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
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
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 Tuesday, 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.