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I think they’re going to argue about some sealed documents this morning, then have testimony from Michael Lamb on gay and lesbian parenting.

Walker had a closed session of about 25 minutes to begin the morning. Perhaps they discussed the sealed documents there.

Matthew McGill for the plaintiffs.

Michael Lamb: Head of social psychology at Cambridge. Head of social development at NIH in DC.

Lamb: Investigation of sex crimes involving children. Factors that affect children’s development adjustment. Those aspects that allow them to function well in their environment. One sign of maladjustment is involvement in delinquent behavior. Later, perform effectively as member of socity, forming intimate relationsihp.

McGill: Body of scholarship on children parented by gay men and lesbians.

Lamb: Has been researched since late 70s and 80s. Over a hundred peer reviewed articles. Many other reports in other fora. Very good understanding of factors affecting adjustment of children raised by gay men and lesbians.

McGill: Have you provided peer review for some of those articles?

Lamb: Yes I have.

McGill: Other writings on child development.

Lamb: In total about 500 articles, not all of them on development, some on interviewing. Published in peer reviewed journals or chapters. Serve on editorial boards .

McGill: how often provide peer review.

Lamb: Approx two a week.

McGill: Over course of career, how many?

Lamb: 2500-3000.

McGill: Any honors recently. Award for lifetime contributions for assc psych science.

McGill: Expert in field of developmental psych of children, developmental psych of children raised by gay and lesbian parents.

Lamb: Two broad opinions. Children raised by G&L parents, just as likely to be well-adjusted. For a significant number adjustment promoted were their parents able to get married.

McGill: Consensus of factors that most affect child development.

[witness has black hair, a beard, expressive eyebrows. He has cufflinks]

[These three items put up as display]

Lamb: Three things that affect adjustment. Quality of child’s relationship with parents. Relationships between indivs raising child. Availability of adequate economic and social resources.

McGill: What makes a good parent.

Lamb: Focuses attention on child. Effective at reading signals of child, understanding what child needs, providing appropriate guidance and stimulation, setting appropriate limits.

McGill: Same criteria that apply to mothers and fathers.

Lamb: Substantial body of evidence that what makes effective parent is the same for mother and father.

McGill: Quote from Cooper’s opening statement.

We know statistics children who grow up without a father 5X more likely to grow u p in poverty, 9X more likely to drop out of schools, and 20X more likely to end up in prison.

Lamb: While it talks about people being 5, 9, 20 times more likely to have outcome. Doesn’t say in comparison to what. Presumably comparison between children being raised by 2 hetero parents, and those growing up with single hetero mother. Stats probably not drawn from studies focused on children raised by same sex couples. Citation of statistics, doesn’t address distinction between correlation and causality. Implies absence of father that causes adverse outcomes. Actually research, quite voluminous, shows absence of fathre not crucial factor. Factors are the ones you showed, separation deprived of that person’s involvement in their lives, significant degrees of conflict, significant degrees of economic deprivate. Those are the factors that explain why you might have some of these differences. Important for a researcher to ask why, rather than to note the numbers. Final thing missing is that it doesn’t acknowledge fact that notwithstanding these differences, majority of children growing up w/o father are perfectly well-adjusted.

McGill: Did you ever believe needed father?

Lamb: When I began career, assumption was needed father. Explored differences between mothers and fathers behave, whether those differences were important. Whether people did need masculine and feminine parent. Results of both my research and larger body made clear that that initial prediction is incorrect. As a field, come to conclusion, what makes effective parent. Do not need masculine figure, a father, in order to be well-adjusted.

McGill: Female parent?

Lamb: No, same is true with respect to that.

McGill: How long consensus, that those three factors are more important?

Lamb: Early to mid 1980s, by beginning of 1990s, overwhelming consensus.

McGill: If I could get into Cambridge, this is what I’d learn in course on child development?

Lamb: It is.

[Walker chuckles]

McGill: [Introduces two books]

McGill: Researcher any studies on children raised by G&L parents. 100 studies?

Lamb: At least 100 peer reviewed reports.

McGill: Leading researchers.

Lamb: Patterson, Wainwright, Golomback, [names scholars working in this field]

McGill: Methodologies?

Lamb: A variety of methodologies. Broader methodologies, greater confidence in results. More confident one can be results painting consistent body of literature.

McGill: What is representative sample?

Lamb: Is employed by sociologists and demographers. Trying to find a sample of indivs w/in target pop and drawing smaller number of people to study more intensively that represent characteristics as a whole.

McGill: [Introduces 3 studies] Representative sample?

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: What is convenient sample?

Lamb: A group who can conveniently be obtained for study. Let’s say children being raised by lesbian parents raised in Bay Area. Try to recruit children raised by lesbian mothers who lived w/in easy access to locale of study.

McGill: Convenient sample used frequently?

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: [Introduces 3 studies] Each convenient sample.What makes study longitudinal?

Lamb: Indivs studied at several points of development, contrasted with cross-sectional study.

McGill: When appropriate to use cross-sectional.

Lamb: Design you choose depends on research question. If question was events right after children begin school, might compare 5 year olds and 10 year olds to see if higher rates of maladjustment in 10 year olds.

McGill: Any studies of adjustment of study used longitudinal design?

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: [Introduces 1 study] Longitudinal?

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: Refer back. Tasker and Golomback, did both of those studies use longitudinal.

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: [Introduces study] Cross-sectional study.

McGill: Golomback. Children with lesbian parents, Did these studies also use cross-sectional?

Lamb: Yes

McGill: Literature review?

Lamb: Attempting to synthesize research wrt research on topic.

McGill: [three exhibits] Literature reviews?

McGill: What conclusions have you drawn, wrt G&L parenting.

Lamb: Representative of much larger sample, children raised by G&L parents just as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by hetero parents. Conclusiveness of that evidence is further supported by fact that results obtained in studies on G&L parents, completely consistent with broader understanding of factors that affect adjustment.

McGill: Conclusions reflect consensus in field?

Lamb: Yes they are.

Lamb: Policy statement APA, sexual orientation of parents and children.

There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents as as likely as hetero parents ot provide supportinve and healthy environments for their children.

Development, adjustment, do not differ markedly from that of children with hetero parents.

McGill: Any other professional orgs issued policy statements on G&L parenting.

[List of otherss w/policy statements, American Acad of Child& Adolescent, Academy of Pediatrics, Psychoanalytic, Social Workers, Child Welfare Leage, Council on Adoptable Children.]

Lamb: All of them have issued policy statements.

McGill: Seven exhibits.

McGill: Have you ever heard that children of G&L parents greater risk of gender disorder?

Lamb: Yes. A child feeling uncomfortable with his or her gender.

McGill: Have researchers studied whether more comment.

Lamb: Gender identity disorder extremely rare. No evidence that they are more common in children of G&L parents.

McGill: Article: 21 reasons why gender matters.

One of the main examples of gender confusion is what are some are calling gender disorientation pathology. Term used to describe H, L, B, T relationships. In these and other cases there is a major distortion or disordering o fhte male or female gender, and a c confusiong of both gender ans sexuality.

McGill: Are you familiar with “gender disorientation pathology”?

Lamb: Not used. Pathology would signify treatment needed.

McGill: Does psychology characterize G&L pathologies?

Lamb: No. Those are considered examples of well-adjusted behavior.

McGill: Children of G&L parents more likley to develop G&L orientation themselves?

Lamb: No significant increase in proportion of children G&L themselves, when raised by G&L parents.

McGill: Why Gender matters

Study in developmental psych found 12% of lesbians became active lesbians themselves.

McGill: Does that not call into conclusion your statement.

Lamb: No. That study found no significant difference between children raised by G&L and hetero parents. Study by Golombak and colleagues. Golombak now colleague.

McGill: Studies of how children might be different?

Lamb: Less sex-stereotyped attitudes.

McGill: Example of sex-stereotyped attitude?

Lamb: Girls should aspire to be nurses while boys aspire to be doctors. Certain behaviors

McGill: Child’s failure to adopt sex-stereotype maladjustment?

Lamb: No it’s not. Normal.

McGill: Why gender matters

Sad truth is homosexual is proportionately higher than hetero abuse.

Right of child to be protected from sexual exploitation. It is our duty to protect them.

McGill: Do you agree that homosexual orientations “greatly increases risk that children will suffer sexual exploitation”?

Lamb: Absolutely not, clearly established that no greater risk.

McGill: Has that hypothesis disproven? When?

Lamb: Very old canards, late 70s, papers published in 70s, 80s, 90s, that this is simply not true.

McGill: Carol Jenny, Are children at risk of abuse by homosexuals?

McGill: Any social science in your field that children need to be protected by G&L?

McGill: Kids sometimes teased or bullied by peers??

Lamb: Yes.

McGill: Studies on forming relationships than children raised by hetero parents

Lamb: No differences in ability to establish appropriate social relationships as peers.

McGill: Inference that children bullied by peers?

Lamb: Studies explored in more detail showed that while children more likely to be teased about family. Children teased for a variety of reasons. Family, ethnic, fat, curly hair. Children can be very cruel. When possible to tease on parent, they may be teased.

McGill: Why Gender matters.

Also question of how children fare when raised in same sex families. Kids raised by homosexuals traumatized emotionally and socially.

McGill: Any research to support?

Lamb: No.

McGill: Who is Joe Nicolosi?

Lamb: Didn’t know, searched for him, conversion therapy for homosexual indivs.

McGill: Familiar with notion of necessity for gender differentiated parenting? Describe?

Lamb: Concept that in order to be well adjusted need male parent, in addition to female. Now significant body of evidence documenting that that’s not true. What’s important is quality of parenting. Gender is not one of the important dimensions.

McGill: Why Gender MAtters.

We should disavow the notion that ‘mummies can make good daddies’ just as we should disavow the notion of radical feminists that ‘dadies can make good mummies’ The two sexes are different ot the core and each is necessary–culturally.

Lamb: Attributed to Poponeau.

McGill: Leading proponent? Anyone else?

Lamb: I believe not supported by social science research.

McGill: Any research that parents’ failure to observe different gender roles?

McGill: requires child to be raised by mother and father who are genetic parents?

Lamb: No.

McGill: Any evidence for conclusin that absence of genetic relationship increase likelihood of poor outcomes?

Lamb: No support for that.

McGill: Any science that attempts to contradict that?

Lamb: Many studies that focus on children who’ve been adopted. Also on children conceived through variety of reproductive technologies. Those children just as likely to be well-adjusted.

McGill: 3 exhibits. Children w/o genetic relationship just as likely to adjust well as those w/genetic relationship?

McGill: Any way that prohibiting same sex couples form marrying expected to improve adjustment outcomes? Any way that prohibiting same sex couples expected improve adjustment of any child?

Lamb: No.

McGill: Advantage of marriage?

Lamb: being able to consider themselves part of well-recognized institution can be beneficial.

McGill: Supported by science? Any reason that would not hold true if unmarried cohabiting couple were gay or lesbian. Have you ever encountered sound rationale for depriving children of better outcomes?

Lamb: No.

McGill: No further questions.

David Thompson for defense.

Thompson: You’ve been member of ACLU. And NOW? And NAACP? Amnesty Intl? Nature Conservancy? PBS? You’re a committed liberal.

Lamb: I would say I’m a committed liberal.

Thompson: You believe gays and lesbians should have right to marry. Not clinical psych. Last time you interviewed child over 20 years ago. You can’t remember last time you interviewed child?

Lamb: Can’t remember date.

Thompson: never interviewed child of gay male couple in professional capacity. Never interviewed child lesbian couple. never completed study of children raised by gay and lesbian parents. You doubt that APA would unanimously endorse your views. Percentage would agree with you?

Thompson: Politics in modern day science. Not hermetically sealed from political influence?

Thompson Govts not immune from politics and ideology?

Lamb laughs.

Thompson: Universities politics.

Lamb: Politics small p.

Thompson: Ideologies.

Lamb: Some people who have variety of ideologies.

Thompson: Think tanks ideological view. Some charitable organizations ideological view. Funding for sophisticated research funded by govts, think tanks, charitable organizations.


Thompson: Usually provided by govt research agencies. Dictates the type of studies conducted.

Lamb: Can I suggest that your question presumes made by govts. Agencies like NSF and NIH pride themselves on having peer reviewers review integrity of research. Would vociferously object that it’s govt ideological identification of problem.

Thompson: have you read about East Anglia climate gate? Politics in peer review process?

Lamb: In my experience doing it that hasn’t been a factor.

Thompson: Consensus, importance of consensus that matters, History littered with theories proven to be wrong. Let’s take phrenology.

[Walker trying not to chuckle]

Lamb: I think it’s more accurate to say some people believe strongly in it.

Thompson: All the scientists who believed it were wrong.

Lamb: Let me poitn out some were not scientists.

Thompson: Some of them were. There was a time when Freud’s theory of psychologists accepted. Today, little more than passing reference to Freud, correct?


Lamb: Probably true if you’re referring to body of scientific psych and research, wouldn’t be as true if you were talking about clinical. It’s my view that beyond rather broad contributions to the field, not major intellectual player in the field.

Thompson: You gave testimony “Most contemporary pscyh makes little more than passing reference to psychoanalysis,” correct? Widespread consensus that homosexuality was pathology. And the psychological community was entirely wrong.

[Thompson makes a crazy face and big hand gestures on the last statement]

Lamb: That portion that believed that was wrong, yes.

Documents in the latest binder are upside down, both Walker and Lamb are wrestling with their binders.

Lamb: We have the same problem.

Walker and Lamb smile at each other.

Thompson: Child Psych. Lesbian gay bisexual or transgender, faced more scrutiny regarding rights to be parents. American Child PSych opposes any discrimination. There is not a rich empirical lit of Transgender, or bisexuals. This statement is not based on empirics, but politics. As for APA, you don’t know whether any non-scientific considerations played a role.

Lamb: Not member of APA, wasn’t involved in discussions, so I have no idea.

Thompson: Terms we’re using. Is accepted conclusion that around 2% of adult pop that are gay or lesbian.

Lamb: Most people express it as a range.

Thompson: Your view is that around 2%

Lamb: Not a demographer.

Thompson: Some might consider same sex, but do not have an erotic component.

Lamb: Outside my area of expertise, but probably true.

Thompson: You’re talking about self-identify. You used term gender orientation and sex orientation interchangeably.

Lamb: I confess, I do, but I’m trying to be better behaved.

Thompson: Sexual object focus.

Lamb: Doesn’t sound like something I would say, but I could forget.

Thompson: Deposition in Howard case.

Thompson: You say, “sexual romantic interest.” Did you give that testimony?


Thompson: I wanted to refresh recollection?

Lamb: I suspect that object is in this is a mistranscription of something I said. I suspect the word object wasn’t used.

Thompson: You also referred to the word well-being and adjustment, synonyms, correct? Not trying to exclude any index of mental well-being. Still many differences between men and women. Men more likely to be incarcerated. Men more likely to be involved in violent altercations. Men more likely to be alcoholics. Women live longer than men. Death of parent traumatic event for child. Men and women get different types of diseases. Health of parent. Intelligence of parents can have affect on well-being.

Lamb: That’s a trickier one.

Thompson: it’s certainly possible that if some were able to get into Cambridge, they’d be in better position to be a good parent, then if they were illiterate.

Lamb: Not sure if better educated people necessarily better parents. I assume if people had extremely low intelligence, might make it difficult to perform parents.

Thompson: Differences in bell curve between men and women. Disproportionately more men at lower level of cognitive abilities. Low end of verbal abilities. If you look at Homer Simpsons of the world, more men than women.

Lamb: I suspect she’s referring to people performing must less well than Homer Simpson.

[Walker laughs loud]

Thompson: Men graduate at lower rates. Education attainment of parents predictor of psychological. Men can’t breast feed. Breast feeding clearly has benefits for children. Economic resources predictably adjustment. Women earn less than men. Lesbians higher or lower income than hetero couples. There are earning differences between hetero and gay men. Lee Badget, she says contrary to popular sterotype, same sex couples comparable. Males household income 4% higher than married, while female 7% lower. It’d be important to hold constant for levels of resources.

Lamb: I do want to draw your attention to the fact that this is talking about same sex couples in general, not necessarily those parenting children.

Thompson: Women spend money differently than men, as it relates to children.

Lamb: Not familiar with that.

Thompson: Gender also related to certain occupations.

Lamb: Yes, it has changed pretty dramatically over time.

Thompson: Associated with education opportunities correct?

Lamb: May be associated with whether or not they take advantage.

Thompson: Men more likely sexual assualt. Stepfathers more likely than biological fathers to molest children. Stepfathers more likely to molest than stepmothers. Evidence that men who are married to women less likely to drink and gamble. When it comes to parenting skills, you’re not saying that men and women are completely interchangable.

Lamb: when it comes to outcomes, it’s the same features.

Thompson: “Is it your opinion that men and women completely interchangeable.” You gave that testimony.

Lamb: I continued for several paragraphs explaining what I meant.

Thompson: Gender is complicated variable. Ramifications for indiv’s experiences from beginning of life. Gender would be related to processes raising child, but not in straightforward way. Can have ripple effects, can affect the way they behave with their children. Has a wide range of effects on our behavior. Fathers biological and social reinforced masculine qualities predispose them to treat their children differently, correct?

Lamb: Not sure about that.

Thompson: [Directs Lamb to one of his articles] “Father’s predispose them”

Lamb: This is referring to David Popineau. It was trying to describe his position. We were supposed to be reviewing contributions to the field.

Thompson: You thought his contribution was significant enough to be named in review.

Lamb: Scholers like to be sure they don’t leave out things.

Thompson: There is evidence that father absence has most predictable effects when father leaves early in child’s life.

Lamb: With provisos around term of effect. You have different series of processes, longer periods of time.

Thompson: There are studies that show taht attachment between babies and fathers are strong, might serve needs not by mother.

Lamb: If you’re talking about babies being raised in families with two parents, significance.

Thompson: Studies more closely related to gender than involvement.

Lamb: I think that’s generally not the case.

Thompson: Attachment and affiliative system. Do you recall writing Chapter 10.

Lamb: Believe it or not I do, even though it was published in late 70s and published in 1982.

Thompson: reads about involvement of fathers.

Lamb: Wrote this, summary of a study conducted in late 1970s. As I testified earlier, believed at that point that those positions might be important. As I also testified earlier, that is a finding that has not held up.

Thompson: Science was wrong.

Lamb: Science is cumulative. In that vast volume of literature, you will find cases where not replicated by researchers, conclusion distorted by particular measure they used, that’s why it’s important to view as cumulative process, where you look at big picture, multiple studies. It’s absolutely not the case that any particular study in and of itself is going to establish an important association.

Thompson: Both mothers and fathers play crucial and different roles.

Lamb: Both can by hetero parents.

Thompson: There are qualitative between mother-infant and father-infant relationships.

Lamb: Often. Those differences don’t always exist, many studies don’t show them. Those differences in and of itself, don’t have an effect.

Thompson: Effective paternal deprivation.

Lamb: Many situations w/children who do have father don’t benefit from committed relationship.

Thompson: Article you wrote, fathers, forgotten contributors. You wrote “disturbing that devaluation of father’s role.” What was the context in which you believed that to be true.

Lamb: Wrote when I was grad student. In that context, in the context of field where tremendous focus on relationship between mothers and children, and inattention to fathers, drawing attention to those, many children who grew up with 2 hetero parents, important to study effects of other person. I wrote another You’ve doene a great job at bringing back these memories.

Thompson: There’ll be more.

Lamb: I did a paper showing we need to look more broadly.

Thompson: Increase in father absence, diminished involvement, early child bearing. Correct?

Lamb: This is someting we talked about earlier. Interesting question is why those associations come about.

Thompson: Boys, gender school performance.

Lamb: Some of those findings have held up. Some have not been substantiated by recent research.

Thompson: Article from 2000. Entitled fatherhood 21st century.

Lamb: Most of research on effects of father-absence, doesn’t share those differences in sex role and gender development.

Thompson: How about poor school performance. Psycho-social adjustment.

Lamb: Yeah, we talked about that. There are those correlations.

Thompson: Is there a causal connection between father absence and these problems?

Lamb: Literature suggests that qualities I talked about association between parents, and social and economic resources available to family, most important in explaining these differences.

Thompson: Nurturing fathers may contribute to wellbeing of daughters. Disturbed father child relationships and failure to achieve same sex identification may be pathogenic.

Thompson: 1976, role of father in childhood development.

Lamb: Citations are to 1961, two from 1950s, one from 1965. We’ve had a lot of research since that was written. As you’ve pointed out, there have been subsequent editions of this book, that have updated these citatoins.

[WOW. Intellectual fraud to win an argument?]

Thompson: Fathers more interested in retaining cultural. Moral development, also affected by father absence.

Lamb: Talk in earlier literature, not something exlored much more recently. Shifted from moral development to someting more narrow like encounters with police.

Thompson: Studies about father absence influence sex roles, psychological adjustment.

Lamb: That sounds like older conclusion.

Walker: When would a convenient time to take a break?

Thompson: This would be a lovely time.

(Till 5 of the hour)



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.