8/9/2010 – Terence P. Jeffrey –
U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who ruled last week that a voter-approved amendment to California’s constitution that limited marriage to the union of one man and one woman violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, based that ruling in part on his finding that a child does not need and has no right to a mother.
Nor, he found, does a child have a need or a right to a father.
“Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted,” the judge wrote in finding of fact No. 71 in his opinion.
“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment,” the judge stated in finding of fact No. 70. “The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.”
Despite Walker’s claim that this “fact” is “beyond serious debate,” one of the sources he cited for it was a brochure published by the American Psychological Association (APA) that was entered into evidence in the case, which specifically stated twice: “Few studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.” Walker did not quote this part of the brochure in his opinion.
However, Walker did quote this same brochure as saying: “[S]ocial science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents–concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people–are unfounded.”
This quote comes from a side-bar box on page five of the six-page APA brochure. The box purports to answer the “most common questions” about homosexual parents, posing four such questions and giving the APA’s answer to them.
The first is: “Do children of lesbian and gay parents have more problems with sexual identity than do children of heterosexual parents?”
The full answer in the brochure is as follows: “For instance, do these children develop problems in gender identity and/or in gender role behavior? The answer from research is clear: sexual and gender identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same way among children of lesbian mothers as they do among children of heterosexual parents. Few studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.”
The brochure does not explain why the APA concludes that the “answer from research is clear” that children of homosexual parents do not have more problems with sexual identity than children with mothers and fathers when in fact, as the brochure itself states, “[f]ew studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.” Nor does Judge Walker explain how his finding of “fact” that the gender of parents does not matter to children is “beyond serious debate” when in fact his own source stipulates that “[f]ew studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.”
The second question answered in the brochure is: “Do children raised by lesbian or gay parents have problems in personal development in areas other than sexual identity?”
The entirety of the answer provided in the brochure states: “For example, are the children of lesbian or gay parents more vulnerable to mental breakdown, do they have more behavior problems, or are they less psychologically healthy than other children? Again, studies of personality, self-concept, and behavior problems show few differences between children of lesbian mothers and children of heterosexual parents. Few studies are available regarding children of gay fathers.”
Judge Walker does not quote this part of the brochure in his finding that the gender of parents does not matter, nor does he explain how his finding can be “beyond serious debate” when in fact the very evidence he uses to establish this point states that “[f]ew studies are available regarding gay fathers.”
To further his case that the well-being of children is no bar to declaring same-sex marriage a right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, Judge Walker makes a finding of fact that the state of California already legally recognizes that the gender of parents is irrelevant. As Walker reports it, California laws goes so far as to “encourage” homosexuals to acquire children whether through adoption, foster care, or artificially conceiving a child and, presumably, in the case of a male-male couple, securing a female to gestate the child until the male-male couple can take custody of it.
“California law permits and encourages gays and lesbians to become parents through adoption, foster parenting or assistive reproductive technology,” writes Walker in finding of fact No. 49. “Approximately 18 percent of same-sex couples in California are raising children.”
To support this finding, Walker notes that California’s attorney general, who is Jerry Brown, “admits that the laws of California recognize no relationship between a person’s sexual orientation and his or her ability to raise children.”
“Attorney General admits,” writes Walker, “that California law protects the right of gay men and lesbians in same-sex relationships to be foster parents and to adopt children by forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Walker’s ruling declaring same-sex marriage protected under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, would have ramifications far beyond California, requiring states across the union to recognize same-sex marriages while wiping out any legal protection a child might have from being handed over by state governments to same-sex couples either through adoption or foster parenthood.
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as applied by Walker would require states to grant a marriage license to same-sex couples and would-be parents, while implicitly annihilating the notion that each American child has an equal right to a mother and a father.
A child put out for adoption or foster parenting by the state, or a child conceived through technological means and gestated in a hired womb, would have no right not to be assigned to a homosexual couple who would act as his or her father and father or mother and mother.