Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks Cindy.

Based on the evidence presented from experts from all over this country and abroad, it is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent. Sexual orientation no more leads to psychiatric disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship instability, a lower life expectancy or sexual disorders than race, gender, socioeconomic class or any other demographic characteristic. Qualities indicative of good parenting include attentiveness, involvement in a child’s educational development, the ability to sooth, offer comfort, advice and a secure base for a child, the provision of resources and maintaining a warm, harmonious environment. The most important factor in ensuring a well adjusted child is the quality of parenting.

Similarly, a child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. More importantly, sexual orientation, solely, should not interfere with a child’s right to enjoy the accoutrements of a legal family. John and James, due to no fault of their own, were removed from an environment perilous to their physical, emotional and educational well being. Their biological parents relinquished them to the State, which in turn placed them into an environment that allowed them, eventually, to heal, and now flourish.

The quality and breadth of research available, as well as the results of the studies performed about gay parenting and children of gay parents, is robust and has provided the basis for a consensus in the field. Many well renowned, regarded and respected professionals have reduced methodologically sound longitudinal and cross-sectional studies into hundreds of reports. Some of the longitudinal studies have tracked children for six, ten and fourteen years. The starting ages of the children in the longitudinal studies has varied from birth, six to ten years old and followed them throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. The studies and reports are published in many well respected peer reviewed journals including the Journal of Child Development, the Journal of Family Psychology, the Journal of Child Psychology, and the Journal of Child Psychiatry. Each of the studies and hundreds of reports also withstood the rigorous peer review process and were tested statistically, rationally and methodologically by seasoned professionals prior to publication.

In addition to the volume, the body of research is broad; comparing children raised by lesbian couples to children raised by married heterosexual couples; children raised by lesbian parents from birth to children raised by heterosexual married couples from birth; children raised by single homosexuals to children raised by single heterosexuals; and children adopted by homosexual parents to those raised by homosexual biological parents, to name a few. These reports and studies find that there are no differences in the parenting of homosexuals or the adjustment of their children. These conclusions have been accepted, adopted and ratified by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatry Association, the American Pediatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Social Workers. As a result, based on the robust nature of the evidence available in the field, this Court is satisfied that the issue is so far beyond dispute that it would be irrational to hold otherwise; the best interests of children are not preserved by prohibiting homosexual adoption.
Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman, Nov 25, 2008, judgement in the matter of the adoption of John Doe and James Doe.

Photo: Frank Gill holds one of the foster children he is caring for. CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD STAFF

PS. On the Miami Herald site, a web vote: Do you agree with the ruling? 86% yes; 457 votes.

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