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Standing our ground
By Regina Selman Moore
I was glad to hear Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, stand up during the Budget debate late yesterday evening, and clearly state that Barbados will be saying a definitive “no” to alternative lifestyles.
The AG maintained that Barbados will be saying no to its international partners advocating such, by stating “thanks, but no thanks”, with the explanation that we can decide what’s best for us, rather than simply accepting everything that comes out of the international arena.
Well, I must say that I thank the Honourable Adriel Brathwaite for his frank statement, indicating that we will be seeking to maintain our traditional notion of family, which sees a male and a female in a household, raising a child, rather than two females or two males. I must say that he has done more than some local clerics, who are supposed to be God’s mouthpieces, but who somehow seem to have such wishy-washy views on the subject.
Not everyone in the international arena however has given the thumbs up to alternative lifestyles and same sex marriages. Author Bill Muehlenberg, in an article entitled “Why Children Need a Mother and a Father”, an entry made on CultureWatch, has noted that there are many thousands of studies which have appeared over the past four to five decades, showing quite clearly how absolutely important biological mothers and fathers are to the well-being of their children. He further posits that “study after study has shown that no other factor is more vital to the healthy development of children, than having a mum and a dad”.
Having done some local research myself on Adolescent Life Satisfaction and Family Relations in Barbados as part of my thesis for a Master’s in Applied Psychology, I must say that a look at family structures in Barbados, shows that some adolescents could benefit from stronger and more fulfilling relationships, if they have the support of both biological parents. A great deal of youth, however, live in single parent homes, some of them do not have the influence of the extended family and this creates somewhat of a challenge for them, even though they can compensate for what is missing in their lives with their social networks.
Going back to Muehlenberg however, he suggests that family structure does matter when raising children. After listing a string of studies that justify his statement, the author states that by every indicator, children do better when raised by their own biological parents. No other family structure comes close in terms of positive outcomes, he says. Yet he notes that the homosexual activists and other social engineers keep telling us that family structure has absolutely nothing to do with the well-being of children.
Author Dennis Prager who wrote “Same-Sex Marriage: Good for Gays, Bad for Children”, suggests that of all the arguments against same-sex marriage, the most immediately compelling is that it hurts children.
“If children have a right to anything, it is to begin life with a mother and father. Death, divorce, abandonment, a single-parent’s mistakes – any one of these deprives children of a mother or father. But only same-sex marriage would legally ensure children are deprived from birth of either a mother or a father” he says. He further notes that “the idea that men and women do not have entirely distinctive contributions to make to the rearing of a child is so absurd, that it is frightening that many well-educated – and only the well-educated – people believe it”.
On the local front, we have our own research done by a local counselling agency which suggests that a significant proportion of children suffering from anxiety and depression in the local school system, crave the attention and interaction from their fathers who are absent. We also know the benefits of the traditional nuclear family and the results of the breakdown in such a structure on the children in our society. Why would it make sense to further complicate family structures? In the interest of just a few? I think not.