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October 28, 2004

No, really, did she?
Dominus, Susan. "Growing Up With Mom and Mom". The New York Times Magazine. 2004 October 24.

When [Cade Russo-Young] went to Smith College, she met other women who, like her, were lesbians and had been raised by lesbian mothers. In some cases, she said, those women faced mothers who actively disapproved, distressed that their children were living out conservative policy makers' most potent fears.

A central argument advanced against gay marriage is that gay relationships have a corrosive effect on the institution of the traditional family. In that context, the children of gay parents are...a form of evidence in the political debate. How do the children of gay parents turn out, when compared with the children of straight parents, in terms of eventual marital status, income, psychological well-being? If gay couples give birth, seek to adopt or become foster parents, what kind of adult members of society will they produce?


There's yet a third position in the debate about gay parents, one that argues passionately that there are differences, not to castigate gay parents for deviance but to embrace the uniqueness of being raised in a same-sex household. Around 1999, Judith Stacey, then a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, took a broad look at the bulk of research claiming no difference in kids of gay parents and rejected its claims that a parent's sexuality bore no influence whatsoever on his or her kids. ''That just didn't make sense to me,'' said Stacey, 61, and now a professor at New York University. A trim, animated woman, she sat, her feet tucked under her, on the sofa in her sunny apartment near the school's campus when I spoke to her in August. She has no quarrel with research suggesting that children of gay parents are as well adjusted as their peers, but she does contest the idea that there is no difference when it comes to sexuality. ''Every theory out there -- be it social constructionist, biological determinist, environmental or psychoanalytic -- would lead you to expect that a larger minority of children with gay parents will grow up not to be exclusively heterosexual. Even a genetic theory would lead you to that conclusion.''


Stacey freely admits that she wants to get ahead of the legal curve: ''My position is that you can't base an argument for justice on information that's empirically falsifiable in the long run,'' she said. ''If your right to custody is based on saying there are no differences, then research comes along and says you're wrong, then where are you?''

Posted by jeet at 11:25 AM