The protection of children was one of the primary arguments put forth by opponents of same-gender marriage. It clearly failed to convince five Supreme Court justices, or the American public. According to a Pew Research more than half of all Americans now favor marriage equality, and barely a third are opposed (Pew Research Center, May 12, 2016). Even white mainstream Protestants and Catholics are supportive by large margins.
So what are people telling kids about marriage equality? On a lark, I decided to Google “What should conservatives tell children about gay marriage?” I found the link to the Family Research Council’s arguments. They’re still arguing that gay “marriage” – their quotes, not mine – are “harmful,” and they’re still pointing to the protection of kids as the main reason.”
But they’ve added a new twist. Now they’re basing their arguments against marriage equality on, wait for it, science! Bless their souls; they turned to social scientific research to support their crazy-pants assertions.
Part of the problem with turning to science is that, well, science doesn’t support their arguments. In spite of the fact that FRC suggests that research on same-gender parenting is inadequate, in reality, Columbia Law School examined 76 studies on gay parenting that were published since 1985. The researches ensured that all the studies met the same determined scholarly guidelines so they could compare apples to apples. In the end they found only four studies, just five percent, that showed kids raised by gay parents faced additional adversity.
But as my reporter friend Paul once amusingly told me, “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!”
And that’s exactly what is happening with the scientific support being cited by these opponents of marriage equality. In fact, one Yale child psychiatry professor, whose work on the importance of fathers in a child’s life has been included as scientific proof to oppose marriage equality, has publicly taken umbrage to what he says is the blatant misuse of his research.
What I find so interesting is that many of their arguments are so broad that they can be used to argue against everything from single parents to women working outside the home. Take for example their assertions that fathers prevent teen girls from becoming pregnant. No, it’s not the shotgun aimed at a daughter’s would-be teenage paramours, it’s the dad’s pheromones influencing the girls. (And every women reading this just said, ewwww!) Oh, and women are happier when their husbands earn the lion’s share of the income. That’s right girls, deep down you want to earn less!
But as bizarre as that vein of argument may be, my personal WTF suggestion as to why same-gender marriage is wrong has to be that women and marriage “domesticate” men – their words, not mine. The argument goes that when a man is married to a woman his testosterone levels drop, especially when children are in the home. Keeping him from marauding and pillaging, I guess. But isn’t saying that a wife and kids will make you less of a man kind of, I dunno, counterproductive to your argument? Of course all the research I found said dropping testosterone levels are the result of getting older and gaining weight. By the way, according to the FRC, added bonuses to being domesticated by women include guys working harder, drinking less, and going to church more. Fun!
Look, the real fact of the matter is that my kids are being protected. They have a family on far more secure and stable legal footing all because their dads are married. And that’s a fact.