The nation’s major mental health organizations have filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit case Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act stigmatizes against gays and lesbians and should be overturned. The brief recounts the scientific evidence that explains the nature of sexual orientations, but also takes time to debunk Mark Regnerus’ flawed study that attempts to draw negative conclusions about gay parents. Proponents of DOMA have already used the paper to defend their arguments, but the medical professionals explain why it should be ignored:
Amicus American College of Pediatricians — not to be confused with amicus herein, the American Academy of Pediatrics — seriously mischaracterizes a recent study (“the Regnerus study”) as having compared children of married heterosexual parents with those “raised by same-sex couples.” The Regnerus study placed participants (individuals between the age of 18 and 39) into one of eight categories, six of which were defined by the family structure in which they grew up — e.g., married biological parents, divorced parent, divorced but remarried parent, etc. There was no category for “same-sex couple.” Instead, the final two categories included all participants, regardless of family structure, who believed that at some time between birth and their 18th birthday their mother or their father “ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.”
Hence the data does not show whether the perceived romantic relationship ever in fact occurred; nor whether the parent self-identified as gay or lesbian; nor whether the same sex relationship was continuous, episodic, or one-time only; nor whether the individual in these categories was actually raised by a homosexual parent (children of gay fathers are often raised by their heterosexual mothers following divorce), much less a parent in a long-term relationship with a same-sex partner. Indeed, most of the participants in these groups spent very little, if any, time being raised by a “same-sex couple.” Hence the Regnerus study sheds no light on the parenting of stable, committed same-sex couples — as Regnerus himself acknowledges — and thus it is gravely misleading to say, as the American College of Pediatricians does (p. 6), that the study involved 175 participants who “were raised by two women and 73 by two men.”
Accordingly, the conclusions by the leading associations of experts in this area reflect a consensus that children raised by lesbian or gay parents do not differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents.
So says the American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its California chapter, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.