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What is the ideal family?

CriticalThought

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I've noticed that there are different perceptions of what constitutes a good family.

Conservatives tend to have a structural definition of the ideal family. This is usually, one man married to one woman and with two or more children.

Progressives tend to have an operational definition of the ideal family. This is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have.

I find the conservative definition to be stupid. Mainly because I know that a married man and woman may be miserable or they may abuse or neglect their children. The structure of their family does not inherently make them a good family.

However, the progressive definition makes sense. A family that is attached to each other by bonds of trust and love is likely to be very secure and can provide a great home for children.

It is for that reason that I think step, adoptive, same sex, mixed, extended, etc. families can be just as good or better than the "traditional" nuclear family that conservatives advocate as ideal. I'm not saying they always are, because they have their own unique challenges, but to assume they are always inherently inferior to the "traditional" ideal, seems very misguided.

So what is your definition of the ideal family?
 
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tacomancer

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You said it best

This is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have.
 

MaggieD

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The ideal family is a dreamt up fantasy.

Welllll, the ideal family is usually someone else's.

Aside from that, my idea of a great family is a stable household. A place where kids can feel safe and loved. Where structure is there and so's serendipity. That ideal family can be a single mom with kids, a single dad with kids, a committed couple with kids, or married. It's not about what the structure ends up being -- it's about what the environment ends up like. Lots of ways to skin a cat. (Poor cat.)
 

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I've noticed that there are different perceptions of what constitutes a good family.

Conservatives tend to have a structural definition of the ideal family. This is usually, one man married to one woman and with two or more children.

Progressives tend to have an operational definition of the ideal family. This is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have.

I find the conservative definition to be stupid. Mainly because I know that a married man and woman may be miserable or they may abuse or neglect their children. The structure of their family does not inherently make them a good family.

However, the progressive definition makes sense. A family that is attached to each other by bonds of trust and love is likely to be very secure and can provide a great home for children.

It is for that reason that I think step, adoptive, same sex, mixed, extended, etc. families can be just as good or better than the "traditional" nuclear family that conservatives advocate as ideal. I'm not saying they always are, because they have their own unique challenges, but to assume they are always inherently inferior to the "traditional" ideal, seems very misguided.

So what is your definition of the ideal family?

The ideal family is the one in which I discover I've spontaneously generated.
 

CriticalThought

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The ideal family is the one in which I discover I've spontaneously generated.

Let me know how it works out when you knock up a prostitute in Cambodia. ;}

But seriously, what does "spontaneously generated" mean?
 
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samsmart

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Let me know how it works out when you knock up a prostitute in Cambodia. ;}

But seriously, what does "spontaneously generated" mean?

It means I was born without a mother or father, and therefore don't really have a family.
 

Aunt Spiker

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I'm with Mikhail - the ideal family is a BS notion and doesn't actually exist.

Thus - I'm perfectly content with my family and our marriage and I know we're a bit nontraditional and dysfunctional at times - and couldn't really care less.
 

tacomancer

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I'm with Mikhail - the ideal family is a BS notion and doesn't actually exist.

Thus - I'm perfectly content with my family and our marriage and I know we're a bit nontraditional and dysfunctional at times - and couldn't really care less.

In my view, the ideal family is the one that can overcome the obstacles of life and still maintain a stable, loving, and caring home.
 

Aunt Spiker

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In my view, the ideal family is the one that can overcome the obstacles of life and still maintain a stable, loving, and caring home.

Maybe the term 'successful' or 'solid' family makes more sense to me?
That's what I think of when I consider those things - that's how I describe my family. I don't think of us as 'ideal' - but we're close and support eachother through everything.
 

tacomancer

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Maybe the term 'successful' or 'solid' family makes more sense to me?
That's what I think of when I consider those things - that's how I describe my family. I don't think of us as 'ideal' - but we're close and support eachother through everything.

My view is more based on results. If a couple is together all of their life, they love one another, are close, are friends, etc. Than they have met the challenge.
 

Aunt Spiker

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My view is more based on results. If a couple is together all of their life, they love one another, are close, are friends, etc. Than they have met the challenge.

Yeah - successful or solid is more exact for me.
 

TaskmasterX

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I've noticed that there are different perceptions of what constitutes a good family.

Conservatives tend to have a structural definition of the ideal family. This is usually, one man married to one woman and with two or more children.

Progressives tend to have an operational definition of the ideal family. This is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have.

I find the conservative definition to be stupid. Mainly because I know that a married man and woman may be miserable or they may abuse or neglect their children. The structure of their family does not inherently make them a good family.

However, the progressive definition makes sense. A family that is attached to each other by bonds of trust and love is likely to be very secure and can provide a great home for children.

It is for that reason that I think step, adoptive, same sex, mixed, extended, etc. families can be just as good or better than the "traditional" nuclear family that conservatives advocate as ideal. I'm not saying they always are, because they have their own unique challenges, but to assume they are always inherently inferior to the "traditional" ideal, seems very misguided.

So what is your definition of the ideal family?

An ideal family is not based on structural vs. operational. Families tend to fall apart because either one person isn't willing to give 100% or one person changes in a way that they are no longer what the other person made a commitment to. My parents got divorced when I was in 2nd grade. It wasn't nice at all for them to use me and my brother as weapons against each other. My dad married someone else and is still married but I never felt I belonged to that family and my mom married several times after that and is now single. Both never really were what I would call decent parents and it was an incentive for me to do better than my parents did. When I met my wife, we dated for about 5 months before she moved back to her home town after finishing college. We had a long distance relationship for 11 months and then I moved to her town. We lived together for 3 years before getting married. After we got married we waited to have kids, to enjoy each other even more. Now, after being married for over 11 years we have 3 kids (the oldest in 9) and I'm very proud of them. I'm still very happy with my wife and I know that I made the right decision in choosing her. I consider my family to be ideal because it is structured. It is structured because it is filled with trust and love because we spent so long together and had been through so much before having children. You can never find someone that is perfect for you. You have to settle for some habits or issues the person has. It's just a matter of finding the person with those habits and issues that bother you the least. All families require work to make them function and you never get along 100% of the time (thank goodness).
 
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hallam

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I've noticed that there are different perceptions of what constitutes a good family.

Conservatives tend to have a structural definition of the ideal family. This is usually, one man married to one woman and with two or more children.

Progressives tend to have an operational definition of the ideal family. This is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have.

I find the conservative definition to be stupid. Mainly because I know that a married man and woman may be miserable or they may abuse or neglect their children. The structure of their family does not inherently make them a good family.

However, the progressive definition makes sense. A family that is attached to each other by bonds of trust and love is likely to be very secure and can provide a great home for children.

It is for that reason that I think step, adoptive, same sex, mixed, extended, etc. families can be just as good or better than the "traditional" nuclear family that conservatives advocate as ideal. I'm not saying they always are, because they have their own unique challenges, but to assume they are always inherently inferior to the "traditional" ideal, seems very misguided.

So what is your definition of the ideal family?

I would say your are imposing exterior negatives onto the structural argument. The ideal of the structural argument doesn't include abuse. However, you have systematically removed the negatives of the operational argument such as one parent homes, or generally lower income families (both of these examples are two not apart of the ideal of the operational argument).

The truth is that a combination is the best family. A family with two parents who love each other is best. The operational argument alone down plays the value and support structure can have. Kids with structure have easier lives. The structural argument alone down plays emotions. Kids with content emotions have easier lives. However, families with both seem to be the best of all.
 

CriticalThought

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The ideal of the structural argument doesn't include abuse.

This is a rather strange statement to make. Are you denying there are "traditional" families where the husband and wife are miserable with each other or are neglectful/abusive towards their children? The reality is that the "ideal" structure that conservatives envision can be very operationally unsound.

In fact, the "traditional" family is rare in this day an age. Very few families of that structure survive because the parents either never get married, get divorced, remarry, etc.

I don't argue purely on the grounds of structure. That is the tactic that social conservatives have chosen in regards to same sex marriage. They don't care that same sex couples can provide loving, committed, and stable homes for themselves and children. They don't care that same sex families can be operationally sound. All social conservatives care about is structure. In other words, a definition of marriage with one man and one woman. The man could be in prison and the woman could be a prostitute making a living on the streets, but social conservatives will argue they have more right to marry than a same sex couple providing a loving home to adopted children. Do you disagree with their sentiment?

However, you have systematically removed the negatives of the operational argument such as one parent homes, or generally lower income families (both of these examples are two not apart of the ideal of the operational argument).

I have done no such thing. I have only said the ideal family is one that is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have. There are single parent families that can provide a committed, stable, and loving home for their children. It is very difficult, but they can do it. There are also lower income families that can do so. Also a very difficult challenge, but it is possible.

A family with two parents who love each other is best.

Close but not quite. The truth is that the structural model that conservatives advocate has two advantages that some other models do not have. Children are more likely to be raised by their biological parents and have the benefits of being raised by two parents. If the parents also love each other and can provide a stable home, then that would be a strong family. But it would not be the best possible.

Extended family models, where grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc. all live together with mom and dad and the kids, is a step up from the nuclear family model. Tribal models, where several extended families live together and care for each other is another step up from the extended family model. In fact, the tribe is considered the natural family structure of humans and virtually all primates. The more people you have to look after children, the better off the children will be. However, social conservatives do not endorse the best structure/operational model for family, they advocate a model that came into prominence shortly after World War II and they pretend that it has existed forever.
 

TaskmasterX

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In fact, the "traditional" family is rare in this day an age. Very few families of that structure survive because the parents either never get married, get divorced, remarry, etc.
Right. So the "Traditional" Family is rare. Which is why it is ideal. If everyone had a "traditional" family, then why would it be considered ideal?

Close but not quite. The truth is that the structural model that conservatives advocate has two advantages that some other models do not have. Children are more likely to be raised by their biological parents and have the benefits of being raised by two parents. If the parents also love each other and can provide a stable home, then that would be a strong family. But it would not be the best possible.

Extended family models, where grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc. all live together with mom and dad and the kids, is a step up from the nuclear family model. Tribal models, where several extended families live together and care for each other is another step up from the extended family model. In fact, the tribe is considered the natural family structure of humans and virtually all primates. The more people you have to look after children, the better off the children will be. However, social conservatives do not endorse the best structure/operational model for family, they advocate a model that came into prominence shortly after World War II and they pretend that it has existed forever.
I disagree. Incorporating more people into the househould just adds more personalities to deal with (even if it's your blood relatives), therefore increasing the chance and frequency of disagreements and miserableness.
And gay parents have existed forever? I'm not against gays being parents because of morality. I'm against gays being parents because it goes against evolution. If everyone was gay (or even just half of us) we wouldn't survive as a species. So, by allowing children to be raised in a homosexual environment would be promoting homosexuality even moreso into our species. I'm not a social conservative, BTW. I'm more of a social moderate.
 

TaskmasterX

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Let me tell another story. We had DirectTV a few of years ago. Included in our package was the LOGOS channel. A channel devoted to homosexuals. I had no problem with that until the month of May which has Mother's Day. DirectTV allowed the Baby Channel to be shown for free during this month. My kids, who were younger at the time, enjoyed the channel. When the month was up I called DirectTV to request that the LOGOS channel be exchanged for the Baby Channel, which they wanted an extra $5 a month just for one channel. They said they couldn't do that. Their excuse was that they needed to have something for everyone. When I asked why they couldn't give a channel for free for a "traditional" family, if that was the case, there was just silence on the line. That's when I canceled my DirectTV and went to Dish Network.
 

Catz Part Deux

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Right. So the "Traditional" Family is rare. Which is why it is ideal. If everyone had a "traditional" family, then why would it be considered ideal?

It would only be ideal if it was the most effective and workable type of family. If a traditional family is rare, that suggests that it isn't a workable model.
 

hallam

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This is a rather strange statement to make. Are you denying there are "traditional" families where the husband and wife are miserable with each other or are neglectful/abusive towards their children? The reality is that the "ideal" structure that conservatives envision can be very operationally unsound.

It isn't hard to follow since I was directing toward your specific statement. I am not denying anything. Abuse exists in structural families. Abuse would be in operational families if you didn't specifically remove it form your definition. Abuse is however not an inherent part of structural families. So to infer as you have that structural families are bad is incorrect.

In fact, the "traditional" family is rare in this day an age. Very few families of that structure survive because the parents either never get married, get divorced, remarry, etc.

Traditional families may not at a level of where they were in the 80s but I would say traditional families are still the majority of families. From this site 68%, I wouldn't call that rare by any measure. Far lowered than what it was for sure.

Family and Living Arrangements - Fewer "traditional" Families - Households, Children, Women, Parent, Births, and Unmarried

I don't argue purely on the grounds of structure. That is the tactic that social conservatives have chosen in regards to same sex marriage. They don't care that same sex couples can provide loving, committed, and stable homes for themselves and children. They don't care that same sex families can be operationally sound. All social conservatives care about is structure. In other words, a definition of marriage with one man and one woman. The man could be in prison and the woman could be a prostitute making a living on the streets, but social conservatives will argue they have more right to marry than a same sex couple providing a loving home to adopted children. Do you disagree with their sentiment?

I do disagree with your sentiment since it is a complete misnomer. Gay couples can provide a loving, stable home and should be allow to marry. That is not what I disagree with. I disagree with the inference that gay families are the exact same as straight families. They are not the same. Gay couples are most likely, IMO (though I think when they start to study this, it should be supported), to have a gender specific upbringing. You get male and female social, physical, and emotional ques in the traditional family. I don't think you get this by just having by just having the surrogate parent come in some of the time or by not having both genders as parents. We learn in fairly complex ways and the traditional family has shown to transfuse these ques. Not getting these social ques is not the be all and end all but it does make life easier for the child. Now, if both parents live near each other and both are homosexual, then this argument goes away. But we can't assume that this combo lifestyle is the norm for gay couples. Kids learn from both genders.

I would agree that a generic gay couple is far superior than kid with a father in prison and a prostitute mother. But then again we are not comparing the worst of the traditional families against to the best of the gay families. This only skews the ideas we are talking about. We have to compare equals here: for example stable middle class gay couples and stable middle class straight couples. Under these conditions a mixture of your structural definition and your operational definition is best for raising kids.


I have done no such thing. I have only said the ideal family is one that is usually a couple who form a committed, stable, and loving relationship with one another and can do the same for any children they may have. There are single parent families that can provide a committed, stable, and loving home for their children. It is very difficult, but they can do it. There are also lower income families that can do so. Also a very difficult challenge, but it is possible.

You have purposefully defined your terms here. They are not equal. You do not mention one negative to operational families. From your definitions, all good is in the operational definition and all bad is limited to the structural definition. Your stacking the deck. The progressive defined family ignores the major problems with just focusing on love. It takes more than love to properly raise children; to takes structure and resources too.

Close but not quite. The truth is that the structural model that conservatives advocate has two advantages that some other models do not have. Children are more likely to be raised by their biological parents and have the benefits of being raised by two parents. If the parents also love each other and can provide a stable home, then that would be a strong family. But it would not be the best possible.

Extended family models, where grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc. all live together with mom and dad and the kids, is a step up from the nuclear family model. Tribal models, where several extended families live together and care for each other is another step up from the extended family model. In fact, the tribe is considered the natural family structure of humans and virtually all primates. The more people you have to look after children, the better off the children will be. However, social conservatives do not endorse the best structure/operational model for family, they advocate a model that came into prominence shortly after World War II and they pretend that it has existed forever.

Again here you are systematically changing the rules after the fact. We are not talking about extended family. We are talking about nuclear families in the OP. If you wanted to talk about extend families then you should have stated so in the beginning. If we expand this talk to extended families then a mixture family (structure with love) with the extended family is exponentially better than either a structural or operational family without extended family in the picture. However, under your original post, a structural family who are stable and loves each other is best.
 

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It would only be ideal if it was the most effective and workable type of family. If a traditional family is rare, that suggests that it isn't a workable model.

The key word is work. Any family structure is workable if you work at it. Building a strong foundation between partners before having children makes a huge difference. Rushing to get married or rushing to have kids is usually ends up rushing into disaster, no matter what sex the partners are. It is this rushing and lack of commitment which leads to the high divorce rate. Neglect and abuse occurs just as frequently, if not more so, in foster and step families.
It's not a surprise that the "traditional" family takes work to make it work. As males, we're looking to spread our genes with the most females possible, while the females want to keep the father of her offspring around to help with raising the children and getting food. There is an incentive for the father to stay around to ensure the survival of his offsrping, so there's not a complete conflict of interests. But it does take work.
 
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CriticalThought

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Traditional families may not at a level of where they were in the 80s but I would say traditional families are still the majority of families. From this site 68%, I wouldn't call that rare by any measure. Far lowered than what it was for sure.

Family and Living Arrangements - Fewer "traditional" Families - Households, Children, Women, Parent, Births, and Unmarried

This is what your artilce says..."Married couples with their own children made up 40.3% of households in 1970 but only 24.1% in 2000." Go back and read how the Census Beuru defines "family household". The definition of family that conservatives advocate makes up less than 25%.

Kids learn from both genders.

What can a child learn from a mother that they can't learn from their father and vice versa? The argument you are making here isn't that children learn from both genders; what you are saying is that children learn gender. They learn gender roles.

This only skews the ideas we are talking about. We have to compare equals here: for example stable middle class gay couples and stable middle class straight couples. Under these conditions a mixture of your structural definition and your operational definition is best for raising kids.

All things being equal, social science has not found a significant differnce between outcomes of children raised by same sex couples and the children raised by opposite sex couples. They grow up no better or worse.


And no, I did not stack the deck. A lot of famiilies that meet the structual definitoin of family also make up the operational definiton of family. They can be one in the same. That was why I brought up extended families. Social science has demonstrated that the best families are the ones which can provide the greatest attention, support, and care for children. The family that is most likely to be best structurally and operationally is the extended family.
 

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I'm against gays being parents because it goes against evolution.

Gay men may have 'super uncle' evolutionary advantage: Researchers

It's a question which has troubled science since Darwin: if homosexuality is, at least in part, inherited, how are those genes being passed down to new generations?

Canadian researchers say they have found the first evidence to back up the theory that gay men have the evolutionary advantage of being "super uncles", a way of enhancing the survival prospects of close relatives and — indirectly, at least — making it more likely their genes are passed on.

Paul Vasey, associate professor in the University of Lethbridge's department of psychology, said his research found evidence that gay men may be more willing to support their nieces and nephews financially and emotionally.

The idea is that homosexuals are helping their close relatives reproduce more successfully and at a higher rate by being helpful: babysitting more, tutoring their nieces and nephews in art and music, and helping out financially with things like medical care and education.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6519-survival-of-genetic-homosexual-traits-explained.html

Italian geneticists may have explained how genes apparently linked to male homosexuality survive, despite gay men seldom having children. Their findings also undermine the theory of a single "gay gene".

The researchers discovered that women tend to have more children when they inherit the same - as yet unidentified - genetic factors linked to homosexuality in men. This fertility boost more than compensates for the lack of offspring fathered by gay men, and keeps the "gay" genetic factors in circulation.

Just out of curiosity, how many other social issues do you base on evolution?
 
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CriticalThought

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The key word is work. Any family structure is workable if you work at it. Building a strong foundation between partners before having children makes a huge difference. Rushing to get married or rushing to have kids is usually ends up rushing into disaster, no matter what sex the partners are. It is this rushing and lack of commitment which leads to the high divorce rate. Neglect and abuse occurs just as frequently, if not more so, in foster and step families.
It's not a surprise that the "traditional" family takes work to make it work. As males, we're looking to spread our genes with the most females possible, while the females want to keep the father of her offspring around to help with raising the children and getting food. There is an incentive for the father to stay around to ensure the survival of his offsrping, so there's not a complete conflict of interests. But it does take work.

Actually male primates are prone to monogamy (and in some cases polygamy). Unlike other mammals, we seek a female and then protect her in order to ensure the paternity of the offspring. That is a trend observed in other primates and is likely the precursor to our own monogamous behavior. Also, homosexuality is rampant in primates. Bonobos, our closest genetic relatives, practice it more than heterosexual intercourse. And the family structure most common in primates are tribes, not nuclear families. Nuclear families have only really existed since the industrial revolution. We are now in the Information Age, which is causing a major shift in family structures.
 
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justabubba

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ward, june, wally and the beaver

or was it the nelsons?

it's whatever works for ALL members of the family to be happy and healthy
 

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Actually male primates are prone to monogamy (and in some cases polygamy). Unlike other mammals, we seek a female and then protect her in order to ensure the paternity of the offspring. That is a trend observed in other primates and is likely the precursor to our own monogamous behavior. Also, homosexuality is rampant in primates. Bonobos, our closest genetic relatives, practice it more than heterosexual intercourse. And the family structure most common in primates are tribes, not nuclear families. Nuclear families have only really existed since the industrial revolution. We are now in the Information Age, which is causing a major shift in family structures.
Incorrect. Bonobos are not our closest genetic relatives. The homo genus has several branches (neaderthals, homo erectus, etc.) which are our closest relatives, and so far no evidence has been shown that there was homosexual behavior in their societies. Also, bonobos are unlikely to be the branch from which the homo genus evolved from. Not only that, but these same bonobos also engage in heterosexual sex. None only engage in homosexual sex. They are not completely homosexual. Homo sapiens sapiens is the only species that has "homosexuality for life" behavior.

I do disagree with your sentiment since it is a complete misnomer. Gay couples can provide a loving, stable home and should be allow to marry. That is not what I disagree with. I disagree with the inference that gay families are the exact same as straight families. They are not the same. Gay couples are most likely, IMO (though I think when they start to study this, it should be supported), to have a gender specific upbringing. You get male and female social, physical, and emotional ques in the traditional family. I don't think you get this by just having by just having the surrogate parent come in some of the time or by not having both genders as parents. We learn in fairly complex ways and the traditional family has shown to transfuse these ques. Not getting these social ques is not the be all and end all but it does make life easier for the child. Now, if both parents live near each other and both are homosexual, then this argument goes away. But we can't assume that this combo lifestyle is the norm for gay couples. Kids learn from both genders.
Not only that, but the children are receiving mixed or incorrect ques in which a majority of the population does not behave and needs to behave in the opposite way in order to continue to exist. Homosexuality can never be portrayed as "normal" because if it was "normal" we'd become extinct.
 
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