SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–A psychology professor from the University of Cambridge contented Jan. 15 during the California Prop 8 trial that children don’t necessarily need a mother and a father, but he then made a series of acknowledgements on cross-examination that opposing attorneys said damaged his testimony.
The federal trial before U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco could last several weeks and will determine whether California was within its rights to prohibit “gay marriage” in 2008 by adopting Proposition 8. The case likely will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court and decide the constitutionality of laws and constitutional amendments banning “gay marriage” not only in California but also in every other state.
Each day during the trial Baptist Press will post a blog entry from someone in the courtroom. Following is commentary on day five of the trial from Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is helping defend Prop 8:
“The testimony Friday demonstrated why this case should not be in federal court and should rather be left to debate in the public square. The day was dominated by testimony from Michael Lamb, a professor of developmental psychology from the University of Cambridge in England. He initially asserted that a ‘substantial body of evidence’ shows that children raised by same-sex couples are just as well-adjusted as man-woman couples and that it would help children in households of same-sex adults if marriage were redefined at their demand. His strong confidence and that ‘substantial body of evidence’ looked a lot weaker by the end of his cross-examination.
“Dr. Lamb said that he reviewed many studies, concluding that loving involvement in kids’ lives is all it takes to make an effective parent, not whether they are afforded the right to be raised by their own (male and female) parents.
“The effective and interesting cross-examination by Cooper and Kirk lawyer David Thompson showed that the issue is a lot more complex than Lamb insisted and that his position is based on studies with significant analytical deficiencies. We also learned that Dr. Lamb is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women, raising questions about how much of his fringe ideology permeates his research. Also striking is the fact that Lamb is not a clinical psychologist and that he has not interviewed a child for 20 years.
“At times, I felt like I was listening to a different Dr. Lamb testify as Mr. Thompson cross-examined him. A rapid volley of questions yielded inconvenient affirmative responses from Lamb that contradicted his earlier common-sense-defying, ‘gender doesn’t matter’ testimony. Lamb admitted that there are differences between men and women that affect child development. He reluctantly admitted that there is evidence that the absence of a father has its greatest and most predictable effect earlier in a child’s life. He admitted that it is important for infants to attach to both their father and mother. Hmmm … but I thought he said that a parent being male or female had no impact on parenting?
“We also learned that Dr. Lamb had written a review of a famous pro-father book, David Blankenhorn’s ‘Fatherless in America.’ Lamb wrote that it should be widely read and discussed. Wow.
“David Thompson’s tour de force was only warming up. He reviewed with Dr. Lamb a wide variety of social science discussing the importance of the interaction of fathers in the lives of their children and the importance of children being raised by their biological parents. He got Lamb to agree that the research is reputable. Then Lamb reluctantly agreed with such points as these:
— “Children are better raised by their own parents than by divorced or single parents.
— “Social science shows that children benefit in major ways (school performance, abstaining from early sexual activity, etc.) when they are raised in an intact home with their own biological parents rather than a cohabiting, divorced, or stepparent home.
“Then Thompson took Prof. Lamb through the studies he relied upon for his conclusion that children raised by same-sex couples have the same outcomes as those raised by opposite sex couples. He got Lamb to agree that many of these studies had no control groups, used self-selected samples, many of them had samples that were too small (‘miniscule samples’) to reach valid conclusions, and that some of them compared the child-raising outcomes of two-woman couples with the outcomes of children raised by single mothers! Similar results between the two groups is a serious blow to the plaintiffs, as children from single-mother homes show significantly worse outcomes than those of intact married homes with a mother and a father. Some of the studies involving children raised by two men were highly skewed to non-representative population samples.
“The pinnacle of the cross-examination came when Dr. Lamb admitted that many of the studies do not compare two-woman couples raising children to married biological parents raising children, but mixed together children raised by cohabiting, unmarried men and women, which would clearly water down the results of children raised by opposite-sex couples. Lamb’s attempt to restate the objection by saying that the studies ‘did not exclude parents who were unmarried,’ was an avoidance technique that fell lame.
“All of this brings us to the common-sense conclusion that fathers are important in the lives of their children. Children raised by design to be deprived of a father or a mother face serious negative outcomes in their development and well-being. There are tragic circumstances in the lives of children that leave them without the benefit of either a mother or father; however, no one should create a home for a child that deliberately deprives that child the right to both a mom and dad. The state should not be encouraging more arrangements in which children will be without one of their parents, and a court certainly should not impose the same. Every time the state — and in this case the courts — decides to interfere with marriage, children, and the family, the results are devastating to children most of all.
“This demonstrates, again, why this trial should not even be happening in federal court. Californians, and the American people as a whole, should not have this dangerous social experiment imposed upon them by a court in San Francisco. This is a public policy issue that the Constitution affirms should be in the hands of the people. The voters of California had this debate in the fall of 2008, and a solid majority, more than 7 million Californians, wisely decided to add a marriage protection amendment to the state constitution. The only constitutionally correct conclusion is for Judge Walker to uphold the marriage protection amendment and remove the court from a process in which it never belonged in the first place.”
The trial took a day off Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. For more information about the trial visit ProtectMarriage.com or www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/3618. To read about the impact of “gay marriage” on the culture, visit http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=30209.