Zoo claims that penguins are “on a same-sex fostering journey”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Fr. Thomas J. Reese, an American Catholic Jesuit priest, senior analyst at Religion News Service (RNS), and former columnist at the National Catholic Reporter, tweeted out a link on January 30: “Catholic bishops, take note,” he wrote. “Male penguin pair, New York zoo’s first same-sex foster parents, doing ‘great job’ raising baby chick.”

The link was to an article from the Washington Post about two male penguins raising a penguin chick. Presumably, Reese was making the point that Catholic bishops who oppose children being raised by two men or two women rather than a mother and a father are mistaken in their view of the biblically-ordained natural family because … because people are the same as penguins? Or penguins in captivity are a microcosm of post-sexual revolution America? Or that people must begin deriving their views on family from wildlife?

To be fair to Reese, who appears not to know what he’s talking about, he drew the precise conclusion the Rosamond Gifford Zoo was hoping. From the Post:

Elmer and Lima, two male penguins from the zoo’s colony of 28 birds, were given the egg to incubate and look after by officials who were concerned that breeding pairs at the zoo had “a history of inadvertently breaking their fertilized eggs,” according to a statement released Friday.

The zoo said staff gave the egg to the male penguins in a bid to boost the chances of the egg eventually hatching. The two were “exemplary in every aspect of egg care,” the zoo said, adding that the males took turns protecting the egg before it hatched …

The males have been tending to the chick by feeding it and keeping it warm — actions that the zoo said highlight that “non-traditional families do a wonderful job of child-rearing.”

“Elmer and Lima’s success is one more story that our zoo can share to help people of all ages and backgrounds relate to animals,” Fox said. And while Elmer and Lima’s same-sex fostering journey is a first for the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, other institutions around the world have also reported positive results with same-sex pairs fostering eggs.

Both the zoo and the Post are hilariously attempting to mainstream the idea of motherless families or fatherless families by anthropomorphizing penguins, calling them a “non-traditional family” and referring to a “same-sex fostering journey.”


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