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Love Isn't Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children

Contact: Trayce Hansen, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, 760-522-2720, trayce@drtraycehansen.com

OPINION, Oct. 15 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following comments are submitted by Trayce Hansen, Ph.D.:

Proponents of same-sex marriage believe the only thing children really need is love. Based on that supposition, they conclude it's just as good for children to be raised by loving parents of the same sex, as it is to be raised by loving parents of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, that basic assumption--and all that flows from it--isn't true. Because love isn't enough!

All else being equal, children do best in a home headed by a married mother and father. It's within this environment that children are most likely to be exposed to the emotional and psychological experiences they need in order to thrive.

Men and women bring diversity to parenting; each makes unique contributions that can't be replicated by the other. Mothers and fathers simply aren't interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father.

Here are five reasons why it's in the best interest of children to be raised by both a mother and a father:

First, mother-love and father-love--though equally important--are qualitatively different and produce distinct parent-child attachments. Specifically, it's the combination of the unconditional-leaning love of a mother and the conditional-leaning love of a father that's essential to a child's development. Either of these forms of love without the other can be problematic. What a child needs is the complementary balance the two types of parental love and attachment provide.

Secondly, children progress through predictable developmental stages. Some stages require more from a mother, while others require more from a father. For example, during infancy, babies of both sexes tend to do better in the care of their mother. Mothers are more attuned to the subtle needs of their infants and thus are more appropriately responsive. Fathers are generally needed later when they play a restraining role in the lives of their children. They restrain sons from acting out antisocially and daughters from acting out sexually. When there's no father to perform this function, a boy is more likely to become delinquent and incarcerated and a girl is more likely to become promiscuous and pregnant.

Third, boys and girls need an opposite-sexed parent to help them moderate their own gender-linked inclinations. As example, boys generally embrace reason over emotion, rules over relationships, risk-taking over caution, and standards over compassion, while girls generally embrace the reverse. An opposite-sexed parent helps a child keep his or her own natural proclivities in check by teaching--verbally and nonverbally--the worth of the opposing tendencies.

Fourth, same-sex marriage will increase sexual confusion and sexual experimentation by implying all choices are equally acceptable and desirable. So, even children from traditional homes--influenced by the all-sexual-options-are-equal message--will grow up thinking it doesn’t matter whom one relates to sexually or marries. Holding such a belief will lead some--if not many--impressionable young people to consider sexual and marital arrangements they never would have contemplated previously. And children from homosexual families, who are already more likely to experiment sexually, would do so to a greater extent, because not only was non-traditional sexuality role-modeled by their parents, it was also approved by their society.

Human sexuality is pliant. Consider ancient Greece or Rome--among other early civilizations--where male homosexuality and bisexuality were nearly ubiquitous. This was not so because most of those men were born with a "gay gene," rather it was because homosexuality was condoned by those societies. That which a society sanctions, it gets more of.

And fifth, if society permits same-sex marriage, it also will have to allow other types of marriage. If prohibiting same-sex marriage is discriminatory, then disallowing polygamous marriage, polyamorous marriage, or any marital grouping will also be deemed discriminatory. The emotional and psychological ramifications of these assorted arrangements on children would be disastrous. And what happens to the children of these alternative marriages if the union dissolves and each parent then "remarries"? Those children could end up with four fathers, or two fathers and four mothers, or, you fill in the blank.

Certainly homosexual couples can be just as loving as heterosexual couples, but children require more than love. They need the distinctive qualities and the complementary natures of a male and female parent.

The accumulated wisdom of over 2,000 years has concluded that the ideal marital and parental configuration is composed of one man and one woman. Arrogantly disregarding such time-tested wisdom, and using children as guinea pigs in a radical experiment, is risky at best, and cataclysmic at worst.

Same-sex marriage definitely isn't in the best interest of children. And although we empathize with those homosexuals who long to be married and parent children, we must not allow our compassion for them to trump our compassion for children. In a contest between the desires of some homosexuals and the needs of all children, we can't allow the children to lose.

Trayce Hansen, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Hansen can be reached by e-mail at trayce@drtraycehansen.com.