No Room at the Inn: The False Divide of Gay v Christian

The recent award of damages to a same-sex couple who were denied accommodation by Christian hoteliers, continues to draw extensive coverage and comment in the British press. On the one hand, it seems that the B&B/hotel hosts are now receiving extensive hate-mail and nuisance calls and other harassment, including numerous attempted bookings by other gay couples threatening to launch follow-up legal actions if their bookings are denied. (The place is currently closed for the off-season, so no bookings are being accepted for anyone. Mrs Bull has not indicated what she will do if these bookings continue in the summer). Such harassment is clearly despicable and uncalled-for.

On the other, this harassment has led to her being portrayed in some quarters as a Christian martyr, standing up for her religious convictions. This is patent nonsense. If her religious convictions lead her to disapprove of lesbian sex, she need not engage in it. Religious freedom does not extend to the freedom to impose her religious beliefs on her guests. Presumable she also disapproves of masturbation. Does she have signs in her rooms warning that jerking off in the bath is forbidden?

She claims that she is not discriminating against gays in particular, but only against unmarried couples. This too is hogwash. In British law, here guests are married –  except that the technical legal term for their union (unjustly) is “civil partnership”, not marriage.

But the most serious complaint against their action, for a couple claiming to be acting from Christian belief, is that is totally contrary to the Christian Gospels, and the practice of Jesus Christ himself.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Conservative, Christian Case for Gay Adoption.

The core element in this argument is familiar: adoption by same sex couples should be permitted, “because the best interests of the child” means the best parents available – not some theoretical, ideal myth. Sometimes the best available just happen to be gay or lesbian. What is different about this is that the argument comes from a declared conservative Christian, who makes no secret of her belief that homosexuality is a sin. But, she makes clear, as we are all sinners, her personal belief about the parents is no reason to act against the welfare of their children, to withhold standard courtesies and neighbourliness from the parents.

This argument needs to get through to all those (including too many Catholic bishops) who can see the issue of gay adoption only as a set of rules, and not as specific situations with real people. Fortunately though, this is happening. In the near future, I suspect, this response will be so mainstream as to be unremarkable.

From Blogher :

As a conservative Christian mom, I get looks whenever presumed “offensive” topics come into play. For instance, the “2 Gay Dad” issue. I like two shows with two gay dads and I also have a few gay friends who eventually will want to adopt. There’s this assumption I will be outraged and come flying out with my Bible to protest. I assure you, I am not waiting in the shadows ready to pop out with my judgments. Quite the contrary. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fallacy of the Church Push Against Gay Adoption

In Australia, the New South Wales parliament has a bill before it which would legalise gay adoption. The churches are outraged, and pushing hard against the measure, or asking for special treatment. One Australian church agency is asking for exemption  from the non-discrimination clause. Anglicare argues that adoption should not be about politics and the “rights” of gay couples, but about the best interests of the child.

In Mexico, the Supreme Court this week will follow last’s week’s decision on gay marriage in Mexico City with a consideration of gay adoption (and also gay marriage nationally). In the US, GOP candidates for the governorships of Nevada and Georgia are proposing to follow Florida and outlaw gay adoption. In the UK, where the issue is supposedly settled in law, the church is continuing to fight a rearguard action to have its own agencies exempted. What do all these have in common? Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Parents: Recommended

My regular readers will now that gay adoption rights are a personal, touchy area for me. As a father and grandfather myself, I am acutely conscious that what matters to a child is not the status or orientation of the parent, but the depth of love and the quality of the care. My daughter Robynn has gone on record in stating , on the first occasion, that her experience when living with my partner and myself gave her a more stable emotional environment, and better examples in moral standards, than she saw given to her classmates from more “conventional” backgrounds. Later, she made it clear in a post here at QTC, that we should listen to the voices and experiences of children themselves who have grown up in gay – headed households, before making judgements. Giving her own verdict, she concluded: “Gay parents? I recommend them”.

The issue of gay adoption tends to get less press than same sex marriage, but in many ways has greater importance for long term progress to gay equality and inclusion. Here in the UK , gay adoption is fully accepted in law, but a Catholic adoption agency has just won an important court appeal, granting it exemption from the statutory requirement of equal treatment for all candidate parents. This is a topic I am not yet ready to discuss properly, but will do at some stage. In the US, the situation varies by state, but in only one state, Florida, is there an outright legal ban. There is no sign of this ban being lifted by legislative process any time soon, but meanwhile there have been a string of favourable court decisions, with an important court ruling due any day now. In the meantime, here is another personal story of one child who would clearly agree with Robynn, and recommend gay parents. In his case, he voted with his feet, and actively left his one-mother-one-father version family for a gay single father – and in the process made a huge improvement in his life:

From Palm Beach Post:

Grade-A gay ‘parent’ saved a child from two-parent straight home

James was a bright boy with a dark future looming when he made a decision to change his destiny. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesbians Make Better Parents: Times Online

This will not surprise many  of my readers, or others in the reality-based community (borrowing Pam Spaulding’s phrase), but lesbians make better parents.  The evidence from research has shown this for years, and is now accepted wisdom among professionals in the field.  Here in the UK, the authoritative social attitudes survey has found that a third of British adults now agree that same sex couples  make “at least” as good parents as other couples – to say noting of the comparison with single parents, or with no parents at all.

This all makes intuitive sense: lesbian couples by the very nature of things are most unlikely to have unplanned pregnancies and unwanted children.  Lesbian parenting is generally a carefully thought through, deliberate decision.  The parents themselves will have had to negotiate the difficult process of coming out, which is often a psychological growth experience, and will have had to deal with prejudice, possible discrimination and sometimes outright hostility in their own lives – and have learnt to deal with it. It is to be expected, as research confirms, that

“children brought up by female couples are more aspirational and more confident in championing social justice. They show no more tendencies towards homosexuality than the offspring of heterosexual parents.”

All of this by now should be old hat, hardly worth a second glance. So why do I repeat and promote the story below, from Times Online?

Because too many of the power elite in the Catholic Church and their unthinking claque of supporters, have yet to join the reality based community.  They consistently ignore their own teaching that theology must pay attention to the findings of science and scholarship, and instead condemn even their own experts who state what is widely accepted by professionals, and would rather blackmail civic authorities than countenance the possibility of placing an adoptive child with same sex parents, no matter how sparkling their personal qualities or potential as parents.

 

450px-New_York_City_Proposition_8_Protest_outside_LDS_temple
Protesting child outside LDS Temple after Prop 8, 2008

 

As long as the bishops insist on placing church ideology (it does not even qualify as sound theology) over the welfare of children, we must continue to publicise the findings of research and experts, aiming to build the sound theology, based on science together with faith and reason, that the establishment is singularly failing to do. Read the rest of this entry »