A few years back, when Rosie O'Donnell was one of the daily panelists of women on the talk show "The View," the subject was breastfeeding.

O'Donnell shared how she had insisted that her lesbian partner Kelli stop breastfeeding the infant that she had given birth to because it was allowing the baby to develop an intimacy with Kelli that O'Donnell could not be a part of. Even Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar gasped at that comment.

However, I can understand O'Donnell's feelings. She is a woman. Naturally she has maternal instincts. In contrast, I can assure you that, as a husband, I have never felt envious of, or threatened by, the maternal love that my wife has given our children. That is because maternal love and paternal love are naturally complementary, not redundant, and not in competition with the other.

In his April 7 opinion column, "Gay marriage rhetoric falls short," Times editor Jim Lee wrote that he is "incredulous" when he hears people voice concern about an impending increase in homosexuality now that Maryland elevated homosexual relationships to the institution of marriage. I think it is a reasonable concern. And no, I don't think most people who have same sex attraction chose to have it.

But not choosing to be gay is not the same as being born gay. There is much credible, clinical research which indicates that same sex attraction is developmental in origin. An example is Peter Bearman and Hannah Bruchner's piece, "Opposite sex twins and Adolescent Same Sex Attraction." It is a report on their research for The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy published in October 2001 as a Columbia University Working Paper. Another example is Kenneth Zucker and Susan Bradley's book, "Gender Identity and Psychosexual Problems in Children and Adolescents," which indicates that psychosexual development is highly influenced by a child's family environment and experience.

So it is not far-fetched to suspect that an increase of children in homes that are deliberately fatherless or deliberately motherless will produce an increase of children who will struggle with their own gender identity. What turns my empathy to incredulousness is that we citizens of Maryland will apparently be OK with that.

Michael Hurley

Eldersburg

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