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Your Tax Euros at work

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Yesterday the state called Professor Patricia Casey to give evidence on their behalf in the case being taken against them by Dr. Katherine Zappone and Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan. Professor Casey is a psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital and also based at UCD. Professor Casey is a member of the Irish Bishops Commission on Social Justice, she is also a renowned Pro-Life campaigner.

Professor Casey also opposed an equal age of consent for homosexuality in 1993. She opposed the introduction of Divorce and in 2004, and produced research to indicate that divorce was more harmful to children than the death of a parent—research which was widely reported amongst catholic fundamentalist activists. (I have yet to find the research reported online to examine the sampling methods.)

In her evidence yesterday (registration required), Casey said that the studies on children raised in lesbian households should be treated with caution.

The claims about the welfare of children raised in same sex families, on scientific grounds, could not be supported because nobody knows what the reality was, Prof Casey said.

So how does anyone know anything about anything? What is research? Casey said that snowballing methods could not be trusted. How else would she propose researching hard to reach groups? If we don’t know something, how do we find out about it? I suggest that Casey would rather we never found out anything about lesbian families and the children raised within, not if it is going to show that there are no effects on the children, that wouldn’t do at all. In fact, it has been remarked that children raised in lesbian families are probably over-researched and analysed due to concerns that they are at risk.

Was Casey asked for her opinion on the stance of many professional associations of pediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists who have released statements and findings indicating that there are no risks?

So the Irish Government called a leading psychiatrist to back up their case, a woman with a long track history in her links with the Catholic Church and opposing social change in Ireland. Unfortunately, I do not know what occurred in cross examination but I hope someone pointed out the bias under which she operates.

Speaking of bias, an American sociologist also gave evidence to the court by video link yesterday. Professor Linda Waite from Chicago has written strongly in favour of the institution of heterosexual marriage; what this has to do with any expertise on same sex marriage or relationship recognition, I don’t quite know. So I thought I’d have a little look around the net to see where her expertise lies.

Professor Waite is listed on the Personnel Page of the Institute for American Values.

She co-authored a book on the Case for Marriage with Maggie Gallagher, who was discovered to have taken tens of thousands of dollars from the White House whilst testifying in favour of heterosexual marriage and writing nationally syndicated columns on the issue. She “forgot” to tell anyone that she was being paid by the White House to do so. (More on Gallagher and the funding can be read widely including here) Maggie Gallagher is a speaker for hire against same sex marriage.

Professor Waite has not published exclusively on same sex marriage—see her Curriculum Vitae here—but is quoted as being afraid of what the social costs of same sex marriage will be. She is also a signatory of the Institute for American Values and Institute for Marriage and Public Policy’s Statement of Principles on Marriage and the Law (registration required) which argues against legal interference in marriage law.

We agree however that the basic understanding of marriage underlying much of the current same-sex marriage discourse is seriously flawed, reflecting all the worst trends in marriage and family law generally. It is adult-centric, turning on the rights of adults to make choices. It does not take institutional effects of law seriously, failing to treat with intellectual seriousness any potential consequences that changing the basic legal definition of marriage may have for the children of society. In many cases it directly or indirectly seeks to disconnect marriage from its historic connection to procreation.

A little fact checking of a Wednesday morning, just so you know what the Government, through their defence of the Zappone/Gilligan Case, are thinking of you if you are a lesbian or gay man living in Ireland. It’s not really surprising that they are dragging the wingnuts out of the dust to give evidence, but I think we are all better knowing what our government are paying for in terms of their experts.

(A version of this post was originally posted earlier today on MamanPoulet)

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5 Responses to “Your Tax Euros at work”

  1. # Comment by WorldbyStorm Oct 11th, 2006 22:10

    It is hard to understand why the state would bring forward these witnesses. Particularly since the evidence appears to be contrary to their position, i.e. same sex marriages have no detrimental effects upon children raised in them. However this sort of small c conservatism does typify aspects of the debate, and the general approach by the state. However, presumably this is because the government is terrified to push the issue any higher on the agenda in the run-up to an election…

    I’m trying to recall what the respective policies of the opposition and other groups are on the issue.

  2. # Comment by simon Oct 12th, 2006 09:10

    I think WBS The Greens are in favour. PD’s and Labour want to allow them to register partnerships and get tax benefits. FF and FG seem to be

    FG/FF “We Like gays”
    People “But what about marriage”
    FG/FF “we like gays”
    people “but wha”
    FG/FF “We like gays”

    SF I am guessing like them if they are catholic

  3. # Comment by Dan Sullivan Oct 12th, 2006 12:10

    Hang on Simon, FG have presented legislation in the Seanad on recognition for same-sex partnerships or civil unions. It doesn’t quite go as far as marriage, but it was broadly similar to Senator Norris proposals as I recall. It’s a darn side more than FF or the PDs have presented.

  4. # Comment by Suzy Byrne Oct 12th, 2006 12:10

    Dan, FG have not presented legislation before the Seanad but they have published a policy on the matter of rights for co-habiting couples – it however refused to deal with the matter of the children being raised by lesbian and gay couples and was criticised by many in the lesbian and gay community at the time. Maybe like the health service we’ll see a joint FG/LAbour initiative on the matter before the election.

  5. # Comment by Dan Sullivan Oct 12th, 2006 18:10

    My apologies, as it was Senator Terry, I had thought it had been presented as a private members bill at some point. It was in the last 2 years wasn’t it? And I’m sure it was criticised by some/many, it was also supported by a great many. I don’t remember there being any polling on it, so to suggest that there was a consensus of opposition or support to it would be stretching things.

    I think the main issue it didn’t deal with was adoption. That is slightly different to saying ‘children being raised by lesbian and gay couples’. It’s not like there is currently any issue with children of their biological parents being raised by them, the issue is where there is no biological connection.

    In the hetero situation the partner is allowed to apply to adopt the child, which is currently not the case here as I understand it for the partner in a same sex relationship. Even in hetero sexual relationship adoption isn’t automatic. The next issue beyond that is adoption whereby neither of the people involved have any connection to the child. And the religious right will attempt to have a field day with that one. We’ll have Dana on the telly morn and noon and night.