Crib notes: How are kids affected by same-sex marriage?

By From page A5 | April 10, 2013

Marriage equality is in the headlines once more because of oral arguments presented before the Supreme Court both for and against striking down California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Regardless of what the Supreme Court rules later this year, the movement has more support than ever and it looks like same-sex marriage will be legal everywhere in America sooner or later but I hope as a society we don’t stop thinking about how this will affect kids.

Supporters of same-sex marriage are out in force, reminiscent of past civil rights issues. The symbol for marriage equality (red with two horizontal white strips) has gone viral on Facebook as people’s avatars, and it’s certainly provoked a lot of discussions.

It is nice to see people make a stand – whether for themselves or others. One lesbian expressed her gratitude, saying, “Seeing the number ‘1000’ written out isn’t as powerful as seeing 1,000 pennies. And seeing the HRC symbol on so many Facebook avatars let’s me know others stand with me.”  I am happy for her, and for the millions of other gay and lesbians who probably thought this day would never come.

I do believe being gay is how some people are born, just as being heterosexual is how others are born. It’s always angered me to hear of people hiding in fear or shame, or even being physically hurt or discriminated by others, because of their sexuality. And government shouldn’t dictate to whom we leave our estates or survivor benefits, etc.

Most reasonable people agree that it’s impossible to dictate or regulate love.


As usual, I go back to kids and their well-being when I think about the effects of society’s big issues.

If the foundation of marriage is to conjoin with another person and to begin a new family together, that usually means creating children. And two people of the same gender can’t make a baby – that’s not discrimination, or emotion, but a fact. Now with modern advances in science, many have and will get past the old-fashioned way of making a baby.

Still, society should not discount the importance of a mother AND a father in a child’s life.  I think about how different my children’s lives would be if they didn’t have the influence of their father. I think about what they’d experience if they didn’t have me around either. The masculine and feminine energies each bring something different, and vitally important, to children.

There are people who will still say it’s better to have two loving parents regardless of gender. That is true, but two loving parents of opposite genders would be even better.

Some say there are a lot of single parents out there anyway. In fact, we are at a turning point in American history when just about more children are born to unwed mothers than to married ones. Still, parents who are single by choice are the same as parents who choose to have their children miss out on the benefits of having both a mother and a father.

This is not discrimination, or fear, or hate. In the end, it’s just not ideal for kids.

Julie Samrick is the mother of four children and a resident of El Dorado Hills. She is also the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to current children’s issues.

Julie Samrick

Discussion | 7 comments

  • TerryApril 10, 2013 - 7:03 pm

    Julie - You are such an open person accepting the gays....however... Your views are offensive to the majority of the population. You call all single parents inadequate because that is their choice. The mother that leaves an abusive marriage for her kids safety is making the choice not to expose her kid to male influences so her kids are at a disadvantage according to your logic. You say the gays can't make babies. As you say it is a fact. How about the millions of heterosexuals that can't have babies but are "helped" by modern science to conceive. Are they wrong? "This is not discrimination, or fear, or hate. In the end, it’s just not ideal for kids." What this "is" is ignorance and you need to accept people the way they are and not expect them to conform to your little Stepford fantasy world. Women have more of a choice today to do what is best for them and their kids. Happy parents of either gender are more likely to raise their kids in a loving environment even if they are no longer together or God forbid not married. You can take your meds and make believe everything is great and convince yourself you are a tolerant parent. The only example you are setting for your kids is that it's not ok to be different. I pray none of your children are so afraid to talk to you about their feelings, if they should be gay, that they don't become another suicide statistic because that would be easier than be perceived as a failure by a parent. I know you will say you will accept them if they came out but the reality is you don't want them to have equal rights of "normal" people like yourself. I am a single father and my disadvantaged 19 year old is somehow making her way through college at the moment. She's considering becoming a doctor and who knows - maybe she will open up a fertility clinic to help the gays. and anyone else who chooses to, to conceive. One thing I'm sure she will prescribe is tolerance!

  • Julie SamrickApril 10, 2013 - 8:16 pm

    Terry, I am sorry you are offended, but children are in my best interest and you have missed the entire point of my article.

  • TerryApril 10, 2013 - 10:37 pm

    I get the point of your article. You think the ideal situation for kids is 2 loving heterosexual married people. Of course I tend to agree with that. But your other point is that your ideal is always the best yet you point out that it is almost not the norm anymore. So why can't you accept that it's becoming normal for kids to have single, divorced or gay parents. You seem to infer that children of anything other than a heterosexual marriage are at a disadvantage. I know plenty of heterosexual couples that stay married for the children's sake and yet are miserable and the children suffer as a consequence. "Still, parents who are single by choice are the same as parents who choose to have their children miss out on the benefits of having both a mother and a father." You don't see how this quote from your article can be offensive to some? I had to get divorced from my ex-wife of 13 years because her mental issues were becoming destructive for me and my child. Because of my religious upbringing I suffered for 5 years trying to save this dying marriage because I thought it was the right thing to do. My kid thanks me daily that she no longer has to live in that toxic environment. You know most people are forced into these situations and don't make that "choice'". I've learned to provide motherly and fatherly guidance. Sure I've made mistakes but I try to learn from them. But what has worked for me and what is my ideal won't work for others and why should I force my ideals on others. I have learned tolerance for single parents and gay parents whose kids are put at a disadvantage, not by the fact that they have same sex parents, but by people like you that try to make them feel different and can't accept that society and marriage is changing. I'm not a fan of divorce or single parenting. It's really hard. Our parents were forced to stay in bad marriages because of the stigma of divorce. Now women are finally empowered to take control of their lives and sometimes not all is well in a marriage. One of the choices women are making is sometimes it's better for their children not to be around an abusive or absent father. The point of your article is really that you are not tolerant at all even though you spend most of the article trying to convince people you are. You believe kids are better off in a bad heterosexual marriage than they would be with same sex parenst or co-mingling non traditional unions. You are now officially in the minority. Last poll I heard is something like 56 percent of the nation supports gay marriage. It's coming so deal with it. If you really care about children then help them believe that they can be whoever they are and not be forced to conform to what they are not.

  • Julie SamrickApril 11, 2013 - 10:11 am

    What's wrong with idealism? Don't discount the importance of mothers AND fathers in a child's life. There is nothing intolerant about that. Single by choice isn't the same as having to leave a marriage because of the serious reasons you talk about.

  • HeidiApril 11, 2013 - 9:44 pm

    Terry, I'm with you. That was one of the most offensive articles I have read in a long time. You pretty much hit the nail on the head regarding a bad heterosexual marriage being "better" than the other options. Many people do not choose to be single parents, and the stigma that comes with it can be very painful for both the parent and the child. Intolerance like this only makes it worse for everyone, and it's a fact of life today. I can only feel sad for Julie's children, who are going to grow up believing that only the way they grew up is the "right" way, perhaps learning to be intolerant of their peers, who don't have a choice in how they are raised. Intolerance breeding more intolerance is the root of so many problems today.

  • HeidiApril 11, 2013 - 9:47 pm

    Julie, I think the key for children to grow up healthy and happy is one or more good adult role models who guide them into becoming good people. Male or female shouldn't matter. Someone who could teach them tolerance, for instance.

  • TiverbrookApril 16, 2013 - 3:20 pm

    Let's make sure we use the correct terms here. First, single means never married. This would be someone who chose to have a child out of wedlock. Divoced or widowed implies that you had a child while married and for whatver reason you are no longer married (divorce, death). I for one did not have a mother in my life. I always gravitated to my friends who had both a mother and father. I felt safe in their home and am still friends with them to this day. I am now a mother and I still am saddened that I did not have a mom. My father could not provide me with guidance that typically most woman do. As a married woman and mother, I agree with the article. Kids do better with the support of both a female and a male. If I was left to raise my kids without their father, I do not beleive they would be the well rounded kids they are. There will always be exceptions to this, but I beleive the point the writer is trying to make is that kids do better in a two parent household, being raised by one female and one male.



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