage in Massachusetts. < HREF="http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com/2008/08/huckabee-romney-responsible-for.html" REL="nofollow">Video<>Welcome to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition. I wish that more rank and file members of the LDS (Mormon) church would realize: the anti-gay coalition they’ve joined in California is one that includes folks who – given the chance – would vote their church out of existence. Folks like Mike Huckabee and his Evangelical buddies.

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