Same-sex adoption, Paul Cameron and Ilene Lelchuk

On Monday the S.F. Chronicle had a really good article and gays and lesbians and the push to get them to adopt children.  As I read this article over breakfast, I noticed that the name Paul Cameron (the quack who has been kicked out of numerous academic societies for his junk science).  The author of the article, Ilene Lelchuk, did not use Cameron to beat up gays and lesbians.  She used him to show how groups like Focus on the Family use his ‘research’ to counter gays and lesbians adopting.  Here is a bit of what she had to say:

 

Focus on the Family’s objection to samesex parents is grounded in interpretation of biblical scripture and research by Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute in Colorado. Cameron says gays and lesbians are unfit parents, are more likely to molest children of their same sex, switch partners frequently, have shorter life expectancies and cause their children embarrassment and social difficulties.

"Any child that can be adopted into a married-mother-and-father family, that’s the gold standard," Cameron said. "An orphanage would be the second choice, and then a single woman."

Focus on the Family’s drive follows the March release of a study by the Urban Institute think tank and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law concluding gays and lesbians are a great untapped parenting resource, considering that 500,000 children are in foster care nationwide and an estimated 2 million gay, lesbian and bisexual people are interested in adopting.

I was rather surprised that she used Cameron, but what she said was true–these groups do use his research (well, some are questioning whether FoF uses it or not–the jury is still out on that one–however, many other groups do).  I sent Ilene Lelchuk an email to fill her in on Cameron:

 

Monday, May 21, 2007 9:07 AM

Dear Ilene Lelchuk,

I just finished reading your article on gay couples adopting and I thought it was an excellent article. Thank you for writing it. My only problem is with the use of Paul Cameron’s ‘research’ by Focus on the Family and other anti-gay groups. Paul Cameron’s research has been denounced by numerous academic organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, the Nebraska Psychological Organization and just last month by the Eastern Psychological Association. This past month there was an article in Anthropology News discussing Paul Cameron and what he does and how he does it. Not only has he been denounced, he has also been kicked out of these groups. An excellent account of his ‘research’ can be found here (http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,020.htm). Paul Cameron is a fake and it is unfortunate that anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family are using his junk science to keep gays and lesbians from adopting.

Anyway, thanks again for your article.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin Kaatz

She wrote back a response which basically thanked me for my comments.  She said she mentioned Cameron because she wanted to show both sides. 

If the entire article is read, then it will become clear that it is an excellent article and she is clearly on the side of gays and lesbians adopting.  However, some people are not happy that she mentioned Cameron at all.  I have to agree with part of what they are saying because he is a quack and it should have been stated so.  In fact, yesterday the S.F. Chronicle posted a clarification:

 

CLARIFICATION: In an article about San Francisco’s campaign to get more gays and lesbians to adopt foster children – as well as an opposing evangelical campaign to get more Christian families to adopt — the Chronicle quoted Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute. The article should have noted that Cameron, who believes gays make unfit parents and self-published dozens of articles he said were based on his research, was expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 when he refused to subject his work to peer review. The article also should have reported that his Family Research Institute was named a hate group in 2006 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It is good that they did this.  However, some want to take it further.  For example, John Aravosis at AmericaBlog has this to say:

 

This is an unbelievably sloppy, offensive, and dangerous gaffe by the San Francisco Chronicle and their reporter Ilene Lelchuk. Not to mention, an incredibly stupid one for a paper headquartered in San Francisco.

Ilene Lelchuk, a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle, quoted the leader of a known hate group (without identifying him as such) as a scientific expert on gay issues (he claimed that gays molest kids) in a story just published Monday. The "expert" in question is none of than Paul Cameron. You may recall that I’ve been writing a lot about Cameron in the past few weeks (as has Pam Spaulding), as the lead religious right groups keep pushing his hate "science."

To his credit, he does say:

 

You can contact Ms. Lelchuk here (you have every right to chew her ear off, but please realize that there’s a fine line between righteous indignation and simply being rude – she deserves the former).
Also contact the Chronicle’s Reader Rep, i.e., the ombudsman,
here.

That being said, he also said:

To quote Cameron at all, let alone as just another guy who thinks that science proves that gays molest kids, is beyond contemptible. It is the lowest form of journalism.

Is calling her work ‘the lowest form of jounalism’ the same as telling her she was wrong with ‘righteous indignation’?  No, I don’t think so.  She made a mistake and it was corrected.  She is an ally, not an enemy.  I hope that Ilene Lelchuk will continue to write good articles about gays and lesbians.  Otherwise, an enemy was made and as I just said in a comment on another blog–chalk one up for the bad guys. 

 

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