Sunday, October 17, 2010

AOL reports study of gay parents and gay kids, but it's confusing; disturbing notes on Paul Cameron

AOL Sunday released an article by Paul Kix, “Study: Gay parents more likely to have gay kids”, with major link here. The article discusses a study by Kansas State University (in Manhattan KS, not KU) professor Walter Schumm.

In the article and among its various links, I could not get a clear picture as to whether “gay parents” refers just to biological parents (that is, men and women who lived heterosexually before coming out), or to adoption or other arrangements such as willed guardianships (the “Raising Helen” situation). The sample sizes were small, and the “cause” of parentage might have a significant effect on the study results.

The article refers to a 2006 academic study by Paul Cameron, whom we know to be the notorious anti-gay “psychologist” of the same ilk as “Rev” Fred Phelps. But the article also gives a link to an important 2007 article by Jim Burrow at “Box Turtle” on Cameron, referring to an earlier article from the Southern Poverty Law Center that compared Cameron’s ideas to Nazism, a mixed bag because of all of the convoluted theories (“The Hidden Hitler”) from Machtan and others. The link to Burrow is here.  Burrows gives another link at the end of his piece to “Paul Cameron’s Collaborators”; the “enemies list” is shockingly long.

The article traces the development of Cameron’s “ideas”, especially the one about “parasites” (related to the supposed lack of reproduction), as well as his denial of "immutability" and his ideas about "recreational" addictions. Now, it’s true that totalitarian ideologies tend to classify people into identifiable groups and then act against groups of people who, when viewed as a group, result in a “net cost” to society. (Both National Socialism and Stalinism followed this pattern.) But what individuals concern themselves with is what “moral standards” are imposed on them and their peers as individuals, not as members of groups. The legal system generally does not support the idea that procreation is a universal responsibility (in the sense that it viewed military service as a potential universal responsibility for males in the past); instead responsibility occurs when one chooses to perform acts (intercourse) that can result in children. (Filial responsibility laws could well complicate this picture in the future.) But in practice, many people find the demands of family parenting very great, and some people want to see everyone have to bear the same “burdens” or pay the same “dues”. Cameron’s “ideas” play on that kind of sub-legal thinking; but a half century ago this is how a lot of people thought, without realizing it consciously, and that explains a lot of what we experienced (in the past) as a prohibitionist policy (that Cameron wants) against all homosexuality. The notion of “Super rights” is rather laughable, however. Cameron also claims an "I told you so" kudo for warning society about second hand smoke.

Picture: Kansas State campus, my trip, 2006.

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