How an event about building character in children became headline advocacy for gays.
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Spin cycle: the lesbian parenting story that wasn’t

How an event about building character in children became headline advocacy for gays.
Jennifer Roback Morse | 23 November 2009

A headline squawking “Lesbian parents better at raising children” flew around the English-speaking world last week, having been released by The Times of London. No doubt this thrilled the gay lobby, while alarming traditionalists of all parties. But the real story here is not about lesbians. The real story is the media’s severe case of Gay Infatuation Syndrome: anything that makes gays look good is newsworthy. This seriously misleading headline should caution readers to make a habit of looking behind the headlines. There may be, as in this case, nothing there.

The first indication of a mismatch between the headline and the story is that it cites no new study or research showing that lesbian parents are “better”. Here is the part of the report on which the headline is based:

"Speaking at the launch at the think tank Demos of a report on the influence of character on life, Scott said: “Lesbians make better parents than a man and a woman.”

"His arguments are supported by experts who have found, over years of research, that children brought up by female couples are more aspirational and more confident in championing social justice. They show no more tendencies towards homosexuality than the offspring of heterosexual parents."

Whoa! Hold on here. Since when is being "aspirational" and "confident in championing social justice" the high-water mark of good parenting? But I digress. The story cites neither specific "experts" nor any of the research supposedly produced over many years. There is no new research, just a recycling of the same old stuff. There is, quite literally, nothing there.

The expert quoted is Dr. Stephen Scott, director of research at the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners. I didn’t know what a “parenting practitioner” was or why anyone should need an academy for it, so I looked it up. It turns out that the NAPP was established by an agency of the British government:

"The National Academy for Parenting Practitioners was set up in 2007 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to provide the parenting workforce with objective evidence based support in order to improve the services offered to parents in England."

The parenting workforce? Have we really lost the ability to see the point of personal relationships and kinship? Do we have to redefine the care that parents naturally give their children as a special sector of the labor market, bolstering it with “objective evidence”?

Well, yes, if you belong to the British ruling class and you no longer have any idea what it is that parents naturally do for their children. Professionalism, however, can apparently work miracles, as NAPP’s “vision” tells us:

"Our vision is that all parents who need it should be able to access quality support from trained practitioners capable of helping them to raise their children to be happy, healthy, safe, ready to learn and to make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing."

This is scarcely even a charity designed to help real flesh and blood families. Instead of mothers learning from their mothers, or neighbours helping neighbours, the British government has established a corporatist institution, to professionalize child care.

And what was the occasion for Dr. Scott’s outburst of enthusiasm for father-absent households? As near as I can tell, it was a meeting of a group called Demos, which was highlighting its new publication, Building Character. The point of this publication was to analyze the impact of different parenting styles on the children's character development. It seems to be a perfectly sensible report, well worthy of discussion, as it emphasizes that even parents of modest means can learn the skills they need to better care for their children.

However, the report had the usual conservative fly in the progressive ointment: children of divorced or step-parents don't do as well. According to the Independent, another paper presented at the symposium showed they must struggle much harder to develop “skills” such as such as empathy, self-control and application:

"In a blow to the huge numbers of parents who are divorced or remarried, the study also found that children with married parents were twice as likely to develop good skills as those living with stepfamilies or single parents."

Could this have been the stimulus for Dr. Scott’s family diversity boosterism? I can hardly believe they spent all day talking about lesbian parenting skills. The poor dears weren’t even mentioned in the report: there simply weren’t enough such couples in the sample to study.

So here are the facts: no new data on lesbian parenting, but new data further demonstrating the superiority of married parents. At a technocratic gab-fest about upskilling the “parenting workforce” one guy spouts his opinion about lesbian parents. And the headline reading "Lesbian parents better at raising children" goes viral worldwide.

The conference and report that were the ostensible subjects of the article had nothing -- repeat, nothing -- to do with lesbians, as parents or anything else. A reporter apparently decided to make a story out of an off-hand comment.

This lame headline episode illustrates why so many ordinary people hold the mainstream media in contempt. They view the MSM as carnival barkers for the sexual revolution. Look behind the headlines: there may be less there than meets the eye.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | media, same-sex parenting
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