Can gays raise healthy kids? U.S. marriage trial asks

Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:18pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Children raised by gay and lesbian couples develop just as well as those brought up by traditional couples, a British child psychologist on Friday told a U.S. federal court considering whether a California ban on gay marriage denies constitutional rights.

Pedophile priests and whether the number or gender of parents was most important were core topics in testimony.

Lawyer David Thompson, defending the ban, jousted with Michael Lamb, head of the Social and Developmental Psychology Department at Cambridge University, about whether a child growing up without a father or without a mother would face developmental problems.

Two gay men and two lesbian women are asking the federal court to rule the right to marry has no exceptions under the U.S. Constitution, a fight they hope to take all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to overturn bans on same-sex marriage in 40 states.

A key question in the case is whether government, and U.S. voters, have a reasonable justification for denying same-sex couples the right to marry, such as promoting healthier families, or if the bans reflect discrimination and hatred.

The record of evidence gathered by Federal District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, including the issue of whether gays are good parents, may be relied upon heavily by appeals courts, which generally do not have as much time to review a case as in the original trial.

Walker asked one of the most striking questions of the day -- what the rash of pedophile priests suggested about the abilities of gays and lesbians in bringing up children.

"You've testified that there is no reason to protect children from lesbians and gays," said Walker. "How do you square your statement with that phenomenon," the judge asked.   Continued...