The TT Council of Evangelical Churches said it was appalled by the recent birth of a baby girl to a lesbian couple through artificial insemination. The couple welcomed their daughter, Miracle, on New Year’s day. They did the procedure themselves at home with sperm donated by a gay friend.
The council said this was indicative of a society drifting further and further away from God and biblical values. It said God established marriage as a union between a male and a female, a natural family and the best environment in which to raise a child.
Disagreeing with the council’s view is Dr Katija Khan, a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine. She is also a director of the Silver Lining Foundation – an NGO which tackles bullying and discrimination among youth. She is an ally who advocates for human rights for all, no matter their sexual orientation.
“Same-sex parenting does not harm children. Evidence from research studies overwhelmingly show that there is no difference in children who come from same-sex parents or heterosexual parents. What is more important than sexual orientation or gender of parents is that children have a low-conflict and stable home environment in which they can grow and thrive.”
She said there was also no evidence that having same-sex parents caused children to “become gay.”
“If we are truly concerned with having healthy, thriving and emotionally healthy children, then society can focus on tackling issues of prejudice, heterosexism and homophobia that foster stigma, negative stereotypes and discrimination which can actually cause harm in families.”
The Very Reverend Shelley-Ann Tenia preferred to steer clear of the topic.
“At this point I really have no comment because I believe as a culture and as a people, we’ve been raising children in all kinds of configurations from time immemorial and so, really and truly, I have no comment on that. Frankly I think it’s a non issue at this point and I recognise that anything I may say will be framed as representing the Anglican church, and I cannot speak on behalf of the Anglican Church (on that issue) and two, it would be misused.”
The council stated numerous studies over the course of years have shown that having married, heterosexual parents is best for children.
It cited a 2013 study by Canadian economist Douglas W Allen – High School Graduation Rates Among Children of Same-Sex Households – published in the Review of Economics of the Household, which found that “the results on high school graduation rates” according to the 2006 Canada census, “suggest that children living in both gay and lesbian households struggle compared to children from opposite sex married households.
Allen said, in general it appears that these children are only about 65 per cent likely to graduate from high school compared to the control group.
The council referred to another study done in 1996 – Children in Three Contexts: Family, Education and Social Development – by Sotirios Sarantakos, an adjunct professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Charles Stuart University in Australia. He found that “in the majority of cases, the most successful are children of married couples, followed by children of cohabiting couples and finally by children of homosexual couples.”