Coloradoan guest editorial opposing Ref. I claimed "[r]esearch has shown" children are better off raised by married mother and father

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

A guest column opposing Referendum I in the Fort Collins Coloradoan claimed that "[r]esearch has shown that what is best for children is to be raised and cared for in a home by both their father and mother who are married." In fact, "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents," according to the American Psychological Association.

In a November 2 "soapbox" guest column in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Wellington resident Dan Gardinier urged the paper's readers to vote against Referendum I -- the ballot measure that would extend domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples -- claiming, in part, that "[r]esearch has shown that what is best for children is to be raised and cared for in a home by both their father and mother who are married." Gardinier cited no specific research to support this statement.

In fact, as Colorado Media Matters previously noted, a 2005 summary of research findings on gay and lesbian parenting -- published jointly by the American Psychological Association's (APA) Committee on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns; Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; and Committee on Women in Psychology -- concluded that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." The summary also reported that "the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth."

Referendum I on Colorado's November 7 ballot asks voters to enact the "Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits And Responsibilities Act," which would "extend to same-sex couples in a domestic partnership the benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted by Colorado law to spouses." Referendum I also states that "a domestic partnership is not a marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman."

In his guest column, Gardinier criticized Referendum I as "a clever ruse to secure the privileges for same-sex couples that have been historically afforded married couples." He also stated that Referendum I "needs to be voted down for several reasons, including, according to Gardinier, that "[r]esearch has shown that what is best for children is to be raised and cared for in a home by both their father and mother who are married."

However, the APA summary of research, "Lesbian and Gay Parenting," by Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D., concluded that "there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents." The summary further concluded:

Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth.

The APA publication included an extensive annotated bibliography containing 148 entries in the following categories:

  • Empirical studies specifically related to lesbian and gay parents and their children
  • Empirical studies generally related to the fitness of lesbians and gay men as parents
  • Reviews of empirical studies specifically related to lesbian and gay parents and their children
  • Reviews of empirical studies generally related to the fitness of lesbians and gay men as parents
  • Legal reviews
  • Case studies and popular works related to lesbian and gay parenting
  • Theoretical and conceptual examinations related to lesbian and gay parenting

In his guest column, Gardinier dubbed same-sex marriage "the ultimate oxymoron," claiming that "[h]omosexual marriages cannot have children of their own and so children raised in such a context are done so contrary to what is in their best interest." He then urged Coloradoan readers to reject Referendum I and support Amendment 43, writing, "The institution of marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman must be safeguarded for the stability of our society, for the highest good of our children and for future generations who will treasure the wonderful distinctions between men and women. Vote no on Referendum I and yes on Amendment 43!"

Amendment 43, as summarized by the Colorado Blue Book, seeks to "amend[] the state constitution by defining marriage in Colorado as only a union between one man and one woman."

From Gardinier's November 2 Coloradoan guest column, "Referendum I will harm families, marriage":

Referendum I is a clever ruse to secure the privileges for same-sex couples that have been historically afforded married couples. Proponents of this referendum say that it will not authorize gay marriage, but it does assign all the privileges and responsibilities of historical marriage to gay and lesbian couples. This referendum needs to be voted down for several reasons.

First, the most fundamental building block of society is the family. If there are no boundaries on what constitutes marriage and family, then that institution will continue to slide into disarray and dysfunction. We have witnessed the tragic fracturing of marriage and family caused by the loosening of constraints on marriage and divorce. We are not a happier, better people because we have made divorce commonplace. There are things like the stability of the family, the well-being of children and the stability of society that are more important than the autonomous pursuit of personal happiness.

Second, securing the foundations of marriage as that unique relationship between one man and one woman is profoundly important for children. It is ironic that in an era in which we hear so much about how we need to be concerned about our children, we take so lightly their most fundamental need to have a father and a mother.

Research has shown that what is best for children is to be raised and cared for in a home by both their father and mother who are married. This is not to say that adoption is wrong or harmful, but it is not to be the rule.

Homosexual marriage is in this sense the ultimate oxymoron. Homosexual marriages cannot have children of their own and so children raised in such a context are done so contrary to what is in their best interest.

[...]

The institution of marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman must be safeguarded for the stability of our society, for the highest good of our children and for future generations who will treasure the wonderful distinctions between men and women. Vote no on Referendum I and yes on Amendment 43!

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