Caplis allowed Pfaff to repeat falsehood about studies regarding same-sex parenting

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Co-host Dan Caplis of 630 KHOW-AM let stand without challenge the false claim of former Focus on the Family spokesman Jim Pfaff that "[s]ocial science" has concluded that "kids do best" when "a married mother and father are in the home." On the contrary, an American Psychological Association study stated that "there is no evidence" that children of lesbian or gay parents are worse off than children of heterosexual parents.

On the March 8 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM radio show, co-host Dan Caplis let Jim Pfaff, a former Focus on the Family spokesman and current president of the Focus-backed lobbying organization Colorado Family Action, erroneously assert that "[s]ocial science" has concluded that "[w]hen a married mother and father are in the home, kids do best." Pfaff's assertion echoed Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's equally dubious contention that "the majority of more than 30 years of social-science evidence indicates that children do best on every measure of well-being when raised by their married mother and father." In fact, as Colorado Media Matters has noted (here, here, here, and here), a study of lesbian and gay parenting research by the American Psychological Association (APA) concluded that "there is no evidence" to support the claim that children of lesbian and gay parents are worse off than children of heterosexual parents.

Caplis and co-host Craig Silverman had been discussing House Bill 1330, legislation that would permit both members of an unmarried couple in Colorado -- including same-sex couples -- to become co-adoptive parents. In arguing against the bill, which passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on March 8, Pfaff stated, "Social science research is in for years, and it says it very clearly. When a married mother and father are in the home, kids do best." Pfaff later added that "we know that a mother and father in the home committed to marriage is by far the best arrangement that we can have."

Contradicting Pfaff's remarks, and Dobson's, are the findings of the APA's 2005 meta-study of lesbian and gay parenting, which concluded that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." The APA further found that "the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth."

Similarly, a 2002 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded:

A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children's optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes.

From the March 8 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Caplis & Silverman Show:

PFAFF: Quite frankly, this bill is really wrong in what it -- the way it approaches public policy. I mean, basically this bill is taking a roundabout way, and frankly, it's taking advantage of single parents to obtain homosexual adoption. And, you know, because they know that they cannot straight up put a bill up there that says, you know, that homosexual couples can adopt, they have to do it in a roundabout way like this to get to that end. And quite frankly, we need to be doing something very different than this. We need to be supporting the arrangement that really, true -- truly works for kids, and that's, um, supporting a mother and a father in the home who are taking care of kids. Social science research is in for years, and it says it very clearly. When a married mother and father are in the home, kids do best.

[...]

PFAFF: What's important to take note of here is that to initiate homosexual adoption in any state in a substantive manner -- which this can and would do -- is to undergo an experiment, frankly, on children. And no society intentionally creates motherless and fatherless homes. And, with all due respect to what I'm sure are some homosexual couples that are, you know, good people, I mean, generally, and good citizens, the fact is that you deprive either a mother or a father when a same-sex couple raises children. Now, you know, that may happen, and, and our opponents always argue that, well, it does happen; you can't change that. Well, OK, it does, and maybe we can't in terms of that. Certainly adoption would make that more -- more solid an arrangement than it currently is. But the fact is that that's not a good argument to experiment on the lives of children when we know that a mother and father in the home committed to marriage is by far the best arrangement that we can have. And we have done so much to break down the family through these many years. We don't need to continue to go after these experiments. It's just not helping the family at all, and it's just really bad public policy.

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