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Children thrive equally with same-sex, heterosexual parents, psychologist testifies at Prop. 8 trial

January 15, 2010 | 12:23 pm

A Cambridge University developmental psychologist testified at a federal trial in San Francisco today that broad research has documented that children of same-sex parents are just as likely as those of heterosexual parents to be well-adjusted.

"Studies have found children do not require both a male and female parent," testified Michael Lamb, who heads Cambridge's Department of Social and Developmental Psychology.

Lamb was called by lawyers for two same-sex couples who are challenging Proposition 8 as a violation of federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Proposition 8, approved by 52.3% of voters in 2008, amended the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

He said childhood adjustment is determined by the relationships parents have with children and their relationships to each other.

Lamb also said that studies show "no significant increase" in the proportion of children who become gay and lesbian when they are raised by same-sex couples rather than heterosexuals.

Children of same-sex couples are more vulnerable than their counterparts to be teased about their parents, but not more likely to be teased overall, he said. Lamb also said that children of gays and lesbians have fewer sexual stereotypes than children of heterosexuals.

Under questioning by a lawyer for the Proposition 8 campaign, Lamb admitted he was a member of the ACLU, the National Organization of Women, the NAACP, Amnesty International and the Nature Conservancy.

"And you have even given money to PBS, isn't that correct?" asked David H. Thompson, who is defending Proposition 8. Thompson suggested Lamb was "a committed liberal."

Thompson also elicited testimony from Lamb that "children clearly benefit when they have two parents, and both of them are actively involved."

Thompson said that 2000 census data showed that 33% of lesbian households and 22% of gay men household were raising children and that most studies have dealt with lesbian mothers rather than gay fathers.

-- Maura Dolan at the San Francisco federal courthouse