Editors note: Dawn C. Stefanowicz submitted
this written statement to be read at the Marriage Rally, Parliament
Hill, Ottawa, Canada, April 9, 2005.
"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding
raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet,
she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at
the entrances, she cries aloud:"1
My name is Dawn Stefanowicz. I grew up in a homosexual household
during the 1960s and 1970s in Toronto exposed to many different
people, the Gay-Lesbian- Bisexual-Transgendered (GLBT) subcultures,
and explicit sexual practices. I am currently writing a book, soon
to be published, on this experience. As well, I was a witness at
the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
on Bill C-250 (hate crimes), and I have presented at the local school
My biggest concern is that children are not being discussed in
this same-sex marriage debate. Yet, wont the next step for
some gay activists be to ask for legal adoption of children if same-sex
marriage is legalized? I have considered some of the potential physical
and psychological health risks for children raised in this situation.
I was at high risk of exposure to contagious STDs due to sexual
molestation, my fathers high-risk sexual behaviors, and multiple
partners. Even when my father was in what looked like monogamous
relationships, he continued cruising for anonymous sex.
I came to deeply care for, love and compassionately understand
my dad. He shared his life regrets with me. Unfortunately, my father,
as a child, was sexually and physically abused by older males. Due
to this, he lived with depression, control issues, anger outbursts,
suicidal tendencies and sexual compulsions. He tried to fulfill
his legitimate needs for his fathers affirmation, affection
and attention with transient and promiscuous relationships. He and
his partners were exposed to various contagious STDs as they traveled
across North America. My fathers (ex)partners, whom I had
deep caring feelings for and associated with, had drastically shortened
lives due to suicide, contracting HIV or AIDS. Sadly, my father
died of AIDS in 1991.
Are my childhood experiences unique? According to a growing number
of personal testimonies, experts, and organizations, there is mounting
evidence of strong commonalities to my personal experiences.2-13
Not only do children do best with both a mother and a father in
a lifelong marriage bond,14,15 children need responsible monogamous
parents who have no extramarital sexual partners. Parental promiscuity,
abuse and divorce are not good for children.
If same-sex marriage is legalized, a person, couple or group who
practices any form of sexual behavior would eventually be able to
obtain children through previous heterosexual relationships, new
reproductive technologies and adoption due to the undefined term,
"sexual orientation." This would force all public and
private adoption agencies to hand over children into experimental
relationships or risk charges of discrimination.
What is the most suitable environment for children to be born or
adopted into? 16 The many personal, professional and social experiences
with my father did not teach me respect for morality, authority,
marriage and paternal love. I felt fearfully silenced as I was not
allowed to talk about my dad, his male housemates, his lifestyle
and encounters within the subcultures without being browbeaten and
threatened by my father. While I lived at home, I had to live by
his rules. Yes, I loved my dad. However, I felt abandoned and neglected
as my needs were not met since my father would often leave suddenly
to be with his partners for days. His partners were not really interested
in me. I was outraged at the incidences of same-sex domestic abuse,
sexual advances toward minors and loss of sexual partners as if
people were only commodities. I sought comfort looking for my fathers
love from boyfriends starting at 12 years old.
From a young age, I was exposed to explicit sexual speech, self-indulgent
lifestyles, varied GLBT subcultures and gay vacation spots. Sex
looked gratuitous to me as a child. I was exposed to all-inclusive
manifestations of sexuality including bathhouse sex, cross-dressing,
sodomy, pornography, gay nudity, lesbianism, bisexuality, minor
recruitment, voyeurism and exhibitionism.
Sado-masochism was alluded to and aspects demonstrated. Alcohol
and drugs were often contributing factors to lower inhibitions in
my fathers relationships.
My father prized unisex dressing, gender-neutral aspects and a
famous cross-dressing icon when I was eight years old. I did not
see the value of biological complementing differences of male and
female or think about marriage. I made vows to never have children
since I had not grown up in a safe, sacrificial, child-centered
home environment. Due to my life experience, I ask, "Can children
really perform their best academically, financially, psychologically,
socially and behaviorally in experimental situations?" I can
tell you that I suffered long term in this situation and this has
been professionally documented.
Over two decades of direct exposure to these stressful experiences
caused me insecurity, depression, suicidal thoughts, dread, anxiousness,
low self-esteem, sleeplessness and sexuality confusion. My conscience
and innocence were seriously damaged. I witnessed that every other
family member suffered severely as well.
It took me until I was into my 20s and 30s, after making major
life choices, to begin to realize how being raised in this environment
affected me. My healing encompassed facing reality, accepting long-term
consequences, and offering forgiveness. Can you imagine being forced
to tolerate unstable relationships and diverse sexual practices
from a young age and how this affected my development? My gender
identity, psychological well-being and peer relationships were affected.
Unfortunately, it was not until my father, his sexual partners and
my mother had died, was I free to speak publicly about my experiences.
I believe same-sex marriage will dispose of unique values esteemed
within marriage as recognized throughout history. Marriage needs
to remain a societal foundation that constitutes, represents and
defends the inherently procreative relationship between the husband
and the wife for the welfare of their biological children.17 Children
need consistent appropriate boundaries and secure expressions of
emotional intimacy that are not sexualized in the home and community.
The term sexual orientation does not distinguish between
the individual, feelings of sexual attraction to a particular person
or object, or the individuals sexual behavior or preferences.
Thence, a person practicing pansexuality, which is diverse sexual
expression, could not be discriminated against even with children
Are the government and judicial systems playing games with children,
forcing upstanding citizens to tolerate all forms of diverse sexual
expression against their will, conscience and/or religious freedom?
Why is such a small, unrepresentative clique within the GLBT subcultures
wanting same-sex marriage? Mr. John McKellar, executive director
of H.O.P.E., (Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism) has stated:
"It is selfish and rude for the gay community to push same-sex
marriage legislation and redefine societys traditions and
conventions for our own self-indulgence
Federal and provincial laws are being changed and the traditional
values are being compromised just to appease a tiny, self-anointed
In my opinion, same-sex marriage will put the human rights of the
individual in a higher place than what is best for society, families
and especially children. Canadians should decide and not judges.19
Human rights were meant to protect the individual and not groups.20
In this crucial debate, childrens human rights have become
secondary, ignored and denied.
Moreover, if Canadians do not stop same-sex marriage, we will lose
all of our freedom to address issues around sexuality with moral
and religious vigor. By the way, the gay agenda in schools may owe
its origin to Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill who published the article
"The Overhauling of Straight America,"21 If we do not
stop Bill C-38, the gay agenda will prevail in every Canadian public
and private academic environment22 inundating school environments
with advocacy and sexually explicit resources and curriculum that
mock parents authority, moral rectitude, and religious traditions.
Already this is happening under the banner of anti-bullying, safe
schools policies and through Gay-Straight Alliances. In reality,
these policies provide a direct legal entranceway of indoctrination,
desensitization, personal and political recruitment of our vulnerable
children by some gay activists within our schools while silencing
all students who oppose the gay agenda.23
Similarly, all those who oppose the Canadian laws recognizing same-sex
marriage would not be allowed to speak, express or gesture opposition,
even on religious grounds. Look how the hate crime legislation Bill
C-250 has instilled fear and is silencing the church. Did you know
that the separation of church and state was enacted to protect religious
freedom and conscience? Will religious freedom be trumped by sexual
freedom?24 Will religious faith expressions and practices by individuals
and organizations be prohibited by such bills as C-38 and others?
We have an obligation, for the sake of our children, to speak freely
and to direct the laws of our land.
Will the Canadian government and judges legally promote unhealthy
and unsound environments that encourage motherless and fatherless
units through same-sex marriage?25 Ultimately, children will be
the real victims and losers if same-sex marriage is legally enacted.
What hope can I offer innocent children who have no voice? What
price is Canada willing to pay for sexual freedom, tolerance and
diversity? Is that price childrens lives?26 Government and
judges need to advance and defend marriage as between a man and
a woman to the exclusion of all others for the sake of our children.
Mental health group critiques homosexuals as foster parents
In May, the
National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality
(NARTH) released a review of research on homosexual parenting,
including adoption and foster care. The results clearly demonstrate
why pro-family groups need to continue efforts to preserve the
traditional definition of both marriage and family.
NARTH is an
association of mental health professionals who operate under the
assumption that homosexual individuals who want to change, can
change with counseling. The organization provides an international
referral service of licensed therapists offering sexual reorientation
of the research was written by Dr. George A. Rekers, professor
of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of
South Carolina School of Medicine, in Columbia, South Carolina.
much of the material for a legal defense of Arkansas regulation
prohibiting the issuance of foster parent licenses to homes in
which there is any adult involved in homosexual behavior. The
80-page document is available for free at www.narth.com.
By their very
nature and structure, Rekers said, households headed by "a
homosexually-behaving adult" present a unique danger for
foster care ordinarily experience a high incidence of psychological
disorder. But because homosexuals have a much higher risk of mental
health problems themselves, the stress under which foster children
live will only be exacerbated by being in homes headed by gays
between homosexuality and mental health problems has been overwhelmingly
established in the scientific literature, and Rekers cites numerous
a study by D.M. Fergusson and other researchers, published in
Archives of General Psychiatry in 1999, found that "78.6%
of homosexuals compared to 38.2% of heterosexuals had two or more
71.4% of homosexuals experienced major
depression compared to 38.2% of heterosexuals. Sixty-seven percent
of homosexuals reported suicidal ideation compared to 28% of heterosexuals.
And 32.1% of homosexuals reported a suicide attempt compared to
7.1% of heterosexuals."
said in the study: "Homosexuals had significantly higher
rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct
disorder, nicotine dependence, other substance abuse and/or dependence,
multiple disorders, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts."
activists insist that such evidence of mental health problems
among homosexuals is caused by the homophobic culture in which
they live, a study by Theodorus G. M. Sandfort and fellow researchers
seemed to indicate that this might not be the reason.
in the February 2003 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior,
Sandfort examined the "quality of life" of homosexual
men in the Netherlands, arguably the most pro-homosexual nation
in the Western world. The researchers said, "Compared to
heterosexual men, homosexual men evaluated their general level
of health and their mental health as less positive, reported that
emotional problems more often interfered with work or other daily
activities, that physical health or emotional problems interfered
with normal social activities, and felt less energetic."
this, however, Rekers paper lays out numerous other, significant
problems associated with the homosexual lifestyle. For example,
he said children living in homosexual households are "more
likely to experience the stress and associated harm of encountering
or being exposed to homosexual paraphernalia [sex toys]
and homosexual pornography during their formative years of psychosexual
And then there
is the significant amount of evidence demonstrating that homosexuals
have many more sexual partners than heterosexuals, and that same-sex
relationships are significantly more transient. As a result, he
said, "Homes headed by an adult who is sexually involved
with same-sex persons are significantly less stable and less secure
environments for children over time, compared to a natural family
structure in which a married mother and father live together in
the same home."
On the flip
side, Rekers relies on numerous studies that demonstrate the positive
effect on children of living in a home with both the biological
mother and father. Naturally, children who live in a household
headed by a gay or lesbian couple lose that benefit.
headed by an adult who is sexually involved with same-sex persons
deprive the child of either the unique positive contributions
of a father to child development or the unique positive contributions
of a mother to child development that have been established by
extensive psychological research by a large number of investigators,"
All of this
evidence, Rekers argued, makes a strong case against placing children
into foster homes headed by one or more homosexuals and
should give society great pause before accepting such households
as the equivalent of a household headed by a married man and woman.
1 Proverbs 8:1-3. New International Version
2 Jakii Edwards, Like Mother, Like Daughter?
The effects of growing up in a homosexual home, (Vienna, VA:
Xulon Press, 2001). Also, see testimonial "Just Like My Mother?",
Exodus International, North America. See http://exodus.to/testimonials_Family_11.shtml
3 Suzanne Cook, My Parent is Gay, (Seattle, WA:
Exodus International-North America, 2000). Also, see testimonial
"Looking For My Fathers Love," Exodus International,
North America. See http://exodus.ttestimonials_Family_12.shtml
4 "A Sons Journey," 1997 Nathan
Bell, Distributed by Love In Action. See http://www.loveinaction.org/media/documents/NathanBellTestimony.pdf
5"Mitchell," "The Tragedy of "Gay"
Parenting," Stephen Bennett Ministries, see https://sbminist.christianshost.com/appieshop/index.cgi
6 Paul Cameron and Kirk Cameron, "Children
Of Homosexual Parents Report Childhood Difficulties," Psychological
Reports 2002, 90, 71-82. Also see http://www.familyresearchinst.org/FRI_homokids.html?story=831
7 Timothy J. Dailey, Ph. D., "Comparing the
Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples," Family
Research Council, April 17, 2004. See http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?I=IS04C02&v=PRINT
8 Timothy Dailey, Ph. D., "Homosexual Parenting:
Placing Children at Risk," Family Research Council, Issue
No.:238. See http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?I=IS01J3 extracted 24/03/2005.
9 Jon Dougherty, "Report: Pedophilia more
common among gays Report purports to reveal dark
side of homosexual culture." WorldNetDaily, Monday
April 29, 2002. See http://w115.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27431
10 "Standards 4 Life: Homosexuality,"
"Homosexual Adoption. Good for Childrens Health?",
Christian Medical & Dental Associations. See http://www.cmdahome.org/index.cgi?BISKIT=1695154697&CONTEXT=art&art=2649
11 "Homosexuality and Hope," Statement
of the Catholic Medical Association. See http://www.cathmed.org/publications/homosexualityarticle.html
12 Dale OLeary, "Is This Diversity,
Or Tragedy: Children as Victims of their Parents Choices,"
NARTH. See http://www.narth.com/docs/diversity.html extracted
13 "Gay marriage and homosexuality
some medical comments," LifeSite, by authors of this report:
John Shea,MD, FRCP (C), Radiologist; John K. Wilson MD, FRCP (C),
Cardiologist; Paul Ranalli MD, FRCP (C), Neurologist; Christina
Paulaitis MD, CCFP, Family Physician; Luigi Castagna MD, FRCP
(C), Paediatric Neurologist; Hans-Christian Raabe MD, MRCP MRCGP
Internist; W. André Lafrance MD, FRCP (C), Dermatologist.
14 S. Sarantakos, "Children in three contexts:
family, education and social development," Children Australia,
21, (1996), 23-31
15 "Children Need Both A Mother And A Father,"
NARTH. See http://www.narth.com/docs/needboth.html extracted 27/03/2005.
16 "Sidelining Stability and Security The
case against abandoning the current grounds for adoption,"
The Christian Institute June 2002. See http://www.christian.org.uk/html-publications/adoption_briefing2.htm#c
17 Daniel Cere & Douglas Farrow, eds., Divorcing
Marriage, (Montreal & Kingston, Ontario: Published for
the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture by McGill-Queens
University Press, 2004), p.78.
18 Quote taken from Patrick W. OBrien, M.P.s
speech delivered in the House of Commons regarding Bill C-38,
38th Parliament, 1st Session, Edited Hansard, Number 061, Contents
Monday, February 21, 2005. See 1345-1355 http://www.parl.gc.ca/38/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/061_2005-02-21/HAN061-E.htm#Int-1142182
19 Daniel Cere & Douglas Farrow, eds., Divorcing
Marriage, (Montreal & Kingston, Ontario: Published for the
Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture by McGill-Queens
University Press, 2004), pp.151, 152.
20 In the Supreme Court of Canada, In the Matter
of Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C., 1985 C. S-26 In
the Matter of a Reference By the Governor in Council Concerning
the Proposal For an Act Respecting Certain Aspects of Legal Capacity
for Marriage for Civil Purposes, as Set out in Order in Council
P.C. 2003-1055, Dated the 16th Day of July 2003, Factum of the
Intervener The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, (52.),
p.26. See http://www.cccb.ca/Files/SupremeCourtMarriage.pdf extracted
21 David Limbaugh, Persecution: How Liberals
Are Waging War Against Christianity, (Washington, DC, Regnery
Publishing, Inc., 2003), 94-110.
22 Linda Harvey, "The World According to
PFLAG: Why PFLAG and Children Dont Mix," NARTH. See
http://www.narth.com/docs/pflag2.html extracted 24/03/2005.
23 Peter Sprigg, "The Recruiting
of Children Into Accepting Homosexuality: How Homosexuality in
Schools Furthers an Agenda," Family Research Council. See
http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA03I34#WA03I34 extracted 28/03/2005.
24 In the Supreme Court of Canada, In the Matter
of Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C., 1985 C. S-26 In
the Matter of a Reference By the Governor in Council Concerning
the Proposal For an Act Respecting Certain Aspects of Legal Capacity
for Marriage for Civil Purposes, pp. 27-31. See http://www.cccb.ca/Files/SupremeCourtMarriage.pdf
25 Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, "Do
Mothers and Fathers Matter?", iMapp Policy Brief, Institute
for Marriage and Public Policy. See http://www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/MothersFathersMatter.pdf
26 Susan Brinkmann, "Homosexuality: The Untold
Story: Gay Marriage: Whos Minding the Children?", Part
5 of 6, The Catholic Standard and Times Newspaper for the Archdiocese
of Philadelphia. See http://www.cst-phl.com/seventhpartfive.html