Mental health group critiques homosexuals as foster parents
Ed Vitagliano
Ed Vitagliano
AFA Journal news editor

August 2005 – In May, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) released a review of research on homosexual parenting, including adoption and foster care. The results clearly demonstrate why pro-family groups need to continue efforts to preserve the traditional definition of both marriage and family.

NARTH is an association of mental health professionals who operate under the assumption that homosexual individuals who want to change, can change – with counseling. The organization provides an international referral service of licensed therapists offering sexual reorientation treatment.

The review of the research was written by Dr. George A. Rekers, professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Rekers prepared much of the material for a legal defense of Arkansas’ regulation prohibiting the issuance of foster parent licenses to homes in which there is any adult involved in homosexual behavior. The 80-page document is available for free at

By their very nature and structure, Rekers said, households headed by “a homosexually-behaving adult” present a unique danger for foster children.

Children in foster care ordinarily experience a high incidence of psychological disorder. But because homosexuals have a much higher risk of mental health problems themselves, the stress under which foster children live will only be exacerbated by being in homes headed by gays or lesbians.

The connection between homosexuality and mental health problems has been overwhelmingly established in the scientific literature, and Rekers cites numerous examples.

For example, a study by D.M. Fergusson and other researchers, published in Archives of General Psychiatry in 1999, found that “78.6% of homosexuals compared to 38.2% of heterosexuals had two or more mental disorders, … 71.4% of homosexuals experienced major depression compared to 38.2% of heterosexuals. Sixty-seven percent of homosexuals reported suicidal ideation compared to 28% of heterosexuals. And 32.1% of homosexuals reported a suicide attempt compared to 7.1% of heterosexuals.”

Fergusson said in the study: “Homosexuals had significantly higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, nicotine dependence, other substance abuse and/or dependence, multiple disorders, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts.”

While some activists insist that such evidence of mental health problems among homosexuals is caused by the homophobic culture in which they live, a study by Theodorus G. M. Sandfort and fellow researchers seemed to indicate that this might not be the reason.

Published in the February 2003 issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, Sandfort examined the “quality of life” of homosexual men in the Netherlands, arguably the most pro-homosexual nation in the Western world. The researchers said, “Compared to heterosexual men, homosexual men evaluated their general level of health and their mental health as less positive, reported that emotional problems more often interfered with work or other daily activities, that physical health or emotional problems interfered with normal social activities, and felt less energetic.”

Even beyond this, however, Rekers’ paper lays out numerous other, significant problems associated with the homosexual lifestyle. For example, he said children living in homosexual households are “more likely to experience the stress and associated harm of encountering or being exposed to homosexual paraphernalia [sex toys] … and homosexual pornography during their formative years of psychosexual development.”

And then there is the significant amount of evidence demonstrating that homosexuals have many more sexual partners than heterosexuals, and that same-sex relationships are significantly more transient. As a result, he said, “Homes headed by an adult who is sexually involved with same-sex persons are significantly less stable and less secure environments for children over time, compared to a natural family structure in which a married mother and father live together in the same home.” 

On the flip side, Rekers relies on numerous studies that demonstrate the positive effect on children of living in a home with both the biological mother and father. Naturally, children who live in a household headed by a gay or lesbian couple lose that benefit.

“Homes headed by an adult who is sexually involved with same-sex persons deprive the child of either the unique positive contributions of a father to child development or the unique positive contributions of a mother to child development that have been established by extensive psychological research by a large number of investigators,” he said.

All of this evidence, Rekers argued, makes a strong case against placing children into foster homes headed by one or more homosexuals – and should give society great pause before accepting such households as the equivalent of a household headed by a married man and woman.  undefined