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Commentary Last Updated: Oct 11th, 2007 - 00:44:34

Are heterosexuals really the best parents?
By Mary Shaw
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 11, 2007, 00:42

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Move over, O.J. Simpson. Britney Spears is back in the news, to capture the headlines of the mainstream media and the imagination of the lazy-minded American public.

Never mind the fact that U.S. soldiers are dying daily in Iraq, Blackwater mercenaries are killing innocent Iraqi civilians with impunity, and Dick Cheney is itching to nuke Iran. Britney, they tell us, is the big news of the day.

You see, on October 1, Britney lost custody of her two children due to her bad behavior. Her ex-husband Kevin Federline will take care of the kids for a while. Lesser of two evils.

The media are all over it. The watercooler crowd is abuzz. Britney, who just a few short years ago "had it all" -- beauty, success, teenybopper fans galore, and enough money to live well forever -- now crashes and burns. The public eats it up. Schadenfreude for the stupid.

Meantime, the religious right keeps telling us that gay couples do not make suitable parents. A child needs a mother and a father. Well, Britney and K-Fed are heterosexuals. Their children have a mother and a father. But how well adjusted do you think they'll turn out?

Who would you rather have as parents: Britney and K-Fed or, say, the sane, stable rock star Melissa Etheridge and her long-term lesbian partner? Be honest.

Or, in real life, who would you rather have as parents: The loving same-sex couple down the street who have been together for longer than most straight couples you know, or the heterosexual workaholic and alcoholic across the street whose kids never have a chance to sit down to a good old-fashioned family dinner? Be honest.

Discrimination does not serve our children well.

Homophobia does not serve our children well.

Bad parenting, whether you're straight or gay, does not serve our children well.

What serves our children well are love, stability, respect, and honesty; not bigotry, hatred, self-righteousness, or "judgmentalism."

Those who dare to judge the parental qualifications of others, based only on their sexual orientation (that is, who they happen to love), would do better to step back, look deep inside themselves, and ask themselves what they're really so afraid of. But they won't. Because they do not dare. All bigotry and hatred are rooted in fear and insecurity. It's too much for the coward to face head-on. For the coward, it is so much easier to simply hate.

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views on politics, human rights, and social justice issues have appeared in numerous online forums and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail:

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