Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Facts About American and Gay Families, or McCain Again Proves Out of Touch and Mind


Senator McCain's comment in the New York Times on Sunday, July 13, stating, "I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don't believe in gay adoption" demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the many kinds of families that exist in the United States. The Family Equality Council, the national organization working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, is disturbed and disappointed that a presidential candidate would make such a biased and ill-informed statement about the most "successful" kind of family.

These are the facts about American families. According to the 2000 census, the vast majority-more than 75%-of American households differ in structure from two married, heterosexual parents and their biological children. We are a nation of blended and multi-generational families, adoptive and foster families, and families headed by single parents, divorced parents, unmarried parents, same-sex couples and more. As an adoptive parent himself, McCain should be well aware of this. As a presidential candidate, he should seek to honor and support the many kinds of families that exist, rather than dismiss the vast majority of households in this country as second-tier.

This is what is true about lesbians and gays raising children: 30 years of scientifically valid research universally demonstrates that LGBT families are just as nurturing for children's growth and development as heterosexual families.

Our society's primary child welfare organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers, have all issued statements supporting same-sex parents. The American Psychological Association has stated: "Gay and lesbian parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide healthy and supportive environments for their children."

All of which makes one wonder: What is the basis for Senator McCain's position?

American families may be diverse, but have at least one thing in common-we want our children to be safe, healthy, happy and supported. When our families are politicized, our ability to protect ourselves, each other and our children comes under attack. After eight years of similarly baseless attacks on our families, we hope that the next President of the United States will honor and support the vast array of families that daily work to raise happy, healthy and productive children. The Family Equality Council has a proud history of educating political leaders about our families and we welcome Senator McCain and others whose perspectives affect the most personal aspects of our lives to contact us and get to know the loving families he paints as "unsuccessful".