from Parenting & Family
On April 28, 2003, psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover testified before the Massachusetts Senate Judicial Committee on various issues surrounding the subject homosexuality and the future of the family in America. Dr. Satinover is a member of NARTH's Scientific Advisory Committee.
Massachusetts is now debating the legalization homosexual marriages. If such marriages are legalized in that state, a legal challenge of traditional marriage is expected in the remaining 49 states.
Dr. Satinover, author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, urged the senators to carefully consider their actions. He observed:
"As you all know, most keenly, the question before you is not merely one of academic dispute; rather, upon the outcome of your deliberations will depend the foundational social structure, hence direction of the Commonwealth in future, and in significant measure, that of our Nation as well."He continued:
"It is therefore most urgent that these deliberations be based not only on compassion, and justice, but on the factual truth as well. Indeed, unless resting upon truth, neither justice nor compassion can long endure against shifts in sentiment."Dr. Satinover discussed the following claims of homosexual activists, and offered a rebuttal to each of them. The claims he challenged were--
Jeffrey Satinover, MD is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist. He holds degrees from MIT (S.B., Humanities and Science), Harvard (Ed.M., Clinical Psychology and Public Practice), the University of Texas (M.D.) and Yale (M.S., Physics.) He completed his residency in Psychiatry at Yale with a year as Fellow of The Yale Child Study Center. He holds a Diploma in Analytical Psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute of Zurich. Dr. Satinover has practiced psychotherapy and/or psychiatry since 1974. He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals of psychology and of neuroscience, chapters and books, among them Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth.
Honorable Members, Citizens of Massachusetts:
The debate over homosexuality is one of the most contentious and divisive in which our society has ever engaged. On the face of it, one might wonder that so intensely personal and private a matter could achieve such public weight, but wonder aside, it has: In this legislation now under consideration by the State of Massachusetts, all the varying points of that debate come into sharp opposition.
As you all know, most keenly, the question before you is not merely one of academic dispute; rather, upon the outcome of your deliberations will depend the foundational social structure, hence direction of the Commonwealth in future, and in significant measure, that of our Nation as well.
It is therefore most urgent that these deliberations be based not only on compassion, and justice, but on the factual truth as well. Indeed, unless resting upon truth, neither justice nor compassion can long endure against shifts in sentiment.
That as a society we strive no longer to condone - rather to condemn --cruelty toward people attracted to members of their own sex is an absolute requirement of both justice and humanity. But we would be short-sighted indeed were we to advance this, as any other, just cause based on fictions: Not only will the inevitable uncovering of those fictions, however delayed, provide an excuse for bigotry to reclaim its unearned place, it will engender beliefs, attitudes and policies that, by flying in the face of reality, will lead to an increase, rather than a decrease in the happiness all are entitled to pursue. Nature (and if you prefer, "Nature's God") cannot be fooled.
A number of claims have become central to the argument that the definition and privileged status of marriage ought be expanded to include couples of the same sex. These claims are:
None of these claims are even remotely true, however widely believed they may have become; the evidence of the kind that "everyone knows" simply does not exist; even a cursory examination of the actual sources behind these claims will reveal a very strong preponderance of evidence to precisely the contrary; the claims are simply fiction.
I have below assembled a selection of statements from prominent researchers. A far wider and more comprehensive bibliography of scientific references is provided as an attachment. Most of the statements below have been selected according to three basic principles:
(1) They are the general conclusions of prominent scientists whose research is well-respected.
(2) The scientists cited have specifically identified themselves as "gay" or "lesbian" and/or as more generally sympathetic to "gay activist" political positions.
(3) Their research is precisely that widely cited and believed as providing evidence directly contrary to what they themselves found and acknowledge. (It is to the credit of a number of them that they have publicly acknowledged that their own evidence contradicts what they had believed and had hoped to confirm.)
CLAIMS vs. THE EVIDENCE
Claim 1. That homosexuality has been repeatedly demonstrated to be, and is in fact, an innate, genetically-determined condition.
"Since I looked at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later."
Also pertinent to the present debate is his observation that:
"...people who think that gays and lesbians are born that way are also more likely to support gay rights."
But that is not what he found. Rather, he concluded:
"Although male and female homosexuality appear to be at least somewhat heritable, environment must also be of considerable importance in their origins."
Claim 2. That homosexuality is an immutable state of an individual.
The 1973 decision to delete homosexuality from the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association has had a chilling effect on scientific objectivity with respect to homosexuality and on both public and professional attitudes concerning its permanence as an individual characteristic. The decision tended to confirm the sentiment that, since homosexuality has been voted out as a formal "disorder," it need not, cannot and should not be "treated", regardless of the principle that in a free society individuals should be free to pursue happiness each according to his own lights, consonant with the well-being of others.
But the American Psychiatric Association, like most other professional-practitioner associations, is not a scientific organization. It is a professional guild and as such, amenable to political influence in ways that science per se must not allow itself to be. Thus, the decision to de-list homosexuality was not made based on scientific evidence as is widely claimed. As Simon LeVay (cited above) acknowledges, "Gay activism was clearly the force that propelled the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality."
But of far greater import is the fact that whether it is deemed a "disorder" or not, it is undesirable to many, and susceptible to change. The evidence for this fact should not be obscured by the false assumption that homosexuality is either innate and unchangeable, or a "lifestyle choice" and changeable at will. It is neither: It is most often a deeply- embedded condition that develops over many years, beginning long before the development of moral and self-awareness, and is genuinely experienced by the individual as though it was never absent in one form or another. It is, in other words, similar to most human characteristics, and shares with them the typical possibilities for, and difficulties in, achieving sustained change.
When he presented his results to the Gay and Lesbian committees of the APA, anticipating a scientific debate, he was shocked to be met with intense pressure to withhold his findings for political reasons. Dr. Spitzer has subsequently received considerable "hate mail" and complaints from his colleagues because of his research. Douglas C. Haldeman, Ph.D., an independent practitioner in Seattle, WA, is a prominent gay-affirmative theorist. He comments, "From the perspective of gay theorists and activists. . . the question of conversion therapy's efficacy, or lack thereof, is irrelevant. It has been seen as a social phenomenon, one that is driven by anti-gay prejudice in society..."
Furthermore, just as locking onto a "choice versus genetic" dichotomy obscures reality, so, too, does locking onto "unchangeable versus therapeutic change." For it is also the case, well-documented but unobserved and unremarked upon, that the majority of "homosexuals" become "heterosexual" spontaneously, without therapy.
By way of introduction to the scientific evidence for this, it's worth citing Paglia again:
The most comprehensive, most recent and most accurate study of sexuality, the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS), was completed in 1994 by a large research team from the University of Chicago and funded by almost every large government agency and NGO with an interest in the AIDS epidemic. They studied every aspect of sexuality, but among their findings is the following, which I'm going to quote for you directly:
Claim 3. The only disadvantages of homosexuality are those caused by social disapproval and discrimination.
To mistakenly support three out of four gay identified men in their identification with homosexuality is not a benign mistake. Bailey (of the twin study) recently examined the question as to whether homosexuality is associated with a higher level of psychopathology. He concluded:
The specific concern in supporting young men in a gay identification is that innumerable studies from major centers around the US and elsewhere note that a twenty-year-old man who identified himself as gay carries 30% (or greater) risk of being HIV positive or dead of AIDS by age 30. A recent Canadian study published concluded that in urban centers gay male identification is associated with a life expectancy comparable to that in Canada in the 1870's.
Claim 4. A society composed of same-sex couples raising children in family-like units will differ from a society composed of traditional family units in no undesirable ways.
There has recently been an attempt to demonstrate that raising children in a same-sex household has no ill effect. These studies are few in number, none have ever looked at those areas where difficulties would be expected and one of the most repeatedly cited researchers was excoriated by the court for her testimony when she refused to turn over her research notes to the court even at the urging of the ACLU attorneys for whom she was testifying.
What is known, from decades of research on family structure, studying literally thousands of children, is that every departure from the traditional, stable, mother-father family has severe detrimental effects upon children; and these effects persist not only into adulthood but into the next generation as well.
In short, the central problem with mother-mother or father-father families is that they deliberately institute, and intend to keep in place indefinitely, a family structure known to be deficient in being obligatorily and permanently either fatherless or motherless.