Saturday, December 09, 2006

Iain Duncan Smith Says Gays Are Irrelevant to Family Policy - He's Wrong

I have a lot of respect for Iain Duncan Smith, but his otherwise excellent interview in the Sunday Telegraph tomorrow contains a huge error. He talks about marriage and quite rightly explains how it needs to be supported as a key bedrock of our society. But he then goes on to dismiss gay couples as 'irrelevant' to family policy. He basically says they have no role in bringing up children. Here's an extract...

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has dismissed gay couples as "irrelevant" to his work on shaping family policy for David Cameron. Mr Duncan Smith told the Sunday Telegraph that same-sex partnerships "don't even register on the Richter scale of how to bring up children". The head of Mr Cameron's social justice policy group spoke out as he prepared to unveil a hard-hitting interim report. A future Tory government should strengthen the family unit of "two parents bringing up a child", he told the newspaper. But asked if that only meant heterosexual couples, he said: "I don't think the gay stuff is anything to do with this because it's irrelevant. "We're looking at figures about the bringing up of children. When it comes to gay couples they don't even register on the Richter scale of how to bring up kids. We are looking at the issue of who brings up kids and the answer is it's men and women that are the issue here.

"Men and women are the ones who have the children. Gay couples have nothing to do with this at all. If you think that something like half of a per cent of Britain are gay, you are dealing with tiny numbers here."... Mr Cameron used his party conference speech this year to back civil partnerships saying marriage meant something "whether you're a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man". It sparked a backlash from more traditional Tories.

Mr Duncan Smith triggered a damaging revolt when he was party leader by ordering Tory MPs to vote against giving unmarried couples - both gay and straight - equal adoption rights. His report, due to be published on Monday, is expected to warn that a "radical reappraisal" of marriage policy is needed to prevent increased social tensions fuelling more violent crime. It will highlight statistics showing half of co-habiting couples split up by the time a child reaches the age of five compared with one in 12 who got married. Children of co-habiting couples "suffer enormously" he told the paper. "It's damaging their kids lives, it's damaging their lives. Most people are completely ignorant about the effect family breakdown has on their children's lives," he said.

Where to start? If IDS really thinks that only half a percent of people in Britain are gay then he is living in a fantasy world. His remarks will cause tremendous offence to the gay community. Surely the most important thing is for children to be brought up in a stable, loving environment? Of course it is the norm for children to be brought up by two parents who are married. He is right that children can lose out by being brought up by a lone parent. But if IDS is saying that a gay or lesbian couple is not capable of bringing up a child in a stable, loving and caring environment then he is so, so wrong. I have no idea how many gay couples have children - either their own or adopted - but there are a considerable (and increasing) number. I am sure they will be highly delighted to be described as 'irrelevant'.

David Cameron rightly says that the Conservative Party must reflect Britain as it is today. These comments, made by the head of David Cameron's Social Justice Policy Group, do not fit in with that sentiment.

I support any move to promote the institution of marriage. It is at the heart of our society. Successive governments have undermined it. But supporting marriage does not mean we have to rail against single parents or gay relationships and describe them as 'irrelevant'. Surely to God the Conservative Party has learned that lesson over the last decade, if nothing else. Iain Duncan Smith, I am disappointed in you.

UPDATE: Iain Duncan Smith has told the BBC HERE that his remarks have been twisted and taken out of context. He said a factual response had been "distorted into an alleged slur on gay couples". He added "I was asked about gay couples in the context of the scale and impact of family breakdown. I said that they were not relevant to the report of the social justice policy group because only a tiny number have children."

UPDATE: Ultra Conservative US Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, is quoted in today's Sunday Times saying: "What matters is that children are raised in a loving and supportive environment and there's no reason why that can't be provided by a same-sex couple." Quite.

UPDATE: On the Politics Show, IDS clarified his remarks on gay parenting. He said: "In terms of what effect they have on child rearing and therefore how they would change or displace our figures, then there are so few bringing up children that either way it's not going to make any change. It was in no way a judgment about gay couples bringing up children, if they are bringing them up well then well done, good luck to them, that's exactly what we believe in - structure and stability are important."


Anonymous said...

I don't think he means that gay couples wouldn't be able to bring up a child, but because they can't have children of their own he rules it out.

It is a mistake, yet not quite as large a mistake as the other interpretation.

Anonymous said...

As a new(ish) party member who's only felt able to join since the party got it's act together over these sorts of issues I desperately hope he has been misquoted.

Anonymous said...

IDS has been taken out of context and he is right to declare irrelevance when asked the question are Homosexual Couples responsible for damage to childrens lives when they split up.
Yes he was right as the statistics involving Gay Couples and Children is so small.
The Gay Question is causing some distraction and diversion in the Conservative Party, not least the reduction in the proportion of votes cast when Gays declare their credentials to the electorate.
For Traditional Tories asking them to support Gays,and not have a smattering of Homophobia, is like King CanIbeCutey trying to stop the Tide coming in.

Anonymous said...

Gay couples who have children are a miniscule number. Gay couples are a totally different number as are single gays.

You're into Jedi Knights territory.

No offence, but if you did drink and went down the pub, your opinion may well be changed.

permanent expat said... should know better than to declare before the votes are in & the dust has settled a tad. Some poor bastard is quoted, nearly always out of context to suit the reporter. Addenda, explanations & apologies are always useless when the snide damage has been done.....and you know that, Iain. I had forgotten that you, too, are a politician.

Anonymous said...

Well gay couples ARE irrelevant. They can't have children. Nature prevents that. Which should tell you something. If gay people can't breed, doesn't that mean that the evolutionary process has decided it is a good idea to prevent them? You can bridge the problem legally all you like, but simply biology states the fact that gays are not meant to be parents.

Various artificial means to approximate having children are used by a tiny minority of a tiny minority; they are anomalous - statistically and practically irrelevant in every way.

I know queers enjoy high horses, but this is one they should all clamber down from. I imagine Iain and thousands (hundreds, dozens, how many, who knows?) flapping his hands about, crying "Ooh no! Oh bless me!", suffering an attack of the vapours, as these sorts of people do. And it distresses me. I do hope they are all okay. Why not get half-undressed and hold a march about it in some city, eh? That seems to be the principal homosexual hobby.

I bet this won't get posted. No-one has a sense of humour any more, nor tolerance for anyone without one either.

Iain Dale said...

Urbane, why don't you just fuck off and read another blog. What about bigots r us? You;d feel quite at home.

Anonymous said...

This is a complex and difficult issue for a number of reasons, and I don't think IDS's blanket dismissal helps things.

From a biological perspective, the "bog standard" pattern that life follows is pair bonding with an opposite sex partner, sexual intercourse leading to pregnancy, and children.

Homosexuality (to use a clinical term) has been (allegedly) estimated as approximately 10% of the human population. Biologists observe homosexuality among other species, and one conclusion (among many) is that homosexual behaviour is a genetic mechanism of limiting reproduction, and thus population.

As humans, we have a long history of what may be termed the dynamics of "the family". The family unit sits within the wider context of the various societies that have been established down the ages. Likewise, hetrosexual and homosexual relationships have varied down the ages. The ancient Greeks and Spartans saw the nobility of love between men and valued this in the context of their culture. The 1950s persecution of the genius scientist Alan Turing shows the extremes that our supposed "modern" society reached. The crimes of the Nazis need no elaboration.

The role of the family varies between cultures, but in the European context, has not deviated from the "2 parents" scenario since the Dark Ages. What is clear is that single parent families are less viable than two-parent families. I speak from experience as the father of a beloved daughter. Four eyes and arms are better than two, and if only six eyes and arms were available...

What is the motivation for gay couples adopting? There is surely no carrying onwards of genes or family? However there is a wider dynamic in many species (including our own) known as "altruism" which, in coarse biological terms, means making a sacrifice for others without direct benefit. As a father, I can vouch for the joy of bringing up a child.

If a heterosexual couple can adopt, then why not a homosexual couple? There is no genetic link, in either case - so the altruistic imperative to nurture should be equally valid. Perhaps the fear is the notion that a child may "become" homosexual. As a parent, I hope that my daughter will transcend the limitations of my own lifestyle and make her own way in life, free from prejudice but benefiting from a stable upbringing. I hope my way of living does not constrain her, and I would not care how she chooses to live her life in future in terms of sexuality, as long as she is safe and happy. As I reflect on my views, the predominant value is of being a parent - sexuality is irrelevant.

So, in terms of society, a gay adoption should be as valued as a heterosexual adoption. These terms are fairly ridiculous. Parenthood should not be about sexuality.

Anonymous said...

A wager:

Urbane had not "bred" and is unlikely to do so.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I'm sure you realise by now that you've jumped the gun on this.
Gay parents aren't irrelevent, but they are statistically irrelevent to the wider issue of parenting.

Anonymous said...

IDS should have expected the question and thought through a reply - in all probability (I don't have the figures) number of children being brought up in gay relationships measured against the number in hetro-sexual ones probably is tiny. Why though use imaginative language like "Richter scale"?

If you are going to publicise a report saying that the institution of marriage needs strengthening because it statistically is more beneficial overall to soviety than co-habitation or single parenthood then you need to be prepared for the questions "what about gay couples?""what about widows?".

Anonymous said...

It feels like the Tories have taken one step forward over the past few months, only to take 10 steps back. This kind of view is not only utterly wrong, but is the kind of open prejudice that has kept the Tories out of the mainstream for 10 years.

I agree with the earlier comment, we are not dealing with tiny numbers - we are dealing with ten percent, and if you include people who lean towards or are bisexual then we are talking about more.

What I don't see is why, if we allow heterosexual couples to adopt, we shouldn't allow gay couples to do the same. I'm betting that if this were more widespread, then we'd have fewer children going into care and more kids in stable homes. Surely a Conservative objective?

Anonymous said...

Seriously? No-one else has a problem with a lifestyle/behaviour considered deviant for the entire duration of our civilisation until the last 40 years, becoming, not only normalised and given parity with natural behaviour, but considered in no way a bar from caring for children? Who honestly would have liked to have two mothers or two fathers? I'm not sure anyone here really appreciates the radicalism of the shift we're seeing (or have seen) here.

I am very interested in bigots r us, Iain, but am unfamiliar with it. Perhaps you, obviously familiar with such institutions, might pass on the details?

The funny thing is we are ALL bigots, by your measure - because there are many things (me, for instance) that many people (you, for instance) do not tolerate. Our legal system is bigoted, in so far as it does not tolerate certainly diposed people (thieves, bigamists, murderers), etc. So what's your point?

For your information, I have nothing against gays; adults are free to do as they please so long as it harms no one else; but when children come into it, I don't think anyone should be cowed by the PC atmosphere to point out just how the extension of parity between homo- and heterosexual parents should not automatically follow, just as it doesn't naturally extend to any other kind or group or affiliation of people who cannot naturally have children. If gays are allowed kids in the same measure and capacity as heterosexual couples, why can't any other organisation of human beings? Why can't two friends have a child? Or a club? Or a knitting circle? I'm sorry that homosexuals dislike not being able to reproduce, but see no reason why they should be encouraged or allowed to obviate nature any more than some other group. (And don't use the infertile as an example, since the infertile are prevented by a quirk of fate or nature; as far as I'm aware, there aren't any homosexual couples who can successfully conceive together).

Maybe that was less offensive?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

How can I talk about ideals? My violent alcoholic father left me when I was 12 and my mother ignored me until I left home. So much for the heterosexual ideal.

Can I really say, with hand on heart, that a couple of poofters with a bit of love between them, couldn't have done a lot better?

Anonymous said...


I think you’re a top bloke. So I hope you don’t feel too offended if I disagree with you on this one issue. My reasons are thus:

In a liberal democracy, private groups may hold their own views on the desirability or reprehensibility of homosexual relations. But it is not the business of the state to endorse such practices publicly.

For example: Roughly half of all states in America prohibit first cousins from marrying, and all prohibit marriage of closer blood relatives, even if the individuals being married are sterile. In all states, it is illegal to attempt to marry more than one person, or even to pass off more than one person as one’s spouse. Some states restrict the marriage of people suffering from syphilis or other venereal diseases. Homosexuals, therefore, are not the only people to be denied the right to marry the person of their choosing.

I do not claim that all of these other types of couples are equivalent to homosexual couples. I only bring them up to illustrate that marriage is heavily regulated, and for good reason. Why? Because a marriage between two unrelated heterosexuals is likely to result in a family with children, and propagation of society is a compelling state interest. For this reason, states have, in varying degrees, restricted from marriage couples unlikely to produce children.

Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage. The burden of proof, therefore, is on the advocates of gay marriage to show what state interest these marriages serve. Thus far, this burden has not been met.

I vehemently apologise if this offends you.

Anonymous said...

Other people have made the point, and indeed so has your update. In terms of family breakdown, the issue of same sex couples is statisticly not relevent in terms of forming policy. (As in how would you make the policy different to cvoer those circumstances)

I would like to get my dinasour boots out though and point out that children tend to do best under the influence of parents of both sexes. That of course assumes the relationship is stable.

People just do not take relationships seriously these days.

Anonymous said...

Gay couples are statistically irrelevant if the question is defined as narrowly as: British married couples raising their biological children. Now, I don't know about your social circles, but mine certainly contains a significant number of couples who are raising children that are not biologically their own, or are biologically related to only half the couple. And it includes a lot of gay couples raising kids; the phenomenon of a middle-aged lesbian coming out and living with another woman while they both raise their children is common enough to be a cliche.

In any case, I simply do not believe that married (or civilly partnered, if you prefer) gay couples raising children are statistically insignificant. Here's some research material backing me up (US specific, but is it really that different over there?):

There were an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 gay and lesbian biological parents in 1976. In 1990, an estimated 6 to 14 million children have a gay or lesbian parent. Between 8 and 10 million children are being raised in a gay and lesbian household.

Anonymous said...

George Iain Duncan-Smith is such a complete tossing irrelevance to the political landscape. Cameron's derisory judgement in reviving such a deadbeat is astounding. IDS shafted the Tories. They shafted him back and he should be consigned to obscurity.

On a personal level, he means well, but so does my bank manager. Born-again do-gooders are a galling sight at the best of times. Please please can we ignore him.

Anonymous said...

Well on the positive side thank goodness Davd Cameron is putting an end to this IDS way of thinking within the Conservative party.

Anonymous said...

Its really odd I think that anyone would think there is any difference in this between gay and heterosexual couples- if they have kids we have an interest they stay together whether gay or heterosexual- so why make a distinction between the two groups of people, they are identical in this aspect- indeed in most aspects.

Anonymous said...

Iain you are reading IDS the wrong way. Statistically the core of the problem is fatherless children who are then influenced by per male pressure without the counterbalance of dad to put them right. Calm down. Of course politicos of ill will will attempt to distort and in so doing corrupt the real and important issue. Its bloody obvious that many od problems in education, juvenile crime and child poverty can be attributed to single mothers with children from different fathers. Public funds cannot solve the problem.

AllBloodyTaken said...

Well said 'Urbane'... It is called 'free speech' Mr Dale... I bet that is something you would want curbed should you ever get into 'power'... By the way I understand dear old Davey boy is raking it in at 50 grand a time for 'access' meetings by business people... But who cares... I shall no longer vote Tory after having done so these past 30 years...

Anonymous said...

Iain, I'm surprised you are getting involved with this. There seems to be an unseemly rush to give IDS a kicking without really knowing the context of his comments. In particular a banner headline 'IDS says gays are irrelevant to family policy...' doesn't really bear close examination.

And whilst I'm very liberal, I can sympathise with people who have some different views on same-sex adoption. Those are not necessarily people who are homophobic. They just might live in a slightly different age where the 'Corn Flakes' packet nuclear family [all white, ma & pa, son and a daughter] holds sway.

The point is single people have been able to adopt 'in theory'. But isn't the practice that anyone different from Mr & Mrs Average, including fat people etc. always take a lot longer to successfully adopt.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure IDS was misquoted. I believe most people today would prefer a child to be raised by loving same sex parents, rather than some of the lazy, brain dead single girls we see paraded across our screens on daytime TV. Though same sex families do not conform to what some consider to be a normal family, surely it's a hell of a lot better than being brought up by some moron drifting from one idiot to the next knocking out offspring at the taxpayers expense. I do not believe all single parents fall into the moron category, but their numbers do seem to be increasing.

Anonymous said...

Of course the thing about parenting is that statistics are mostly irrelavent.

From the way the article comes across, with IDS saying things like 'doesn't even register on the Richter Scale' sounds like he feels the question was irrelevent and not worth his time. He is mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...not sure what your point is here, Iain. If you want a pet, and you don't like the sound of barking, then don't buy a dog, better get a cat.

We've known for a long time that the Conservative Party is the home for those who dislike 'Johnny Foreigner', poor working class people, city folk, gays - and who are often xenophobic and misogynist to boot. Witness recent events in Chester.

That's why we voted for Lovely Labour to trounce Tories in 3 [three] general elections.

Maybe you need to leave those 'mad dogs' and join Blair's 'cool cats'?
There's nothing worse than being stuck in a dreadful party...

Anonymous said...

It must 25 years ago I first met a lesbian couple who had a baby. It was a shock then. But now people have moved on a bit. IDS is superb at following a line of thinking religiously, and that is why he can be so effective and succeeds in developing new policy areas. He has a lot to offer. It's only a case of him phrasing the same message a little diferently. e.g. There are of course children brought up successfully by gay and lesbian couples, and they are part of the picture, but they are a tiny minority....

Anonymous said...

There appears to be a difference between the comments posted late on a Saturday night and those more measured thoughts this morning.

Hopefully we can all agree that one parent is better than none and two parents setting an example of a loving human relationship are better than one. Anyone who thinks a child is better off in care than with one or two parents of either sex or sexuality should probably not waste their time reading Iain Duncan-Smith's social justice report as it will be incomprehensible to them.

I would be interested to know if IDS's view on unmarried adoption, or more accurately the view he was forced to take while leading an unreconstructed Tory party on the verge of his own eviction, has changed as the result of the work he has done in this important area. Now that would demonstrate true progress in the party.

Anonymous said...

'Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage.' (1.26 am)

This chilling language is starting to match the policies and ethos of this government.

niconoclast said...

I am still trying to work out how you can be a homosexual and a conservative at the same time. Pretty impossible combination. It was only a few years ago the Party banned proselytyzing sodomy in the schools.

Seeking to subvert noble institutioins like the Church and Tory party seems to be the MO of moral and sexual inverts.

Anonymous said...

Well said 'Urbane'... It is called 'free speech' Mr Dale... I bet that is something you would want curbed should you ever get into 'power'...

Allbloodytaken - the irony of your comment is that Iain has published it, as he did with Urbane's comment. I don't see how you can say he's against free speech then!

But who cares... I shall no longer vote Tory after having done so these past 30 years... Yes - no one cares. In fact it shows the party is moving forward.

Anonymous said...

The divisiveness of the Homosexual issue in the Conservative Party is threatening the very success of the Party.
For some 10 years now the Homosexuality and Lesbian Community has gained a considerable foothold in the Party.
Could somebody Senior clear up the matter once and for all -- Homosexuals and Lesbians have full rights without exception including marriage rights and the right on demand to have children on the NHS aginst all the constraints of Mother Nature.
Or why not say the Conservative party is now official NO FREE SPEECH and all laws of the Land are null and void when applied to Homosexuals.
I am frightened to say anything about them without a torrent of verbal abuse,and so are others.

Anonymous said...


I really think that you have got completely the wrong end of the stick here. This is not a story about homophobia but Toryphobia in some sections of the media.

IDS's work on social policy means that he is concentrating on "dysfunctional" families where the lives of children are damaged by the effects of parents taking drugs, or in prison or simply poverty. This doesn't exclude parents who may be (one or both) gay or lesbian, but in practice there are going to be relatively few because (a) biology or (b) the checks that are made before adoption.

IDS is not saying that they gay parent families do not exist or that they do not matter, merely that the world of sink estates, crack addiction, alcohol dependency and teenage pregnancies is light years away from the world of civil partnerships, same-sex adoptions, surrogate pregnancies etc that you are worrying about.

Anonymous said...

One day it will be possible to state a simple fact pertaining to the majority of the population without obsessing about some minority group or another.

One day Majority Rights will come back with a vengeance and minorities will find what happens when they seek to dictate the agenda

Anonymous said...

Very Good "anonymous", my own opinion concurs! It seems that today everyone wants to do their own thing as an absolute right, morally or otherwise. Homosexuality, political correctness and all the other eyewash will someday be kicked into touch it has to be! Then we may have some peace finally. Having served at a senior level in the security services for a period I can tell you very honestly that many homosexual men are overtly "bitchy" (far more so than women) and when trouble comes - as it usually does - then it's more than just a cat-fight, leaving careers in ruins and a hell of a lot of collateral damage.

Little Black Sambo said...

What is the evidence that 10% of the population is homosexual?

Anonymous said...

vienna woods - I find it astonishing that in 2006 someone thinks that homosexuality will be 'kicked into touch' ! It has been around for a few million years or so - you had better start getting used to it.

Anonymous said...

I gave you people numbers, but it's apparent nobody wants to talk about those. It's a hot button issue for sure, though; I have gotten more clicks from Iain's site today than any other day, by a factor of ten.

And why does everyone seem to assume that gay couples raising children are raising children that are adopted? Just like with straight couples there are a lot of stepdads and stepmoms, and there is a lot of IVF and surrogacy. Let's open ourselves up to the possibility that gay couples could have children because one of them has given birth or biologically fathered a child, and they want to raise it.

After all, at bottom it's really just PEOPLE we are talking about, and we all know how they are. They're surprisingly and consistently normal if you don't sneak into their bedrooms and watch what they do there; something which goes for many a straight couple as well.

Anonymous said...

If they have already had children in previous relationships, that raises interesting questions about the stability or certainty of the homosexual sexual identity, which is more than enough to rubbish the whole idea that it is equivalent to heterosexuality as a natural disposition, and not merely something which can physically be done (like various other deviant acts).

Surrogacy and IVF is bridging the inability to have kids, and there is no more reason for gay people to be allowed to do it than any other combination of people who cannot, together, have children (except for heterosexual infertiles, who are prevented by a quirk).

I really think this gay rights thing is absurd. If you want to do it, do it; but there is no reason to force your way of life down the mouths of the majority, and demand its equality with behaviour which is self-evidently natural and has centuries of social and religious tradition and security compacted in it.

Anonymous said...

Little Black Sambo - estimates do vary , but the psychologist Alfred Kinsey found that the level was 10% in his study Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male. If you want a more conservative figure, the government's actuary department came up with a figure of 1 in 16 in 2005. This would mean that there are between 3 and 4 million homosexuals in the UK - hardly statistically irrelevant.

Urbane - If they have already had children in previous relationships, that raises interesting questions about the stability or certainty of the homosexual sexual identity, which is more than enough to rubbish the whole idea that it is equivalent to heterosexuality as a natural disposition, and not merely something which can physically be done - I'd suggest that to think of homosexuality or heterosexuality as natural dispositions is wrong for most people in any case. There will be some heterosexuals who have never had any attraction to members of the same sex, and some homosexuals too. Then there are some people who are predominantly one or the other, but might have had one homosexual or heterosexual experience. And then some who are bisexual. That doesn't preclude real commitment from people of whatever sex to staying in a long-term, stable relationship. To avoid all the problems that come with lone parenting, we need families where this kind of stability reigns. Why should we not give two gay parents who are committed to each other the opportunity to bring up children?

behaviour which is self-evidently natural and has centuries of social and religious tradition and security compacted in it. - that's total rubbish, you can look back across history and find plenty of societies where homosexuality was accepted. Eg Ancient Greece/ Rome. You could even look at the courts of many English kings. Eg James I's reign - there's evidence that he was predominantly homosexual and so was most of his court!

It was only in the 19th century, when biological and psychological science began to look at men and women more closely that today's notions of gender and sexuality were developed. Before then, it wasn't even recognised that women could have orgasms and the scientific view was that their bodies were not different to men's, but an inferior and inverted version. Sadly, with the scientific advances that dispelled these views came a social bigotry which we are still fighting against.

If you don't believe me, you can read gender history works like Ortner and Whitehead's 'Sexual Meanings: the Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality' or Poovey's 'Uneven Developments: the Ideological Work of Gender in mid-Victorian England'. But then I suspect you'd rather live in the land of prejudice!

Anonymous said...

Actualy Ian I did not say gays were irrelevant to family policy, I would have thought you would have known better about me. I was was replying to a question that implied that gay couples splitting up and who had children would have an effect on our figures about family break up. The point about being irrelevant was that the numbers were to small to effect the overall figures and were therefore not likely to make a difference to the overall numbers. The ST wre looking to start a row and plucked the comments out of context and without showing everyone what the line of questioning was. I understand they added a paragraph to their second editions explaining this point, although it was too late. I explained this on the Politics show. I am sorry you made the assumption yopu did, I might have thought you would have read the item carefully and seen what they were up to. This is too important a report,( 300000 words on breakdown) to be sidetracked by a contrived story.

Iain DS

Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote,

"I find it astonishing that in 2006 someone thinks that homosexuality will be 'kicked into touch' ! It has been around for a few million years or so - you had better start getting used to it."

Not the point I was trying to make! Throughout history - even in the UK - periods of social crisis (and we are in the middle of one now!)are followed by periods of strict control and discipline. Whether the next period will be affected by the easier movement of peoples, who can say, but it has to come or we are all screwed.

Anyway Ian, isn't it about time that all contributors to these blogs are verified. There appears to me so many people posting under the "anonymous" default name that it is all getting a mite confusing.

Anonymous said...

"If a heterosexual couple can adopt, then why not a homosexual couple?"

Because no one really knows the psychological impact on a child being brought up by parents in a same-sex relationship, the effects of bullying at school etc.

If this first generation of children raised by gay couples turn out to have psychiatric and identity problems (i.e. become 'mixed up') - and who can say at this stage whether they will or will not grow up emotionally well-balanced? - then those of us who helped usher in this brave new world will have an awful lot to answer for.

Anonymous said...

We seem to have come to a point where family breakdown is finally being identified as a principle factor in many social ills. This after many years of denigrating the nuclear family as oppressive.

A principle component of the "family" would seem to be the presence of role models of both sexes. It ought to be uncontroversial to state such a thing but I fear that it is no longer the case. Although, it is generally accepted that, the absence of a constant father figure is identified as a particular problem within the urban underclass. Given this, it follows that a homosexual couple will always be deficient in regard to bringing up children.

That does not mean that I am opposed to such an arrangement, but I cannot help but place it less than ideal. Several commentators have given anecdotal stories of how hetersexual unions have been unloving or abusive. Fair enough, although such stories will no doubt also occur within homosexual unions, but they don't seem to get the coverage. I wonder if any commentator would claim that homosexual unions are more loving and less abusive than heterosexual ones?

Let us assume that same sex unions are not less stable, are equally loving, are no more prone to abuse. Even if we do all this, we still end up with the fact that the two parent are not of different genders.

Now this is but one factor in the upbringing of children. For example, we might think that single mums adopting is generally a bad idea but in the case of a wealthy mum, the money overrode the absence of a father. The factors might be weighted. For example, I would disagree with removing a child from a natural parent because they were now in a homosexual union - continuation and attachment being valued. But that doesn't mean that given a choice of two identical families up for adoption, one heterosexual and one homosexual that they should be treated equally.

To claim equal treatment despite the deficiency is to want special treatment not equality.

What really depresses me about this story is the way that a sensible policy (with consensus support) has been converted by the media into a story about Gay bashing. That is no surprise but then a "Tory" website has joined in the kicking. You couldn't make it up.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale, is that really your response to Urbane above? I thought that swearing was prohibited on this blog.