Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Limbo Marriages

Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, from Lansing, Michigan have been together for twenty-seven years. They, the first gay couple in Michigan, were married last week, but now found their marriage on hold as of March 22nd because of the federal appeals court order that prevents same-sex couples from getting married. The appeals court does not have a date when it will make a final decision on gay marriage so the DeJong-Caspar marriage is on hold or to use legal parlance, it is “stayed.”

Emergency Stays

Even though Judge Bernard A. Friedman of Federal District Court in Detroit struck down  Michigan’s 2004 amendment banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency request for stay and appeal.  The state (and the Attorney General) believe it’s a risky idea to change the original definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Roll Over, Sit, Stay, Stay

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now have legalized same-sex marriage and fifty-two percent of the U.S., according to the latest Pew poll, is in favor of same-sex marriage.  Yet, Michigan is NOT unique in its reservation for same-sex marriage.  Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia have also struck down amendments banning gay marriage, only to find that the decision is stayed until further notice. What does this do to the marriages or to those who are excited at the prospect of being married? Ten years ago, it was inconceivable that a gay or lesbian could tie the knot!

Quickie Marriages

Dejong noted a similar situation in California, where a judge’s ruling was stayed, but the marriages performed in the interim remained valid.  “So that’s why we didn’t want to spend a lot of time planning (the wedding) and we just had to be here (marriage clerk’s office) in forty-five minutes once we found out.”
Many couples like Rowse and Dejong are trying to fly “under the radar” in quickie marriages before the appeals courts call their marriages unsuitable.

Same-sex Adoptions

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, nurses near Detroit, have sued the state over being prohibited from jointly adopting their three special needs children.  Their two- week trial explored attitudes and research about homosexual marriage and households led by same-sex couples.

The state (in this case Michigan) that believes traditional marriage and child rearing practices are best for couples cited the 2012 study of Mark Regnerus, sociologist at the University of Texas to support their notion that children do best with heterosexual parents. However, Rowse and DeBoer buttressed their position with research that factors such as income and stability being equal, children fared just as well with same-sex parents.

Regnerus vs. Other Researchers

Judge Friedman found many loopholes in Regnerus’s theory that children raised in same-sex households had worse outcomes in life.  Friedman called Regnerus’s study “deeply flawed,” religiously motivated and funded by conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage.

How demeaning to have a higher court decide when and whom you can marry and whether you can adopt children?  Shouldn’t those decisions be left to all individuals?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

“One Bad Apple Doesn’t Spoil The Whole Bunch”

Last week, I wrote about Mark Regnerus’s negative flawed study of children growing up in same-sex households.  Even the Sociology Department at the University of Texas (Austin) where Regnerus works has distanced itself from Regnerus’s findings that incorporated loose definitions of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.” 

But straight parents, take heart.  Your GLBTQ children will  be parents, as some already are, and you will have grandchildren.

Don’t believe everything you read! For every Regnerus’s study supported by right-wing organizations, there are other more scientific studies that prove Regnerus wrong.

·      The “Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study”by Nanette Gartrell, MD  and Henny Bos, PhD .2012 found that the absence of male role models produces no negative effects for teens with lesbian mothers.

·      Most importantly, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2013 stated that more than twenty-five years of research have found no link between parents’ sexual orientation and their children’s emotional well-being.  “Many factors confer risk to children’s healthy development and adult outcomes, such as poverty, parental depression, parental substance abuse, divorce, and domestic violence, but the sexual orientation of their parents is NOT among them.”

·      The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, conducted at Melbourne University, concluded in 2013 that kids 17 years old and younger with two-committed same-sex parents are generally happier and healthier than their peers raised by straight parents. The children raised by same-sex parents scored significantly higher in terms of family cohesion and general health than did kids raised by opposite-sex partners.

Preliminary results from the Australian study indicated that children of gay and lesbian parents were no different from their peers raised by straight parents in terms of physical and mental health, and in their interactions with others and their parents.

·      The Cambridge University Study, published by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering, March 2013, found that” children with same-sex adoptive parents are no more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than children with heterosexual adoptive parents.  Neither do they differ in gender role behaviour.”

What the studies did reveal was that children of gay and lesbian parents are more likely to encounter discrimination based on their parents’ sexual orientation.

In other words, sociologists can not find reasons why same-sex parents shouldn’t adopt, but society nevertheless feels a need to criticize those families with same-sex parents.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mark Regnerus, Again

The U. Texas Sociologist Testifies in Michigan Against Gay Marriage & Adoption

Why is the author of a disputed gay parenting study from 2012 been chosen as an expert at a trial of two lesbian nurses who want to adopt special needs children in a state that doesn’t allow gay marriage or joint adoption of one another’s children?

Pseudo Science

How can Regnerus be considered an expert when his flawed study has been discredited by his own university as well as his own Sociology Department which “takes the position that the conclusions he draws from his study of gay parenting are fundamentally flawed on conceptual and methodological grounds and that findings from Dr. Regnerus’s work have been cited inappropriately in efforts to diminish the civil rights and legitimacy of LBGTQ partners and their families?”

The study claimed to find that households with same-sex parents were less supportive and nurturing than households with opposite-sex parents.  Truth is that the study actually compared homes with committed opposite-sex parents to broken homes headed by parents who had, at some point, had a same-sex relationship.  These should never have been considered “same-sex households.” Only two of the respondents were raised by a lesbian couple from birth.

Conflict of Interest?

The 2012 paper, in the journal Social Science Research, has undergone an internal audit that found that it should never have been published in the first place. Regnerus has ties to the Witherspoon Institute, the conservative religious organization that funded the study with nearly $700,000.

"Children Simply Need Good Parents"

Experts testifying for the nurses Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer said “children simply need good parents, no matter their gender or sexual orientation.” The research, more than 100 studies that legitimately exists, is substantial and decisive.

Abby Goldberg, a psychologist who researches gay and lesbian parenting at Clark University, claims that gay parents tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average.  LGBT parents do not have the 50% accidental pregnancy rate that heterosexuals have.

The October 2011 Report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute found that 60% of gay and lesbian couples adopted across races – an important finding given that minority children in the foster system tend to linger.  More than half of kids adopted by gays and lesbians had special needs, another hard-to-place category for adoption.

Why Beat A Dead Horse?

With his own University and Sociology Department distancing themselves from him, and the American Psychological Association endorsing gay marriage and adoption, Regnerus should recant his study until he can find better samples, if ever.

Advancing His Conservative Agenda

He pretends his studies are out of noble concern for children and families yet simultaneously they harm children and keep them in households in which the parents can’t marry nor can they legally adopt the kids.  His study as well as his talks have become his platform for anti-gay marriage and adoption.

Perhaps, he should take a page from Robert L.Spitzer, M.D., psychiatrist from Columbia University, who admitted in 2012 that his 2003 study that supported the use of so-called reparative therapy to “cure” homosexuality for people strongly motivated to change was deeply flawed.  Spitzer formally apologized.

Will Regnerus?