Son of Iowa Lesbians Fights Gay Marriage Ban


A 2008 University of Iowa field poll from October of last year found that over 32 percent of Iowa voters opposed same-sex marriage and only 28 percent supported gay marriage, according to the Iowa Family Policy Center.

The center's website states that the organization believes "that marriage is a permanent, lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. The group has lobbied for House Joint Resolution 6.

But One Iowa, an advocacy group that opposes the ban, said that poll also asked about support for civil unions, and 30 percent opposed gay marriage, but supported civil unions.

A more recent 2010 poll showed 53 percent supported gay marriage and 41 percent were opposed, according to One Iowa.

Janice Langbehn, who with her late partner Lisa Pond raised four adopted children, all with special needs, said that, "Zach is absolutely correct in that my children don't ask for special treatment."

She filed and lost a lawsuit four years ago after Pond died alone in a Florida hospital. Langbehn said she was denied visitation rights because she was a lesbian. Federal law now prohibits discrimination in visitation rights because of that case.

"Our kids are different than some families since we did not give birth to them; however, we love them beyond measure," said Langbehn. "Lisa instilled in our children the desire for community service, respect for teachers and others in authority, help friends and never to bully," she said.

A growing number of children who affectionately call themselves "gaybies" or "queer spawn" are now reshaping the American family.

Of the 270,000 children living with same-sex parents, about 65,000 are adopted. Most, like other Americans, are in two-child families.

Just under 1 percent of all couples in the U.S. -- or 594,391 people -- identify themselves as gay, lesbian or transgender, and about 20 percent of them are raising children under the age of 18, according to the Williams Institute, an organization that advances sexual orientation law and public policy.

Studies Show Children of Gays are Alright

Recent studies conclude that children of same-sex parents do as well as children of heterosexual couples.

When the Census Bureau added a category for unwed partners about 20 years, ago these families could begin to be counted.

Research now shows that 1 in 5 male same-sex couples and 1 in 3 female same-sex couples have children, according to a report in The New York Times.

A University of Southern California study concludes that children with lesbian or gay parents show more empathy for social diversity, are less confined by gender stereotypes, and are probably more likely to explore homosexual activity themselves, according to an article in the American Sociological Review.

Researchers say the emotional health of the two sets of children is essentially the same.

Kim Bergman, a psychologist and co-owner of the Los Angeles surrogacy agency Growing Generations, said Wahls was "an amazing young man and the things he said were really poignant...I would be proud of a son like that."

Bergman, 47 and a lesbian, is raising two daughters, 12 and 15, with her wife. The couple was married in Canada.

In her work with same-sex families, she has seen "no deleterious effect" on their children. "And if they are different, they tend to be more worldly, more open-minded and more empathic," said Bergman.

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