Re: Final remark
I will only respond to the points for which we have some opposing or different points of view. For the rest of your remarks, let me at least thank you for taking the time to reply in an honest and intelligent manner.
“I reject the idea that only a mother can be "motherly" or a father "fatherly". These are for the most part socially enforced roles, not intrinsic ones.”
The female of our species is the only one of the two that physically gives birth. She also endures the accompanying physical, hormonal and mental changes. She can also, where desired, proceed to feed the child from her breast and watch it grow with her milk as the sole source of nutrition. Only a woman can know what this means. This gives her “motherly” attributes that no man can ever possess. I firmly believe that the bond created between mother and child is far stronger than that of the father and the child. This does not mean that the father cannot also gain a bond with the child but obviously it cannot be the same, it is not the same physical bond that the mother knows. The father also knows that he “fathered” this child, it is the fruit of his loins and it is union with the woman that engendered the child. These elements are part of what makes a parent a mother or a father. I would state that these are intrinsic and not social. These elements cannot be learned, they can only be lived.
As you mentioned, the social traits of each figure, mother and father, have been cultured through centuries of social interaction. This too cannot be ignored, as these traits will continue for the next few hundred centuries.
In a same sex relation, an imbalance will result due to the fact that only one of the intrinsic parental roles being available. Only one of the partners will actually be the real mother or real father, the other partner then being thrown into the role of a surrogate parent, of the same phsical sex. If I were in a same sex relation, and was not the biological father, it would be impossible for me to take the role of the mother. Again I am not saying that I would not be a good parent, just that I would not be able to fill the instrinsic role.
“The thing is, all else being equal it probably is better for a very young child to have one parent of each sex because that provides a greater breadth of role-models. But things never are "all else being equal". “
Yes, I definitely agree on this point. Although I would argue that things usually are quite equal. Within given sectors of social and economic backgrounds, most people are actually very similar, even though they do not like to hear that.
“Rate parenting quality on some hypothetical and impossible to actually create scale of 1...100 and say you get +2 points for having role-models of both genders. How much does that compare to the +20 of having two parents who really love each other, or the -30 of having one of those parents be unfeeling and distant? It doesn't.”
I would argue that it is not the capacity to be a good parent that is important as same sex parents are a probably equally capable of being good parents. What I believe, which might be more fundamental, is the child eventual understanding/learning of the family constitution, especially when he realizes that his family does not correspond to that of the natural environment. ie : Why are my parents not of opposing sexes?.
All around he will see nature, the animals, the media, etc and most notably other kids families and in each case he observes that there is a mother ( a female) and a father(a male). But in his case he will not see these physical elements; he will see physical manifestations of 2 mothers, or 2 fathers. How difficult will this dilemma be for the child to unravel?. How does one successfully teach a child understand the situation whereby natures constants show the mother is a female, the father is male but that within his own family this natural order is not respected?
“ And I could even make a case that same-sex couples can have hidden benefits such as not propagating unhealthy social expectations. “
This point is difficult as it depends upon what one constitutes as healthy/unhealthy social expectations. Society as a whole has its idea on the matter, religion has its own and each person yet again his own personal ideas. Society will generally tend to lean towards that we bring it the most benefit. Today’s Politically Correct mindset wants us to believe that we all have choice and that all choices should be respected/tolerated but I would argue that this is superficial and that the underlying currents often oppose the generally distributed media view. The acceptance of same-sex couples is a new factor within society and has no precedence; it is bright and shiny for the moment. When the bright and shiny wears of, I believe that we will start to see some very, very difficult situations arising.
“I am a feminist. In any traditional couple you are likely to have slightly different domestic behaviour between the male and female parent. A female child will likely more identify with the female parent and thus gender-based roles are perpetuated. Whereas a female child with two male parents would not run that risk.”
As mentioned above I believe that this will actually lead to confusion for the child due to the paradoxical nature of the parental constitution.
“Of course there are some benefits to a male-female parent unit. It can be handy for a child to have someone of their own sex to talk to - especially when they hit puberty. “But that doesn't mean that any given same-sex couple is going to be bad as parents.
“Or even that these problems are especially difficult to overcome!””
I can only imagine that they would be almost impossible to overcome due to the contradiction with nature. Nature manifests that male-male or female-female cannot reproduce, it is therefore paradoxical for the child to understand that he can have been born from same-sex parents.
“Basically, your argument based on the idea of marriage being about children is a supportable position to some extent (imo), but not your corollary that only male-female can be good parents.”
I only believe that a child needs a mother and a father, of the biological kind in order to achieve the correct equilibrium. I also agree that having biologically opposed parents gives no guarantee whatsoever about the outcome or capacity to be good parents. But that it is the fundamental for a solid beginning.
“This, I regard as just some bizarre perversion of an Appeal To Tradition fallacy. And no, I don't think we're going down the same path as the Romans because we're becoming more tolerant of homosexuality.”
I mentioned this because at one point homosexuality, at least among men, was very much accepted within given periods but that the periods ended and homosexuality was again put into the bad light.