An Op-Ed.

I wrote this with the intent of sending it to the Boston Globe, but since time marches on and I’m not the most time-sensitive individual, I pass it off to you to read here. Notice how my professional writing is still vaguely colloquial:

In his opinion piece, “Kids take back seat to gay agenda” (Boston Globe, 15 March 2006), columnist Jeff Jacoby argues that gay activists have pursued their cause, “the normalization of homosexual adoption,” to the detriment of children. He defends the Catholic church’s right to discriminate against homosexual couples. He claims that millions of Americans believe the parents in a family must be of both sexes, and further comments, this is “neither a radical view nor an intolerant one.” Since Catholic Charities can no longer place children with anyone, Jacoby concludes that gay activists and colluding media and state government officials have propelled gay equality forward while relegating children to the back, much like a few rotten apples spoiling the whole bunch. Jacoby is wrong in two different ways.

First, Jacoby ignores the other, very valuable and very laudable work done through Catholic Charities outside of adoption. In addition to adoption, Catholic Charities offers over thirty services, among which include child care, mentoring programs, substance abuse counseling, and homeless shelters and transitional housing. Each year the United Way awards Catholic Charities with a grant, most recently for $1.2 million. Had the State issued a waiver to the anti-discrimination law, it would have put all programs run through Catholic Charities, not just the adoption services, at risk. Most funders, including the United Way and the state government, refuse to grant financial assistance to organizations that discriminate. Many of the budgets of these programs are already sensitive to even slight fluctuations in current funding; if Catholic Charities were allowed to ban homosexual adoptions, the resulting decreased financial backing would ensure a curtailment effecting several other vulnerable populations throughout the city who were not directly involved. In essence, the State’s ruling saved many more charitable programs. Furthermore, it is worthwhile to remember that the Church chose to close the adoption services, not Catholic Charities, and not the State.

Second, the view Jacoby claims to be “neither radical nor intolerant” has no founding in contemporary research, and is, therefore, not only intolerant against gay couples but is also harmful to children. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, between 6 and 14 million children were living with a gay or lesbian parent as of 1990. The dozens of studies to investigate the psychology of children of LGBT parents have been motivated primarily by family law, and thus directly address the effects on children of having gay versus straight parents. Evidence shows pretty convincingly that children are not harmed in any way merely by having homosexual parents. In fact, it shows quite the opposite. According to one study by Hoeffer published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, daughters of lesbians, on average, have higher self-esteem than those of straight women; their sons are more caring and less aggressive. Additionally, children of homosexual parents are no more likely than the general population to be homosexual themselves. In light of these statistics, we have no choice but to deny Jacoby’s interpretation of the views of “millions of Americans” and call his opinion what it is: unreasoned, unjustified, and harmful to children.

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