Pediatricians agree on homosexual adoption

Pediatricians agree on homosexual adoption

Isn’t this some kind of hate crime? The American College of Pediatricians says “Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time For Change?”

The research literature on childrearing by homosexual parents is limited. The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development. Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science.

Among the dangers they cite is the increased likelihood of violence among homosexuals partners than among heterosexual couples, increased instability in relationships, higher incidence of promiscuous sex among homosexuals with strangers, higher likelihood of mental illness among homosexuals, as well as substance abuse, suicidal tendencies and shortened life spans. Hey don’t look at me, it’s the doctors saying it and they’re all properly footnoted and everything.

(I will note that the American College of Pediatricians is a relatively new organization started in 2002, according to their web site. Based on their position statements, they take a pretty conservative line, including being pro-life and anti-abortion and supporting a bill that would allow health care professionals to refuse to participate in abortions.)

Still, you often hear that “all the medical evidence” shows that children are just as safe being adopted by a homosexual/lesbian couple as they are by a heterosexual husband and wife. According to the ACP and its slew of studies, that’s apparently another in a long line of lies in the service of social re-engineering.

[Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for the link.]

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  • As an adoptee, and an adoptive father of two, I could not agree more with their findings. Like so many other life issues, this is about the CHILDREN—not the adults and what adults want.

  • We should also note, as much as we discuss the potential harm placing children in non-stable homes, we need to step up and have more families open themselves to the idea of adoption rather then seeking intrusive fertility treatments or closing themselves off from a larger family.

  • We are up against this very issue right now in the UK.
    The Govt have a vote next week to ride rough shod over the rights of children to a mum and dad and the rights of Catholic Adoption agencies not to take on gay couples as adptees.

    PLEASE email Alan Johnson MP (Chief Sith in the debacle)
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Raise concerns and use this research. We need all the voices we can get, with the vote so soon!!!

  • Domenico,


    The American Academy of Pediatrics has found no meaningful difference between children raised by same-sex and heterosexual couples.  Their 2002 report stated that a “considerable body of professional evidence” indicates no difference between children of same-sex and heterosexual parents.”  The report states that the AAP “recognizes that a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.”  The report was published in the Academy’s journal, Pediatrics and is the academy’s summation of 31 studies on the topic.  Moreover, while typical paper published in a peer-reviewed journal is approved by a few editors and perhaps three outside reviewers, this report underwent a more rigorous procedure, and was approved unanimously by the academy’s 10 board members.

    Dr. Joseph Hagan, a Vermont pediatrician who chaired the AAP committee that oversaw the report, said that the AAP had reviewed all of the available literature. “If there are studies that show there are bad outcomes for these kids, we could not find them, and we looked, we looked really hard.”

    The AAP has been around for over 75 years and has over 60,000 medical professionals as members.  On the other hand, the source you quote, the American College of Pediatricians, was founded in 2004 (in response to the publication of the AAP report) by a few pediatricians who have religious beliefs that were challenged by the AAP report.  The ACP currently has about 200 members.

    A reasonable person would believe the American Academy of Pediatrics over the ACP.

  • A reasonable person would believe the American Academy of Pediatrics over the ACP.

    No, they would not, Rick, because in order to establish the point, you would have to have a body of methodologically sound longitudinal studies and a consensus on desirable outcomes, one that would refute the body of research which establishes the desirability of homes headed by married couples and refutes the wisdom encoded into evolving traditional practices.  Quite apart from that, pediatricians are physicians.  They are trained to understand human physiology, not to do social research.

    Edward Banfield pointed out a generation ago that social policy is often based on conjecture.  The placement of adoptive children with homosexuals (when there is no shortage of married couples willing to adopt) was just such a conjecture.

    The bar for proof that the welfare of children is unaffected by the marital status and sex of their guardians must be high.  And it has not been met.

  • The article to which Rick refers is four pages long and it appeared in Pediatrics v. 109 no. 2 (Feb. 2002).  It is a string of assertions about inter-group differences (genally described rather vaguely), with some footnotes.  It has one author and no original content for peers to review, nor a specified framework by which the literature undertaken was evaluated.

    The Academy did not summarize “31 studies on the topic”.  The article had 31 references to sources it said supported one or another point it made. 

    1 Citation was to a general social survey conducted by a unit of the University of Chicago;

    1 Citation is to an article in Psychological Bulletin on interparental conflict after divorce, which is only tangentially related to the topic at hand;

    4 Citations are to what appear to be other literature reviews;

    4 Citations compared lesbians with divorced single mothers;

    7 Citations were to chapters in monographs, mostly text books.  Original research in pscyhology and sociology is seldom presented in that format, and the information therein is (one might wager) derivative;

    8 Citations were to projects that appear to have been configurative studies, not comparative studies;

    Which leaves a half-dozen comparative studies referenced.  Somehow I do not think Dr. Perrin (the author of the article) or Dr. Hagan or any of the fourteen others whose names are found at the foot of this position paper were hustling to find much (unless, of course, there is little to find).

  • Rick, The AAP is not a neutral body.  It takes a liberal position on just about everything; and any objective observer would question its findings very carefully.  Don’t try and make the AAP out to be something that it is not.  It does shill.

  • Many professional associations today are steered by activists with very specific goals. The bulk of the membership go about their business and draw on the benefits of specific interest.                  This produces some interesting “scientific facts”. The AMA says that 10% of the population is homosexual. The APA says that 6 to 14 million children are successfully parented in homosexual households. Now a reasonable person is compelled by the simple numbers quoted to investigate. I won’t state my findings. I simply urge a thorough, objective investigation of how such numbers are thrown around after all these wonderfully peer-reviewed studies. Just one hint, if you find a study by Charlotte Patterson of Univ of Va.  Get her background and then review the methodology used in all the studies as well as the background of the committee members who put it all together for the full association.                                                            It is amazing how easy it is to frame a study to your pre-set “finding” or to just throw out a number. I recall Dr. Nathanson describing how he and two others arrived at the number of 10,000 dead women from back alley hanger abortions. Just big enough to impress , not too big to be easily challenged. This mark was missed on the 10% and 14 million but they’re still believed by many.

  • The money quote in Dr. Perrin’s papers is as follows

    The small and nonrepresentative samples studied and the relatively young age of most of the children suggest some reserve. However, the weight of evidence gathered during several decades using diverse samples and methodologies is persuasive in demonstrating that there is no systematic difference between gay and nongay parents in emotional health, parenting skills, and attitudes toward parenting.

    “Small” and “non-representative” samples do not “suggest reserve”.  They require it, because you cannot generalize about findings to broader populations.  And, again, the number of comparative studies referred to is modest and scattered over two decades.  Dr. Perrin remains undeterred, however.

  • The APA says that 6 to 14 million children are successfully parented in homosexual households.

    I did some spelunking around and found that that figure has been bandied about by gay advocacy groups, who present that as the state of affairs as it stood in 1990.  In 1990, the population stood at about 250 million and there were some 60-odd million minors.  If six million youngsters were in such households, that would mean nine percent of all youngsters were in such arrangements and the homosexual and bisexual population had a fertility rate thrice the national average, kind of like the Lubavitcher Hasidim.

    The American Psychological Association actually claims that 183,000 households feature homosexually-inclined adults living with children. Given that there might be approx. 6.5 million adults with some homosexual inclination, the figure is at least credible; however, it is sufficiently small to raise the possibility that these are the children of divorced bisexuals who have a take on their amatory life that might be somewhat ‘off message’ as far as the Association is concerned. 

    The 2004 policy statement of the APA has a characteristic in common with Dr. Perrin’s statement: it refers to a miscellany of literature of which original research in academic journals is a modest fraction.  It also makes it explicit that the Association regards the burden of proof on people resisting these sorts of policy innovations.  Why dat?

  • Renee – believe me, infertile people are well aware that adoption is out there. It’s not as easy as it looks (and if treatment is physically intrusive, then what’s the process of getting a homestudy and dossier completed look like?) This is NOT knocking adoption – we want to adopt ourselves in a few years, when (hopefully) we’ll have the money for it, but it’s not an easy panacea for childlessness.

  • ArtDeco,

    Your opinion is interesting.  Please refer me to the published reports or studies refuting the Perrin Report.  Again, we’re talking about the American Acadmeny of Pediatrics, “Pediatrics”, 60,000 medical professionals, one author, a few editors, 10 board members, and at least one involved professional who has – post publication -been quoted supporting the work.  In my line of work that is called “authority supporting the position”.


  • Further food for thought:

    The Child Welfare League of America’s Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services state: “Applicants should be assessed on the basis of their abilities to successfully parent a child needing family membership and not on their race, ethnicity or culture, income, age, marital status, religion, appearance, differing lifestyles, or sexual orientation.”

    See, also, April 2001 article in the American Sociological Review, where researchers Stacey and Biblarz of the University of Southern California reported the results of their examination of 21 studies on gay parenting.

    They found that “the authors of all 21 studies almost uniformly claim to find no differences in measures of parenting or child outcomes.”  Stacey and Biblarz also found that the children of homosexual parents show no difference in levels of self-esteem, anxiety, depression, behavior problems, or social performance, but do show a higher level of affection, responsiveness, and concern for younger children and “seem to exhibit impressive psychological strength.”

  • Children will love their parents or caregivers UNCONDITIONALLY, so to evaluate their well being as a minor doesn’t show anything. We won’t see the true feelings these individuals until they are adults.


    Now in her 40s, Dawn Stefanowicz knows there are others like her — others who as children ached with silent hunger for that missing connection. To help them, she has set up the first website that specifically addresses the impact of homosexual parenting from the adult child’s perspective.

    “It pierces the inside of you when you know the truth. Men who struggle with their own masculinity cannot affirm femininity,” she said. “Six-year-olds cannot tell you how they’re being impacted. We can’t comprehend what we went through until we’re adults.
    “People aren’t comfortable sharing this, but keeping it hidden hurts children,” she said. “The secular media is not carrying the message that this impacts children long-term.”

  • ArtDeco, Your opinion is interesting.  Please refer me to the published reports or studies refuting the Perrin Report.  Again, we’re talking about the American Acadmeny of Pediatrics, “Pediatrics”, 60,000 medical professionals, one author, a few editors, 10 board members, and at least one involved professional who has – post publication -been quoted supporting the work.  In my line of work that is called “authority supporting the position”. Rick

    The “Perrin Report” is a press release, with footnotes.  It is not a “technical report” as it bills itself.  Its bibliography is padded in ways I described.  A ‘refutation’ might consist of an examination of the six comparative studies this position paper made reference to, though more properly of a review of literature that attempted to place these six studies (and the configurative studies) in the context of the whole body of literature on the sociology of the family.  Please note, Dr. Perrin and the committee on which she sits did not attempt to do this last. I am not sure if others have.

    The ‘authority’ in question is a committee of the central organs of a body of physicians.  Physicians as physicians are not trained to do social research, though some may have ancillary training of use in that endeavour. Plastic surgeons also form professional associations (which have not, to my knowledge, made known the views of their committee hounds on optimal social organization).  Also, very few members of voluntary associations are ‘active’ in them, and the one’s that are can be unrepresentative in various ways. 

    Please note also that the import of what they are saying is that the welfare of children is unaffected by the marital status, sex, or network of personal associations of their ‘caregivers’.  The quote from Dr. Perrin shows that they took this counter-intuitive position in the admitted absence of much in the way of evidence from which one might generalize. 

    Sad to say, some professional associations have allowed themselves to be suborned by combatants in the culture wars, the American Bar Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Library Association to name three.  Michael Fumento has written about the same phenomenon with scientific and medical journals (e.g. Nature and The Lancet).  I do not understand the social process at work in this phenomenon, and it does not invalidate everything they do, but it does rob these organizations of much of their unquestioned authority on controversial matters within their competence, much less outside it. 

    Social policy should start with defaults set at practices that have evolved organically and have some pedigree.  The burden of demonstration is on those who would act against those defaults. (Quite apart from the normative question on what a desirable outcome is).  Social research conducted in good faith often has results which are puzzling and ambiguous when placed in context.  Dr. Perrin’s research was a review of literature that could have been done by an undergraduate.  Is that the best she could do, or the best that could be done?

  • art deco, You are way ahead of me and thanks for your input. I first heard the 6-14 million figure in an article by Charlotte Patterson—Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents and published in Child Development 63,1025-1042.  She settled on 8 million. It was also cited in a 2002 book by psychology professor Susanne Johnson titled Gay Baby Boom. The NYT gave a warm review of the book and it was hailed by the gay community. People read it and believe it because they must believe to maintain their identity.

  • Art,

    Thank you.  I take that to mean there are no meaningful published reports that refute Perrin.

    I also refer you to statements and policies of (1) The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates, (2) The American Psychological Association (APA), (3) The American Psychoanalytic Association, (4) The National Association of Social Workers, (5) The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and (6) The American Medical Association, each of which has expressly supported adoption and child rearing by gay people.


  • “I also refer you to statements and policies of (1) The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates, (2) The American Psychological Association (APA), (3) The American Psychoanalytic Association, (4) The National Association of Social Workers, (5) The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and (6) The American Medical Association, each of which has expressly supported adoption and child rearing by gay people.”

    All of which, along with the DNC, are thoroughly objective and unbiased organizations that are well beyond such a disgraceful thing as having a political horse in the race.  No, never would that enter their collective minds.

    I assume Rick that you just recently arrived on the Planet Earth.  Or how else could you have listed groups that are utterly supportive of homosexual lifestyles and zealotry like these?

  • Jack Flannery:

    Child Development is an academic journal and it is stupefying that that particular number got by its editors and referees. 


    Again, Dr. Perrin’s research consisted of reading some articles, most of them derivative, and her statement merits little attention.  The literature on the sociology of the family is vast, and I cannot review it between yesterday and today, and do not have the background to assess the validity of most of it, though some obvious problems can leap out at you.  I would not assume antedecently that the policy statements of the other organizations were any more rigorous in their preparation than Dr. Perrin’s.

  • How many of these children were created within heterosexual relationships in which the parent is now with a same-sex partner. I do know a several children who now live in this situation. Are these included in the stats? Because there are mothers who now have a girlfriend or a child’s father came out of the closet after a divorce, compared to children who were created via donation/adopted (originated) from the relationship of a same-sex couple. It is like saying divorce and step-parents is just as good for a child’s health compared to a healthly marriage of their mother and father. I don’t think any professional association would say such a thing.

  • Well, the ACP is certainly a bold group, apparently unafraid of defying the PC gods.

    Kudos to them, may they persevere in their path.

  • The American Medical Association’s statement was a one-sentence resolution adopted by their “House of Delegates” and proposed by their “medical student section”.  There is not attached to it even a paper like Dr. Perrin’s effort.  I suspect if one wants to understand the origins of a statement like this, one would be advised to study the evolution of social attitudes among those active in professional associations, not the phenomenon of adoption (about which medical students, intelligent though they are, are not likely to be more knowledgeable than anyone who reads newsmagazines).  The governing body of the American Library Association has called for a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Counterinsurgency is not a problem that can be understood by mastering principles of database architecture or the techniques of the ‘reference interview’, but professional associations at this time do these sorts of things.  As for the NASW, social workers commenced this practice twenty years ago as a purely speculative venture.  They are invested in it.

    One thing I have been looking for is studies in the sociological literature of the practice turning over wards of the state to homosexuals for adoption.  There appears to have been next-to-nothing indexed (I found one conference paper).  The comparative and configurative studies Dr. Perrin made reference to were in psychology journals or in the Journal of Homosexuality.

  • Rick is quite taken with Dr. Perrin as an authority.  One thing that interests me is how she came to be assigned the task at hand.  Dr. Perrin is a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University.  She has published two dozen or so papers in professional literature over the last 18 years.  Most were in Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics or in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.  Much of what she has published are commentaries, but there are a number of research projects.  All are cross-sectional studies, typically conducted through questionnaires administered to modest samples (40-70 respondents) of patients, family members, or practitioners.  I have not found an abstract which specified her sampling methods.  Nearly all studies are on the state of mind of children with chronic illnesses, or on methodological questions which arise from studying this.  To this day, she has never published any longitudinal studies on any subject, or any sociological studies, or any literature reviews other than the one to which you originally referred. 

    She did, however, publish a practice manual in 2002 on the pediatric care of latently homosexual youths and youths with homosexual ‘parents’.  Now, a typical primary care physician might have some 1,400 patients on their rolls.  A pediatrician is likely to have about 400 for whom sexual feelings are an issue and perhaps a dozen for whom homosexual feelings are an issue, of which it is likely only a modest fraction are inclined to discuss such matters during a semi-annual eleven minute visit to the pediatrician taken up with reviews of their immunizations, uptight lectures about smoking, and a look at that ear infection. It is doubtful that the raw material for the book came from her clinical practice, which was likely much truncated in size by her teaching and research responsibilities. 

    And she does not claim it did. In the introduction to her book, she says she received two inquiries from parents around about 1992 (after more than twenty years of medical practice).  She writes: 

    Shortly thereafter – coincidentally – as the most junior member of a committee [she was then about fifty] of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I was assigned to research what we knew about children whose parents were gay or lesbian.  I learned there had been nothing published in the pediatric literature about these children, despite a growing knowledge base in the professional literature of psychology, social work, and nursing.  Therein seemed a worthwhile challenge.

    Dr. Perrin had been publishing for about three years at that point, on a subject only tangentially related.  The result, which could have been produced by an undergraduate in the course of their ordinary labors for the semester, was kicking around on her to-do list for ten years.

  • Still, she says she was motivated:

    I was in high school when the movement to ensure civil rights for people of color began. I was outraged at the violations of basic principles that were highlighted by that struggle.  How could this country which rescued my parents from the holocaust and considered itself the beacon of freedom and justice in the world allow such blatant transgressions of basic human rights?…Some years later I joined many others in protesting the injustice of the VietNam War, and later still worked in the large effort to help the citizens of South Africa free themselves from apartheid….Then I was hooked.  Here was another effort, just beginning, to ensure the civil rights of certain citizens [homosexuals] in the face of stigmatization and hositility….Furthermore, I recognize increasingly the power of child health professionals as opinion leaders in their community roles.  If we don’t speak out against injustice to children and families, who will?  (See Perrin, E., Sexual Orientation in Child and Adolescent Health Care, pp. 1-2).

    [Mr. Bettinelli, If I have quoted so much that you or I run afoul of copyright terms, I would be much obliged if you would edit and just leave the citation].

    At any given time, few people are active in politics (about 3% of the adult population), most particularly among occupational groups (medical students and physicians) pressed for discretionary time.  This woman is a serial votary of causes, does not mind appearing unreflective about their ultimate consequences, and appears to arrive at a sense of social ethics through fairly stereotyped exercises in analogy. 

    None of that invalidates her work, which must be judged on the merits.  It does mean that we laymen are right to regard her public statements with some reserve greater than we normally would.  Now, she did publish a study two years ago on her new research interest.  This is from the abstract:

    The case shows that there is no credible scientific evidence that children whose parents are gay or lesbian are at a disadvantage in emotional, cognitive, or social functioning compared with children whose parents are heterosexual.

    The study was a case report on one kid.

    CBS News quoted Dr. Perrin in 2005 as saying between one and six million children were being raised by homosexuals.  There were about 76 million minors in the United States that year.  People given to homosexuality in any degree account for about 3% of the adult population.  She is saying that people whose signature property is alienation from sexual procreation have a fertility rate (or child-acquisition rate) between 44% and 260% of the mean.

  • Mr. Hetman,

    I neglected to add (7) the Child Welfare League of America, (8) the North American Council on Adoptable Children and (9) the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Shall I continue?

    Mr. Deco,

    You’re not answering the question.  Can I assume that you yourself then are working on a reasoned rebuttal of Dr. Perrin’s work?  I look forward to reading it in the well-regarded, peer reviewed journal that publishes it.


  • More and more I see that these issues are not isolated. Yes, adoption is about the children, but it’s also about the society in which the children will mature. Same-sex parents have a major impact on how school-age children view the world. If there are not enough married adoptive parents to go around, maybe we have to look at the difficulty of the adoption process. The best response is not always the easiest response, but political agencies know that 1)The sympathy button has the most impact when it comes to bending ethics. and 2)we will always seek the “simplest” route…
    Just think, if it were a given that enwombed children could not be killed, persons of the same sex could not marry, and IVF sets a dangerous precedent, there WOULD be more children to adopt, as well as more married adoptive couples.

  • That is actually not my profession, Rick. 

    One correction: I have consulted one other database, and Dr. Perrin has produced quite a raft of articles (several dozen) for medical journals (Pediatrics, primarily) not covered in the sociology, psychology, and medical databases I consulted. 

    Dr. Perrin’s article is a literature review.  Her ‘work’ consisted of reading other people’s work.  Pediatrics might have published a letter of reply concerning how she represented the literature in question, but please recall that her paper was being presented as official policy.  There are multiple literature reviews out there. I do not think it is the usual rubric that such papers are presented as ‘refuting’ other literature reviews, but you could check.

    My complaint about Dr. Perrin’s paper was that she made no attempt to situate what she read in the context of the sociology of the family (the issue Renee refers to), or to discuss why certain variables were of interest, or to discuss discordant research results, even though she had ten years to work on it and was not selective about what she cited.  My second complaint is that she is not an authority that can be prudently cited without carefully looking at her actual work; public statements she has made indicate she is not altogether trustworthy.

  • Rick,
    Art Deco is 100% correct in his assessment of the Perrin report.  It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.  I have a copy of it, a friend checked the references, and found it is laden with mistakes.  In several cases, it references articles which do not contain the facts supposedly referenced.  In another case it says there was no meaningful difference between the outcomes for kids of homosexual vs heterosexual parents, when the study referenced actually says that kids of lesbian parents were far more likely to experiment with same-sex relationships as adolescents than those of heterosexual parents.  Furthermore, all of the studies referenced compare kids of divorced parents vs kids raised by homosexual parents—they do not compare kids raised by married heterosexual parents vs kids raised by homosexual parents.  My friend called Dr. Perrin about this several years ago and she acknowledged the errors, said that she had written the article “in about 5 minutes” and said that there simply were not studies comparing kids raised by gay vs married straight parents.  Turns out that the academy determined they wanted to take a liberal position and engaged her to write a paper that supported that position.  She has spent a lot of time lobbying on Beacon Hill for gay marriage and describes herself publicly as “the foremost authority” on the effect of gay parenting on kids.  Get her article and check the references out and you’ll see.  Furthermore, contact the American College of Pediatricians and they can give you documents that refute Dr. Perrin’s work.

    Dom, thank for posting the ACPeds link.

  • ArtDeco,

    I am not at all overly taken with Perrin as an authority, and as mentioned, I look forward to reading any scholarly reports that refute her.  (If any ever get published.)  You, on the other hand, actually seem enamored with the idea of refuting her here in a Catholic blog, in your ten lengthy posts, yet you say you’re not in the business of publishing such matters, which is a shame.  I think if you have so much to say in refutation to her – – and no scholars do, you really should be the one to publish the groundbreaking expose.

    More importantly, you’re not seeing the forest through the trees.  The blog post is headed “Pediatricians agree on homosexual adoption.”  Not true.  A more accurate title would be,

    “Few Christian Pediatricans Agree that Homosexual Adoption is not Good; Several National Organizations representing Thousands of Professionals Hold Otherwise; All Agree there are Too Few Studies on the Matter.”

  • If I may note: I’m a member of the state-wide professional organization in my field. The organization makes dozens a statments a year, that I do not endorse in any way. I’m a member of the organzation for other benefits such as education, networking, professional discounts,  and for group rates on health insurance. I’m sure that many pediatricians are in the same situation as I am.