Today, the American Sociological Association, the national professional organization for sociologists in the United States, weighed in on the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. In a friend-of-the-court brief outlining the social science research into same-sex parenting, the ASA states that “children fare just as well” when raised by same-sex or opposite-sex parents.
In a press release posted to the organization’s website, ASA President Cecilia Ridgeway says:
The results of our review are clear. There is no evidence that children with parents in stable same-sex or opposite-sex relationships differ in terms of well-being. Indeed, the greater stability offered by marriage for same-sex as well as opposite-sex parents may be an asset for child well-being.
The brief authoritatively dismantles the claim made by opponents of marriage equality — including the GOP-led House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, the National Organization for Marriage, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — that same-sex marriage harms children, and that kids “do better with a mother and a father”:
When the social science evidence is exhaustively examined—which the ASA has done—the facts demonstrate that children fare just as well when raised by same-sex parents. Unsubstantiated fears regarding same-sex child rearing do not overcome these facts and do not justify upholding DOMA and Proposition 8.
This brief is additionally significant because it specifically calls out and repudiates, over and over again and by name, the gay parenting junk science “study” published last year by University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus, an ASA member. The study, funded by $785,000 of NOM-linked money, claimed that kids raised by gay and lesbian parents “are more likely than kids in other family structures to be on public assistance, unemployed or in therapy as adults, among other negative outcomes.” Regnerus even claimed that his research proved that married opposite-sex parents represent a “gold standard” for family structure.
The study was widely discredited for its flawed methodology, wildly inaccurate conclusions, and allegations of partiality, but nonetheless has been breathlessly touted by the anti-gay right as evidence justifying their opposition to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Many of the Supreme Court briefs filed by equality opponents rely on the Regnerus study. But the American Sociological Association — Regnerus’s own professional organization — has just demolished those arguments.
From the ASA brief:
As the social science consensus described in Part I demonstrates, the evidence regarding children raised by same-sex parents overwhelmingly indicates that children raised by such families fare just as well as children raised by opposite-sex parents, and that children raised by same-sex parents are likely to benefit from the enhanced stability the institution of marriage would provide to their parents and families. All told, the Regnerus study… does not undermine the consensus that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as those raised by opposite-sex parents.
Needless to say, the ASA has just kicked the legs out from underneath those who say same-sex couples make inferior parents and dealt a major blow to the legal defense of DOMA and Proposition 8. What a coup!
Many thanks go to an anonymous friend and reader who has been working tirelessly behind the scenes for many months to make this landmark brief possible.
Read the ASA brief in full below: