Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Understanding The Legal Challenge to Florida's Ban on Homosexual Adoption

By John Stemberger

What Exactly Did Miami Judge Cindy Lederman’s Decision Do?

In November of 2008, Miami Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman ruled in a 54 page decision that (in her opinion) Florida’s ban on homosexuals adopting children is somehow “unconstitutional”. She came to this conclusion with no direct precedent or legal authority. In her view, Florida’s 35 year old adoption law now all of a sudden “violates” the equal protection clause of the state constitution. Judge Lederman ruled that there was no evidence to prove that children would be “harmed” if adopted by homosexual parents.

Why was Judge Lederman’s Ruling Wrong?

The decision by Judge Lederman is classic, text-book, judicial activism. Instead of interpreting and enforcing the plain language of the statute, which has been held constitutional by federal courts, she openly and brazenly defied the rule of law. She ignored the will of the people as expressed through the legislature and inserted her own personal opinion. Instead of exercising her proper judicial role as a restrained academic interpreter of existing law, she became a social change agent and usurped her limited role.

Why Not Allow Homosexuals to Adopt Children?

In short, it is not the best arrangement for the rearing of children. Even openly gay activists had admitted this obvious truth. Optimal human socialization involves a child understanding the proper working relationship between a man and a woman, a father and a mother and a husband and wife. When the state creates permanent family relationships they must use the standard that is used in all of family law matters. The standard is what is in the best interest of children. This is the common law standard but this is the question that Judge Lederman did not ask. Instead she focused on the question of whether the homosexual foster parents would “harm the children.” Arguably, Foster homes and orphanages do not “harm children” but these are clearly not the best arrangements. Two moms or two dads, are an objectively inferior choice when compared to the option of a married mom and dad.

What about all the Foster Children “Languishing” in the System?

This question reveals a major public misconception. While the need for qualified foster parents in Florida is great, the same is not true for parents willing to adopt. In fact, the demand for children to be adopted nationwide is enormous and it far outweighs the number of children available for adoption. Tens of thousands of parents even go to foreign countries to adopt because of all the red tape that exists in adoption laws here in the United States! Children of any age, sex, race or national origin could be adopted. I am told that there are even quiet waiting lists to adopt children with Down syndrome. The children that are very difficult to adopt are those with severe deformities serious medical issues and older children with behavior problems.

What Does the Social Science Research Show About What is Best for Children?

While Judge Lederman reviewed some disputed and limited research on whether children raised by gays would be “harmed,” she completely neglected to review the vast body of undisputed social science studies which clearly demonstrate “what is best for children” And there are not just a handful of studies or even hundreds --- but there are thousands of peer reviewed studies which appear in respected refereed journals over the past 40 years which clearly demonstrate that children flourish better in every category when raised by a married mother and father. The inverse is also true. When you remove either a father or a mother (especially a father) all the social problems are greater. The rates of suicide, depression, academic failure, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, pre-mature sexual experiences and incarceration are all consistently higher when either a mother or a father is absent. Despite what opponents would have you believe there are no national widespread long term studies on homosexual parenting. There are only small studies of limited sampling and often done by bias researchers. So the real affects on children remains an unknown, untested social experiment. What is best for kids should be based upon good research and sound public policy, not what an activist judge subjectively thinks is best.

Why Does Florida allow Homosexuals to Foster But Not Adopt?

Recently, editorial writers and pundits have called Florida’s law “hypocritical” because it allows practicing homosexual couples to become foster parents but not adoptive parents. The truth is that the law is not hypocritical but inconsistent. Based upon the best interest standard the law probably ought to also prohibit gay foster care, but it does not. The two arrangements are different however in that foster care is intended to be a temporary arrangement and adoption is a permanent placement by the state. But until Florida’s married couples start stepping forward in greater numbers to becoming foster care parents then there is still a great need for more foster homes which a small number of gay-identified men and women fill. However, based upon the research, these arrangements are still not in the child’s best interest.

Why Didn’t DCF Put the Children In This Case Up For Adoption?

The two children who were brothers in the case could have easily been adopted by a family with a mom and a dad. After their parents rights were terminated, they should have been immediately placed up for an adoption with a mother and a father. But the Department of Children and Families (DCF) did not do that. Instead, they allowed these homosexual foster parents to continue to retain custody of the children for many years. In fact, even though there is no written policy and DCF officials deny it, this happens on a regular basis. If there is a child in a homosexual foster home and the child’s natural parents’ rights are terminated, then the child is often inappropriately labeled “ineligible for adoption” and they continue on in the gay foster home until they become an adult. By doing this, DCF does a slick end run around Florida’s law by turning what should have been a temporary foster care situation into a permanent homosexual pseudo-adoption. This is entirely improper and subverts the plain intent of the existing law by doing what is best for “gay-identified” adults instead of what is best for children.

What is the Future of this Case?

While the foster parents in the Gill case were improperly allowed to adopt the two brothers, the case has been appealed by the Attorney General, whose role it is to argue for, uphold and enforce the existing law. This case will now be argued in front of a panel of appellate judges in the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Miami on August 26, 2009. It is hard to say how the Court of Appeals will rule because we do not know which of the eleven judges will be randomly picked to hear and decide the case. If the appellate court follows the law, then it should reverse and overrule the lower court’s decision.

Will this case go to the Florida Supreme Court?

While the adoption in this case was allowed to be finalized, the law banning gay adoptions is still in effect until the case is finally decided on appeal. If the district court also engages in judicial activism and affirms the lower court’s decision, then the case will be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. Governor Crist has placed four new judges on the court – two conservative and two liberal. As a result, the court has remained ideologically unbalanced with a 5-2 majority liberal position.

What Can I do to take Action?
  1. Wait for Judge Lederman to come up for re-election and if she has an opponent who is better then her, hold her accountable publicly at the ballot box.
  2. Follow our exclusive commentary on Twitter HERE:
  3. Thank Florida’s Attorney General Bill McCollum for fighting to uphold the law by sending him an email HERE:
  4. Prayerfully consider becoming a foster parent. For more info click HERE:
  5. Make sure you are a fully registered user with our e-mail system HERE. Many people receive the email but are not fully registered in the system.
  6. Make a gift to the FFPC to help us continue the fight for traditional values and oppose the gay agenda HERE:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Can Divorce Make Us Sick?

Chuck Colson

The deteriorating health of marriage can lead to...deteriorating health! Find out why.


A few weeks ago, I was astonished to find Time magazine exposing how the collapse of marriage harms women, children, and the poor. No Christian could have made the prudential arguments for marriage more impressively.

Not to be outdone, the New York Times has just run a piece announcing that divorce can make you sick—sometimes for the rest of your life.

The Times described the findings of a study of more than 8,600 people in their 50s and 60s. The study sought to determine how divorce, widowhood, and remarriage affected their health. The authors’ conclusion: “The physical stress of marital loss continues long after the emotional wounds have healed.”

Among the divorced and widowed, men and women alike reported “about 20 percent more chronic health problems” including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, than people who stayed married.

Even when people remarried, they had 12 percent more health problems than those who stayed married to their first spouse. The study revealed that “most married people who became single never fully recovered from the physical declines associated with marital loss,” the Times said.

The study was authored by University of Chicago sociology professor Linda Waite, an expert on marriage and divorce. Waite is the co-author, with Maggie Gallagher, of the book, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially. In this book, the authors note that divorced, single, and widowed people are “far more likely to die from all causes,” including stroke, car accidents, murder, and suicide. Perhaps this is part of the reason God says in Malachi, “I hate divorce.”

The Times is quick to claim that staying in a bad marriage can lead to physical problems, too. But it’s good news that major news outlets are writing articles like this. For decades, they have trumpeted the idea that divorce harms nobody, that children do just fine without fathers, and that we should all just do whatever makes us happy, maritally speaking, that is.

But now the problems of marital breakdown—and failure to form families in the first place—have become so severe that not even news outlets hostile to Christian teachings can deny it.

Articles that reveal the damage of living outside of God’s design for us offer a great opportunity for the Church. I have long taught that only Christianity offers a reasonable system for how we are to live in the real world. Every day, it seems, we have more tragic evidence of the truth of that belief—provide by believers and non-believers alike who violate God’s design.

You and I need to reach out to neighbors who have been taken in, and harmed, by secular teachings about marriage and divorce. We should befriend them, find ways to meet their needs, and invite them to church.

Those who have suffered the consequences of false worldview teachings may well now be open to Christian teachings—and how well they match up with health and happiness. And having learned this, they may be open to learning more about, and following, the loving Maker of these rules.

The test of any worldview is, can you live with it? When it comes to marriage, we now have scientific evidence that living outside of God’s plan can literally make us sick.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Case Against Marriage? Unbelievable

Check out this (if you will excuse my French) completely asinine 5 min video piece on NBC’s Today show below asking the seemingly serious question of whether marriage is obsolete (oh, and by the way, they also suggest we should "add levity to divorce" by joking about it to "reduce the pain"!) In this completely unbelievable piece hosted by Meredith Vieira, she interviews “expert” Author Sandra Tsing Loh who is proudly divorcing her husband after 20 years. Loh argues with a straight face that because of Darwinian social progress marriage is now out-dated and is no longer necessary because “we are no longer an agrarian society” and “life expectancy has gone from 47 to 77 years”. Of course there was no one invited on the show to really oppose this dribble. The lady presenting the “other viewpoint” merely points out that most people want a “life partner” so marriage still works for some people. Would that they have invited Maggie Gallagher on this show to square away this lady’s nonsense. The fact that they would even air this outright frontal assault on the institution of marriage by itself is really unbelievable. But presenting views this radical and extreme with no opposing viewpoint is simply outrageous. This stuff makes me furious and reminds me of what we are fighting for and against. May God have mercy upon us. John

On marriage: Let’s call the whole thing off
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31452178?gt1=43001
Video Here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/31486261#31486261

There is still time to sign up for the Smart Marriages Conference in Orlando July 7-11, the largest gathering of the marriage movement in the world. See here for details http://www.yes2marriage.org/event/2009-07-08-national-smart-marriages-conference-/

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Response to Christopher Scolese

Christopher J. Scolese, the Acting NASA Administrator who was appointed by President Obama earlier this year, encouraged NASA employees to become active gay rights proponents which he claimed reflects "American Values". His agency wide memo stated: "I encourage you to participate in the programs and activities planned at your NASA center in your community for LGBT Pride Month. If there aren't yet planned events at your center, I encourage you to organize one." (emphasis added)

Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger issued the following statement in response:

It is stunning that the NASA Administrator would pander to the Obama Administration by promoting activities which "celebrate" aberrant forms of sexual conduct and are completely off-mission and counter productive to the best interests of children, families and the common good of society. NASA's work is critical, exacting and if not done properly, life threatening. With all the challenges, and tragedies that NASA has had in its past, it is unconscionable that its administrator would promote this type of a distraction and internally divisive social activism. This overtly political move is not only entirely inappropriate, but breeds bad internal morale and disrespects the rights of conscience of tens of thousands, if not the vast majority, of NASA's own 300,000 employees, who dissent and sincerely object to the promotion of sexual activism. "NASA's stated mission is to 'pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research'. Promotions of specific sexual orientations over others clearly is outside of NASA's mission and is being paid for by tax payers dollars. NASA should be for advancing scientific space research objectives, not engaging in homosexual activism."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gambling Our Way To Prosperity

The latest symptom of the prevailing new ethic of “something for nothing” has appeared….the scratch card vending machine. Without a doubt this can attract more losers for Florida. Not having done enough to expand gambling with the Seminole Tribes and pari-mutuels, we now have the Florida Lottery at work on gambling expansion. Do we not remember why we outlawed cigarette vending machines? Is it not clear why we don’t sell alcoholic beverages by vending machine? Gambling expansion is playing on false hope. We are abandoning the ethic that hard work and investment of ourselves in others is the best way to be productive. Our economy and state budget should be built on sound principles where our winning causes other people to win, not a system where most others must lose in order for us to win. We should build Florida’s future on the strengths of our people, not their weaknesses. If we continue headlong down this slope, what is next? Why not put these vending machines in all the school lunch rooms? Why should students waste their money on lunch when they could be buying lottery tickets? After all, they can get free lunch and take home food packs. Let someone else pay the necessities of life while we gamble our cash. Matter of fact, isn’t there some kind of psychological test we could do in kindergarten identifying gambling addicts so we can maximize their losing over a lifetime? After all, it’s “for the children”. Right? May we all wake up before going further down this degrading path.

Dennis Baxley

Monday, February 16, 2009

Testimony Regarding Seminole Indian Compact

February 12, 2009 Statement to the
House Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review
By Nathan Dunn – Vice President of Public Policy
Florida Family Action

My name is Nathan Dunn and I represent Florida Family Action. We are associated nationally with Focus on the Family and we represent the interests of millions of Floridians who wish to see traditional values and the interests of families represented in matters of public policy.

I want to briefly state that we are opposed to any agreement with the Seminole Indians that will expand predatory gambling in Florida. The introduction of Class III gambling to Seminole facilities is not in the best long-term interests of Florida’s families and communities.

The compact was put together under the assumption that the federal government would authorize Class III gaming for the Seminoles regardless of what the state did. And the popular idea was put forward that agreeing to the Compact at least allowed the state to benefit some financially from this supposedly inevitable expansion of gambling.

We take issue with the very foundation of that premise. In 2007 the state of Texas successfully rebuffed an effort by the US Department of the Interior to force Class III gambling upon the communities of Texas. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Interior Department overstepped its bounds and violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act by authorizing the Kickapoo Tribe to begin Class III gambling (1). In so doing the court upheld the right of states to limit the gambling offered on Indian property in their state.

Thus the state of Florida has solid legal ground to reject a compact with the Seminole Indians and there are significant reasons why expanding predatory gambling is the wrong direction for the state to take. The results across the board are devastating to families and communities and can be summed up in the ABC’s of gambling: Addiction, Bankruptcy and Crime.

The most recent studies show that about 2.5 million Americans are pathological gamblers and another 3 million are problem gamblers. (2)

A half million Floridians have suffered from serious to severe gambling related difficulties at some point in their lives. In a report to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling in 2002 it was found that Florida has a larger percentage of problem and pathological gamblers (0.8%) than reported in the national survey (0.5%). More startling is that Florida’s at-risk population (4.0%) is about two times that of the national study (2.3%). (3)

And a 2006 Pew Research Center survey found that 70% of Americans say that legalized gambling encourages people to gamble more than they can afford. (4) And please consider that 90% of casino profits come from 10% of the gamblers - which means that out-of-control gamblers are the profit center for the casino trade. (5) Greater accessibility of predatory gambling products leads to increased addiction and this inevitably hurts families, children and communities.

Bankruptcy also increases wherever gambling thrives. A national survey of 298 counties found that the counties with gambling had a bankruptcy filing rate 18% higher than those without. (6) Various studies of pathological gamblers show that 20 percent or more eventually file for bankruptcy. (7)

Increased crime is also a natural result when gambling is forced upon a community. By evaluating the results from other communities we know that when Class III gaming is permitted the crime rate is nearly twice the national average. (8) A Department of Justice study found that more than 30 percent of pathological gamblers who had been arrested reported having committed a robbery within the past year. And nearly 1/3 admitted that they had committed the robbery to pay for gambling debts. 13% said they had assaulted someone to get money. (9)

Research has also shown that for every dollar gambling brings the government in revenue, three dollars must be spent on increased expenses related to crime and public assistance programs. (10) That’s not a pay-off the people of Florida can afford.

None of us want to see Florida lose its treasured position as a family-friendly state with safe and growing communities. I urge the committee to reject the proposed expansion of predatory gambling that a Seminole Compact would bring.

(1) http://www.indianz.com/News/2007/004491.asp and Texas v. US (August 17, 2007)
(2) “Gambling and Crime Among Arrestees: Exploring the link” – United States Department of Justice. 2004 http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/203197.pdf
(3) Gambling and Problem Gambling Prevalence Among Adults in Florida - A Report to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, University of Florida, 2002.http://gamblinghelp.org/media/.download_gallery/Gambling%20and%20Problem%20Gambling%20Prevalence%20Among%20Adults%20in%20Florida.pdf
(4) Paul Taylor, Cary Funk, Peyton Craighill, "Gambling: As the Take Rises, So Does Public Concern," Pew Research Center, social trends report online, 23 May 2006. http://pewresearch.org/assets/social/pdf/Gambling.pdf
(5) Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 184
(6) SMR Research Corporation, "The Personal Bankruptcy Crisis, 1997: Demographics, Causes, Implications, & Solutions," Hackettstown, N.J., 1997, pp.116-130.
(7) William N. Thompson, Ricardo Gazel and Dan Rickman, "The Social Costs of Gambling in Wisconsin," Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Report, July 1996, p. 15; Henry R. Lesieur and Christopher W. Anderson, "Results of a 1995 Survey of Gamblers Anonymous Members in Illinois," June 14, 1995; "The Personal Bankruptcy Crisis, 1997," op. cit., p. 124
(8) Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, October 2, 2007, Florida Times-Union
(9) Ibid. # (2)
(10) John W. Kindt, The Business-Economic Impacts of Licensed Casino Gambling in West Virginia, 13 W. VA. U. INST. PUB. AFF. 22-26 (1996) http://www.citizenlink.org/pdfs/fosi/gambling/WV_PubAff_Gamb.pdf

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Judge Lederman's Top Ten List: Bad Arguments for Homosexual Parenting












After seven years of working on the issue of homosexuality at the Family Research Council, I think I have a pretty good sense of the arguments that pro-homosexual activists use in support of their agenda, such as affirmation of homosexual parents and same-sex "marriage." Even when those arguments are made well, they are unconvincing-but when they are made poorly, it just leaves me shaking my head.

One example of this phenomenon-bad arguments made badly-got a lot of attention recently. That was the Newsweek cover story on "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," penned by the magazine's religion editor Lisa Miller. It was so poorly researched and poorly reasoned that Miller should lose her job for it-not because she is in error, but because she is incompetent. Some political writer posting on a blog might get away with the kind of sloppiness Miller showed-but a "religion editor" writing a cover story should not be allowed to. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and I wrote in detail about the Newsweek story on December 9.

Another example of a bad pro-homosexual argument badly made drew less attention, in part because of timing. On November 25-just two days before Thanksgiving-a Miami-Dade County judge in Florida, Cindy S. Lederman, issued a ruling declaring that state's law barring homosexuals from adopting children to be a violation of the Florida constitution. The ruling came despite the fact that in 2004, the federal courts rejected a similar challenge to the same law. Lederman's 53-page decision can be found here.

I am no longer surprised when a judge merely regurgitates the arguments typically offered by pro-homosexual activists, instead of engaging in an open-minded and thoughtful analysis. Such regurgitation is exactly what was done by the judges who voted to legalize same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut. But when a judge does not just explain away the evidence against the pro-homosexual position, but essentially denies that it even exists, then you know that the fix was in from the start.

Let me explain how the debate over homosexual parenting usually plays out, and how Judge Lederman went even beyond the normal pro-homosexual talking points.

One of the key arguments in favor of allowing homosexual parenting usually goes something like this: "There's no proof that children raised by homosexuals do any worse than children raised by heterosexuals." That they are able to make this claim with any degree of plausibility is due to only one fact-virtually all of the studies that have been conducted specifically of homosexual parents have suffered from such grave methodological flaws that they cannot be said to provide definitive "proof" of much of anything, one way or the other.

It is extremely difficult to get a truly random sample of the homosexual population, simply because that population is so small. The best surveys show that only about two percent of the population identifies as homosexual or bisexual (and only about one percent of couples sharing households).Therefore, scholars doing research on homosexuality often have to rely on "convenience samples"-for example, by advertising for study participants in publications catering to homosexuals. In the case of homosexual parents, it seems likely that those whose children are suffering serious problems would be less likely to volunteer, while those who do volunteer may be motivated by a desire to prove a point, and put only their best foot forward. Such a sample is likely to yield a more positive picture of homosexual parents than a truly random sample would.

Going hand-in-hand with the "no proof" claim is the "no differences"claim-the assertion that the research shows "no differences" between children raised by homosexuals and those raised by heterosexuals. Yet this claim has been decisively refuted by a source whose credibility on the issue is enhanced by her clear lack of bias against homosexuals-namely, the militantly pro-homosexual researcher Judith Stacey. Her 2001 article in American Sociological Review (with co-author Timothy J. Biblarz) conclusively refutes the "no differences" claim, noting that the research actually shows that children of lesbians are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior, daughters of lesbians are "more sexually adventurous and less chaste," and lesbian "co-parent relationships" are more likely to break up than heterosexual marriages. Stacey does not consider these differences to be problematic, but others will certainly disagree. In essence, Stacey's article confirms that advocates and many researchers themselves have been simply lying when they make the "no differences" claim.

Lederman's decision mentions the Stacey and Biblarz article in a footnote, and notes her pro-homosexual position, but it fails to even mention the significance of the article in refuting the "no differences" claim. Instead Lederman merely repeats the discredited claim, declaring, "These reports and studies find that there are no differences in the parenting of homosexuals or the adjustment of their children" (p. 37 of the decision). Yet she goes even further. After repeating the (discredited) claim that there are "no differences," she goes well beyond the narrowly defensible claim that the research provides "no proof" of negative outcomes, and instead makes a sweeping assertion that "based on the robust nature of the evidence in the field, this Court is satisfied that the issue is so far beyond dispute that it would be irrational to hold otherwise."
To call the evidence "robust" on this matter is an exaggeration that should be embarrassing even to the pro-homosexual activists themselves. A detailed literature review of 49 studies on homosexual parenting reported:

Some major problems uncovered in the studies include the following:

Unclear hypotheses and research designs
Missing or inadequate comparison groups
Self-constructed, unreliable and invalid measurements
Non-random samples, including participants who recruit other participants
Samples too small to yield meaningful results
Missing or inadequate statistical analysis

Lerner and Nagai found at least one fatal research flaw in all forty-nine studies. As a result, they conclude that no generalizations can reliably be made based on any of these studies. For these reasons the studies are no basis for good science or good public policy.

Lederman's own account of the testimony of one witness for the petitioner, however, contradicts the "no differences" claim in at least one crucial area-namely, the sexuality of young people raised by homosexual parents.Lederman notes on p. 17 that "one study revealed that female children raised by lesbians were more sexually active" and also said that "children raised by lesbian mothers expressed openness to considering same sex attraction."But the witness, English psychologist Michael Lamb, reportedly dismissed these findings as representing merely "a lesson in promoting tolerance" and showing that "children raised by lesbians are less strictly tied to sexual roles and rigid applications of sex roles."

The principal case against homosexual parenting, however, is not based so much on the limited, methodologically deficient studies of homosexual parents as such. Instead, it is based on inferences to be drawn from two other bodies of research that are, indeed, "robust" in their findings. One is the evidence that homosexuality itself is associated with high levels of a number of pathologies-sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse.The second is the overwhelming body of evidence showing that in general, children do best when raised by their own biological mother and father who are committed to each other in a lifelong marriage. When these two bodies of evidence are juxtaposed upon each other, they provide more than sufficient reason for alarm about deliberately placing children with homosexual parents (for example, through foster care or adoption). Let's look at these two factors individually.

Pro-homosexual activists usually do not deny that homosexuals have higher physical and mental health risks-the evidence is simply too overwhelming.In fact, one of the most succinct summaries of those risks can be found on the website of the pro-homosexual Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Here are some of the GLMA's warnings about homosexual men:

"That men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection is well known . . ."

"Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles."

"Depression and anxiety appear to affect gay men at a higher rate than in the general population."

"Men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of sexually transmitted infection with the viruses that cause the serious condition of the liver known as hepatitis."

"Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur in sexually active gay men at a high rate."

"Although more recent studies have improved our understanding of alcohol use in the gay community, it is still thought that gay men have higher rates of alcohol dependence and abuse than straight men."

"Recent studies seem to support the notion that gay men use tobacco at much higher rates than straight men . . ."

"Problems with body image are more common among gay men than their straight counterparts, and gay men are much more likely to experience an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa."

"[H]uman papilloma virus [HPV] . . . infections may play a role in the increased rates of anal cancers in gay men."

Although the health risks for lesbians are not as dramatic as those for homosexual men, they are still significant:

"Lesbians have the richest concentration of risk factors for breast cancer than any subset of women in the world."

"Lesbians have higher risks for many of the gynecologic cancers."

"Research confirms that lesbians have higher body mass than heterosexual women."

"Research also indicates that lesbians may use tobacco and smoking products more often than heterosexual women use them."

"Alcohol use and abuse may be higher among lesbians."

"Research indicates that lesbians may use illicit drugs more often than heterosexual women."
Since the evidence is so overwhelming, the usual explanation offered by pro-homosexual activists for the mental health problems (and sexual risk-taking, which leads to physical health problems) of homosexuals is to blame society's negative attitudes toward homosexual conduct.

For example, the GLMA list offers this explanation for higher rates of depression and anxiety among lesbians: "Lesbians have been shown to experience chronic stress from homophobic discrimination."

However, instead of offering this stock answer ("Homophobia made me do it!") to the mental health problems of homosexuals, Judge Lederman baldly denied that such problems exist at all, declaring that "expert witnesses" had shown that "homosexually behaving individuals are no more susceptible to mental health or psychological disorders that their heterosexual counterparts" (p.10).

Yet a detailed footnote (footnote #8, p. 14) giving actual statistics shows a completely different story. For example it states that rates of "major depression" are more than twice as high among homosexual men than among heterosexual men (17% to 8%). Rates of smoking are 47% higher among bisexual men than among heterosexual men (28% to 19%; rates for homosexual men are not given), and 77% higher among lesbians than among heterosexual women (23% to 13%). Rates of alcohol dependency are 42% higher among homosexual and bisexual men than among heterosexual men (9.2% to 6.5%), and more than three times higher among lesbians than among heterosexual women (9% to 2.7%).Rates of drug dependency are two and a half times higher among homosexual and bisexual men than among heterosexual men (7.5% to 3%), and more than three times higher among lesbians than among heterosexual women (5% to 1.5%). "Suicide attempts" are twice as high among homosexual men as among heterosexual men (5.6% to 2.8%), and they are more than twice as high among lesbian or bisexual women as among heterosexual woman (11% to 4.5%).Meanwhile, the "lifetime history of suicide attempts" (presumably measured in a different study) is more than three times as high among homosexuals as among heterosexuals (14% to 4.5%).

It may be that we should not place too much weight upon the specific statistics cited in Footnote 8, because they include several illogical anomalies, perhaps resulting from the conflation of data from different studies. For example, the data on "major depression" report that the rate for "men" (5%) is significantly lower than the rate for both homosexual and heterosexual men (17% and 8%, respectively)! On the other hand, the data for "smoking" indicate that the rate for "men" (36.4%) is higher than the rate for both bisexual and heterosexual men (28% and 19%)-it hardly seems likely that the population of homosexual men (omitted from the list) would be large enough to raise the total figure so dramatically. On the female side in the smoking category, the rate listed for "women" (23%) is the same as that listed for lesbians, but significantly higher than that listed for heterosexual women (13%), even though the latter are the overwhelming majority of all women.

The mere fact that such manifest absurdities were included in the decision demonstrates the carelessness and incompetence of Judge Lederman. But even when taken with a substantial grain of salt, the data certainly provide no support whatsoever for her claim that "homosexually behaving individuals are no more susceptible to mental health or psychological disorders that their heterosexual counterparts."

In fact, the internal contradictions of Judge Lederman's opinion are illustrated by the fact that she later abandons the "no more susceptible"claim, citing another expert witness on page 14 as concluding that "the average rates of psychiatric conditions, substance abuse and smoking are [emphasis added] slightly higher for homosexuals than heterosexuals" (though rates that range from 42% to 233% higher, as indicated in Footnote 8 on the same page, would seem to be more than "slight" differences). Instead of denying the differerences altogether (as on p. 10),

Lederman shifts to another argument, suggesting that there are other demographic groups that also have higher rates of "psychiatric conditions, substance abuse and smoking" than the general population, including "American-Indians," "the unemployed," and "non-high school graduates."
This comparison, however, is flawed because homosexual conduct is not an innate characteristic like race, an involuntary characteristic like unemployment, nor a socioeconomic characteristic like educational attainment. It is a behavioral characteristic, defined by the voluntary choice to engage in specific behaviors, namely sexual acts with people of the same sex.

By way of comparison: if the research shows that women are more likely to get breast cancer than men, that cannot logically be taken as proof that women are inherently inferior to men, because one's biological sex is an innate and involuntary condition. On the other hand, if research shows that cigarette smokers are more likely to get breast cancer than non-smokers, such a finding can logically be taken as evidence that not smoking is better than smoking, because smoking is a voluntary behavior with demonstrable negative consequences.

Much of the homosexual rights movement as a whole rests on deliberate obfuscation of this point. That is, it rests on the effort to portray homosexuality (falsely) as an innate characteristic like race or sex, instead of as what it is-a voluntary behavior, like smoking, that has clear negative consequences.

When it comes to the findings that children do best when raised by their own, biological mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, most pro-homosexual activists do not try to deny the overwhelming evidence. Instead, they generally will point out that most of the studies on which this conclusion is based involve comparisons with single-parent families or divorced families, rather than with homosexual couples as such.

Judge Lederman, however, was not content to dismiss this evidence as not being directly relevant, the way most pro-homosexual activists do. Instead, she dismissed it altogether. Citing Dr. Lamb for authority, she declares that "researchers once believed that traditional families provided the best environment for children. As the research developed, however, the notion was proven to be flawed . . ." (p. 15). She concludes her summary of Lamb's testimony with two other statements, also false, stating that "the assumption that children need a mother and a father in order to be well adjusted is outdated and not supported by the research," and making the absurd claim that "there is a well established and generally accepted consensus in the field that children do not need a parent of each gender to adjust healthily" (p. 18).

The truth is exactly the opposite. For instance, the non-partisan think tank Child Trends surveyed the literature and found, "An extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage." To the argument (often advanced by homosexual activists) that it is merely having the support of two parents that matters, Child Trends added, "Children growing up with stepparents also have lower levels of well-being than children growing up with biological parents. Thus, it is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children's development."

In similar fashion, Lederman denies that homosexual partnerships are more unstable than heterosexual marriage-then includes a footnote showing exactly the opposite. Footnote #4 on p. 11 cites one study (apparently from Europe) showing that "same sex couples in civil unions" had break-up rates 41 % higher than married heterosexuals (3.8% to 2.7%), while "same sex couples not in civil union" [sic] had rates more than three times higher (9.3%). It cites another study from Sweden in which the break-up rates for "gay male registered partnerships" were 75% higher than for married heterosexuals (14% to 8%), and the rates for "lesbian registered partnerships" were two and a half times higher (20%). She also cites an old (1970) study that showed that just in the first two years of a relationship, the break-up rates for "gay men" were four times higher than for married heterosexuals (16% to 4%), and the rates for lesbians were five and a half times higher (22%).

I won't even go into the blatant religious bigotry expressed by Judge Lederman, who dismissed the testimony of two experts for the state on the basis of their having written for religious publications. James A. Smith, Sr. of the Florida Baptist Witness has already written on that aspect of Lederman's decision here.

Lederman's decision was not only poorly reasoned, but poorly written, being riddled with non sequitirs and punctuation errors. Take this passage on whether homosexuality is a mental disorder, for example: "Today, Dr. Berlin reports that leading professionals agree that homosexuality defines one's same sex attraction only. [?] According to the witness, homosexuality was removed from the DSM because the evidence of [for?] it's [sic] classification as a disorder did not justify the conclusion."

While Judge Lederman's decision was a comedy of errors, it is no laughing matter. One can only hope that this atrocious decision will be overturned on appeal.

Peter Sprigg
Family Research Council