John Roughan – Men no substitute for a mum

NZ Herald 16 June 2012
When I suggested here that adoption by gay males might not be fair to a child I was fiercely condemned by an overwhelming majority online and advised to do some reading on the subject. I did. I have received an 88-page report circulated by National MP Nikki Kaye who has been preparing a legalisation bill. I think it is the report cited by an Auckland lawyer, David Friar, in an article last Friday that rubbished mine. It is a review of the available research with potted summaries of numerous studies, published by the American Psychological Association under the title Lesbian and Gay Parenting. Lesbian parenting didn’t worry me, I needed information on how children fare when brought up by two men.

The review paper by Charlotte J. Patterson summarised what is known of the effects on children under four headings: gender identity, gender-role behaviour, sexual orientation and social relationships. I suspect there would be more sources of psychological stress to consider but those will do. Practically the entire report is built on comparisons of the children of female couples and heterosexuals. (Google it and check). Yet when she comes to writing her conclusions Ms Patterson says: “There is no evidence to suggest lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents …” That’s quite a leap. On three of her four chosen criteria there was no data for men either way. Nevertheless, she continues, “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth.” This sort of thing makes me reach for the salt when sociological findings are cited on any subject. Researchers in this “discipline” seem to think that having done the hard work they have a licence to make their data, or lack of it, mean whatever they want. Their desired conclusion becomes the accepted knowledge to be used not just to discredit other views but to suppress their publication.

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