Myth versus Fact: Anti-Gay Opposition Can’t Get Its Story Straight on Adoption

by HRC Staff

Washington– National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Board Chairman John Eastman referred to families with adopted children as just “second best” in remarks he made to the Associated Press. Eastman made the remarks in reference to Chief Justice John Roberts, who has adopted two children with his wife. Eastman, who argues that families headed by a man and a woman with biological children are best for society, said of the Chief Justice’s decision to adopt:

“You're looking at what is the best course society wide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts' family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option.”

Eastman’s comments stand in direct opposition to facts introduced at trial in 2010 in the Perry case, which concerned California’s Proposition 8 ban on marriage equality. The Perry case is due to go before the United States Supreme Court in less than two weeks. At the trial, David Blankenhorn – an expert witness for the proponents of Prop 8 – actually said children raised by gay or lesbian adoptive parents did just as well, if not better, than those raised by their biological parents: (emphasis added)

David Blankenhorn (Tr. 2794:12-2795:5)

[BOIES]: And you were not meaning to imply, were you, that biological parents were any better parents than adoptive parents?


[BOIES]: In fact, the studies show that all other things being equal, two adoptive parents raising a child from birth will do as well as two biological parents raising a child from birth, correct?

[BLANKENHORN]: No, sir, that's incorrect.

[BOIES]: Well, sir –

[BLANKENHORN]: May I say another word on that, please?

[BOIES]: You will have an opportunity on redirect.

[BLANKENHORN]: Okay. It was a clarifying thing and actually supports something you just said.

The studies show that adoptive parents, because of the rigorous screening process that they undertake before becoming adoptive parents, actually on some outcomes outstrip the biological parents in terms of providing protective care for their children.

Dr. Michael Lamb, the head of the Social and Developmental Psychology Department at the University of Cambridge, also debunked in his testimony attempts to spread false information about children raised by adoptive parents: (emphasis added)

Michael Lamb (Tr. 1041:8-17)

[LAMB]: … There have been a number of studies that address that issue, including many studies that focus on children who have been adopted, as well as a number of studies focused on children who have been conceived through a variety of reproductive technologies, which lead to them being raised by parents who are not their biological parents.

[MCGILL]: And what did those studies conclude?

[LAMB]: Those studies showed that children are just as likely to be well adjusted as children who are being raised by their biological parents.

This isn’t the first time Eastman has made bizarre comments concerning families or LGBT people. Eastman once equated homosexuality to modern-day “barbarism,” and called gay-straight alliances in schools “incubators of moral relativism.” At the California Republican Assembly state convention in 2010, Eastman said that should marriage equality ever come to California, citizens should respond to "insufferable" government policies by "rising up and abolishing those governments."

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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