There is no replacement for a father. A father is a little boy's hero and a little girl's protector. He models how his son should treat his wife and how his daughter can expect to be treated by her husband. He fills a role that no woman can fill. All too often children are being raised without a good father figure. While many children turn out fine without a father, I think a lot of society's problems would be alleviated if all children had both a good father and a mother. I think the decline of fatherhood has had severe repercussions on our society. I believe the government should promote marriages that provide children with both a father and a mother.
That isn't to say single and lesbian mothers aren't good parents. Raising kids without a father isn't the optimal environment, but the most anyone can do is do the best without what they have. Many women recognize the unique benefit a male role model can have on their children, and go out of their way to make sure that there is a constant male role model, whether an uncle or a friend, that can mentor their children. It isn't the same as having a dedicated father, but it can go a long way. Like single-mothers, I believe lesbian can be great mothers, but there should be a recognition of the need for a male role model for their children. Having a separate distinction between civil unions and marriage recognizes that the unique role of a father or a mother would be missing for any children in that civil union. There are many things that go into the raising of a good child, but at the bare minimum, saying that a child's parents are married should mean that the child has both a father and a mother assigned to them.
There are those who do not recognize the unique benefit that only a father has for children. They believe that the gender of the parents is irrelevant as long as they are loving. The Iowa Supreme Court recently said "the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else." The Massachusetts government enforces this view by denying funding to adoption agencies that will give preference to placing children in homes with both a father and a mother. They called only placing kids in a home with both a father and a mother "discrimination". A Catholic Adoption Agency was closed down after losing funding because of this law.
Those of us who believe that fathers are irreplaceable are coming under attack. The previous Miss California came under vicious attack after she simply expressed her view that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Many businesses were boycotted and several people were fired because they donated to protect marriage in California.
Some have even equated us to racists. They believe like racists, we should be able to believe what we want, but be barred from bringing our views into the public sector. They wish to teach our kids that fathers offer no unique benefit to a household and those who believe fathers are irreplaceable are bigoted. Some believe the idea that fathers are beneficial is so bigoted that the view should not be allowed to be brought to a vote. In California, those who believe fathers offer no unique benefit to children sought to overturn the vote of those who do. While our vote was finally upheld, our governor, Attorney General, and even one Supreme Court Justice all thought that our vote was so bigoted that it should be considered unconstitutional and shouldn't count.
In California, and a few other states, same-sex couples have the same legal right as opposite-sex couples, so this is not an issue of rights, but a question of what marriage should mean. Do fathers really make a difference, or do fatherless homes provide all that children need and there is no need for a man in a marriage? The outcome will affect what will be taught in schools. Government classes will look at these decisions and learn what it means to be a homophobe. Those of us who believe that fathers are irreplaceable will be reduced to the status of a bigot and like racists, loose the freedom to bring our point of view into the public arena.
I'm worried about the status of fathers in this country. If we can't even stand up and say there is no replacement for a father, where does that leave us? If fathers don't offer anything special, why would a man stick around and help raise his kids, when he knows that the kids has a mother and a grandmother to take of them. Why would a woman wait to have a child until she is married, when everyone tells her she doesn't need a husband to be a good mother?
There is no replacement for a father.