What’s wrong with homosexual couples raising children?


I know you get far too many letters about same-sex marriage, but I don’t think you’ve answered this one.

I’m not for homosexual couples raising children — I believe it will cause damage and is morally wrong. But that doesn’t seem to be a sufficient argument against legalizing same-sex marriage, and I honestly do not know of one.

You point out in “So-Called Marriage” that a child needs a Mom and a Dad, but marriage in America is in decay. Many children are raised with only one parent. When we live in a country that does not legally have a problem with only one sex raising a child as a single parent, how can we refuse to enact a law allowing only one sex to raise a child as part of a couple? Besides, don’t some homosexual partners take on masculine and feminine roles in their own relationship? A child would receive a more balanced influence this way than from a single parent.

I’d like to be able to answer this objection, but I don’t know how. Anything you can offer would be appreciated.


I’m glad you’re trying to think these matters through. Let’s take your two questions one at a time. My answer to them rests on what is in the best interest of the child.

Your first question is “When we live in a country that doesn’t have a legal problem with only one sex raising a child when they are single, how can we refuse to enact a law allowing one sex to raise a child as a couple?” I don’t know what you mean by “doesn’t have a legal problem with.” If you mean that the law is indifferent to single parenthood, this isn’t true. Our family law is based on the assumption that it is better for children to be raised by both of the parents, and that when this is impossible, it is better for the children to be raised by one of the parents than by strangers. In adoption, too, strong preference is almost always given to married couples seeking to adopt rather than singles. This, I would argue, is just as it should be.

Your second question might be paraphrased “Isn’t a Mom playing Mom plus a Mom playing Dad better than just one Mom? Isn’t a Dad playing Dad plus a Dad playing Mom better than just one Dad?” The answer is No. In the first place, men and women are psychologically different; a man playing a feminine role is not really like a mother, and a woman playing a masculine role is not really like a father. In the second place, only a real man and real woman can model relationships between men and women for the child. Children raised in “gay” households suffer not only the lack of the other kind of parent, but the additional burden of sexual confusion because of the homosexuality of the caretaking adults. And let’s not forget that homosexual relationships are far less stable than real marriages. So on top of everything else, such children suffer a greater risk of household breakup.

You agree that it isn’t good for children to be raised by homosexual couples. On the other hand, you say that this doesn’t justify defining marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman. Considering that the reason the law protects marriage is precisely to safeguard children, these two views seem inconsistent. I hope you will agree and change your mind.

Grace and peace,


Copyright 2005 J. Budziszewski. All rights reserved.

About the Author

J. Budziszewski

Professor J. Budziszewski is the author of more than a dozen books, including How to Stay Christian in College, Ask Me Anything, Ask Me Anything 2, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, and The Line Through the Heart. He teaches government and philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.