On his television program, Bill O'Reilly asked “why,” if children suffer no psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, “wouldn't nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?”
On the December 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly dismissed scientific research on same-sex parenting to assert that "[n]ature dictates that a dad and a mom is the optimum" form of child-rearing. O'Reilly asked “why,” if children suffer no psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, “wouldn't nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?” O'Reilly declared that by arguing in favor of same-sex couples' right to raise children, “you're taking Mother Nature and you're throwing it right out the window, and I just think it's crazy.” In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted (here, here, here, and here), studies have consistently found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development.
Additionally, O'Reilly, presumably referring to Media Matters, claimed that following a December 6 O'Reilly Factor segment on Mary Cheney's pregnancy, "[t]he loony websites cranked up their propaganda, accusing me of demeaning Miss Cheney and gay parents in general." Continuing, O'Reilly stated: “Well, that nonsense was picked up by two far-left columnists at the very liberal, very liberal Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The secular-progressive pipeline strikes again.” O'Reilly appeared to be referring to a December 11 Post-Intelligencer column by Joel Connelly and a December 13 column by Susan Paynter. Connelly wrote in his column, as Media Matters had noted, that during his October 6 television show, O'Reilly “criticized Sen. John Kerry as not being 'respectful' of Mary Cheney's 'private life' when Kerry mentioned her sexual orientation in a TV debate,” yet now hosted a “segment” on “Cheney's pregnancy and same-sex parenting.” Paynter stated in her column: “Of course, that 'think tank' and brain trusts such as Fox News' Bill O'Reilly could be counted on to feign concern for the supposedly perilous futures of such kids. Of course, they'd spew specious statistics about risks and propensities. It's what they do.”
On the December 13 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed that “if you disagree” that “there's no difference between gays raising kids and a mom-dad situation ... the S-P [secular progressive] press will try to hurt you,” and later dismissed scientific research showing that being raised by same-sex parents does not appear to harm children's psychosocial development. During a discussion with Family Pride executive director Jennifer Chrisler, O'Reilly claimed that it was merely Chrisler's “story” that, in Chrisler's words, "[c]hildren do equally as well when" they are raised by same-sex parents and concluded that "[n]ature dictates that a dad and a mom is the optimum, does it not?"
In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Child Welfare League of America, among others, have all noted that credible scientific data shows that children suffer no harm from being reared by same-sex parents.
For instance, as Colorado Media Matters has noted (here and here), the American Psychological Association (APA) concluded in a 2005 study of lesbian and gay parenting 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 study also 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.”
In a March 11 Boston Herald opinion column, NASW Executive Director Carol J. Trust wrote in support of same-sex parenting, noting:
Anyone who wishes to examine the 20 years of peer-reviewed studies on the emotional, cognitive and behavioral outcomes of children of gay and lesbian parents will find not one shred of evidence that children are harmed by their parents' sexual orientation.
The empirical and clinical evidence suggesting same-sex parents are equivalent to heterosexual parents in their ability to care for children and provide loving homes is so compelling that there is a growing consensus among legal and child welfare experts that there is no rational basis to deny adoption to gay and lesbian couples solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Additionally, Child Welfare League of America President and CEO Shay Bilchik noted the organizations' support of gay and lesbian couples' adopting children in the forward to "Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting":
It has now been established by the research that gay people are just as capable of being good parents as heterosexual or “straight” people, and that their children are just as likely to be healthy and well-adjusted. Not a single reputable study has found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents have been harmed because of their parents' sexual orientation in any way.
Because of this research and because exclusions based on traits other than one's ability to be a good parent are contrary to good child welfare policy and practice, the Child Welfare League of America has issued a public statement supporting the parenting of children by lesbians and gay men, and condemning attempts to restrict competent, caring adults from serving as foster and/or adoptive parents.
As Media Matters noted, in 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported on the psychosocial development of children raised by same-sex parents. The report noted that 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.”
From the December 13 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight. What do Mary Cheney and illegal immigrants have in common? That is the subject of this evening's “Talking Points Memo.”
Last week, we did a segment on Miss Cheney's pregnancy and her desire to raise a child in a lesbian household. The segment was respectful, even mild. We discussed the role that fathers play in the lives of children and what the lack of a dad might mean.
Well, there was immediate outrage on the far left. The loony websites cranked up their propaganda, accusing me of demeaning Miss Cheney and gay parents in general.
Well, that nonsense was picked up by two far-left columnists at the very liberal, very liberal Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The secular-progressive pipeline strikes again.
Now, the strategy here is to intimidate any discussion about gay parenting, no matter how benign. If you question anything, you're homophobic -- a bad person.
The S-Ps believe there's no difference between gays raising kids and a mom-dad situation. The S-Ps also believe there's no difference between gay marriage and straight marriage, and if you disagree, the S-P press will try to hurt you.
CHRISLER: Yeah. You know, look, the reality is -- is that research's been done, and -- and there is 30 years of that research, and it's incontrovertible. There is no deficit.
Children do equally as well when they have two moms and two dads, or whether they have a mom and a dad, and if you're really concerned --
O'REILLY: Well, that's your story, but you know the Family Research Council and all the other have all the other data that says that is not the case, that there is a -- something missing in the emotional realm, but I don't even want to get into that. Nature dictates that a dad and a mom is the optimum, does it not?
CHRISLER: No, because the reality is they're bad dads and bad moms, and they're are --
O'REILLY: The nature doesn't dictate that.
CHRISLER: You know --
O'REILLY: So what you're saying to me is that a lesbian couple and a gay-guy couple are just as equipped to raise a child as heterosexual parents? That's what you're saying?
CHRISLER: Absolutely. Yeah, without a doubt --
O'REILLY: No difference.
CHRISLER: -- because love --
O'REILLY: No difference.
CHRISLER: -- stability, commitment, kindness, caring, values, morals, discipline, guidance, that's what really makes good parents, and if we want to be worried about what we're going to talk about here, we should talk about what are the qualities of a parent that really make a difference for a child, and that's what it is.
O'REILLY: All right, well, I disagree with you. I'm going with nature. I'm going with -- [free-lance journalist] Miss [Norah] Vincent, I'm going with -- I'm throwing in with Mother Nature here and I'm going best-case scenario, dad and a mom. Am I a bigot?
VINCENT: No, you're not a bigot for saying that, but nature is procreation, and we're talking about something cultural called parenting.
O'REILLY: No, I'm talking about raising kids. I'm talking about -- I know there are bad parents --
VINCENT: Well, there's nothing inherent in biology --
O'REILLY: -- and I know there are good gay parents. Absolutely, all right?
O'REILLY: But I'm talking optimum, best for the kid, having a mom and a dad. Are you going to call me a bigot for that?
VINCENT: Not at all, no. It's a legitimate preference.
O'REILLY: Are you going to, Miss Chrisler, call me a bigot for that?
CHRISLER: Nope, I'm just going to call you wrong --
CHRISLER: -- which you are. So --
O'REILLY: You know, why wouldn't -- why wouldn't nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake? You know? You know, you just throw --
CHRISLER: Well, we'd have --
O'REILLY: You take Mother Nature.
CHRISLER: We'd have a lot of people, wouldn't we?
O'REILLY: You know the old commercial -- don't fool around with Mother Nature? What you're doing is you're taking Mother Nature and you're throwing it right out the window, and I just think it's crazy. I really do. And that's not based on religion or morals or -- Annie [sic], you're a good person, Norah's a good person. All right? But it's just that you say, “Hell with nature -- the hell with it. We're going to do what we want. It's just as good. And you guys are crazy.” And that's what you're saying.