Saturday, 16 May 2009

Don't Get Mad, Get Accuracy - Complain to the PCC

The UK Daily Mail has rightly been concerned at the personal attacks that have been levelled at its columnists following their objection to the right of same-sex couples to adopt children. This blog exists for the sole purpose of preventing such unwarranted abuse by encouraging a more constructive approach to the newspaper's opposition to civil rights for all.

The following are true:
1. The evidence shows that gays and lesbians make as good parents as straight couples do. This is the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics (when it last looked in 2002), the American Psychological Association (since 2005), the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the overwhelming weight of peer-reviewed research.
2. While the position is not unanimously held (almost no scientific position is held unanimously by the scientific community), the finding of equality is sufficiently robust and well supported across studies that we can be confident in it.
3. The Press Complaints Commission Code requires that newspapers clearly separate fact from opinion, and that they are factually accurate.
4. The UK Daily Mail regularly published op-ed pieces stating that gays and lesbians do not make as good parents as straight couples, and that the weight of academic evidence supports this.
5. The UK Daily Mail regularly encourages its readers to complain complaints bodies to protest at the broadcast of television shows which they have not seen.

On the basis of point four, many in the civil rights community have sought to attack the Daily Mail. This approach is short-sighted. Instead, point 5 should be our guide. In short, we shouldn't get mad, we should get accuracy by complaining to the PCC.

The movement starts with Amanda Platell's column of this morning ('Insults that betray the bigotry of gay zealots', Daily Mail, 16th May 2009), in which she states:
"I just happen to believe that vulnerable children face the best possible life-chances when they are adopted by married heterosexual couples - a view backed by an increasing weight of academic evidence"
Amanda is factually incorrect in claiming that this view is backed by and increasing weight of academic evidence - there is very little evidence and it tends to be pseudo-academic, published outside peer-reviewed journals and against the principles of unbiased investigation which inspire the academy. To use this to support her prejudices in this way misleads her readers and risks damaging the adoption prospects of children up and down the country.

If this makes you mad, get accuracy - complain to the PCC today.
Links and References:

The PCC -
The APA -
The AAP -
The BAAF -


  1. Good for you doing this. I'm a single mom who often blogs about the modern family and single parents are bashed in exactly the same way with the so-called body of evidence. It's mostly bull. Poke around it long enough and you'll start to see what actually makes for unhappy, dysfunctional, delinquent kids. And it has nothing to do with hetero marriage. But it's very difficult to get the message across without slipping into attack mode.

  2. I'm sending a letter today.