First of all, as Christians we should be supporting and adopting needy children at home and abroad. We’re called to love our neighbor, and the most loving thing we can do for a child in need is placing them in a godly family where they will hear the gospel, grow in knowledge of God and his word, and experience unconditional love and support. Adopting is very sacrificial (though highly rewarding), but the cost shouldn’t stop us from fulfilling the command to specially care for those in need (Isaiah 1:17). When Christians don’t adopt or support Christian adoption, children are placed into homes that do not fear God. One type of home that doesn’t live in the fear of God is the home of a same-sex married couple.
There are certainly loving and caring and non-abusive same-sex couples. As is true of all heterosexuals also, being wrong in one way doesn’t necessitate being wrong in every way. Still, we need to acknowledge the inherently negative consequences for the child growing up with two married mothers or fathers. The lesser of two evils is still an evil.
Distorted view of marriage: Marriage is a sacred institution created by God properly expressed between a man and woman for life (Genesis 2:24-25). This child will grow up with a distorted view of God’s intention for marriage and sexuality. Divorce is also against God’s plan for marriage, but the difference between divorce and gay marriage is that most everyone recognizes the pain and agony that comes with divorce, while most people in America don’t recognize the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional consequences of homosexual activity (or heterosexual activity outside of marriage).
Disregard for the word of God: The child will be placed in a home that not only disregards the word of God, but is publicly defying it. He or she will grow up without a grounded moral compass—an objective rule of right and wrong. It’s possible to have moral standards without believing the Bible to be the word of God, but without true and objective biblical standards our morals quickly degenerate into doing what appears right in our own eyes (as we see in the book of Judges).
Gender confusion: The differences between men and women are deeper than societal norms. There’s a beauty in femininity (though pop-culture gets it mostly wrong), a different beauty in masculinity (though pop-culture gets it mostly wrong) and beauty when they come together. Women are created to be women, men are created to be men. Human sexuality was marred by the Curse, so there are many reasons, due to both nature and nurture, why we may not experience this ideal. We need to recognize what’s gone wrong in our thinking about our sexuality so we can work, through Christ, to right it. Confusing gender distinctions leaves the child with a depreciated understanding of what it is to be male or female.
It’s not same-sex attraction that’s the sin (just as other-sex attraction is not a sin), but lust and sexual activity outside of a male-female covenant for life is certainly always sin. We need to have compassion on all and reach out to anyone and everyone who is struggling with sexual identity and managing their sexual impulses. A child with same-sex parents will not likely have a model of godly manhood or godly womanhood in the home and therefore may be less likely to recognize and appreciate the God-given differences between men and women and the awesome gift of sexuality and marriage.
The pain when recognition of sin comes: If and when the child or parents come to know Christ (which we should be praying and laboring for) there will be deep remorse. God forgives all who repent and believe in Jesus, but sin has consequences. It will be very hard emotionally for the child who comes to Christ to recognize the sin of the parents who took them in and loved them so much. Either the child will recognize the parents’ sin and be grieved for their folly, or they won’t recognize it and their own spiritual walk will suffer from not accepting the authority of the word and teaching of God.
Undoubtedly, there are more consequences than these and similar things could be written about the consequences of a child growing up in any number of unwholesome environments.
No childhood is perfect, but as the body of Christ on earth, it’s our responsibility to work to give as many children as possible gospel-oriented childhoods where they will be supported and loved where they can experience the strong hope of Jesus. If we’re not willing to do this personally, it feels awfully hypocritical to prevent or discourage others from stepping up and providing a stable household to children in need. But when that happens we cannot overlook the consequences, for both parent and child, that come from a family who does not fear God, but rather does what’s right in their own eyes.
We must do what we can to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of as many of our neighbors as possible.
Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all the times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.
– John Wesley
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.