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Gay marriage trial turns focus to children

San Francisco, CA — Proponents of Proposition 8 put children at the heart of their argument for banning gay marriage in California, but Friday, during the federal trial to decide the constitutionality of the measure, an expert testified that children raised by gay parents are not more likely to be maladjusted.

On the fifth day of the trial in San Francisco, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker heard testimony from Michael Lamb, head of Cambridge University's Department of Social and Developmental Psychology.

Lamb said he concluded that "The evidence makes clear that having a gay or lesbian parent does not make children more likely to be maladjusted" after reviewing the data of about 100 studies on the subject.

He also testified that children of gay parents are just as likely to be heterosexual as other children. Gender was not an important measure of good parenting, he added.

"What makes for an effective parent is the same whether or not you are talking about a mother or a father," Lamb said.

As with previous expert witnesses for the plaintiffs, attorneys for the Proposition 8 campaign attempted to portray Lamb as a "committed liberal." Under cross-examination, Lamb was asked whether he was a member of the ACLU, NOW, NAACP and PBS. He answered "yes."

Lawyers also criticized Lamb's research because it did not specifically focus on married heterosexual couples.

Lawyer David H. Thompson rejected Lamb's testimony, then went on to discount the entire profession. Thompson evoked a dark time when being gay was considered pathological, then said: "and the psychological community was entirely wrong, wasn't it?"

In other testimony, Helen Zia, 57, who married her partner during the brief window when gay marriage was legal in California, said being married altered how people viewed her relationship.

Zia testified that she was aware of her feelings towards women as early as six but anti-gay sentiment kept her from pursuing a relationship with another woman during her 20s.

Family acceptance of her union with Lia Shigemura grew after the couple married in 2008.

"My mother, an immigrant from China, she really doesn't get what 'partner' is. … Marriage made it very clear that I was family, that we were family, and I was where I belonged," Zia said.

The trial resumes Monday, when the court is expected to hear the testimony of William Tam, a controversial Proposition 8 proponent who alleged that gay marriage advocates also supported the legalization of sex with children. Tam appeared in court Friday, but was not called upon.
Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the ACLU, NOW, NAACP and PBS?
Posted by CindiK on Sun, 1/17/2010 8:24 PM
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