On 28 April 2015, President Obama made some frank remarks concerning the recent events in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. I was not in Baltimore when this happened; I am white and cannot presently understand what it is to be black; I cannot understand what it means to be profiled by the society in which I live. These things need to be said when I, as an outsider, comment on events such as these.
However, the president made an interesting remark. He said, "it’s more likely that those kids end up in jail or dead than that they go to college, in communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to the young men."
Now I agree with the president here. This isn't simply a problem in the black community, it is a rampant problem in many lower income and impoverished communities. Whether due to incarceration, death, being unmarried, or any other number of circumstances, these communities, so the president acknowledges, see a high incidence of children born into families without fathers. I share the president’s grief on this matter and wish to see the societal changes necessary to overcome and fix this issue.
Yet here is my question, are fathers inherently important? Do children need fathers—and mothers—in their lives? If so, don't recent attempts to normalise and legalise same-sex marriage, with the attendant right to offspring, mean that there will be children born without a father—or a mother?
How do we square these two issues, the need for fathers—and mothers—and the desire to legalize and normalize same-sex marriage? Can we? Should we?