October 13, 2009
The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) devoted a special issue of its bimonthly journal The Therapist to same-sex marriage last spring. It included articles both for and against homosexual unions. After receiving a barrage of complaints from homosexual activists and their supporters, the organization, which represents 30,000 therapists, removed the opposing pieces last month. It then apologized to its members and, in a convoluted statement that appears to mollify both supporters and critics, came out squarely against Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment supporting traditional marriage.
In one of the expunged articles, Dawn Stefanowicz, an author and accountant, discusses life with her gay father.
“I was transfixed by one unexpected emotional tangle and discarded dream after another. … For my father and his friends, being gay was a smorgasbord of gender identities such as pseudo males, macho, effeminate, bisexual males, and female impersonators.”
There were also “diverse private and public sexual behaviors, including …. a group or bathhouse rendezvous, sadomasochism, pedophilia, and bestiality,” she wrote.
In another article, “Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children,” psychologist Trayce Hansen writes:
According to decades of research, the ideal family structure for children is a two-parent, mother-father family. That research consistently shows that children raised in such families are more likely to thrive—psychologically, mentally, and physically—than children reared in any other kind of family configuration.
Extensive research also reveals that not only mothers, but also fathers, are critical to the healthy development of children. Swedish researchers reviewed the best longitudinal studies from around the world that assessed the effects of fathers on children’s development. Their review spanned 20 years of studies and included over 22,000 children, and found that fathers reduce behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in girls, enhance cognitive development, and decrease delinquency.
It’s clear that children benefit from having both a male and female parent. Recent medical research confirms genetically determined differences between men and women and those fundamental differences help explain why mothers and fathers bring unique characteristics to parenting that can’t be replicated by the other sex. Mothers and fathers simply aren’t interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father. One-sex parenting, whether by a single parent or a homosexual couple, deprives children of the full range of parenting offered by dual-sex couples.
CAMFT now joins most other major organizations representing psychologists in supporting same-sex marriage. The American Psychological Association states that same-sex unions have no harmful effect on children and that sexual orientation cannot be changed by conscious choice. With 150,000 members, the APA is the largest association of psychology professionals worldwide. When examining why the profession so emphatically favors the interests of adults over children, it’s important to pose one simple question: Who pays the therapist’s bills?