I mentioned recently the lawsuit challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage and adoption, in which a friend has submitted an amicus brief. The Michigan Catholic Conference also submitted a brief in the case and unwittingly provided an argument for marriage equality:
Encouraging procreation within the confines of marriage serves other legitimate state interests of promoting economic stability and decreasing the need for government assistance. The bonds of marriage promote stable relationships that are beneficial not only to husband, wife, and child, but also to the state and its resources. Research shows that, as compared to other environments, a child raised by a traditional married family is significantly less likely to be dependent on public assistance than a child raised in other settings. Mark Regnerus, How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study, Social Science Research 41 (2012) (data reveals that a child born to a traditional family is significantly less likely to be unemployed, currently on public assistance, or have received public assistance while growing up).
Note the slippery language: “a child raised in other settings.” The study did not compare married families headed by a straight couple against married families headed by a gay couple, which is the only comparison that would be at all relevant, it compared intact families with single-parent families and broken homes. You mean two-parents households with two incomes are typically better off financially and less likely to need government assistance than single-parent households? What a shock. Sounds like a good reason to create more two-parent households, doesn’t it?The Michigan Family Forum also submitted a brief citing the Regnerus study.
Decades of study on various parenting structures yield the near uniform conclusion that a biological mother and father provide optimal child outcomes. [Regnerus citation.] So the claim that another parenting relationship produces child outcomes just as good as (or even better than) intact biological parents is a surprising proposition, to say the least, and one that must be rigorously tested (and until then, viewed with healthy suspicion).
But wait, is that even at issue in the case? The case is not about whether children should be taken from intact families with a mom and a dad and put into the homes of gay people, single or married; the case is about whether a lesbian couple that already exists and already has three children that were previously adopted only by one of them (two by one and one by the other) can jointly adopt all three children so that they all have the protection of having two parents that are legally responsible for them. So these comparisons simply are not relevant, even if they didn’t actually support marriage equality.