September 24, 1996

Day 8 Of Baehr V. Miike (September 19)

The plaintiffs presented locally renowned pediatrician Dr. Robert Bidwell as its 4th and final witness.  Dr. Bidwell is the Director of Adolescent Medecine at Kapiolani Hospital For Women and Children (named after Queen Kapiolani).  He is also director of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Hawaii, and serves as a  physician for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.

Dr. Bidwell  reiterated what the four witnesses for the state and three witnesses for the  plaintiffs have said to date:  gays and lesbians do make good, loving parents and children thrive as well in gay or lesbian homes as in heterosexual households.  Dr. bidwell emphasized that to raise a healthy and well-adjusted child, the child has the best chance in a loving, nurturing, safe, protected home where the parents recognize the developmental needs of the child and facilitate that development.  In Dr.  Bidwell's professional opinion, gays, lesbians, and same-sex couples can and do provide an optimal environment for raising children and are as capable as heterosexual, adopted, foster, and biological parents.

Dr. Bidwell discussed what adolescents experience regarding the sexual orientation of their parents (teasing, ridicule, etc.) but that these issues are normal and generally work themselves out very well.  Furthermore, "children may go through a rough time (although most children do not) but that [ dealing with these issues] makes the child stronger and tolerant of diversity".  The experience, while temporarily painful, does not manifest into psychological damage or problems in adulthood. The parents' sexual orientation or gender is irrelevent and does not hurt the health or development of the child.


Because the burden of proof is on the state (to provide a compelling reason to continue to discriminate against same-gender couples), the state chooses whatever it finds compelling to discuss.  The Attorney General's office for Hawaii chose to focus on childrearing.  We only have to counter their claims.  Furthermore, it is unwise in court to bring in other issues, and we didn't.

Why did the state focus on childrearing?  I have no idea, except political ones.  It obviously the most sensitive area politically.

                        Best Regards,

                        Tom Ramsey

Here are some links on The Freedom To Marry.

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