Nancy Polikoff

Pride and Fatherhood

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | June 15, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Father's Day, gay fathers, gay foster parents, gay pride

It's Gay Pride and Father's Day in many cities. And so some words about gay fathers....

A "fatherhood movement" started in this country in the mid-1990's. Its main stated goal: Convince everyone that father absence had devastating consequences for children and for the country. It's real goal: Reinstitute patriarchy. Here's how I could tell - They ignored the many gay men raising children.

In 1993, TIME magazine ran an article describing Scott Davenport and Tim Fisher raising two children conceived using the sperm of one and a surrogate mother. In 1995, the case of a gay male couple established the right of same-sex and unmarried different-sex couples to jointly adopt children in the District of Columbia.

Instead of using these couples as models of fathering, the leaders of the "fatherhood movement" railed against the "excesses of feminism." Men were fleeing marriage, they said, because wives expected too much, like doing half the diaper changes and bottle feedings. Never mind the gay fathers who did ALL the diaper changes and bottle feedings. The "fatherhood movement" wasn't really looking for devoted fathers; it was looking to reinvigorate gendered marriage. Today's right-wing "marriage movement," which I describe at length in my book, grew out of the "fatherhood movement." It urges -- with the support of lots of federal dollars -- that the decline of life-long heterosexual marriage is responsible for all our social problems. That movement openly opposes lesbian and gay couples raising children since it deprives the children of proper gendered role models. No surprise then that it also opposes marriage for same-sex couples.

The 2000 census showed about 20% of gay male couples raising children. That percentage is higher if you include those couples raising children that aren't their "own," such as foster children. In Iowa, one gay male couple was named "foster parents of the year" 1996.

So to gay men raising children across the country, Happy Fathers Day!

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As one of those gay men raising a foster son, thanks for pointing this out, Nancy!

Amen. Those of us who are gay and parents are often overlooked by mainstream media trying to paint a generalized picture. When they buy in to the right wing viewpoint like this, they're not helping anyone.

Gerri Ladene | June 16, 2008 4:03 PM

In a related article posted previously on TBP of Nancy’s:

The Fanatics just never give up their quest to stall fairness and equality! We had already dealt with this issue in Arkansas once.

But now, we still have to deal with Jerry Cox and his misled followers of the Family Council!

The Family Council will eventually be made to see the light; it’s just a matter of time!

We actually have more Lesbian based families than Gay here in NW/AR and their children are just as happy and loved as any other. But their concerns are equal as any worried parents in the unwarranted hostility that permeates from groups like Jerry Cox’s “Family Council” which parrots similar beliefs such as those of the premier bigot Thom Robb”s (KKK) of Harrison, AR.

The composition of the population and attitudes is changing constantly in this state, primarily in the NW area where some of the countries largest corporate agriculture business’s exists the largest actually being based here in Springdale, not to mention the largest Truck Carrier Operation only a few miles north. The influx of people here drawn to these business’s has caused an enormous growth in diversity! Only in recent years came the formation of the NWAGLBTCC and the growing pains that go with it. We are actually holding our second Annual GLBT Gala this month .

I thank Nancy Polikoff for her educative and informative book “Beyond Marriage” giving value to all families under the law. This type of literary activism serves to educate and combined with political/legal activism will one day make it possible for GLBT Americans to be able to share in the rights given us by the “Constitution” and our “Bill of Rights”. All Americans, not just those who claim a prejudiced religious right to it, get to share the dream. It never ceases to amaze me how these so-called religious based groups miss the point that most GLBT people are very spiritual and religious to, maybe not in the same ways but still have deep beliefs of their own!

Keep writing your books Nancy, don’t ever stop!

Governance Committee Member
Gerri Ladene

Your books is a great source of information on this topic. It's so true - all they were looking to do was turn back the clock to a time when men ran everything. No matter what they say about feminism or women's rights - it's basically what it all comes down to.