Tuesday, July 02, 2013
by Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D.
This article was originally published by the Family Research Council in 2002.
A number of studies in recent years have purported to show that children raised in gay and lesbian households fare no worse than those reared in traditional families. Yet much of that research fails to meet acceptable standards for psychological research; it is compromised by methodological flaws and driven by political agendas instead of an objective search for truth. In addition, openly lesbian researchers sometimes conduct research with an interest in portraying homosexual parenting in a positive light. The deficiencies of studies on homosexual parenting include reliance upon an inadequate sample size, lack of random sampling, lack of anonymity of research participants, and self-presentation bias.
The presence of methodological defects—a mark of substandard research—would be cause for rejection of research conducted in virtually any other subject area. The overlooking of such deficiencies in research papers on homosexual failures can be attributed to the “politically correct” determination within those in the social science professions to “prove” that homosexual households are no different than traditional families. However, no amount of scholarly legerdemain contained in an accumulation of flawed studies can obscure the well-established and growing body of evidence showing that both mothers and fathers provide unique and irreplaceable contributions to the raising of children. Children raised in traditional families by a mother and father are happier, healthier, and more successful than children raised in non-traditional environments.
David Cramer, whose review of twenty studies on homosexual parenting appeared in the Journal of Counseling and Development, found the following:
“The generalizability of the studies is limited. Few studies employed control groups and most had small samples. Almost all parents were Anglo-American, middle class, and well educated. Measures for assessing gender roles in young children tend to focus on social behavior and generally are not accurate psychological instruments. Therefore it is impossible to make large scale generalizations . . . that would be applicable to all children.”1
Since these words were penned in 1986, the number of studies on the subject of homosexual parenting has steadily grown. The fact that these studies continue to be flawed by the methodological errors warned about by Cramer has not inhibited the proponents of homosexual parenting from their sanguine assessment of the outcomes of children raised in homosexual households.
Silverstein and Auerbach, for example, see no essential difference between traditional mother-father families and homosexual-led families: “Other aspects of personal development and social relationships were also found to be within the normal range for children raised in lesbian and gay families.” They suggest that “gay and lesbian parents can create a positive family context.”2
This conclusion is echoed in the official statement on homosexual parenting by the American Psychological Association’s Public Interest Directorate, authored by openly lesbian activist Charlotte J. Patterson of the University of Virginia:
“In summary, there is no evidence that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of gay men or lesbians is compromised in any respect…Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”3
PROBLEMS WITH HOMOSEXUAL PARENTING RESEARCH
Upon closer examination, however, this conclusion is not as confident as it appears. In the next paragraph, Patterson qualifies her statement. Echoing Cramer’s concern from a decade earlier, she writes: “It should be acknowledged that research on lesbian and gay parents and their children is still very new and relatively scarce…Longitudinal studies that follow lesbian and gay families over time are badly needed.”4 The years have passed since Patterson’s admission of the inadequacy of homosexual parenting studies, and we still await definitive, objective research substantiating her claims.
In addition, Patterson acknowledges that “research in this area has presented a variety of methodological challenges,” and that “questions have been raised with regard to sampling issues, statistical power, and other technical matters (e.g., Belcastro, Gramlich, Nicholson, Price, & Wilson, 1993).” She adds, revealingly:
“Research in this area has also been criticized for using poorly matched or no control groups in designs that call for such controls. . . . Other criticisms have been that most studies have involved relatively small samples [and] that there have been inadequacies in assessment procedures employed in some studies.”5
Though she admits to serious methodological and design errors that would call into question the findings of any study, Patterson makes the astonishing claim that “even with all the questions and/or limitations that may characterize research in the area, none of the published research suggests conclusions different from those that will be summarized below.” But any such conclusions are only as reliable as the evidence upon which they are based. If the alleged evidence is flawed, then the conclusions must likewise be considered suspect.
One suspects that the lack of studies with proper design and controls is due to the political agendas driving the acceptance of homosexual parenting, which favor inadequate and superficial research yielding the desired results.
In a study published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, P. Belcastro et al. reviewed fourteen studies on homosexual parenting according to accepted scientific standards. Their “most impressive finding” was that “all of the studies lacked external validity. The conclusion that there are no significant differences in children raised by lesbian mothers versus heterosexual mothers is not supported by the published research data base.”6 Similarly, in their study of lesbian couples in Family Relations, L. Keopke et al. remark, “Conducting research in the gay community is fraught with methodological problems.”7
A careful reading of studies used to lend support to homosexual parenting reveals more modest claims than are often attributed to them, as well as significant methodological limitations:
“Nearly all of the existing studies of homosexual parenting have major deficiencies in sampling: They use a small sample size; they fail to obtain a truly representative sample due to sources of sampling bias; they do not use a random sample; or they use a sample with characteristics that are inappropriate for the crucial development research question involved in the study.”8
Inadequate Sample Size
Studies examining the effects of homosexual parenting are weakened by inordinately small sample sizes:
After finding no significant difference between a group of nine children raised by lesbians and a similar group of children raised by heterosexual parents, S. L. Huggins admitted, “The meaning and implications of this finding are unclear, and the small sample size makes any interpretation of these data difficult.”9
A report by J. M. Bailey et al. in Developmental Psychology, commenting on studies of the children of gay and lesbian parents, notes that “available studies [are] insufficiently large to generate much statistical power.”10
S. Golombok and F. Tasker admit in their follow-up study of children reared by lesbians, “It is possible that the small sample size resulted in an underestimate of the significance of group difference as a result of low statistical power (Type II error).”11 Elsewhere they caution that negative effects of children reared by lesbians “could have remained undetected because of the relatively small sample size. Therefore, although discernible trends were identified, caution is required in interpreting these results.”12
In his study published in Child Psychiatry and Human Development comparing the children of homosexual and heterosexual mothers, G. A. Javaid frankly admits that “the numbers are too small in this study to draw any conclusions.”13
J. J. Bigner and R. B. Jacobson state in the Journal of Homosexuality:
“Those who do study gay fathers may be frustrated by the difficulties of obtaining valid and adequate sample sizes. Most often, researchers must deal with many methodological problems in locating and testing gay fathers in numbers sufficiently large to make acceptable statistical analyses of data. For this reason, what is known currently about gay fathers is weakened by these methodological problems. It is practically impossible to obtain a representative sample of gay fathers, and those studies published to date frequently utilize groups of white, urban, well-educated males for study because of convenience sampling.”14
In her study of lesbian families, Patterson admits to sampling bias: “Some concerns relevant to sampling issues should also be acknowledged. Most of the families who took part in the Bay Area Families Study were headed by lesbian mothers who were White, well educated, relatively affluent, and living in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. For these reasons, no claims about representativeness of the present sample can be made.”15
Similarly, N. L. Wyers, in his study of male and female homosexual parents that appeared in Social Work, acknowledges that his study “cannot be considered representative” and that “therefore, the findings cannot be generalized beyond the sample itself.”16
By contrast, R. Green et al. writing in Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that the few experimental studies that included even modestly larger samples (13—30) of boys or girls reared by homosexual parents:
“[Found] developmentally important statistically significant differences between children reared by homosexual parents compared to heterosexual parents. For example, children raised by homosexuals were found to have greater parental encouragement for cross-gender behavior [and] greater amounts of cross-dressing and cross-gender play/role behavior.”17
Lack of Random Sampling
Researchers use random sampling to ensure that the study participants are representative of the population being studied (for example, homosexuals or lesbians). Findings from unrepresentative samples have no legitimate generalization to the larger population.
L. Lott-Whitehead and C. T. Tully admit the inherent weaknesses in their study of lesbian mothers: “This study was descriptive and, therefore, had inherent in its design methodological flaws consistent with other similar studies. Perhaps the most serious concerns representativeness. . . . Probability random sampling . . . was impossible. This study does not purport to contain a representative sample, and thus generalizability cannot be assumed.”18
N. L. Wyers acknowledges that he did not use random sampling procedures in his study of lesbian and gay spouses, rendering his study “vulnerable to all the problems associated with self-selected research participants.”19
Golombok et al. write of their study: “A further objection to the findings lies in the nature of the samples studied. Both groups were volunteers obtained through gay and single-parent magazines and associations. Obviously these do not constitute random samples, and it is not possible to know what biases are involved in the method of sample selection.”20
Lack of Anonymity of Research Participants.
Research procedures guaranteeing complete anonymity are necessary to prevent a source of bias as to who will consent to participate as a research subject, and ensure the truthfulness and candor of their answers.
M. B. Harris and P. H. Turner point out in the Journal of Homosexuality:
“Most gay/lesbian parents who participate in such research are concerned about their parenting and their children, and most have established a public gay identity. ‘Closet’ gay parents are difficult to identify, and their problems may be quite different from those of more openly gay parents.”21
Harris and Turner employed superior research techniques to ensure the complete anonymity of their research subjects. As a result, in contrast to other studies, they reported problems associated with being a homosexual parent that had gone unreported by earlier studies: “Perhaps the anonymity of the present sampling procedure made subjects more willing to acknowledge those problems than those in earlier studies.”22
A lack of random sampling and the absence of controls guaranteeing anonymity allow subjects to present a misleading picture to the researcher that conforms to the subject’s attitudes or opinions and suppresses evidence that does not conform to the image he or she desires to present.
In their National Lesbian Family Study N. Gartrell et al. found that eighteen of nineteen studies of homosexual parents used a research procedure that was contaminated by self-presentation bias. Gartrell mentions the methodological problems of one longitudinal study of lesbian families:
“Some may have volunteered for this project because they were motivated to demonstrate that lesbians were capable of producing healthy, happy children. To the extent that these subjects might wish to present themselves and their families in the best possible light, the study findings may be shaped by self-justification and self-presentation bias.”23
Harris and Turner admit, with regard to their study: “There is no way of knowing how representative the sample is…The high proportion of gay subjects who indicated a willingness to be interviewed suggests that they were perhaps unusually interested in the issues raised in the questionnaire and thus willing to divulge their homosexuality to the researchers.
“Moreover, even though the questionnaire was anonymous, the gay parents may have been particularly biased toward emphasizing the positive aspects of their relationships with their children, feeling that the results might have implications for custody decisions in the future. Thus, all generalizations must be viewed with caution. . . . Because all uncorroborated self-report data are subject to biases, and because parents may deliberately or unconsciously minimize the extent of conflicts with their children, these findings cannot be accepted at face value.”24
Evidence from Marmoset Monkeys?
Some advocates of homosexual parenting claim to find confirmation of the “normalcy” of homosexual parenting by observing animal behavior. Silverstein and Auerbach, for example, adopt the unusual tactic of appealing to the offspring-raising habits of a soft-furred, tree-dwelling South American monkey to support their contention that homosexual households lead to positive child outcomes:
“Marmosets illustrate how, within a particular bioecological context, optimal child outcomes can be achieved with fathers as primary caregivers and limited involvement by mothers. Human examples of this proposition include single fathers . . . and families headed by gay fathers.”25
The twenty-six species of marmosets live in family groups of up to thirty monkeys. Only the dominant female of the group gives birth, usually to twins. What Silverstein and Auerbach find so impressive about these tiny primates is that, after birth, the males as well as females of the group help carry the baby marmosets, passing them back to the mother for nursing.
It is difficult to grasp the significance Silverstein and Auerbach attach to what they readily admit is an “extreme example” of the supposed “limited parenting involvement by mothers.”26 The authors contend, “Male marmosets behave like full-time mothers.”
It seems there are specific chores that the male marmosets cannot perform. As the authors themselves admit, marmoset mothers perform the essential function of nursing their young, without which the baby marmosets—who must depend upon their mother’s milk for the first three months of life—could not survive. In turn, the males of the group fill the vital role of watching the baby marmosets, protecting them from predators, while the nursing mother forages to replenish herself. In short, one could just as well argue, contrary to Silverstein and Auerbach, that the behavior of marmoset monkeys demonstrates that both male and female fulfill separate and important functions in the raising of young.
Psychologist David Blankenhorn, head of the Institute for American Values and author of Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem, criticized such attempts to rely upon behavioral studies of non-human primates to draw conclusions about the character of human families:
“I always appreciate critical articles, because they can focus your argument and point out weaknesses. But [Silverstein and Auerbach’s] article was unusually silly. Not one thing they said was what I would call a serious insight.”27
In their thorough review of homosexual parenting studies, Robert Lerner and Althea K. Nagai found little evidence to support the oft-repeated mantra that homosexual households are “just like” traditional families:
“We conclude that the methods used in these studies are so flawed that these studies prove nothing. Therefore, they should not be used in legal cases to make any argument about ‘homosexual vs. heterosexual’ parenting. Their claims have no basis.”28
1 David Cramer, “Gay Parents and Their Children: A Review of Research and Practical Implications,” Journal of Counseling and Development 64 (April 1986): 506. See also Frederick W. Bozett, “Gay Fathers: A Review of the Literature,” in Homosexuality and the Family (New York: Harrington Park Press, 1989), p. 152. Bozett writes: “Most studies of gay fathers are based on nonrandom small sample sizes, with subjects who are Caucasian, middle- to upper-class, well educated with occupations commensurate with their education, who come mostly from urban centers, and who are relatively accepting of their homosexuality. There is severely limited knowledge of gay fathers who vary from these demographics. Moreover, the validity and reliability of the instruments used in the studies reported are not always addressed.”
2 Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach, “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” American Psychologist 54 (June 1999): 397–407.
3 Charlotte J. Patterson, “Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” American Psychological Association Public Interest Directorate (1995): 8.
5 Ibid., p. 2.
6 P. A. Belcastro et al., “A Review of Data Based Studies Addressing the Affects of Homosexual Parenting on Children’s Sexual and Social Functioning,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 20 (1993): 105, 106.
7 L. Keopke et al., “Relationship Quality in a Sample of Lesbian Couples with Children and Child-free Lesbian Couples,” Family Relations 41 (1992): 225.
8 J. Paul Guiliani and Dwight G. Duncan, “Brief of Amici Curiae Massachusetts Family Institute and National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality,” Appeal to the Supreme Court of Vermont, Docket No. S1009-97CnC.
9 S. L. Huggins, “A Comparative Study of Self-esteem of Adolescent Children of Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Divorced Heterosexual Mothers,” Journal of Homosexuality 18 (1989): 134.
10 J. M. Bailey et al., “Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers,” Developmental Psychology 31 (1995): 124.
11 Susan Golombok and Fiona L. Tasker, “Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children? Findings from a Longitudinal Study of Lesbian Families,” Developmental Psychology 32 (1996): 9.
12 F. Tasker and S. Golombok, “Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families,” Developmental Psychology 31 (1995): 213.
13 Ghazala A. Javaid, “The Children of Homosexual and Heterosexual Single Mothers,” Child Psychiatry and Human Development 23 (1993): 245.
14 Jerry J. Bigner and R. Brooke Jacobson, “Adult Responses to Child Behavior and Attitudes Toward Fathering: Gay and Nongay Fathers,” Journal of Homosexuality 23 (1992): 99–112.
15 Charlotte J. Patterson, “Families of the Lesbian Baby Boom: Parent’s Division of Labor and Children’s Adjustment,” Development Psychology 31 (1995): 122.
16 Norman L. Wyers, “Homosexuality in the Family: Lesbian and Gay Spouses,” Social Work 32 (1987): 144.
17 Richard Green et al., “Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 15 (1986): 167–184.
18 Laura Lott-Whitehead and Carol T. Tully, “The Family Lives of Lesbian Mothers,” Smith College Studies in Social Work 63 (1993): 265.
19 Wyers, “Homosexuality in the Family,” p. 144.
20 Golombok et al., “Children in Lesbian and Single-parent Households: Psychosexual and Psychiatric Appraisal,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 24 (1983): 569.
21 Mary B. Harris and Pauline H. Turner, “Gay and Lesbian Parents,” Journal of Homosexuality 12 (1985): 104.
22 Ibid., p. 112.
23 Nanette Gartrell et al., “The National Lesbian Family Study: Interviews with Prospective Mothers,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 66 (1996): 279.
24 Harris and Turner, “Gay and Lesbian Parents,” p. 111, 112.
25 Silverstein and Auerbach, “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” p. 400.
27 Justin Torres, “APA Fatherhood Report ‘Utter Nonsense,'” Conservative News Service, July 16, 1999.
28 Robert Lerner and Althea K. Nagai, No Basis: What the Studies Don’t Tell Us About Same Sex Parenting (Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 2001): 6.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
By Timothy J. Dailey, Ph.D.
This article was originally published by the Family Research Council in 2002.
A POLITICAL AGENDA: REDEFINING MARRIAGE
It is not the intention of homosexual activists simply to make it possible for homosexuals and lesbians to partake of conventional married life. By their own admission they aim to change the essential character of marriage, removing precisely the aspects of fidelity and chastity that promote stability in the relationship and the home:
Paula Ettelbrick, former legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, has stated, “Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so. . . . Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process transforming the very fabric of society.”61
According to homosexual writer and activist Michelangelo Signorile, the goal of homosexuals is: “To fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution…The most subversive action lesbian and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”62
Signorile goes so far as to redefine the term monogamy: “For these men the term ‘monogamy’ simply doesn’t necessarily mean sexual exclusivity…The term ‘open relationship’ has for a great many gay men come to have one specific definition: A relationship in which the partners have sex on the outside often, put away their resentment and jealousy, and discuss their outside sex with each other, or share sex partners.63
The views of Signorile and Ettelbrick regarding marriage are widespread in the homosexual community. According to the Mendola Report, a mere 26 percent of homosexuals believe that commitment is most important in a marriage relationship.64
Former homosexual William Aaron explains why even homosexuals involved in “committed” relationships do not practice monogamy: “In the gay life, fidelity is almost impossible. Since part of the compulsion of homosexuality seems to be a need on the part of the homophile to ‘absorb’ masculinity from his sexual partners, he must be constantly on the lookout for [new partners]. Consequently the most successful homophile ‘marriages’ are those where there is an arrangement between the two to have affairs on the side while maintaining the semblance of permanence in their living arrangement.”65
Even those who support the concept of homosexual “families” admit to their unsuitability for children:
In their study in Family Relations, L. Koepke et al. observed, “Even individuals who believe that same-sex relationships are a legitimate choice for adults may feel that children will suffer from being reared in such families.”66
Writing in the Journal of Homosexuality, J. J. Bigner and R. B. Jacobson describe the homosexual father as “socioculturally unique,” trying to take on “two apparently opposing roles: that of a father (with all its usual connotations) and that of a homosexual man.” They describe the homosexual father as “both structurally and psychologically at social odds with his interest in keeping one foot in both worlds: parenting and homosexuality.”67
In truth, the two roles are fundamentally incompatible. The instability, susceptibility to disease, and domestic violence that is disproportionate in homosexual and lesbian relationships would normally render such households unfit to be granted custody of children. However, in the current social imperative to rush headlong into granting legitimacy to the practice of homosexuality in every conceivable area of life, such considerations are often ignored.
But children are not guinea pigs to be used in social experiments in redefining the institution of marriage. They are vulnerable individuals with vital emotional and developmental needs. The great harm done by denying them both a mother and a father in a committed marriage will not easily be reversed, and society will pay a grievous price for its ill-advised adventurism.
CHILDREN NEED A MOM AND A DAD
Attempts to redefine the very nature of the family ignore the accumulated wisdom of cultures and societies from time immemorial, which testifies that the best way for children to be raised is by a mother and father who are married to each other. The importance of the traditional family has been increasingly verified by research showing that children from married two-parent households do better academically, financially, emotionally, and behaviorally. They delay sex longer, have better health, and receive more parental support.68
Homosexual or lesbian households are no substitute for a family: Children also need both a mother and a father. Blankenhorn discusses the different but necessary roles that mothers and fathers play in children’s lives: “If mothers are likely to devote special attention to their children’s present physical and emotional needs, fathers are likely to devote special attention to their character traits necessary for the future, especially qualities such as independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to test limits and take risks.”
Blankenhorn further explains:
“Compared to a mother’s love, a father’s love is frequently more expectant, more instrumental, and significantly less conditional. . . . For the child, from the beginning, the mother’s love is an unquestioned source of comfort and the foundation of human attachment. But the father’s love is almost a bit farther away, more distant and contingent. Compared to the mother’s love, the father’s must frequently be sought after, deserved, earned through achievement.”69
Author and sociologist David Popenoe confirms that mothers and fathers fulfill different roles in their children’s lives. In Life without Father Popenoe notes, “Through their play, as well as in their other child-rearing activities, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking and independence. Mothers in their care-taking roles, in contrast, stress emotional security and personal safety.”
Parents also discipline their children differently: “While mothers provide an important flexibility and sympathy in their discipline, fathers provide ultimate predictability and consistency. Both dimensions are critical for an efficient, balanced, and humane child-rearing regime.”70
The complementary aspects of parenting that mothers and fathers contribute to the rearing of children are rooted in the innate differences of the two sexes, and can no more be arbitrarily substituted than can the very nature of male and female. Accusations of sexism and homophobia notwithstanding, along with attempts to deny the importance of both mothers and fathers in the rearing of children, the oldest family structure of all turns out to be the best.
In his analysis of human cultures, the eminent Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin argued that no society has ceased to honor the institution of marriage and survived. Sorokin considered traditional marriage and parenting as the fulfillment of life’s meaning for both individuals and society: “Enjoying the marital union in its infinite richness, parents freely fulfill many other paramount tasks. They maintain the procreation of the human race. Through their progeny they determine the hereditary and acquired characteristics of future generations. Through marriage they achieve a social immortality of their own, of their ancestors, and of their particular groups and community. This immortality is secured through the transmission of their name and values, and of their traditions and ways of life to their children, grandchildren, and later generations.”71
In the 1981 Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II summarized the importance of marriage-based families: “The family has vital and organic links with society since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually through its role of service to life: It is from the family that citizens come to birth and it is within the family that they find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself.”72
None of this is possible in homosexual or lesbian households, which are by definition incapable of creating progeny and contributing to the “procreation of the human race.” Any children found in such households are of necessity obtained either from married couples or otherwise through the sexual union of male and female, artificially or otherwise. Thus such households are ironically dependent upon the very womb of society—the union of male and female—that they wish so fervently to deny. In It Takes a Village, Hillary Rodham Clinton refers, perhaps inadvertently, to indelible “laws of nature” when she observes that “every society requires a critical mass of families that fit the traditional ideal.” Similarly, an organism needs a critical mass of healthy cells to survive, and—as every oncologist knows—the fewer abnormal cells the better.
In a democratic society, those who choose to cohabit in “alternative” familial arrangements such as same-sex unions have the freedom to do so. But toleration is one thing; promotion and “celebration” are another. To entrust children to such arrangements is wholly beyond the pale. As history shows, a society that champions such unions at the expense of traditional families does so at its own peril. But with the formidable forces of nature, culture, and history arrayed against them, such efforts to remake the most fundamental institution of society are not likely, in the end, to prevail.
61 Paula Ettelbrick, quoted in William B. Rubenstein, “Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?” Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Law, (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 398, 400.
62 Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” Out, December 1994.
63 Michelangelo Signorile, Life Outside (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 213.
64 Mary Mendola, The Mendola Report (New York: Crown, 1980), p. 53.
65 William Aaron, Straight (New York: Bantam Books, 1972), p. 208, cited by Joseph Nicolosi in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, p. 125, quoted by Robert H. Knight in “How Domestic Partnerships and ‘Gay Marriage’ Threaten the Family,” Family Research Council, Insight, June 1994, p. 9.
66 L. Koepke et al., “Relationship Quality in a Sample of Lesbian Couples with Children and Child-free Lesbian Couples,” Family Relations 41 (1992): 228.
67 Bigner and Jacobson, “Adult Responses to Child Behavior and Attitudes Toward Fathering,” pp. 174, 175.
68 See the following: Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandfeur, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 45; Pat Fagan, “How Broken Families Rob Children of Their Chances for Prosperity,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1283, June 11, 1999, p. 13; Dawn Upchurch et al., “Gender and Ethnic Differences in the Timing of First Sexual Intercourse,” Family Planning Perspectives 30 (1998): 121–127; Jeanne M. Hilton and Esther L. Devall, “Comparison of Parenting and Children’s Behavior in Single-Mother, Single-Father, and Intact Families,” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 29 (1998): 23–54; Jane Mauldon, “The Effect of Marital Disruption on Children’s Health,” Demography 27 (1990): 431–446; Frank Furstenberg, Jr., and Julien Teitler, “Reconsidering the Effects of Marital Disruption: What Happens to Children of Divorce in Early Adulthood?” Journal of Family Issues 15 (June 1994); Elizabeth Thomson et al., “Family Structure and Child Well-Being: Economic Resources vs. Parental Behaviors,” Social Forces 73 (1994): 221–42.
69 David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 219.
70 David Popenoe, Life Without Father (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), pp. 144, 146.
71 Pitirim Sorokin, The American Sex Revolution (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1956), pp. 6, 77–105.
72 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, December 15, 1981, Section 42. Quoted by Robert H. Knight in “Gay ‘Marriage’: Hawaii’s Assault on Matrimony,” Family Policy, February 1996, p. 5.
Monday, July 01, 2013
by A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D, MBA, MPH
The following article was originally posted on Narth.com on April 4, 2007, and can be viewed at http://narth.com/docs/nothardwired.html.
April 4, 2007 – Dr. Francis S. Collins, one of the world’s leading scientists who works at the cutting edge of DNA, concluded that “there is an inescapable component of heritability to many human behavioral traits. For virtually none of them is heredity ever close to predictive.”
In reviewing the heritability (influence of genetic factors) of personality traits, Dr. Collins referenced the estimates of the percentage of various human personality traits that can be ascribed to heredity from the Bochard and McGue research.
The heritability estimates for personality traits were varied: General Cognitive Ability (50%), Extroversion (54%), Agreeableness (42%), Conscientiousness (49%), Neuroticism (48%), Openness (57%), Aggression (38%) and Traditionalism (54%).
Kirk et al. (2000) in their research using a community-based cohort of Australian twins reported a heritability estimate of 30% for homosexuality. Whitehead (1999, 2006) in his extensive review of the research cites 30% as the estimate of heritability for homosexuality as well, though he views the estimate as a maximum.
Estimates of heritability are based upon careful analyses of studies conducted with identical twins. Such studies are important and lead to the conclusion that heredity is important in many of these traits. It is important however, to note that even in such studies with identical twins, that heritability is not to be confused as inevitability.
As Dr. Collins would agree, environment can influence gene expression, and free will determines the response to whatever predispositions might be present.
Dr. Collins succinctly reviewed the research on homosexuality and offers the following: “An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”
Dr. Collins noted that environment, particularly childhood experiences as well as the role of free will choices affect all of us in profound ways. As researchers discover increasing levels of molecular detail about inherited factors that underlie our personalities, it’s critical that such data be used to illuminate, not provide support to idealogues.
Citing such dangers, Dr. Collins referred to the book written by activist Dean Hamer who declared the discovery of the God Gene (this same author also is associated with “discovering the gay gene”). Dr. Collins noted that the “evidence” in Hamer’s book “grabbed headlines,” but was “wildly overstated.”
A reviewer in Scientific American suggested that Hamer’s book on the God Gene should have been titled, “A Gene That Accounts for Less than One Percent of the Variance Found in Scores on Psychological Questionnaires Designed to Measure a Factor Called Self-Transcendence, Which Can Signify Everything from Belonging to the Green Party to Believing in ESP, According to One Unpublished, Unreplicated Study.”
Unfortunately, much of the research in areas such as homosexuality, has been not only misrepresented in the media but by the scientists themselves through the tendency to overestimate the quantitative contribution of their findings.
Perhaps the best example of this media misrepresentation was the two studies conducted by J. Michael Bailey. In Bailey’s first study, he reported a concordance rate of 52%. In a second study, Bailey reported a concordance of 20-37.5%, depending on how loosely you define homosexuality. The first study received a great deal of press. The second study received almost no media attention.
Bailey himself acknowledged probable selection bias in his first study—he recruited in venues where “participants considered the sexual orientation of their co-twins before agreeing to participate.” The second study, using the Australian Twin Registry with its anonymous response format, made such bias unlikely.
Regarding the contributions of genetics to areas such as homosexuality, Dr. Collins concluded, “Yes, we have all been dealt a particular set of cards, and the cards will eventually be revealed. But how we play the hand is up to us.”*
Bailey, Michael J., Michael P. Dunne and Nicholas G. Martin (2000). Genetic and environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 3, 524-536.
Collins, Francis S. (2006). The language of god, a scientist presents evidence for belief, New York: Free Press.
Kirk, K. M., J. M. Bailey, M. P. Dunne and N. G. Martin (2000). Measurement models for sexual orientation in a community twin sample. Behavior Genetics, 30, 4, 2000, 345-356.
Whitehead, Neil and Briar (1999). My Genes Made Me Do It! A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation. Lafayette, Louisiana: Huntington House Press.
Whitehead, Neil (2006). “What do first ages of SSA or OSA tell us about their origins?” In NARTH Collected Papers.
*Dr. Steve Simon (in an email correspondence) noted quite appropriately that heritability is a measure of the ratio of two variances and is not a simple proportion. A heritability index and a proportion are calculated on different scales. In this case, however, both the data from the heritability index and the proportion support the conclusion that homosexuality is not hardwired (or simply biologically fated). Though Dr. Collins offered a 20% concordance for monozygotic twins, it should be noted that this figure is the proband concordance. This is mathematically correct. However, Dr. Neil Whitehead offered a correct pairwise concordance of 11%. For the lay audience, it should be understood that different answers will emerge with different models. However, the conclusion is the same: current data provides little evidence to support the conclusion that homosexuality is hardwired.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This article was orDr. Whitehead nobody is born gayiginally posted by NARTH.com. It can be viewed at http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead2.html
by N. E. Whitehead, Ph.D.
A constant stream of media articles–several per year–assures us that there is a link between homosexuality and biological features. These articles mention genes, brain structure, hormone levels in the womb, ear characteristics, fingerprint styles, finger lengths, verbal skills…… and by the time you read this, some others may have appeared. The headlines imply that people are born with tendencies which infallibly will make them gay or lesbian, and that change of sexual orientation will be impossible.
Individually some of these pieces are not very convincing, but the sheer volume of them suggests that they must amount to an overwhelming influence–or if not, further research will add to them and make it so. This is not true either, and we see shortly that twin studies refute it.
Twin studies in their modern form investigate both identical and fraternal twins, but this article emphasizes studies of identical twins, which are sufficient for our purposes. Studies of non-identical twins are detailed elsewhere (1).
Earlier studies mostly used informal or “snowball” samples of twins recruited from gay and lesbian associations, and by advertisements (e.g. 2,3). Such studies are possibly biased by the nature of twins who volunteer, but even so, if one identical twin was homosexual, only about half the time was the co-twin concordant (i.e. also homosexual).
Better research, however, was based on twins who were recruited for other reasons, and only subsequently asked about their sexual orientation. These are known as “registry” studies, and they similarly gave a concordance rate between identical twins of less than 50%. There have been two major published registry studies (4,5), one based on the Minnesota Registry, the other on the Australian Registry. The larger of the two registry studies is the Australian one, done by Bailey, Martin and others at the University of Queensland. Using the 14,000+ Australian twin collection, they found that if one twin was homosexual, 38% of the time his identical brother was too. For lesbianism the concordance was 30%. Whether 30% or 50% concordance (snowball samples), all the studies agree it is clearly not 100%.
The critical factor is that if one identical twin is homosexual, only sometimes is the co-twin homosexual. There is no argument about this in the scientific community.
Identical twins have identical genes. If homosexuality was a biological condition produced inescapably by the genes (e.g. eye color), then if one identical twin was homosexual, in 100% of the cases his brother would be too. But we know that only about 38% of the time is the identical twin brother homosexual. Genes are responsible for an indirect influence, but on average, they do not force people into homosexuality. This conclusion has been well known in the scientific community for a few decades (e.g. 6) but has not reached the general public. Indeed, the public increasingly believes the opposite.
Identical twins had essentially the same upbringing. Suppose homosexuality resulted from some interaction with parents that infallibly made children homosexual. Then if one twin was homosexual, the other would also always be homosexual. But as we saw above, if one is homosexual, the other is usually not. Family factors may be an influence, but on average do not compel people to be homosexual.
Twin studies suggest that as a class, events unique to each twin–neither genetic nor family influences–are more frequent than genetic influences or family influences. But many individual family factors (such as the distant father) are commoner than the individual unique factors. Unique events would include seduction, sexual abuse, chance sexual encounters, or particular reactions to sensitive events, when young. Everyone has their own unique path which only partly follows that of the theoreticians!
A fascinating sidelight on all this comes from the work of Bailey (7). His team asked non-concordant identical twins (one was homosexual, one not) about their early family environment, and found that the same family environment was experienced or perceived by the twins in quite different ways. These differences led later to homosexuality in one twin, but not in the other.
Strength of Influences
At this point, some of you will be asking–what about the concordant identical twins who were both homosexual? Could their genes have “made them do it”?
No. It can be a strong influence for a few, but even for those few, it is never overwhelming. The record strengths for genetic influence on behaviors are 79% in a group of highly addicted women cocaine addicts (8) and about the same or somewhat higher, for ADHD (9). Because those figures are not 100%, even among addicts or those strongly pushed towards some other behavior, there is room for outside intervention and change. Hence even if homosexuality is as addictive as cocaine for a few individuals, their genes didn’t “make them do it.”
For perspective, it is valuable to compare genetic contributions to homosexuality with the question – is a girl genetically compelled to become pregnant at 15? Her genes might give her physical characteristics that make her attractive to boys – but whether she gets pregnant will depend greatly on whether her community is Amish or urban, conservative or liberal, whether they use contraceptives, and whether the parents are away for the evening.
So the influence of the genes is very indirect. We can see this by thinking further – if she was in solitary confinement all her life, would her genes make her become pregnant? Of course not! Some influence from the environment (in this case a boy) is essential! The effects of genes on behaviors are very indirect because genes make proteins, not preferences.
So the results of identical-twin studies are critical in understanding the biological influences on homosexuality. Only for physical traits like skin color are identical twins 100% concordant; otherwise they don’t necessarily follow either their parents’ genes…or their parents’ admonitions! In this, homosexuality proves to be no different from such unrelated behaviors as violence, being extroverted, or getting divorced. All may be influenced by genes, but not overwhelmingly determined by them.
Future Biological Research
Will continuing research eventually find some overwhelming biological influences to produce homosexuality, or find that added together, all the biological influences are overwhelming? No. The twin studies prove that future research will never discover any overwhelming biological factors which compel homosexuality.
Future Psychological Research
The complementary finding is just as true. There are many influences from upbringing, and probably many we have not yet discovered–but however many we find, it will always remain true (because the twin studies tell us so) that family influences will never overwhelmingly compel children to be homosexual.
Childhood Gender non-conformity (essentially strong sissiness, rather than a diagnosis of GID) is the strongest single influence ever found associated with adult homosexuality, but even this factor is not overwhelmingly compelling. 75% of a sample of extremely “sissy” boys became homosexual when followed through to adulthood (10). But we must remember they were so sissy that parents were extremely concerned and referred them to the research clinic for help. Only a small percentage of sissy boys from the general population become homosexual as adults (11). This is even more true of other factors which have been researched and publicized in the media, and leads to a another important rule of thumb: “Only a small minority of those exposed to any predisposing factor become homosexual.”
This may be a surprise to some clinicians, who may have found high percentages of sissiness, tomboyishness or same-sex parent deficits in their clients. But that is a clinical sample – out in the extra-clinical world, surveys show that only a small percentage of those with poor same-sex parent relationships become homosexual. For whatever reason those factors have often become extremely influential in such clients’ lives and must be taken very seriously; but because they are minor factors in the whole population, clinicians must not force everyone into the same box, which may be uncomfortable, or simply not fit. They must be open to any unusual factor which has been important for the specific client.
The scientific truth is – our genes don’t force us into anything. But we can support or suppress our genetic tendencies. We can foster them or foil them. If we reinforce our genetic tendencies thousands of times (even if only through homoerotic fantasy), is it surprising that it is hard to change? Similarly, we have a genetic tendency to eat, but it is possible to foster this tendency and overeat for the pleasure it brings. If we repeat that often enough, we will not only reinforce a genetic tendency to become overweight, but find that “starving” the habit takes a long time!
1. No scientist believes genes by themselves infallibly make us behave in specified ways. Genes create a tendency, not a tyranny.
2. Identical twin studies show that neither genetic nor family factors are overwhelming.
3. Conclusion 2 will not be altered by any research in the future.
4. We can foster or foil genetic or family influences.
5. Change is possible.
1. Whitehead, NE; Whitehead,BK (1999): My Genes Made Me Do It! Huntington House, Layfayette, Louisiana. See alsowww.mygenes.co.nz.
2. Bailey, JM; Pillard,RC (1991): A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 48, 1089-1096.
3. Bailey, JM; Pillard,RC; Neale,MC; Agyei,Y (1993): Heritable factors influence sexual orientation in women. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 50, 217-223.
4. Hershberger, SL (1997): A twin registry study of male and female sexual orientation. J. of Sex Research 34, 212-222.
5. Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536.
6. West, DJ (1977): Homosexuality Reexamined. 4th ed. Duckworth, London.
7. Bailey, NM; Pillard,RC (1995): Genetics of human sexual orientation. Ann. Rev. Sex Research 6, 126-150.
8. Kendler, KS; Prescott,CA (1998): Cocaine use, abuse and dependence in a population-based sample of female twins. Brit. J. Psychiatry 173, 345-350.
9. Rhee, SH; Waldman,ID; Hay,DA; Levy,F (1999): Sex differences in genetic and environmental influences on DSM-III-R attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J. Abnorm. Psychology 108, 24-41.
10. Green, R (1987). The “Sissy Boy Syndrome” and the Development of Homosexuality. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
11. Bell, AP; Weinberg,MS; Hammersmith,SK (1981): Sexual Preference: Its Development In Men and Women. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This article was originally posted by Charisma News in 2012 and can be viewed at http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/34250-moral-outrage-becomes-the-law-in-california
On Saturday [9/29/2012], California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172 into law, making it illegal for a minor with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling, even with parental consent. Yet it is currently legal in California for parents to give hormone blockers to their child in order to delay the onset of puberty so the child can determine his or her true “gender identity.” How can this be?
SB 1172 is an outrageous denial of the client’s right to self-determination and a frontal assault on parental rights. In fact, this was the very purpose of the bill. In the words of California Sen. Ted Lieu, the sponsor of the bill, “The attack on parental rights is exactly the whole point of the bill because we don’t want to let parents harm their children.”
SB 1172 is also an egregious act of overreach by the government of California, which has now intruded itself into the relationship between counselor and client. What right does the government have to ban counseling and therapy that many clients found to be tremendously beneficial?
As for the gay men and women who claim to have been harmed by the counseling they received as young people, their negative experience is certainly no grounds for the government to ban such counseling. As noted by Dr. Christopher Rosik, “Anecdotal stories of harm are no basis from which to ban an entire form of psychological care. If they were, the psychological professions would be completely out of business.” Quite true!
Of course, even without SB 1172, the current state of affairs already reads like a very poor joke, as noted by conservative journalist Matthew Cullinan Hoffman:
“A man goes to a psychologist with a problem. ‘Doctor,’ he says, ‘I’m suffering terribly. I feel like a woman trapped inside the body of a man. I want to become a woman.’
“The psychologist responds: ‘No problem. We can discuss this idea for a couple of years, and if you’re still sure you want to be a woman, we can have a surgeon remove your penis, give you hormones for breast enlargement and make other changes to your body. Problem solved.’
“Gratified, the first patient leaves, followed by a second. ‘Doctor,’ he says, ‘I feel terrible. I’m a man but I feel attracted to other men. I want to change my sexual preference. I want to become heterosexual.’
“The psychologist responds: ‘Oh no, absolutely not! That would be unethical. Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic!’”
Family therapist Adam Jessel offered a similar observation: “In today’s climate, if Bill tells me that he is attracted to his neighbor Fred’s young child and he wants to reduce these attractions, I, as a therapist, can try to help him. If Bill has an unwanted attraction to Fred’s wife, this too is something I am permitted to help him with. But if Bill has an unwanted attraction to Fred himself, then it’s regarded as unethical for me to help.”
But it gets worse. One year ago, another California story was in the news: “The lesbian parents of an 11-year-old boy who is undergoing the process of becoming a girl … defended the decision, claiming it was better for a child to have a sex change when young. Thomas Lobel, who now calls himself Tammy, is undergoing controversial hormone-blocking treatment in Berkeley, Calif., to stop him going through puberty as a boy … At age 7, after threatening genital mutilation on himself, psychiatrists diagnosed Thomas with gender identity disorder. By the age of 8, he began transitioning.”
Yes, this is legal in California, while it is now illegal, effective Jan., 2013, for a 17 year-old with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling. What kind of world are we living in? And what kind of misguided “compassion” champions the right of a confused young boy to live as a girl—even to the point of tampering with his physical development—while at the same time denying the right to professional counseling to a teenage boy who doesn’t want to be attracted to other boys and who would like to marry a woman one day? Isn’t this a fundamental assault on freedom of religion and freedom of choice?
But this, after all, is California, and for some years already, according to official school policy in San Francisco, “Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity exclusively and consistently at school.” In other words, if 6-year-old Jane identifies as John, she can use the boy’s bathroom (and locker room).
Not to be outdone, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District Reference Guide, “‘Gender identity’ refers to one’s understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about whether one is female or male, or both, or neither, regardless of one’s biological sex.” So, your biologically male child can identify as male or female or both or neither, and that is perfectly fine and eminently sane.
It is time for the church of California to awaken and arise. We need a revolution.
Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.