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Enbar Toledano, Fargo, Published June 04 2013

Letter: Children of same-sex couples surely can turn out pretty great

As a relative newcomer to North Dakota, I have followed the discourse surrounding the gay marriage debate. Despite my support for a more inclusive definition of marriage (and the attendant legal rights for members of the gay and lesbian community), I have been pleasantly surprised by the voices of opposition in the F-M area. For the most part, the opinions shared have been tolerant and respectful. This stands in sharp contrast to the “hellfire and damnation” arguments that abound back home.

While the “selfish love” letter (Ken Sims letter, Forum, May 30) appears to come from a place of reason and good intention, I feel compelled to weigh in on behalf of a much-discussed but generally silent group of “victims” in this debate: the children of same-sex couples. That we exist obviously refutes the popular argument that gay marriage is wrong because same-sex couples can’t have children. But “selfish love” raises a distinct argument, and one that deserves to be addressed.

First, I would posit that the variations in types of love/communication/play within groups of mothers and fathers is probably more diverse than between those groups. But, even if we were to accept this somewhat antiquated notion as true, I have a hard time with arguments against gay marriage premised on the “interest and well-being of children.” What exactly is it I’ve been deprived of?

I grew up with two intelligent, warm parents who instilled in me and my sister a strong sense of integrity and morality. From my estimation, this already sounds like the ideal that conservatives champion more than most modern American homes. Moreover, as biology would have it, I also have a father – and a great one at that.

I can’t say whether this is atypical for gay and lesbian homes, but it should serve to dispel the notion that same-sex child-rearing necessarily deprives children of access to a mother and a father. And at the risk of tooting my own horn, so to speak, I would offer myself up as proof that we children of same-sex couples can turn out pretty great.

My sister and I both graduated from college with honors. I’m now a practicing attorney, and she’s finishing her third year in a Ph.D. program. We have healthy relationships and demonstrate ample “respect for the opposite sex.” In addition, we demonstrate enhanced respect for other, diverse members of our community, which is more than I can say for some of the less tolerant products of more traditional households.

In sum, I can happily embrace the notion that children should be our primary concern. In this particular case, I’m just not sure Sims’ concerns are warranted.