First-Person: Same-Sex 'Marriage' — Have the Best Interests of Children Been Considered?DAWN STEFANOWICZ
I grew up in a homosexual household during the 60s and 70s in Toronto, exposed to many different people, the GLBT subcultures, and explicit sexual practices.
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My biggest concern is that children are not being discussed in this same-sex marriage debate. Yet, won't the next step for some gay activists be to ask for legal adoption of children if same-sex marriage is legalized? I have considered some of the potential physical and psychological health risks for children raised in this situation. I was at high risk of exposure to contagious STDs due to sexual molestation, my father's high-risk sexual behaviors, and multiple partners. Even when my father was in what looked like monogamous relationships, he continued cruising for anonymous sex.
I came to deeply care for, love and compassionately understand my dad. He shared his life regrets with me. Unfortunately, my father, as a child, was sexually and physically abused by older males. Due to this, he lived with depression, control issues, anger outbursts, suicidal tendencies, and sexual compulsions. He tried to fulfill his legitimate needs for his father's affirmation, affection and attention with transient and promiscuous relationships. He and his partners were exposed to various contagious STD's as they traveled across North America. My father's (ex)partners, whom I had deep caring feelings for and associated with, had drastically shortened lives due to suicide, contracting HIV or Aids. Sadly, my father died of AIDS in 1991.
Are my childhood experiences unique? According to a growing number of personal testimonies, experts, and organizations, there is mounting evidence of strong commonalities to my personal experiences2-13. Not only do children do best with both a mother and a father in a lifelong marriage bond14,15, children need responsible monogamous parents who have no extramarital sexual partners. Parental promiscuity, abuse and divorce are not good for children.
If same-sex marriage is legalized, a person, couple or group who practice any form of sexual behavior would eventually be able to obtain children through previous heterosexual relationships, new reproductive technologies, and adoption due to the undefined term sexual orientation. This would force all public and private adoption agencies to hand over children into experimental relationships or risk charges of discrimination.
From a young age, I was exposed to explicit sexual speech, self-indulgent lifestyles, varied GLBT subcultures and gay vacation spots. Sex looked gratuitous to me as a child. I was exposed to all-inclusive manifestations of sexuality including bathhouse sex, cross-dressing, sodomy, pornography, gay nudity, lesbianism, bisexuality, minor recruitment, voyeurism and exhibitionism. Sado-masochism was alluded to and aspects demonstrated. Alcohol and drugs were often contributing factors to lower inhibitions in my father's relationships.
My father prized unisex dressing, gender-neutral aspects and a famous cross-dressing icon when I was eight years old. I did not see the value of biological complementing differences of male and female or think about marriage. I made vows to never have children since I had not grown up in a safe, sacrificial, child-centered home environment. Due to my life experience, I ask, "Can children really perform their best academically, financially, psychologically, socially and behaviorally in experimental situations?" I can tell you that I suffered long term in this situation, and this has been professionally documented.
Over two decades of direct exposure to these stressful experiences caused me insecurity, depression, suicidal thoughts, dread, anxiousness, low self-esteem, sleeplessness and sexuality confusion. My conscience and innocence were seriously damaged. I witnessed that every other family member suffered severely as well.
It took me until I was into my 20s and 30s, after making major life choices, to begin to realize how being raised in this environment affected me. My healing encompassed facing reality, accepting long-term consequences, and offering forgiveness. Can you imagine being forced to tolerate unstable relationships and diverse sexual practices from a young age and how this affected my development? My gender identity, psychological well-being, and peer relationships were affected. Unfortunately, it was not until my father, his sexual partners and my mother had died, was I free to speak publicly about my experiences.
I believe same-sex marriage will dispose of unique values esteemed within marriage as recognized throughout history. Marriage needs to remain a societal foundation that constitutes, represents, and defends the inherently procreative relationship between the husband and the wife for the welfare of their biological children.17 Children need consistent appropriate boundaries and secure expressions of emotional intimacy that are not sexualized in the home and community.
The term "sexual orientation" does not distinguish between the individual, feelings of sexual attraction to a particular person or object, or the individual's sexual behavior or preferences. Thence, a person practicing pansexuality, which is diverse sexual expression, could not be discriminated against even with children present.
Are the government and judicial systems playing games with children, forcing upstanding citizens to tolerate all forms of diverse sexual expression against their will, conscience and or religious freedom?
Why is such a small, unrepresentative clique within the GLBT subcultures wanting same-sex marriage? Mr. John McKellar, Executive Director of H.O.P.E. (Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism) has stated, and I quote:
"It is selfish and rude for the gay community to push same-sex marriage legislation and redefine society's traditions and conventions for our own self-indulgence .... Federal and provincial laws are being changed and the traditional values are being compromised just to appease a tiny, self-anointed clique."18
In my opinion, same-sex marriage will put the human rights of the individual in a higher place than what is best for society, families and especially children. Canadians should decide and not judges.19 Human rights were meant to protect the individual and not groups.20 In this crucial debate, children's human rights have become secondary, ignored and denied.
Already this is happening under the banner of anti-bullying, safe schools' policies and through Gay-Straight Alliances. In reality, these policies provide a direct legal entranceway of indoctrination, desensitization, personal and political recruitment of our vulnerable children by some gay activists within our schools while silencing all students who oppose the gay agenda.23
Similarly, all those who oppose the Canadian laws recognizing same-sex marriage would not be allowed to speak, express or gesture opposition, even on religious grounds. Look how the hate crime legislation Bill C-250 has instilled fear and is silencing the church. Did you know that the separation of church and state was enacted to protect religious freedom and conscience? Will religious freedom be trumped by sexual freedom?24 Will religious faith expressions and practices by individuals and organizations be prohibited by such bills as C-38 and others? We have an obligation, for the sake of our children, to speak freely and to direct the laws of our land.
Will the Canadian government and judges legally promote unhealthy and unsound environments that encourage motherless and fatherless units through same-sex marriage?25 Ultimately, children will be the real victims and losers if same-sex marriage is legally enacted. What hope can I offer innocent children who have no voice? What price is Canada willing to pay for sexual freedom, tolerance and diversity? Is that price children's lives?26 Government and judges need to advance and defend marriage as between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others for the sake of our children.
Dawn Stefanowicz. "First-Person: Same-Sex 'Marriage' - Have the Best Interests of Children Been Considered?" Agape Press (June 17, 2005).
This article reprinted with permission from Agape Press.
Copyright © 2005 Agape Press
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