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Report finds kids of gay parents well-adjusted: The kids are alright

The kids are alright

Hastings outmanoeuvred the Tories to release his own report
Photo: Courtesy Paul Hastings

A pro-gay study commissioned by the former federal Liberal government was finally released to the public in May after its author had to resort to Canada’s Access to Information Act to get the Tories to release it.

"I can’t say for sure that the Tories deliberately buried my study," Concordia associate psychology professor Paul Hastings told Hour this week. "But I can say that it is really unusual for the federal government to pay for a report to be written and not post it. I suspect my study’s support for gay parents did not conform to the policy lines of the Tory party."

Hastings’ report was commissioned by the Department of Justice in 2003 and was completed in 2004, whereupon it was edited and translated by the department to conform to department legalese before being posted on the Government of Canada website. Except, of course, the Liberals were then beaten by the Conservatives in the 2006 election and the report was never posted.

The report itself compares the results of almost 50 North American, European and British studies about families headed by gay and lesbian parents from North America, with the results of another 25 studies of single-parent families. The international studies span the past 30 years.

"If the research had shown that children of same-sex parents were experiencing some kind of problem related to their social competence, I would have wanted to highlight that," says Hastings. "A problem can’t be addressed until it is recognized. But the vast majority of studies showed that these children are just as okay as the kids with opposite-sex parents."

Hastings says he is now getting requests from around the world for copies of his acclaimed report. But here in Canada, he says, "As far as I know it still isn’t posted on the government website. That’s quite disappointing."

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  • by Pedro Eggers - June 7, 2007, 12:40 pm

    Gee, there’s a shocker…a gay article by Richard Burnett. Sigh. Y’know, I’m not here to make friends or influence people, just point out the obvious. This is pretty much like having *only* Spike Lee making films about black issues. The same voice in the crowd is not the same as have a crowd of people speaking in unison. Whatever. The only thing less surprising that this is the findings of this study or how Harper’s Tories tried to bury it in red tape. Even known someone raised by a gay couple? I have and they are as together or messed-up as us folks raised by the traditional hetero kind. They needed a study for this? Common sense will tell you that regardless of what kind of sex life your parents have it’s how they love and raise you that ultimately determines how healthy and happy you are.

  • by Peter Paul - June 7, 2007, 4:39 pm

    When will people realize that it doesn’t take a specific gender to raise a child, it simply takes love and patience. We have to understand we as humans are evolving and the past family structure has been destroyed so people should stop clinging to it. Concerning the Federal Government burying the results from this study doesn’t surprise me, anything to not give the opposition weaponry.

  • by Anny Truong - June 7, 2007, 11:07 pm

    I can’t say I know for sure that kids of gay parents are well adjusted or anything because I don’t personally know any. I never thought gay parents would have a negative effect on the kids to begin with because being gay is simply a lifestyle. Bad parents are the cause of bad parents, not their sexual orientation.

  • by George Oakes - June 8, 2007, 12:43 am

    Tories don’t like same-sex marriages, then it stands to reason that they wouldn’t like good findings in regards to children being raised by same sex couples. what do they say about “New” Conservatives? let’s face it. it doesn’t matter what different shapes the right takes, it’s always the same thing. narrow mindedness, shallow, hypocritical, intolerant, backward, homophobic, cl assist, elitist, blub blub blub. the list is endless obviously enough. some people, uh? we should do an in-depth critical analysis of the government of the day, do a comprehensive survey of the citizens of Canada, see if they wish for this government to continue with its mandate, provide the results to journalists and the media and proceed to kick the new conservative party of Canada out on its arse, literally kicked out of office; the power of the people’s resolve to get things done, bring about real concrete results(ass-whooping) that everyone can benefit from and not just the handful that the conservatives represent. i’m really not political but the conservatives bring the worst out in me. forgive?

  • by Charles Montpetit - June 8, 2007, 2:22 pm

    Conservatives reneging on promises made by the previous Liberal government? Stop the presses! Whether it’s the Kyoto protocol or funding for the Canada Council, this is what they feel duty-bound to do, all the time, to everyone. So don’t take it too personally, Paul. The only thing that amazes me is that you’re not posting the report yourself on the Internet since you receive “requests from around the world for copies” of the report. This very article is proof that you are free to talk about it, so why not do so at more length and let us all in on the specifics that the Tories don’t want us to know?

  • by Reuven De Souza - June 8, 2007, 3:19 pm

    Go figure that if you come from a responsible home where there is discipline as well as love that you would be generally well adjusted. I mean there is the case of those two male flamingos who have raised ten eggs together as family. Get over the whole same sex thing…aren’t there too many kids in foster care who could use stable environments like these homes?

  • by Kendall Defoe - June 8, 2007, 6:09 pm

    Calloo-Calley! Gay people make good parents. Sound the trumpets! Open the Dom Perignon and pass out the buffalo wings! This is one of the sillier things about our culture: the fear of what we cannot see turning into the fear of what we imagine is taking place. Screw the Tories for blocking access to this report. Harper and his brood are criticizing Putin for his view of human rights? President Pot, here is Prime Minister Kettle.
    These kinds of fears about gays and lesbians as parents strikes me as being very similar to complaints made about blacks marrying whites and raising children. Where will they fit in? Won’t they be shunned by society? And how will they take care of their hair (granted, a serious concern)?
    Just let this report run and let those smallminded bigots out there suck on it!

  • by Rob Postuma - June 10, 2007, 5:57 pm

    Do we need to be told that the children of same-sex kids – are just as normal as anyone else? Sadly, the answer is yes, because a whole lot of people out there feel otherwhise. It does seem stupid that anyone would have to commission a study on this, something that seems so obvious, that love is love no matter what – but the reality is – that most people think otherwhise. Personally, I much rather a child have 2 gay people in his/her life that love them unconditionally and will take care of them – than a situation where the kid may not have that love and care. In the end, it’s all about the love that you bring.

  • by Mike Jones - June 11, 2007, 7:32 pm

    You should be fighting the conservatives with freedom because it is obvious they are stiffling your words…Its crazy that you had to do the research in the first place for common knowledge..Are we stupid americans now…

  • by Mark St Pierre - June 13, 2007, 6:39 pm

    Ok, I’d like to express chagrin and shock over the fact that this study has gone M.I.A. but if there’s one thing Harper and his cronies aren’t, it’s pro-gay. And it’s not even that this study is really even pro-gay – rather it just affirms that the status quo applies equally to both heterosexual and same-sex couples when it comes to the social evolution of their children. Shocking? – no, not to most enlightened folk but a bitter and disconsolate pill for the Conservatives to swallow to be sure…

  • by Stephen Talko - June 14, 2007, 12:03 am

    The normal heterosexual couple is a self contained unit for producing offspring and nurturing them to maturity. For infertile couples or those who consider childbirth too strenuous, adoption is a viable option but this introduces another set of parents to complicate matters including that of custody. In any case the boy learns from his father how to become a man and from his mother the qualities he should look for in a future bride. It is similar for girls but with the roles reversed.
    Gay couples cannot self reproduce on their own. A third party is required to supply the eggs or sperm as the case may be. You could have 3 people involved in the upbringing of the child. Ordinary adoption would pose the same issues as for opposite sex couples. The biggest concern is having appropriate role models for both the male and female sexes. For example a boy having two female gay parents would need to have a close male friend or big brother to help him discover his masculinity.
    Single moms have raised sons successfully for generations without outsiders kicking up a fuss. Adding another female parent to this family to help with the chores would allow more quality time to be spent with the kids. Nobody should object to this.
    To sum up I see this as an issue of responsibility and caring not sexual indoctrination.

  • by Paul Hastings - June 14, 2007, 11:41 am

    Hello, and thank you for your interest in Richard Burnett’s article on my report commissioned by the Department of Justice. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. For those interested in reading the report, it is available on the website of the Centre for Research in Human Development: http://crdh.concordia.ca/doj-dev-eng.pdf
    I have also found that a few GLBT advocacy groups have made the report available on their websites, e.g.: http://www.familypride.org/blog/category/adoption/
    I’d like to clarify the time-line of events around the writing and release of this report. The report was commissioned in December 2004. A complete draft of the report was submitted in May 2005. There was some back-and-forth for editing and content (“legalese,” as Richard put it). The final copy was completed in November 2005. The DoJ sent the document for formatting and translation. (The federal election occurred in January 2006.) The DoJ sent me and my co-authors the pre-release copies of the report in English and French in June 2006. On August 8 I was informed that the report was ready for posting, pending a release date from the Minister of Justice Vic Toews. On November 10 I was informed that the report was still awaiting approval for posting on the DoJ website. On November 17, I filed the Access to Information request. A printed copy of the English report was released to me on December 20.
    As of today, June 12 2007, to my knowledge it is still the case that the report has not been posted to the DoJ website

  • by Martin Dansky - June 19, 2007, 12:48 am

    Good for Hastings in getting some recognition for his report from around the world before there is any mention of it at home, as if gay parenthood does not exist as if the government has the right to ignore legislation that was initiated before they took office. And why should the Conservatives feel threatened by the paper, it only goes to show that there are other models beside the conservative pro-Vatican one that the standard home has to have parents of either sex raising kids for proper upbringing to occur. That would put further strain on Catholic precepts of what a marital union is supposed to be, and that Harpoo and his ower Bush are defending. But so much of what is hetero ends up in dovorce, so much of what is dysfunctional in a relationship is independent of the sex of the parent and so much of bad parenting has nothing to do with the sex either. So when is Harper leaving office?

  • by Shodhan Sukhdeo - June 19, 2007, 7:03 pm

    well its good to hear that gay parents are raising their(well someones) kids properly, I mean lets face it straight parent have their problems all th time, so who’s to say gay people will be bad. anyways the point is gay people would make a good addition to parenting, taking care of kids that have crap parents.

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