Target: Russian Lawmaker, Alexei Zhuravlev
Goal: Condemn Russia’s proposal to seize custody of children from LGBT couples.
Russia’s anti gay legislation continues to marginalize the Russian LGBT community. A Russian lawmaker named Alexei Zhuravlev proposed seizing the custody of children from LGBT households. In an interview he said, “Homosexuals must not raise children. They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage.” Zhuravlev was also a supporter of the recent crackdown on gay “propaganda”. He used a flawed study that has been discredited to support his inflammatory position.
This study was made by Mark Regnerus in 2012, who is a professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. This study looked at the outcomes of these children as adult in terms of highest education attained, relationship success, economic status, etc. The dissertation claimed that children of same-sex parents fare worse than children with biological families in these fields of criteria.
However, his colleagues found serious validity and methodology flaws in the published journal article. The main gripe with the study is the broad definition of lesbian mother and gay father used. Regnerus asked his interviewees whether their parents ever had a same sex relationship during their childhood. If the respondents said yes he would clump them in the lesbian mother or gay father category without taking into consideration the length of the relationship or other circumstances. Only 2 of the “yes” respondents lived in a same sex household for their entire childhood while the majority of them lived in a same sex household for less than 3 years. Only 23 percent of the “lesbian mother” respondents actually lived in a same sex household for at least 3 years. While only 2 percent of the “gay father” respondents lived in a same sex household for at least 3 years. Critics say his sampling methodology was fatally flawed.
The only thing this study tells us is that unstable, divorced, and single parent households, which is what constitutes the majority of these study participants, may fare worse than a more stable household. It does not indicate that LGBT parents degrade the development of children. The peer review process panel was scrutinized as having a conflict of interest. An audit of the journal containing the study concluded that the journal should not have been published in the first place due to these deficiencies. Benjamin Siegel, a Boston University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics, refuted this stance by saying, “Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of the parents.”
Sign this petition to condemn Alexei Zhuravlev for using a discredited study to justify his bigoted legislation.
Dear Mr. Zhuravlev,
It is disingenuous to promote your agenda with studies that have been discredited. There is no evidence of children faring worse with same sex parents than with biological or heterosexual parents. Orphans deserve a family regardless of the sexual orientation of their foster parent. This string of anti-gay laws have marginalized your LGBT community and emboldened right wing, vigilante violence against them.
Please stop treating the LGBT community as second class citizens. They should not have to live their lives in fear and should have the same opportunities as heterosexuals.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: valya v via Flickr