Gay Parenting on the Rise

MSNBC is reporting a rise in the interest in parenting of gay couples.

Joe Travella, left, and his partner, Brent, right, hold their children Sophia, 2, from left, and one-year-old twins Paolo and Julia, at their home in South Orange, N.J., on July 10, 2008. (Mike Derer / AP)

Joe Travella, left, and his partner, Brent, right, hold their children Sophia, 2, from left, and one-year-old twins Paolo and Julia, at their home in South Orange, N.J., on July 10, 2008. (Mike Derer / AP)

It seems that increased legal protections for gay couples is driving the growth in gay parenting. Indeed, although legal and surrogacy costs are extremely expensive, gay parents can now feel better knowing that their children can know their parent’s are married.

“We wanted our daughter to know her parents were married ā€” that was the big thing for us,” said Tommy Starling of Pawley’s Island, S.C., who wed his partner of 12 years, Jeff Littlefield, on July 11 in Hollywood.

“Our journey to parenthood was not easy, cheap or fun,” Starling and Littlefield wrote in an account of their family. “The result, however, has been the most amazing experience in the world; being called Daddy and Dad by our loving daughter.””For future generations, knowing they can fall in love, get married, have a child ā€” absolutely, that will become a way of life more than it is,” she said.

There are still some obstacles though. Of course, much of the attraction is in the legal rights and privileges that married couples get. Such rights do not exist in most states. Furthermore, gay dad’s seem to be concerned about their child growing up in an environment that is receptive to gay parenting, and rightly so.

“As gay men, so much depends on where you live, what your social support system is like,”

said Parsons, a 41-year-old psychology professor at Hunter College.

Marriage may be the final step in the long chronicle of the gay rights movement. I think that the progress of gay parenting as a result of gay couples’ legal protections approaching parity with straight couples’ is a great example of how equal rights spur gay culture engaging in norms that were previously shut off from them. Allow gay men to marry, and they will. Allow them to become parents, and they shall.

Andrew Sullivan has captured the inevitable and proud march toward assimilation, and I think that articles such as this demonstrate an ongoing positive assimilation of gay culture in America, much to the chagrin of some gay activists.

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