Thursday, March 02, 2006

Should Republicans be allowed to have (or adopt) children?

Blogosphere was abuzz earlier this week ( just check the number and variety of responses, e.g., Pam's House Blend, Pandagon, Shakespeare's Sister, Pensito Review, Mustang Bobby, Needlenose, Accidental Blogger, Dogged Blog, Green Knight and many more) with the report that the Ohio state senator Robert Hagan proposed a bill banning Republicans from adopting children, in response to state senator Hood's bill proposing to ban same-sex couples from adopting children:

Plan would bar Ohio adoptions by GOP:
If a Youngstown lawmaker's proposal becomes Ohio law, Republicans would be barred from being adoptive parents.

State Sen. Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to fellow lawmakers late Wednesday night, stating that he intends to ``introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents.'' The e-mail ended with a request for co-sponsorship.

On Thursday, the Democrat said he had not yet found a co-sponsor.

Hagan said his ``tongue was planted firmly in cheek'' when he drafted the proposed legislation.

However, Hagan said that the point he is trying to make is nonetheless very serious.

Hagan said his legislation was written in response to a bill introduced in the Ohio House this month by Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, that is aimed at prohibiting gay adoption.

``We need to see what we are doing,'' said Hagan, who called Hood's proposed bill blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive. Hagan called Hood and the eight other conservative House Republicans who backed the anti-gay adoption bill ``homophobic.''

Hood's bill, which does not have support of House leadership, seeks to ban children from being placed for adoption or foster care in homes where the prospective parent or a roommate is homosexual, bisexual or transgender.

To further lampoon Hood's bill, Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that ``credible research'' shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing ``emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.''

However, Hagan admitted that he has no scientific evidence to support the above claims.

Just as ``Hood had no scientific evidence'' to back his assertion that having gay parents was detrimental to children, Hagan said.

``It flies in the face of reason when we need to reform our education system, address health care and environmental issues that we put energy and wasted time (into) legislation (Hood's) like this,'' continued Hagan, who has been in the Ohio Senate nine years. Before the Senate, he served 19 years in the Ohio House.
The only thing that Hagan got wrong is stating that he has no scientific evidence. There is, actually, plenty of evidence that being rasied in a Conservative family messes you up Big Time. Lakoff's Moral Politics has whole chapters on this topic, reviewing several dozen research findings on child-rearing styles and their long-term effects on children.

There is ample research demonstrating that the typically Conservative/Republican strict parenting (and its sub-category - abusive parenting) has detrimental effects on the emotional development of children, as opposed to other child-rearing styles (e.g., permissive, neglectful and nurturant). I wrote a lot of posts on this very topic over the past (almost) two years (most of them collected here), so you can go and look at the details.

If you do not believe me, or Lakoff, delve deep into these two papers (PDFs):Conservatism As Motivated Social Cognition and Conservatism Reply and see for yourself if Hagan's proposed bill really has no basis in scientific research.

Even if it is no particle physics, it still has much more going on for it than the opposing Hood's bill. There, the research consistently shows that there are no ill effects on children for being raised by a same-sex couple. You can see the references for that research all over Alas, A Blog, particularly in these two old posts - What social science says about gay parents and Same-Sex Marriage is needed to protect children - and this brand-new post: Critique of “No Basis” Part One: Their Appalling Double-Standards.

Update: Materials linked from a blog post are constuitive elements of that post. You cannot comment on the post without reading the linked stuff.

I have been writing about this for a long time. I cannot waste everyone's time by including three paragraphs of caveats in each post. Follow the links to older posts in which I did that.

The point of this post is that Hood's bill is nonsense. Hagan's bill is a fun parody that highlights how much Hood's bill is nonsense.

Another point of this post is that scientific research has been done to test both the Hood's notion (being raised by a same-sex couple is bad) and Hagan's notion (being raised by a Republican couple is bad). Science completely demolishes Hood's notion. In contrast, Hagan's notion has a lot of support. It may be contentious research and, as I stated above, not particle physics, but there is certainly MORE to it than to the Hood's notion.

Finally, nit-picking about the definition of "is", or in this case, the definiton of Conservative, is a distraction from the point of this post. Yes, I know, there are conservatives and there are conservatives. Those who have read the whole series of my posts on this know how much I have wrestled in the past with the issue of terminology. I use the term "Conservative" in Lakoff's sense, that is, in the psychological sense and not in a historical and parochial sense. It is irrelevant to my argument what planks of the platform American GOP had in 1880s, 1920s, 1960s or today. This transcends centuries and continents.

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