Trophy Children by Jane Chastain

Thursday, February 21, 2002 2002
On Feb. 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that it was endorsing homosexual adoption. The response from the pro-family community was woefully inadequate. It consisted of bellyaching about the flawed or biased nature of available studies, hand wringing about the lack of empirical evidence or the simple assertion that children of two-parent, married heterosexual couples do best.

The report made by the AAP's Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health says that there is "no existing data to support the widely held belief that there are negative outcomes" for children raised by homosexual parents. Furthermore, the committee asserts, "No data have pointed to any risk to children as a result of growing up with one or more gay parents."

While there is ample evidence to show that children of married couples in intact families fare better than children of single parents or divorced couples, reliable studies comparing children raised in traditional families to those raised by cohabitating adults who engage in homosexual practices are few and far between but they do exist and should have been cited to refute the AAP's claims.

The study with the largest number of children was completed by Cameron and Cameron of the Family Research Institute and published in 1998. It examined all appellate cases of custody disputes involving a homosexual parent in 29 states to 38 appeals cases involving custody disputes drawn randomly from 1956 to 1991.

The advantages of selecting cases that reach the appeals court level are many: They offer official distillations of large bodies of information that have passed through two or more layers of the legal system. Also, the children in these studies tend to be older, thereby providing evidence of long-term effects. Furthermore, unlike studies done with volunteers, in which all relevant data is available only to the investigator, the relevant data in Cameron and Cameron is available for public inspection in essentially every law library in the United States.

It was the first study to examine the character of homosexual and heterosexual parents in an adversarial setting. The results were startling. Eighty-two percent of the homosexual parents versus 18 percent of the heterosexual parents were recorded as having poor character. More importantly, of the recorded harms to children, which included molestation and physical abuse, 97 percent were attributed to the homosexual parent.

The study with the second largest number of children of homosexuals is the only one that has compared children of coupled married heterosexual parents and coupled cohabiting heterosexual parents to coupled paired homosexual parents.

Dr. Sotirios Sarantakos, an associate professor of sociology in Australia, ran an investigation to compare the school performance of 58 children who were being raised by homosexual couples to 58 closely matched children being raised by married couples and 58 children being raised by cohabiting partners.

The children's school teachers were ask to rate their scholastic achievements, participation in varies group activities as well as their socialization skills. The teachers also reported on parental involvement
through their observations as well as by interviewing the children.

The children of homosexual couples scored dramatically lower than the average of the children of the other two groups in verbal skills, vocabulary, composition and basic mathematical skills. The children of the homosexual couples performed better in social studies but only slightly. Also, there was an important difference in the social development. The children of homosexual parents were less likely to be involved with sports or other group activities. They were considered by their teachers to be introverts and loners, and were uncomfortable when having to work with students of a sex different from that of their co-habiting homosexual parent.

Far from being ideal parents, the homosexual couples were less likely to visit the children's schools, volunteer or help the children with their homework.

Sarantakos was published in 1996 in the obscure journal, Children Australia. He gave no indication that he was aware of the "best interest of the child" argument being used to promote gay adoptions. He made no reference to any of the published studies regarding homosexual parents that could best be described as "junk science," nor has his report been cited in any of the contentious literature about homosexual parenting.

Pro-family groups can be forgiven for not citing Sarantakos. It is not available in any of the conventional databases or indexes. (A synopsis is available through Family Research Institute.) However, Cameron and Cameron should be a primary weapon in the quiver of those who defend children and work to keep them from being used as trophies for the mainstreaming of homosexuality and the advancement of gay rights.