Among the Christian right, a popular theme is to suggest that gay marriage means that “we are now saying that children no longer need a mom and dad.” Taking a whack at this is David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee via Focus on the Family. When we get to the subject of marriage equality. Fowler’s rhetoric pushes logic further south than Memphis:
With the experiment taking place with same-sex marriage, we’re now saying that kids don’t even need the value brought to a child’s well-being by the complementary natures and qualities that a mom and dad bring. Dad can be replaced with a second mom, and mom can be replaced with a second dad.
When are they going to stop referring to legally valid marriages as experimental? But I digress. According to Fowler’s logic, when a child is adopted, “we’re now saying” that kids don’t need either parent. In fact, when we eat oranges “we’re now saying” that apples are poisonous. I can do this all day long. The simple fact is that we’re not saying anything. In this case, Mr. Fowler, not society, is doing the talking. Attributing it to the rest of us is a sure sign that it’s BS because someone can claim that “everyone” is saying just about anything that they in fact want to give voice to.
More importantly, marriage and child rearing are two separate matters. Gays have been raising kids for decades. Indeed, as long as they are raising children, the smart thing – if we really care about the kids (in contrast to scoring points) – is to allow gay couples to marry. Now, if we want to discuss outcomes, rather than the rhetorical “now we’re saying,” let’s go to the inconvenient science.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, called the world’s largest study of its kind, drew upon health data from over 500 children aged 5-17 and 315 gay, lesbian and bisexual parents. An interim report of the study’s findings was released in June. The study found that children being raised by gay couples are healthier and that their families are closer together. That is in spite of the prejudice and discrimination from the likes of Mr. Fowler. Every other peer reviewed study has reached the same conclusion. Thus we’re saying that gay couples do just fine as parents! Well, that’s what the science “says.” Do you hear that Mr. Fowler?