Bench Memos

‘Growing Up With Two Moms’

Following up on my posts about the politicized controversy over University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus’s study on same-sex parenting (which study I addressed in this collection of posts), I’d like to call attention to a powerful Public Discourse essay today by Robert Oscar Lopez—“Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View”—in which he discusses the lessons of his own experience “growing up with gay parents.” I can’t adequately summarize Lopez’s intensely personal account, but I will pass along this bottom-line observation of his: “Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.”

Lopez’s explanation of why he became a conservative is striking:

I moved to the right wing because I lived in precisely the kind of anti-normative, marginalized, and oppressed identity environment that the left celebrates: I am a bisexual Latino intellectual, raised by a lesbian, who experienced poverty in the Bronx as a young adult. I’m perceptive enough to notice that liberal social policies don’t actually help people in those conditions. Especially damning is the liberal attitude that we shouldn’t be judgmental about sex. In the Bronx gay world, I cleaned out enough apartments of men who’d died of AIDS to understand that resistance to sexual temptation is central to any kind of humane society. Sex can be hurtful not only because of infectious diseases but also because it leaves us vulnerable and more likely to cling to people who don’t love us, mourn those who leave us, and not know how to escape those who need us but whom we don’t love. The left understands none of that. That’s why I am conservative. [Emphasis added.]

(Lopez describes himself as bisexual “because it would take several novels to explain how [he] ended up ‘straight’ after almost thirty years as a gay man.” When he married a woman and became a father, he “put aside [his] own homosexual past and vowed never to divorce [his] wife or take up with another person, male or female, before [he] died.”)

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