Saturday, January 16, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Coverage Day 5: 21 Bogus Reasons Why Gender Matters

Guest blogger Davina Kotulski of reports on the Prop 8 trial, day 5 - the cross examination of Professor Michael Lamb continued and then redirect (see first and second post of day 5).

During the Prop 8 campaign Ron Prentice reportedly distributed a booklet to churches that included an article entitled '21 Reasons Why Gender Matters': Examines Gender Disorientation Pathology And Social Policy, and made up his own psychological terminology “Gender Disorientation Pathology,” as any first year psychology graduate student with knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-TR) would know.

Dr. Lamb obviously had never heard of it either.

Dr. Lamb refuted the 21 reasons with peer-reviewed research and literature.

At least four of the reasons were just complete make believe.

15. “Healthy gender development prevents individuals from developing compulsive obsessive disorders leading to sexual addiction and other pathologies.” (The terminology is actually obsessive compulsive disorders - ask any psych grad student).

16. “Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse.”

17. “Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence.”

21. “Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children.”

Go here if you wish to read the pseudo-psychological 21 reasons.


Apparently, in the booklet, Prentice makes statements that “12% of children of lesbian became active lesbians themselves.”

Dr. Lamb says this is inaccurate according to extensive research on children of same-sex parents.


Prentice states - "The sad truth is that homosexual abuse of children is higher than heterosexuals. It is the right of the child to know and have a relationship with bio parent. GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY increases the risk that children will suffer sexual exploitation. It is our duty to protect them.”

Lamb refutes all of the above and states that gays are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals and reiterates that there is no such concept or disorder called GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY. He asserts that there is three decades of research refuting this myth and that children are most likely to get hurt by school bullies who don’t respect or accept their LGBT parents.


Defendant Council Thompson begins focusing on research that step-fathers are more likely to abuse their step-children then biological fathers. He’s not arguing for covenant-no divorce marriage (yet), but he seems hell-bent to say that all step-fathers and anyone non-biologically related to the child is a menace to that child, to wipe out all non-biological parents from capable child-rearing.

First, it is true some step-fathers molest their children. I ran a sexual abuse survivors program for ten years when I worked as a psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There were many women who had been sexually abused by their biological parents too. Does that mean that WE should take children away from their biological fathers because of the chance, that being men, they might abuse their children?

Second, this case is about marriage. Couples who never or can’t have biological children can marry and no one is rushing to pass constitutional amendments to take away their marriage rights. Also, have you noticed, same-sex couples are already, legally raising children, but I’m not naïve, I know that they are hoping to use this kind of bogus logic to take away same-sex couples rights to parent and adopt. They just did in Arkansas last year.


Thompson- So the grandparents’ financial contributions to children make a difference in their lives, correct? Clearly we note that the psychological well-being of parents affects their ability to parent and the quality of relationship with their children.

Holy Research Twisting Batman!

Thompson is now taking the fact that some straight parents of LGBT people reject their children and so are not involved in their grandchildren’s lives and that this hurts these kids—the implication that kids would be better off with straight parents because their parents don’t reject them.

Okay my friend’s Ashle and Kinna have two wonderful daughters and the grandparents are extremely involved in their grandbabies’ lives. My friend, Maurie, a straight mom of a lesbian daughter and proud grandmother of two, is extremely active in her grandchildren’s lives and is more than happy to show you the beautiful picture of her grandchildren as ring bearer and flower girl at their mothers’ long-awaited legal marriage before Prop 8 passed.

Should they be denied their constitutional rights because some straight parents/grandparents are stifled in the current ability to accept their LGBT children? Should straight people who have difficulties with their parents and have been disowned for various reasons or chosen themselves to cut off communication lose their right to a marriage license? Again I think the answers are obvious here. And similar arguments were used to keep interracial couples from marrying.


While the psychological research shows that LGBT people experience minority distress due to homophobia and discrimination, Thompson decides to take the implication to an illogical conclusion.

He is also making the point that because LGBT people suffer minority distress, which leads to anxiety and depression, and because depression and anxiety affects parenting, LGBT parents do not make good parents. Wow!

I wonder what he says about People of Color who also experience minority distress due to racism and discrimination. I’m sure somewhere in there these folks may be advocating for fewer babies of color, remember they are very concerned with population growth, and believe that gay marriage will lead to the population dying out.

When I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in 2006, she spoke with concern about the reduction of children being born in Western Europe. I could be wrong, but it sure seemed like she was suggesting that not enough white babies were being born, cause as far as I can tell, there’s no overall global shortage of babies being born.


Thompson-“Dr. Lamb likes to talk about these rich, deep studies, but you don’t have any knowledge if these studies had control groups with biological, married parents which is the core of our case.”

Judge Walker interceded and says to Counsel Thompson. “We’re trying a case - is there a way to shorten your questions.”

I agree. My brain and body are starting to check out. I tend to dissociate a bit when Thompson steps up for cross-examination. He is quite annoying and his disdain for educated people, reality, facts, and gay people make me feel like I’ve been watching FOX news for hours. I can only take this stuff in doses, that’s why I watch the Daily Show with John Stuart - at least there are funny jokes in between his reports of the assault on logic, truth, and human decency.

Did I mention that there was a huge group of Stanford Law Students here today?


Discussing Michael Rosenfeld study based on U.S. Census.

Lamb - It is the only study we have, a rare study, which compares all the children in the country in the environments that they are reared, couple thousand children raised by lesbians, with couples thousand children raised by gay male couples, compared to children raised by heterosexual couples.

Matthew D. McGill Plaintiffs’ Attorney - In your experience is a sample based on U.S. census adequate to be reliable?


McGill-Why does it make sense to maintain a control group of heterosexual couples raising children?

Lamb-Seems most appropriate control group.


Lamb-Because you have unmarried couples in all of those groups. Children adopted into two parent family and children in bio family.

The point is to answer Thompson’s early assertion that none of the research used only heterosexual married couple with biological children. If they had, it would not have been an accurate group to compare with gay parents who are not legally married and some children, their children, are biological, others are adopted, and some are from IVF and other forms of alternative insemination. The researchers chose to be in the real world, acknowledging the diversity and variation of families, rather than embracing only one family type.

And speaking of typing, my wife wants to know - Are you done yet?

Yes dear, for tonight.

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