Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention gave a lecture at a school in Georgia where he accused gay couples who engage a surrogate mother of “child abuse.” He has to either ignorantly or deliberately distort the results of many studies to make his argument.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s former top expert on moral and public policy concerns says same-sex marriage is opening doors for a gay-surrogacy movement that he predicts will be harmful to children.
“We’ve conducted a 40-year experiment in this country in whether or not fathers are optional accessories in the rearing of healthy adults, and they are not,” Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, said Jan. 30 in the inaugural H. Ray Newman Ethics and Religious Liberty Lecture at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.
“Up until now, no one’s been dumb enough to argue that a mother is an optional accessory,” said Land, who moved to the non-denominational school in Charlotte, N.C., after retiring as president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission last year.
“But that’s exactly what same-sex marriage says, that two men can do as good a job raising a child as a mother and a father can,” he said. “That’s just plain goofy.”
Land said there is “a thriving business now in gay surrogacy” for homosexual couples who want to have a baby.“They don’t just want a marriage license,” he said. “They want to have a baby. So they’re hiring, they’re renting wombs, and they’re buying eggs, and they’re having the eggs fertilized and implanted in the rented wombs.”
“There are many businesses that are thriving providing this kind of commodification of human flesh so that they can follow the trend and have two men try to raise a baby,” Land said. “What a travesty. What a collective sense of child abuse it is.”
No, it isn’t. He is referring to a body of work that has found that stable, two-parent households are more likely to produce positive outcomes for children. That body of work is pretty much undisputed, but it does not support his claim that two men (or two women, or one man or one woman) can’t “do as good a job of raising a child as a mother and father can.” Such studies are statistical and probabilistic, which means they don’t apply in every case they just record trends and generalities.
A single parent with excellent parenting skills and a stable household will almost certainly be better for a child than a two-parent household with poor parenting skills and instability (not getting divorced is hardly the only measure of stability). The same is true of two male or two female parents. And many studies show that gay parents do just as well as straight ones when you control for income, divorce and other far more relevant factors.