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Commentary:

Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children (May / June 2009 issue of “The Therapist,” a publication of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists—CAMFT)

LGBT Curriculum Coming to an Elementary School near You (May 2009)

Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Will Increase Prevalence of Homosexuality:
Research Provides Significant Evidence (September 29, 2008)

Pro-Homosexual Researchers Conceal Findings:
Children Raised by Openly Homosexual Parents More Likely to Engage in Homosexuality (June 30, 2008)

A Review and Analysis of Research Studies Which Assessed
Sexual Preference of Children Raised by Homosexuals (June 30, 2008)

Love Isn’t Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children (October 15, 2007)

Perceptions of Evil One Year After 9/11: A Psychological Analysis (September 2002)

Journalists and the Pedophile Smokescreen

Feminist Infantilization and Filicide

The Politics of Rape: Debunking the Feminist Myth

Dissertation:

An Investigation of Object Relations, Reality Testing, Erotophobia, and Defenses in Mothers of Incest Victims (1996)

 

Foreword

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) published a special issue of their bi-monthly journal “The Therapist” dedicated to the subject of same-sex marriage. Guest authors were asked to contribute articles, half of the writers in support and half opposed to same-sex marriage. A stated goal of the issue was to determine whether the organization should adopt a formal position on the matter.

Subsequent to publication of the May/June 2009 special issue (Volume 21, Issue 3), homosexual activists within and without the organization pressured CAMFT to not only apologize, but also expunge from their organizational archives those articles that voiced opposition to same-sex marriage. CAMFT capitulated to those demands. The Director of CAMFT apologized for publishing articles critical of same-sex marriage and all the "offending" articles were censored from the CAMFT website archives. So much for intellectual debate and freedom of opinion.

Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children
(May / June 2009 issue of “The Therapist,” a publication of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists—CAMFT)

By Trayce Hansen, Ph.D.

As mental health professionals, it’s our ethical and moral obligation to support policies that are in the best interest of those we serve, particularly those who are most vulnerable—namely, children. Same-sex marriage may be in the best interest of adult homosexuals who yearn for social and legal recognition of their unions, but it’s not in the best interest of children.

Proponents of same-sex marriage believe love is all children really need. Based on that supposition, they conclude it’s just as good for children to be raised by loving parents of the same sex, as by loving parents of the opposite sex. But that basic assumption—and all that flows from it—is naively simplistic and denies the complex nature and core needs of human beings.

According to decades of research, the ideal family structure for children is a two-parent, mother-father family.(1,2,3) That research consistently shows that children raised in such families are more likely to thrive—psychologically, mentally, and physically—than children reared in any other kind of family configuration.

Extensive research also reveals that not only mothers, but also fathers, are critical to the healthy development of children. Swedish researchers reviewed the best longitudinal studies from around the world that assessed the effects of fathers on children’s development. Their review spanned 20 years of studies and included over 22,000 children, and found that fathers reduce behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in girls, enhance cognitive development, and decrease delinquency.(4)

It’s clear that children benefit from having both a male and female parent. Recent medical research confirms genetically determined differences between men and women and those fundamental differences help explain why mothers and fathers bring unique characteristics to parenting that can’t be replicated by the other sex. Mothers and fathers simply aren’t interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father. One-sex parenting, whether by a single parent or a homosexual couple, deprives children of the full range of parenting offered by dual-sex couples.

Only mother-father families afford children the opportunity to develop relationships with a parent of the same, as well as the opposite sex. Relationships with both sexes early in life make it easier and more comfortable for a child to relate to both sexes later in life. Overall, having a relationship with both a male and female parent increases the likelihood that a child will have successful social and romantic relationships during his or her life.(5)

Moreover, existing research on children reared by homosexuals is not only scientifically flawed and extremely limited (6,7,8) but some of it actually indicates that those children are at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes.(6) Other studies find that homosexually parented children are more likely to experiment sexually, experience sexual confusion, and engage in homosexual and bisexual behavior themselves.(5,6,9) And for those children who later engage in non-heterosexual behavior, extensive research reveals they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, abuse alcohol and drugs, (10) attempt suicide, (11) experience domestic violence and sexual assault, (12) and are at increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS, and shortened life spans.(13,14,15)

It shouldn’t be surprising that studies find children reared by homosexuals are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior themselves (16,9,17) since extensive worldwide research reveals homosexuality is primarily environmentally induced. Specifically, social and/or family factors, as well as permissive environments which affirm homosexuality, play major environmental roles in the development of homosexual behavior.(18,19,20,21) There’s no question that human sexuality is fluid and pliant.(22) Consider ancient Greece and Rome—among many early civilizations—where male homosexuality and bisexuality were nearly ubiquitous. That was not so because most of those men were born with a “gay gene,” rather because sexuality is malleable and socially influenced.

Same-sex marriage no doubt will increase sexual confusion and sexual experimentation by young people. The implicit and explicit message of same-sex marriage is that all choices are equally acceptable and desirable. So even children from traditional homes—influenced by the all-sexual-options-are-equal message—will grow up thinking it doesn’t matter whom one relates to sexually or marries. Holding such a belief will lead some—if not many—young people to consider sexual and marital arrangements they never would have contemplated previously.

It also must be expected that if society permits same-sex marriage, it also will have to allow other types of non-traditional marriage. The legal logic is simple: If prohibiting same-sex marriage is discriminatory, then disallowing polygamous marriage, polyamorous marriage, or any other marital grouping also will be deemed discriminatory. In fact, such legal maneuverings have already begun. The emotional and psychological ramifications of these assorted arrangements on the developing psyches and sexuality of children would be disastrous.

To date, very little research exists that assesses long-term outcomes for homosexually parented children. According to Charlotte Patterson, a self-proclaimed, pro-same-sex-marriage researcher, there are only two longitudinal studies of children raised by lesbians.(23) And no long-term studies of children raised by homosexual men. A professional organization dedicated to the welfare of its patients cannot and should not support drastic change in social policy based on just two, small and non-representative longitudinal studies.

Certainly homosexual couples can be just as loving toward children as heterosexual couples, but children need more than love. They require the distinctive qualities and complementary natures of a male and female parent. The accumulated wisdom of over 5,000 years concludes that the ideal marital and parental configuration is composed of one man and one woman. This time-tested wisdom is now supported by the most advanced, scientifically sound research available.

Importantly, and to their credit, many self-proclaimed pro-same-sex-marriage researchers acknowledge that there is as of yet no definitive evidence as to the impact of homosexual parenting on children. Regardless, some of those advocates support same-sex marriage because they believe it offers a natural laboratory in which to assess the long-term impact on children.(24) That position is unconscionable and indefensible.

Same-sex marriage isn’t in the best interest of children. While we may empathize with those homosexuals who long to be married and parent children, we mustn’t allow our compassion for them to trump our compassion for children. In a contest between the desires of some homosexuals and the needs of all children, we cannot allow the children to lose.

CAMFT, like all mental health organizations, must base policy decisions on scientific evidence and research findings, not personal belief and political opinion. Most importantly, they must never allow children to be used as guinea pigs in unwise and potentially harmful social experiments.

References:
Marriage and the Family by the American College of Pediatricians available at http://www.acpeds.org.

Marriage and the Family by Child Trends available at http://www.childtrends.org.

Family Matters: Family Structure and Child Outcomes by the Alabama Policy Institute available at http://www.alabamapolicy.org.

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97, 153-158.

Biller, H.B. (1993). Fathers and families: Paternal factors in child development. Westport, Connecticut: Auburn House.

Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time For a Change by the American College of Pediatricians available at http://www.acpeds.org.

Lerner, R., & Nagai, A. (2001). No Basis: What the Studies Don’t Tell Us About Same-Sex Parenting, Washington DC: Marriage Law.

Nock, S.L. 2001, Affidavit of Steven Lowell Nock: Halpern v. Attorney General of Canada, No. 684/00 (Ontario Supreme Court of Justice).

Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T.J. (2001). (How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter. American Sociological Review, 66, 159-183.

Udry, J.R. & Chantala, K. (2005). Risk factors differ according to same-sex and opposite-sex interest. Journal of Biosocial Science, 37, 481-497.

Silenzio, V.M.B., Pena, J.B., Duberstein, P.R., Cerel, J., & Knox, K.L. (2007). Sexual orientation and risk factors for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among adolescents and young adults. American Journal of Public Health, 97 (11), 2017-2019.

Balsam, K.F., Rothblum, E.D., & Beauchaine, T.P. (2005). Victimization over the life span: A comparison of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual siblings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73 (3), 477-487.

Nurses’ Health Study II available at http://www.gaydata.org.

Hogg, R.S., Strathdee, S.A., Craib, K.J.P., OShaughnessy, M.V., Montaner, J.S.G., & Schechter, M.T. (1997). Modeling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men. International Journal of Epidemiology, 26 (3), 657-661.

Valanis, B.G., Bowen, D.J., Bassford, T., Whitlock, E., Charney, P., & Carter, R.A. (2000). Sexual orientation and health. Archives of Family Medicine, 9, 843-853.

Baumrind, D. (1995). Commentary on sexual orientation: Research and social policy implications. Developmental Psychology, 31 (1), 130-136.

Golombok, S., & Tasker, F. (1996). Do parents influence the sexual orientation of their children? Findings from a longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 32, 3-11.

Frisch, M., & Hviid, A. (2006). Childhood family correlates of heterosexual and homosexual marriages: A national cohort study of two million Danes. Archives of Sexual behavior, 35, 533-547.

Langstrom, N., Rahman, Q., Carlstrom, E., & Lichtenstein, P. (2008). Genetic and environmental effects on same-sex sexual behavior: A population study of twins in Sweden. Archives of Sexual behavior, DOI 10.1007/s10508-008-9386-1.

Lauman, E.O., Gagnon, J.H., Michael, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Santilla, P., Sandnabba, N.K., Harlaar, N., Varjonen, M., Alanko, K., von der Pahlen, B. (2008). Potential for homosexual response is prevalent and genetic. Biological Psychology, 77, 102-105.

Diamond, L.M. (2008). Female bisexuality from adolescence to adulthood: results from a 10-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology, 44 (1), 5-14.

Lesbian and Gay Parenting by Charlotte Patterson available at http://www.apa.org.

Gay Marriage, Same-Sex Parenting, and America’s Children by William Meezan and Jonathan Rauch available at http://www.futureofchildren.org.

Dr. Trayce L. Hansen is a licensed psychologist with a clinical and forensic practice. She received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego, in 1997. Dr. Hansen’s professional experiences are varied although she’s particularly interested in the areas of marriage, parenting, male/female differences, and homosexuality. Dr. Hansen has extensively reviewed the literature in these areas and occasionally writes commentaries based on her findings that have been published worldwide.

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©2009 Dr. Trayce Hansen. All rights reserved.

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