Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Alabama Gov. to SCOTUS: Gay Marriage Destroys 'The Rights of Children'

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (AL.com)
Attorneys for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court on Tuesday. Therein they told the Court that Court that same-sex marriage is a social experiment that undermines the rights of children. They further assert that marriage is a natural reality and that same-sex marriage destroys the “rights of children to be connected to their biological parents.”

This is the same unoriginal religious boilerplate that we have been seeing in legal briefs for as long as marriage equality has been fought in the courts. It has been used to thwart equality, whether legislatively or through the ballot. And, in fact, it constitutes the Governor's losing argument at the US District Court.

Three simple concepts:
  1. The very fact that same-sex couples are already raising children is one of the compelling reasons that they should be allowed to legally marry. Otherwise the state is intentionally disadvantaging those kids. It is the lack of marriage equality that adversely effects the rights of children.
  2. There does not exist any basis on which to assert that with or without marriage the same gay couples would be raising anything other than the children that they are already rearing. Is there a correlate in Massachusetts that equality opponents can cite? The couples that are marrying have already made a life commitment to each other absent marriage. What we have here is opposition to same-sex parenting being substituted for opposition to same-sex marriage. Opponents have the problem of not being able to demonstrate any ills caused by marriage equality. That void remains. What about the gay couples who have no intention of raising children?
  3. And even if same-sex marriage causes more gay couples to raise more children, it is the overwhelming consensus of science that children raised by gay couples are as healthy, happy and successful as those raised by opposite-sex couples.
With respect to point three, according to the American Sociological Association:
The clear and consistent social science consensus is that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as children raised by different-sex parents. Decades of methodologically sound social science research, including multiple nationally representative studies and expert evidence introduced in courts around the country, confirm that positive child well being is the product of stability in the relationship between the two parents, stability in the relationship between the parents and the child, and sufficient parental socioeconomic resources. The well being of children does not depend on the sex or sexual orientation of their parents. Unsurprisingly, the courts below recognized this fact

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