Lesbian families are better for children

I should have mentioned this research before, but Rick “Frothy Feces” Santorum has motivated me by claiming the lie that a gay father is worse for children than a father in prison. Hasn’t he seen the studies? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that same-sex marriage be legalized for the good of the children. He should read the long-term research study showing that children of lesbian households are better adjusted (possible confounding factors: planned pregnancies, lots of joint custody) than of mixed-sex households, with superior marks, self-esteem, and behaviour. Then he should read the study that reported ZERO INCIDENCE of child abuse in lesbian households—if he does read, that is.

Furthermore, same-sex marriages are no worse for children than mixed-sex marriages. From the paper by the American Academy of Pediatrics comes a virtual roll call of America’s psychiatric associations endorsing gay adoption, gay civil unions, and gay marriage:

  • A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. —American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002
  • Children who are born to or adopted by 1 member of a same-sex couple deserve the security of 2 legally recognized parents. —American Academy of Pediatrics, 2002
  • The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) “encourages the adoption of laws that recognize inheritance, insurance, same-sex marriage, child custody, property, and other relationship rights for lesbians, gay, and bisexual people. NASW supports the adoption of local, state, federal and international policies/legislation that protect the rights and well-being of the children of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.” (2005)
  • The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates overwhelmingly endorsed a policy that calls on the AMA to “support legislation and other efforts to allow adoption of a child by the same-sex partner or an opposite-sex non-married partner who functions as a second parent or co-parent to that child.” (2005)
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) adopted resolutions stating that “the APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges … and shall take a leadership role in opposing all discrimination in legal benefits, rights, and privileges against same-sex couples.” (2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates agreed to “establish policy and be supportive of legislation which promotes a safe and nurturing environment, including psychological and legal security, for all children, including those of adoptive parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation.” (2006)
  • The American Psychoanalytic Association position states, “Accumulated evidence suggests the best interest of the child requires attachment to committed, nurturing and competent parents. Evaluation of an individual or couple for these parental qualities should be determined without prejudice regarding sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian individuals and couples are capable of meeting the best interest of the child and should be afforded the same rights and should accept the same responsibilities as heterosexual parents.” (2006)
  • There is no evidence to suggest or support that parents with a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation are per se different from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns and parent-child attachments, when compared with parents with a heterosexual orientation. It has long been established that a homosexual orientation is not related to psychopathology, and there is no basis on which to assume that a parental homosexual orientation will increase likelihood of or induce a homosexual orientation in the child. Outcome studies of children raised by parents with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, when compared with heterosexual parents, show no greater degree of instability in the parental relationship or developmental dysfunction in children. The AACAP opposes any discrimination based on sexual orientation against individuals in regard to their rights as custodial or adoptive parents.” —American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

Dubious confession

Omar Khadr, Canada’s former child soldier, has reached a plea bargain with U.S. authorities that will avert a trial. He has confessed to throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier, planting roadside bombs, and receiving military training. I suspect that the latter is true. It’s possible that he attended bomb-making sessions. There is no evidence that the either planted bombs or threw a grenade; but I’ve no doubt that the choice was presented to him as, “Sign a confession or you’ll be here for the rest of your life.” Khadr has been in prison since 2002. He has been tortured; U.S. medical personnel have testified that he was strung up by the arms and left. And since the U.S. in its war on terror has repudiated habeas corpus, the principle that you must have a case against someone before you can hold them for months or years, it was a realistic threat.

Omar Khadr was one of several people in a house that the U.S. army was firing upon, and when discovered he was unconscious, buried under rubble, with bullet wounds in his back. He was also fifteen years old, too young to be prosecuted according to the United Nations. He may have been trying to escape from the house when he was shot. He was discovered when a soldier trod on him. It is much more likely that one of the adults in the house, who were firing back and had stronger arms, flung the grenade. The fact that Canada has not vigorously pushed for his release says more about the Harper government’s attitude towards brown Canadians than about Omar.

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Enforcing bedtime is good for children

More from our new magazine, Duh! Helping, encouraging, and even forcing children to go to bed at a regular time helps them to get enough sleep and to stay healthy.  Turning down the lights and slowing down activities helps children to relax and get ready to sleep. They’ll do better in school and have fewer illnesses. There’s an article about it on CNN.

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