PRESIDING CHAIRMEN: Representative Lawlor


SENATORS: Coleman, Daily, Roraback

REPRESENTATIVES: Feltman, Farr, Abrams, Cocco,

REPRESENTATIVE LAWLOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if we could have your attention just for one moment. I just wanted to welcome everyone to the State Capitol. This is a time of year we thought we would not having much business going on here at the Capitol. Unfortunately, we're wrong and besides this today, obviously I think everyone is aware there's quite a few other deliberations taking place, mostly related to the budget and for that reason, a number of the more senior members of the committee are occupied in those endeavors.

SUSAN PRICE-LIVINGSTON: Is this on? Can you hear me?

REP. LAWLOR: It is, yes.

SUSAN PRICE-LIVINGSTON: Good afternoon, Chairman and members of the Judiciary Committee. I'm going to briefly answer some of the questions that you asked during last month's committee meeting.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you very much. It seems to be quite thorough. Representative O'Neill, did you get the answer to your question? As you were walking in, I think, you mentioned -- you had the one about plural marriages. And there is a report in there, a response to that.

DR. THOMAS FINN: I don't need to press the button then?

REP. LAWLOR: I think your -- it think it's on.

DR. THOMAS FINN: The light is on.


DR. THOMAS FINN: Good afternoon, Senator Coleman, Representative Lawlor, and members of the Judiciary Committee. I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today and address the topics at hand.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you, Dr. Finn. And it was about fifteen minutes or so, but since -- that's okay, but you're the only person sort of offering one point of view. So I thought it was appropriate to give you some flexibility there.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Thank you very much.

REP. LAWLOR: But I would encourage -- since it's important we get to the question and answer part, I would like our next speakers to be more concise, if that's possible and then I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunity in the question and answer period to expand on some of the thoughts being presented.


REP. LAWLOR: I know it's not your first time testifying before the General Assembly, but we appreciate you're coming over here today.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: I'm at a decided disadvantage to these scientists because my experience in this matter is predicated upon nineteen years in what I suppose you could call the trenches and I suspect during that tenure, upwards of 100 situations where I have placed children in the care of either a homosexual single guardian or parent or since the wisdom of the Legislature allowed it, into a co-parenting situation with a same sex couple.

REP. LAWLOR: Not that there's anything wrong with that.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: No, there's nothing wrong with that, Mr. Chairman. But it brings its own baggage. And I had grave reservations when I started in this business of Probate Judge with placing children with homosexual guardians or when we allowed single parent adoptions a decade or so ago with a homosexual parent.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you, Judge. Appreciate it. Next is Dr. Robert ZAVOSKI. Dr. ZAVOSKI has been before the General Assembly a number of times on quite a few topics, but I think this is a first on this topic. So welcome, Dr. ZAVOSKI.

DR. ROBERT ZAVOSKI: Thank you, Representative Lawlor, Senator Coleman, members of the committee.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you, Dr. ZAVOSKI. Finally, Dr. Julian Ferholt, who I don't believe has been up here before, I might be wrong on that, before the General Assembly, but welcome, Dr. Ferholt and please proceed.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I'm a child psychiatrist in private practice in New Haven and I have some other (inaudible) that are relevant to this. I am the previous Director of the Child Development Unit at the Yale Child Study Center and I'm the current President of the Connecticut Council of Child Psychiatry.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you, Doctor. So, that completes the presentations from the four persons who have been asked to testify today and I'll throw it up for questions from members of the committee.

REP. O'NEILL: I guess it's the last speaker, Dr. Ferholt. Come back, we're going to ask questions.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I had some idea this weekend when I looked it up, but it's not clear to me. Do you know, sir?


DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: It's very hard to know exactly, but the census indicated, and I think somebody told me that there were 7,000 children in this state. Am I getting that right? Does anybody in the audience know?

REP. LAWLOR: I think the Census was that - the only question that was asked that I'm aware of that's relevant to this, is the number of persons who are in same sex partnerships, in effect. So that would be adults.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: With children in the household?

REP. LAWLOR: No. There was 7,400 individuals --

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That must be the number that's sticking in my head. I'm sorry, I don't know how many children are in same sex households, but I would guess it's somewhat more than that, but because there are so many people who did not report to that census, that I'm sure that they had gay and bisexual or lesbian sexual orientation.

REP. O'NEILL: I'm sorry.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: A significant number of children whose welfare is at stake here, but I don't know the number.

REP. O'NEILL: Because that was one of the things that - since with your clinical background, I was hoping maybe you could give me some idea.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I know that we see them in our practices and we're consulted about them often and throughout the State, child psychiatrists have participated in helping gay and lesbian and bisexual parents who are asking ahead of time themselves whether they will be alright as parents and wanting help in knowing about that and all the centers that offer to help these people, offer them discussions about parenthood.

REP. O'NEILL: Well, the reason I'm asking the question, partly, is I'm trying to get a handle on the size. Maybe you're just a practicing child psychologist.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I'm a practicing psychiatrist, child psychiatrist.

REP. O'NEILL: Psychiatrist, I'm sorry.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: The difference is a psychiatrist is a physician, a fully trained physician and a fully trained adult psychiatrist.

REP. O'NEILL: But you're a child psychiatrist?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: A child psychiatrist is a sub-specialty of adult psychiatry. So then you become an adult psychiatrist first and then a child psychiatrist.

REP. O'NEILL: Okay. And could you give me some idea as -- is your practice limited only to people with gay or bisexual situations or is it --

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Oh no, absolutely not. No.

REP. O'NEILL: So what percentage of your practice, do you think, is made up of children? You're a child psychologist, psychiatrist, children who are gay?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: In my whole practice time, I've had only three or four patients who have been - children who have been in my practice who have same sex partners for parents and that would be the experience of most child psychiatrists who have full practices. It isn't a large part of anybody's clinical practice.

REP. O'NEILL: How many children do you see, say in a year?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: How many children do I see a year?


DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Well, how many new children do I see a year, you mean?

REP. O'NEILL: If you had all your active cases, and you counted them up, how many active cases do you have?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: There's probably 60 cases active in my practice at any one time.

REP. O'NEILL: And does that -- that's the same year over year? Roughly the same cases or do people kind of come and go?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I would like to think sometimes people get better, but sometimes they stay a long time because we're not so good at what we do.

REP. O'NEILL: Okay. So that presumably over the course of three years, you would see a significant number of that 60 would be new cases that weren't there three years ago?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That's right.

REP. O'NEILL: Okay. So, -- and you've been practicing -- you said you have three or four cases of a child who was - had gay parents during your entire career?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I don't know what you're driving at, but I was speaking about a consensus within my whole field, based on clinical principles, based on clinical experience, and based on empirical research. So we're talking about something that the whole institution of child psychiatry has concerned itself with because it was such an important social issue.

REP. O'NEILL: But in the absence of a number, the Census did not ask us - did not ask the question - can't give us the information unless we do a lot of, I think, possibly manipulations of the data to try to tease it out, but the Census didn't give us a number of children in those 7,300 households. No one else seems to know a number, so far as been brought forward, maybe our OLR research staff can try to find one. And I was hoping that you could give me some idea, based on -- since you practice in this area and you deal with -- you have a broad based practice and then presumably some portion of that consists of children who are from gay households. And you've given me a number that sounds like three or four and how long have you been practicing?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Thirty-one years.

REP. O'NEILL: So that would be about 300, would you say, patients that you have?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: No, no, no. Oh, you mean patients in my whole lifetime?

REP. O'NEILL: Right.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That I've ever seen? Well, I was the Director of the Child Development Unit and there I was supervising very large numbers of patients. So I've seen many, many patients in my lifetime, but I don't know what you're getting at. I won't be able to give you an epidemiological information this way because what happens is --

REP. O'NEILL: You can't do an epidemiological study. What I'm asking for is the information that you, in fact, possess, which is the number of children of gay parents that you've seen, relative to the totality of people that you've seen.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: It's a very small fraction, sir.

REP. O'NEILL: That's really - that was what I was trying to figure out, whether it's a big fraction or a small fraction.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: No, no. A very small fraction.


DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I mean, I hadn't thought about this issue so much until -- as much in the last few weeks. It's been a major factor for me to find out from the people in my field who know the most about it, what the Consensus opinion is. I didn't develop this opinion out of my own clinical experience.

REP. O'NEILL: You basically indicated that the most important thing here - a very important thing as a general proposition. I'm not trying to trick you. I will say, in addition to being a legislator, I'm also a lawyer and I'm not trying to play Perry Mason games with you.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I'm going to do the best --

REP. O'NEILL: I'm just trying to get some sense of --

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I'm trying to help, that's all.

REP. O'NEILL: But the -- you said the most important thing is that there be a stable family, a marriage. That's really, really important for the well being of the child, is that there be a stable marriage. Is that a fair statement of what you said?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: If I had to speak about things in order, I would say the most important thing for the child is that he have a stable relationship with a single primary caregiver who loves and respects him and that that relationship have a continuity.

REP. O'NEILL: Well, I guess I thought you were saying that you thought marriage was important and I guess -- I'm not trying to reduce it to a yes or no question, but I mean are you saying --

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: The answer is yes. Marriage is very important.


DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I'll try and answer you short, if you would like.

REP. O'NEILL: And where I was going to go with this -- I mean, you're talking to the Legislature. We write laws regarding marriage and lots of other things.


REP. O'NEILL: Do you think it would make sense for us to make it harder to get a divorce?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Make it harder?

REP. O'NEILL: Yes. Make it harder to get a divorce on the assumption that if people stay together and they provide the supports for the primary caregiver, in other words, if the husband doesn't leave, which is typically the case where the primary caregiver is going to be the wife because the husband -- even today, is still likely to be making more money. Therefore, the wife is going to be staying with the child longer, more often.


REP. O'NEILL: Should we -- just a question. Should we make it more difficult to get a divorce because it will help sustain the caregiver?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That is a -- I'll answer it as quickly as I can. I have spent time in the American Bar Association sitting on committees dealing with divorce and separations, a very important issue. We should make it harder to get a divorce for the wrong reasons and easier to get a divorce for the right reasons. That's why divorce law is so difficult.

REP. O'NEILL: Well, right now you can get a divorce with no reason, just simply say irreconcilable differences.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That's right.

REP. O'NEILL: So you don't have to give any reason at all in order to get a divorce.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Now you're talking about the legal aspects of it, but we also live in a society that has some thoughts about people who are divorced and some thoughts about people who manage to stay together. And although my children have sometimes complained that they were the only ones in the classes where their parents were so stogie that they were in their first marriage, there's still something to be said for struggling through a marriage and if you do it, you feel pretty good about it and you know, it's never perfect, but there's tremendous hardship in finding a new mate and leaving an old marriage. It's not that I don't recommend sometimes to people that they have to do it, but I'll struggle with you very hard to help you stay together if you possibly can and for your children.

REP. O'NEILL: Okay. I guess that's it. Thanks.

REP. LAWLOR: Thank you. Representative Dillon.

REP. DILLON: I guess I have a question that I directed to the Chairman before and I could ask you, Julian. Hi. Or Dr. Finn, but I don't know how much research is going to play into any decisions that will take on the committee, but so the extent to which epidemiology and methodology came up today, and I must say I'm thrilled. I've been here a long time. I don't think anybody has ever talked about epidemiology before. And I'm so sorry that Julia can't be here -- we actually have two epidemiologists in the Legislature and I'm sorry Julia can't be here to share in this moment.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: That's alright.

REP. DILLON: Dr. Ferholt yells me at sometimes when we have meetings about the budget, don't we?

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I never yell at you.

REP. DILLON: No, but he's very passionate.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Yeah, I am a little too passionate sometimes and it interferes sometimes in getting my message across and I apologize if I was with you, Representative O'Neill.

REP. DILLON: Well, but if some people are anxious about it, I think it's legitimate to air it and I'm trying to think through the logic of this.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: Of course, it's legitimate to ask the question because the complexity goes beyond choice, though, and genetics. It's not choice or genetics.

REP. DILLON: You're talking to an Irish Catholic here, so be careful. And I might add, it's not easy to be Catholic these days.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: But you know, the point I'm making here is that there are many things that are dictated to us about our lives that are not genetic, that are a combination of genetics and our experience and the culture we live in. So we struggle.

REP. DILLON: Thank you. Dr. Finn.

DR. THOMAS FINN: In terms of the question of subtext --

REP. DILLON: I was also asking about the CV's, as well because you --

DR. THOMAS FINN: No problem. I'll get that to you.

REP. DILLON: So you're talking about not risk for, let's say, being molested. You're talking about risk for --

DR. THOMAS FINN: There are studies that point to that also.

REP. DILLON: We're going to confession. Well, never mind. I mean, we're worried about -- a lot of us are worried about children's safety these days and I don't want to get into inflammatory areas, but you know, that's complicated, is all I'm saying.

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm also concerned.

REP. DILLON: So the dependent variable you would be worried about would be harm to the child?


REP. DILLON: Not necessarily the child's identity going forward?


REP. DILLON: Okay. Because my problem with some of the things that I've heard -- and I'm very skeptical about a lot of the research, as we should be, I think, is what the case definition is and if I can give you an example.

DR. THOMAS FINN: If I might just add one point that I wanted to make that in terms of a subtext or a sense that anyone - that any person is bad at that level, I think that has to be something just totally removed from the discussion. I think regardless of what orientation a person is, seeing themselves as, or what their behavior is, human dignity transcends all of that and I think it's very important that we not label good or bad or put the words "good" or "bad" to a human person.

REP. DILLON: Great. That's good, very good. Thank you.

REP. LAWLOR: I just want to ask a couple of questions, more specific.

DR. THOMAS FINN: I think for evidence to be conclusive, the number, the size, the design of studies has to be just incredibly consistent over a long period of time and that body of literature doesn't exist.

REP. LAWLOR: So if people were to say it's clear that by changing the public policy to acknowledge, legally acknowledge the existence of the same sex relationships, if people would argue that it's clear that that would be harmful to children who live in those relationships, you would say that the evidence doesn't indicate that yet. Your suspicion is that it might, but --

DR. THOMAS FINN: It would depend on how you define "clear".

REP. LAWLOR: Well, conclusive.

DR. THOMAS FINN: So basic one-to-one correlation that would not - I would not agree with that.

REP. LAWLOR: Do you think the evidence is conclusive that there's a greater likelihood that it would be adverse to the children?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Again, conclusive means --

REP. LAWLOR: That you're convinced.

DR. THOMAS FINN: -- they're likely to continue to go in the same --

REP. LAWLOR: You're personally convinced of that fact?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm sorry.

REP. LAWLOR: That you are personally convinced of that fact, as opposed to your senses that it's probably harmful, but you're not 100% sure yet?

DR. THOMAS FINN: In general, I would agree with that. I think there are clear cases where children grow up with same sex parents or gay parents, lesbian, bisexual parents and they seem to be doing okay. But again, to me what we're talking about here is making a law that's going to potentially effect everyone and we don't know the interactions --

REP. LAWLOR: How would you --

DR. THOMAS FINN: -- that come into play there.

REP. LAWLOR: Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that if either of the two options are -- there are more options than marriage or civil union, but if either of those two options are chosen, how would that effect everyone?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Well, we're talking about the ability for anyone who would want to enter into a union to enter into that.

REP. LAWLOR: Right. But would that effect you, for example?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Effect me personally?


DR. THOMAS FINN: I don't think directly. The gay persons I know are living and they're living together. But I think would it effect me personally in terms of the potential affect down the road for a broader picture of society, of values? Would it essentially effect me in the clients I see? It could. I have no way of really (inaudible)

REP. LAWLOR: Do you have gay clients? Do you have gay clients in your practice?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I do. I don't have any currently, but I have certainly worked with them, gay and bisexual.

REP. LAWLOR: Earlier on you had mentioned something that comes up quite a bit in these discussions and that is the notion that somehow if we make these public policy changes we would be redefining marriage. And it's an interesting concept, I guess, but do you -- each time the government has lifted a particular restriction on who can marry, and certainly the Connecticut government and other states' governments have done that quite a few times, each of those decisions, did we redefine marriage when we allowed interracial marriages and when we allowed epileptics to marry, in your opinion?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No. I think we're talking about a gender definition.

REP. LAWLOR: Okay, but all I'm saying is that for many, many years there were all kinds of prohibitions on who could be married. I mean, there was a very restrictive - I mean, before the civil laws covering this, you could only get married by a church and, in fact, in Connecticut there was only one church that was allowed to perform marriages and those were the only ones recognized in the State. So, gradually the law has enlarged the categories of people who are allowed to marry one another, but I'm saying each time the General Assembly changed those laws, does that really redefine marriages or is that just changing the laws?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I think that would be changing the law because, again, I don't think it has redefined marriage between a man and a woman.

REP. LAWLOR: But it used to be a marriage could only occur between White men and White women, for example.

DR. THOMAS FINN: The adjective is before a man and a woman.

REP. LAWLOR: I understand, but that was the law and only healthy men and women could marry each other and non-citizens couldn't marry each other, according to family law, I mean, the federal law, for a long time. I'm just saying are those changing the definition of marriage really or are those just changing the legal, the civil restrictions on who can be married?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm not sure --

REP. LAWLOR: The federal law said that a male U.S. citizen could marry a female non-U.S. citizen, but a female U.S. citizen could not marry a male non-U.S. citizen. That was the law around the turn of the century. There's a lot of hysteria around the immigration at the time and states and the federal government a lot of laws about marrying foreign citizens. Yeah, there actually was a restriction and federal law prohibited it.

DR. THOMAS FINN: I feel I'm out of my league. I don't know the implications of all that legal stuff, but to me I think the line that you're looking at crossing now is to move out of the marriage definition of being one man and one woman.

REP. LAWLOR: But you don't think lifting the ban on interracial marriages, for example, is a redefinition of marriage?

DR. THOMAS FINN: You know, we're into a lot of legal pieces that I'm not sure I understand, but it certainly didn't change it between a man and a woman.

REP. LAWLOR: No, but between, for example, Asian men and White women, for example. That was prohibited in this country for a long time. Okay.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Wrong in what sense?

REP. LAWLOR: Immoral.

DR. THOMAS FINN: See, you know, I think -- again, if we try to take the personal statement of that, in my mind I think we just go down a totally different road than we want to be on.

REP. LAWLOR: Do you think it should be a -- for example, in some states it's a crime for homosexual sexual activity to take place. Do you think it should be a crime?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I don't really think I can give you an answer that's going to make sense from a legal point of the crime. I'm not up on that.

REP. LAWLOR: I'm just curious.

DR. THOMAS FINN: I don't see any of the gay persons I know as being criminal.

REP. LAWLOR: Okay. The reason I was asking is because the other speakers sort of said where they were, generally, on the topic and I was just curious if you had a strong personal belief on that topic. So, that's the only reason I was asking. But thank you.

REP. FARR: In terms of the impact of gay marriages on children, let's start off with the question of the impact of a child in a single parent family. Isn't it generally accepted that the outcome for children in single parent families is not as good as it is for a traditionally heterosexual family? In other words, if the fatherless child, generally speaking, does not fair as well as a child who has both a mother and a father?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Generally speaking yes, that's true.

REP. FARR: And I understand in terms of these issues are extremely complicated because fatherless children are usually raised in poor surroundings and there are lots of other factors, but obviously if you go out in the streets and ask gang members what their fathers think of them being in the gang, or teenager mothers, what their fathers think of their behavior, then the sort of universal response is, "what's a father?" I mean, because very few of them have actually come from families in which there are fathers.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Generally speaking, true.

REP. FARR: But we don't know if the option is that child is born - is raised in a two parent household, but the parents are of the same sex, your testimony is that there's no - not enough evidence to know outcomes one way or the other. Is that correct?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Again to conclude, I agree. I don't think there is a valid body of evidence that can tell us - that is your answer to that question either way.

REP. FARR: And --

DR. THOMAS FINN: If I could add though, that what the conclusions of people who look at that information, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics, they are basing a conclusion saying that they see that there is no difference between those children raised in a same sex household to children being raised in a single parent household.

REP. FARR: And if -- the issue really before us is not whether or not a child is going to be raised in a same sex household. It's really a question of what the legal - what we, as a society will confer upon that household. And is there any study you're aware of that indicates that there's a difference in outcome for children in a same sex household if the parents have a legal relationship versus they're not, if they don't?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No, I'm not aware of any.

REP. FARR: Well, I'm not surprised there wouldn't be because there's so few jurisdictions that grant any rights that we really wouldn't be in a position to study that.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Do we really know that conclusively? No, there, I think, are a couple of studies that try to look at it or have tried to look at that. I think in the one I saw, there was no difference. In the other one, the single parent household was better on some measures than the same sex household.

REP. FARR: So really, the decision we have to make is or part of the decision is if a child is a same sex household, does conferring legal rights to the parents give - make for a better outcome for the children and I think what you're saying is we don't really know.


REP. FARR: And we also don't know, from a scientific point of view, we don't really know that answer. We can conclude that or assume that if the parents have rights and there's a legal framework for that, that somehow there might be better stability in the household and that there maybe some benefits, but really, there are no studies out there that show one way or the other?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No. And to design a study, not to get too technical, but you would have some - a hugely randomized design with control groups and you get into kind of ethical issues there in terms of research --

REP. FARR: Well, there was testimony by the other witness before you or after you that we allowed - made it easier for divorces because we determined that it was better often times for a child - for children if the parents got divorced than if they stayed in an unsuccessful marriage. And frankly, I have to tell you that I'm aware of no studies that ever - that showed that, that the change in our divorce law was not driven by scientific studies, it was driven by the fact that as a society we wanted to make it easier to get a divorce. And nobody came out and said gee, this is going to help children. That's not why it was changed and I guess where I'm going is I don't think at the end of the day that this decision will be made based upon some scientific study that shows that this is going to help or hurt children.

REP. LAWLOR: Representative Feltman, then Representative Hamm.

REP. FELTMAN: Yeah. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Maybe just an observation before I ask a couple of questions, but I feel like I'm in a little bit of a time warp because most of the discussion this afternoon has been around the issue of -- it seems to be around the issue of whether or not we should have same sex parenting and the Legislature, two years ago, made that decision and we decided that should be an option, that we're going to have some same sex parents, we have some opposite sex parents, we have some single parents and I don't think that there's any focus of this Legislature at this point revisiting that issue.

DR. THOMAS FINN: In my practice, I treat a lot of children, as well as adults.

REP. FELTMAN: Okay. Your practice includes adults?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm also trained as a school psychologist. So I've done a lot of work with the kids in educational settings too.

REP. FELTMAN: But you don't hold yourself as out as specializing as a child psychologist? You're a general psychologist, is that right? Okay.

DR. THOMAS FINN: No, my experience hasn't given me an angle on that one.

REP. FELTMAN: Well, let me ask you a question with regard to people, in general. Do you think that people, in general, whether they're same sex or opposite sex, in terms of their orientation, have more support or less at risk for some of these problems if they have the support of a significant other?

DR. THOMAS FINN: A fair amount of research says that married men and women tend to have longer life spans. They seem to do better on a number of --

REP. FELTMAN: Okay. So, would it be your inference if married people have longer life spans, people who are in long term committed relationships and are at less risk for mental health problems or any of these other problems? Would you be able to infer, based on your experience that the same benefits could be derived from people who are same sex couples?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I haven't seen that based on my experience. I look at the life span data, for example. We never know, in the studies that look at that, when they find that somewhat of a homosexual orientation and lifestyle, their life span is shorter whether they're living in a same sex household or not. I don't think that data exists.

REP. FELTMAN: Well, wouldn't it be logical, for example, in terms of -- I assume some of the reason for a shorter life span is in people who are - some people get involved with sexual transmitted diseases and they're from a non-monogamous pattern would end up with a shorter life span? So wouldn't it be safe to assume that if someone were in a stable long term monogamous relationship, that they would be at less risk for sexually transmitted diseases and therefore have a longer life span?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Whether that's a valid assumption, again we have no way to study that. I think if the question becomes how will that relate to a same sex couple, there's a fair amount of data that looks at the percentage of the frequency of lifetime monogamous relationships and that tends to be very low.

REP. FELTMAN: You're saying that the percentage of gay and lesbian people who are involved in long term monogamous relationships (inaudible) very well?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Right, percentage-wise in research.

REP. FELTMAN: I'd love to see that research.

DR. THOMAS FINN: It's cited in the paper that --

REP. FELTMAN: That's certainly contrary to my experience.

DR. THOMAS FINN: And if I could add, I think that's one thing that makes it harder, is that we all have our experience and obviously we try to draw our sense of truth from it, but when we look more broadly, sometimes our experience doesn't (inaudible-background noise)

REP. FELTMAN: Well, let me talk about our respective experiences and how many gay and lesbian people have you treated in the course of your practice, the history of your practice?

DR. THOMAS FINN: About a dozen.

REP. FELTMAN: A dozen. Okay. So we have different experiences based on probably the number of people you've seen. I have a law practice in which a large percentage of my clients are gay and lesbians. So I have seen many more than a dozen relationships in the course of my experience.

DR. THOMAS FINN: And I don't know about yours, for instance, but mine is, again, I don't work with someone over the course of their life. So, I don't know about how things have gone after they have left my office.

REP. FELTMAN: So getting to people's emotional development, we talk about some of the physical factors and some of the outcomes in terms of health and life span and so forth. Is it your experience that people who are in couples tend to have more emotional support and tend to be happier, for example?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm not sure I heard the question. Was my experience whether couples tend to be happier?

REP. FELTMAN: Well, the individuals who are coupled, are happier, have lives that may feel more fulfilling to them?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No, I wouldn't say that because looking at my clinical experience, everyone coming in who is in a relationship is usually not doing well in the relationship.

REP. FELTMAN: Are you familiar with any research that would indicate whether people who are coupled are happier (inaudible-background noise) more support?

DR. THOMAS FINN: The broad picture is that married couples tend to score --and I don't know what measures are used in this, but at least the conclusions I read say that there is a benefit in heterosexual marriage for those individuals being married. I don't believe -- again, how do we define "happier"? I would think probably the answer to that would be yes.

REP. FELTMAN: Okay. Do you assume that there -- do you have any reason to believe that the experience of same sex couples would be different from the experience of opposite sex couples in that regard?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No experience that I can base that to. Maybe, maybe not.

REP. FELTMAN: In terms of support, in terms of emotional support, financial support, other forms of support, are people who are in couples feel more support, have more actual support, social support for themselves?

DR. THOMAS FINN: When the relationships are good, sure.

REP. FELTMAN: Would you expect that that would be the same regardless of the gender of the person providing that support?

DR. THOMAS FINN: It certainly could be.

REP. FELTMAN: And could you anticipate that if we decided, as a Legislature, that providing that support, that making sure -- strike that.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Yes, to the degree especially as it may impact children.

REP. FELTMAN: I wasn't asking in the context of children. I was asking in the context of couples.

DR. THOMAS FINN: If it redefines that tradition of marriage between a man and a woman, yes I would object to it.

REP. FELTMAN: And is that based on your professional view as a psychologist?


REP. FELTMAN: And please tell me why you would be opposed to that.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Because I think that there is a compliment between a man and a woman that over the course of marriage and the struggles, the ups and downs, tends to enhance the psychological, physical, emotional development of those individuals.

REP. FELTMAN: And is it your testimony that two people of the same gender cannot enjoy a singular benefit from being coupled, from being involved in a long term --

DR. THOMAS FINN: It doesn't seem, over the long run, based on the data I read. But again, I think it's hard because I'm sure there are some couples where that does happen, but in the broad picture, it doesn't seem to follow the same course.

REP. FELTMAN: So it's your testimony that gays and lesbians just can't successfully couple. Is that what you're saying?


REP. FELTMAN: It's not what you're saying or --

DR. THOMAS FINN: I'm saying that it certainly seems like that -- I'm sure that that can happen, but in terms of what's the general picture of that, it doesn't seem to --

REP. FELTMAN: So, in general, you're saying that gays and lesbians are not successful in coupling?

DR. THOMAS FINN: No, I'm saying that when you look at the research data on the length of relationships, monogamy and relationships, that those don't say to me what I would think a successful relationship of two persons bonded together for the whole life.

REP. FELTMAN: You talked before about the incidents of same sex couples in the population. Your statistics say it's only one to three percent of the population you believe are gay and lesbian?


REP. FELTMAN: Okay. And so what was the implication you're trying to make from that, that -- because you said that earlier studies had found 10 to 15 percent. So if the incidents were one to three percent or one to two percent, I'm sorry, from your -- is there something you're trying to -- a point you're trying to make by saying it's one to two percent rather than 10 to 15 percent?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Primarily in the context of how research assumptions or how assumptions are often not matched by research as it plays out. And also in the discussion of the assumption of a genetic basis. The sense is that would be wide - that homosexual orientation would be more widespread if it was, but purely biological than the (inaudible).

REP. FELTMAN: So you're saying that there is no genetic -- no characteristic that's driven by genetics that could show up in one or two percent of the population? Is that your testimony?

DR. THOMAS FINN: I don't think I'm saying that. In terms of the genetic pieces of the research, there have not been any conclusive things that say that there's a specific genetic component to that.

REP. FELTMAN: Okay, I guess I'm not following. It seems to me if something were genetically - had some element of genetic (inaudible) that it could turn up in one or two percent of the population as easily as it could turn up in 10 or 15 percent of the population.

DR. THOMAS FINN: Probably.

REP. FELTMAN: Probably. So, I sort of understood and maybe I misunderstood your testimony about your research of lower incidents of homosexuality in the population to indicate that this was a less pressing problem for the Legislature to grapple with and was I misunderstanding your position?

DR. THOMAS FINN: Yes. I was not implying that at all.

REP. FELTMAN: Okay. I have no further questions at this time.

REP. LAWLOR: Representative Hamm.

REP. HAMM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, Dr. Finn and Dr. Ferholt, if you'll bear with me, I arrived late and I'm not keen, I don't know the methodology, the epidemiology and all these very fine research terms, but I've been (INAUDIBLE-TAPE SKIPPED - TESTMONY NOT RECORDED)

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: And when we have a commitment to research it properly, then we're going to find, as I believe I have satisfied myself -- (INAUDIBLE-TAPE SKIPPED-TESTIMONY NOT RECORDED) if I may borrow the word, lawyers hesitate to do this clinically over the course of 19 years, that we're going to have a very happy outcome from this process.

REP. NYSTROM: First, I would say that I enjoy watching your emotion rise, right now as you cited some of the extreme cases that exist, unfortunately in children's lives and I would only ask, are our laws strong enough to allow you to continue to do that in those situations? Because if they're not, I think we would want to know that too.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: There is a lot of information out there that tells you that children of abusers become abusers.

REP. NYSTROM: Oh, absolutely.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: There's a lot of --

REP. NYSTROM: It's not in dispute there.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: The information we're talking about, a very small subset of the totality. We're talking about the legal equivalent of psychiatry, which I think is fair to say tends to deal or analyze from the point of view of the aberration rather than the (inaudible). I think they probably get more into this, the psychologists more into the norm. But it's an issue that of all the kids in this world and certainly all the kids in Connecticut, the overwhelming majority are going to be bred, born into and raised by the traditional nuclear family that you value and that I value. I want my kids to be exactly like me except skinny. And I think you do. I think that's kind of normal too, that we all want our kids to be us, just a little bit better. And I just really believe that if you can -- we're not going to make a huge (inaudible). Hell, there are 7,400, we're told, of these families of same sex couples in Connecticut.

REP. NYSTROM: The issues you cited, the drug abuse, the abuse and all that other kinds of stuff like that, I don't know that I would go so far as to say they are examples of failed marriages. I think that it would be more than that and I don't know that they would be appropriately used as reasons for the discussion we're having here today, in themselves. I would think they stand alone on that basis.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Oh, absolutely. And I have approved -- one of the things we're allowed to do - it has to be done, unfortunately -- you asked about laws.


JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: If you want to give me a tool I would love, we do about half of the termination of parental rights that transpire, occur in the probate courts and about half in the Superior Court. A 100% of the adoptions occur in the Probate Court.

REP. NYSTROM: Many grandparents today.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Many, many grandparents. I mean, they're the unsung heroes of this whole process. But I'm not suggesting that there is a strict analogy to drug addiction or prostitution or sexual abuse or physical abuse or abandonment here. What I am suggesting is that what it has in common with all of these situations is that those were bad parents and what we're looking for are good parents.

REP. NYSTROM: Not to get off of this other tangent, but you mentioned adjusting our laws so that in those cases where grandparents, for example, who didn't participate in the termination of parental rights, how often do they come in at the adoption point and they're now told the law doesn't allow that?

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Again, a significant minority of the cases. I will guarantee you that the grandparents, if their whereabouts were known, will have been canvassed to see if they want to be a kinship guardian for these children or the adoptive children if the termination is inevitable.

REP. NYSTROM: Can I ask, in your experience with the adoptions that have taken place, where those accommodations haven't been made, do you know that through personal effort, can you tell us whether or not the adopting parents have provided access for grandparents?

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: In some cases, yes and in some cases, no.

REP. NYSTROM: I'm sorry, what was that?

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: It has a cruel aspect and the law demands -- it's why, in the overwhelming majority of cases, we go to kinship guardianship. The removal and guardianship as opposed to termination in adoption because it is less austere, less stringent and less unyielding. And we achieve it about four times as often as termination and adoption in Connecticut.

REP. NYSTROM: Thank you.

REP. LAWLOR: Just so you don't (inaudible), Judge, that the suggestion we're making about the grandparents and the adoption --

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Terminations - when you terminate a parental right, you can incorporate into the decree, the order at that time, a protection to allow some ongoing relationship between the terminating parents or family claiming through them, and the child who is now eligible for adoption.


JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: And I'm not sure I understand why it shouldn't be or there shouldn't be some procedure to allow for it or a procedure maybe to reopen the termination for the sole purpose of seeing who is going to be in any ongoing relationship, although I would rather deal with it at the time of the adoption, which doesn't open another can of worms of appeals and delaying the adoption.

REP. LAWLOR: Got that, Rick? Okay.


REP. LAWLOR: That's no problem. But I think it's a very valid suggestion.


REP. LAWLOR: And hopefully the Assembly next year can take that up.

REP. FARR: Just to follow-up on that. Are you suggesting that in all adoption cases, all grandparents be given notice then?

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: I'm not sure - I think they should get notice, yes. I think, in the scheme of things, I think in the scheme of things if we are terminating parental rights for purposes of an adoption -- now, this is different from a sperm donor situation or an egg donor situation. We have other laws that pertain there.

REP. FARR: But if you had the termination today and you terminated in the juvenile court, and then there was an adoption in Probate Court, my understanding is there's no requirement of giving a notice to the parents, let alone the grandparents.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: We would give no notice to the parent or to the grandparents of the adoption. Although it's usually not a secret. It's only a legal secret, a fictional legal secret.

REP. FARR: Right.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Everybody else in the world knows about it, the family and if the kid is of age, the kid and -- but we make believe it's a secret.

REP. FARR: Well, I'm just a little concerned about a requirement that we had to give notice to the grandparents, we don't have to give notice to the parents themselves of the adoption.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: I'm talking about at the time of the termination. I'm sorry, I'm mixing apples and oranges. I think grandparents -- the Superior Court, historically, grandparents were kind of left in the waiting room. They've changed that, by and large now through some of your efforts. We always gave notice to known next of kin and part of that is because we are always looking, as is DCF, for a kinship guardianship alternative before we go to the termination and removal.

REP. FARR: Okay.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: And this is different again in certain, perhaps identified adoption situations and the like, which are different sets of circumstances.

REP. FARR: The irony there, of course, as you point out, we've had this incredible growth in grandparents ending up with the kids. They have no rights in many circumstances, but a large increase in the number of cases where grandparents actually got the custody of the children.

JUDGE ROBERT KILLIAN: Right now we've had two events that relate to what you're doing. Two weeks ago we had an adoption day at the Hartford Probate Court. Two weeks ago Saturday. We had 130 kids who were adopted in the last year back at the court with their families. It included same sex couples and obviously, the overwhelming majority were opposite sex couples and it was really a rather inspiring event. I didn't think anybody would come. Casey Family Services urged us to do it as a part of a national effort and it was a huge success.

REP. LAWLOR: There you go.

REP. FARR: I want to thank you for taking the time to testify today because you've got the real world experience. So many of these things are driven by advocates who really -- they may be talking about one case and really you're on the firing line, you see the real world and what's going on out there.

REP. LAWLOR: Are there further questions? Representative Nystrom.

REP. NYSTROM: Thank you. I'd like to ask a question of each of our physicians, doctors that are here. And it will be the same question.

DR. ROBERT ZAVOSKI: As a pediatrician, I actually deal with this quite frequently because I work in Judge Killian's world on the opposite end. I'm a physician. As long as that child has identified an adult or adults who they see as the person who is going to care for them for the rest of their life, keep them safe, love them, nurture them, then no, they don't miss their natural parent.


DR. ROBERT ZAVOSKI: Does that answer it?

REP. NYSTROM: I think so.

DR. ROBERT ZAVOSKI: Can I also plea that we get away from the research a little bit?

REP. NYSTROM: I don't think there is any research. That's why I called it incomplete. I mean, it's not --

DR. ROBERT ZAVOSKI: You wouldn't get much of an argument from me on that.

DR. JULIAN FERHOLT: I agree with everything that Robert just said about the research and about the focus, but I would like us to take the clinical experience of all of these disciplines, not just the people in this room, but all of these disciplines very seriously because it maybe valid information. And if it's someone seeking to dismiss anyone's comments -- but the sincerity of your question about -- and the passion in which you spoke about your own family, really moved me.

REP. NYSTROM: Thank you.

REP. LAWLOR: Is that alright?

REP. NYSTROM: Yes, thank you.

DR. THOMAS FINN: To your question, is there a potential about a child will experience some pain of sometime not having a mother or a father? I think the answer to that is certainly yes. The potential is there.

REP. NYSTROM: I realize that you may not ever be able to identify all of that. My real concern is kids can be cruel. Peer pressure is often very subjective. Those are the kinds of concerns I have.

REP. LAWLOR: Any other questions? If not, we'll -- let me thank our four speakers today. It has been extremely thoughtful and thought provoking.