I've long nursed a pet theory about the political landscape in America and a recent alignment of the stars gave me a chance to vent it in a completely secular arena. For those who understand the faith, just extend the argument I outlined to those in the Church working at warp speed to deconstruct the hierarchy and the doctrine entrusted to it. The problem with any sort of father-issues is that they cloud the image of our dear Father-God reaching out to His children. He would be the ultimate enemy of those highlighted in the article. It's all of a piece.
UPDATE: Just in from NARTH --
The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) published byAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers the following conclusion: "Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment (p. 28)."
Authors Gartrell and Bos generalize their findings to the lesbian population at large, claiming their research offers "implications for --same-sex parenting" (p. 28). Making an enormous scientific leap, they conclude that their study provides scientific proof that there is "no justification for restricting access to reproductive technologies or child custody on the basis of the sexual orientation of the parents" (p. 34-35).
Implied, though not stated, is the notion that fathers are not necessary or important for the healthy development of children. This implication is a throwback to an article published in the American Psychologist in 1999 titled "Deconstructing the Essential Father." Like the authors of the American Psychologist article, Gartrell and Bos are on record as activists seeking public support for homosexual parenting.
However, a cursory review of this study (funded by the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund of the Gay, Lesbian Medical Association) demonstrates significant flaws that most first-year graduate students would quickly recognize. Any reasonable observer would easily conclude that the authors overstated their findings and that in this instance, whatever external review process was utilized, was inadequate. Consider the following:
1. The problems inherent in any self-report study. The lesbian mothers' own reports that their children were well-adjusted were accepted by the study's authors uncritically. The authors should have clarified the limitation and usefulness of such qualitative, self-reported data in light of the fact that the lesbian parents knew that the study would be used to further their political cause; in contrast, the control group had no idea how their reports would be used. In addition, most mothers, lesbian or not, would likely report their children's adjustment in a favorable light. Outside observers such as the child's teachers or counselors, if consulted, could have offered a different perspective.
2. The lesbian parents were hardly typical parents: 93% were Caucasian. Most were college-educated (67%). Most were middle/upper class (82%). Eighty-five per cent were in professional or managerial roles. The control sample, however, had significantly more minorities; many more children from the South; they were very different in race composition and socioeconomic status; and the educational level of these mothers was unclear. A statistical adjustment for these differences could have been easily addressed. Had these differences been controlled, they might have been reduced, been proven negligible, or perhaps reversed.
3. The sample was far from random. Participants were recruited from gay and lesbian venues (i.e., lesbian pride events and lesbian newspapers in three major metropolitan areas--Boston, Washington. D.C. and San Francisco). Although the authors acknowledge the non-randomness of their subject pool and the potential problems this situation could pose, this limitation did not seem to limit their conclusions. As a result, a very strong case could be made for selection bias having invalidated the findings.
Despite the obvious study flaws, the authors offer the following generalization: "The NLLFS adolescents are well-adjusted, demonstrating more competencies and fewer behavioral problems than their peers in the normative American population (p.34)."
Notably absent was data about the sexual orientation of the adolescents or the preferences or expectations for the adolescents' sexual orientation (some of this data was, in fact, collected for the 10-year study). Was this data collected and simply dismissed?
[I'm waiting for them to put up a dedicated link to this article, which was written by A. Dean Byrd]