By Brian Willette, Ph.D.
Some religious leaders -- including some, but not all, bishops -- want to limit marriage to only opposite-sex couples. Although state law already does so, they want to go further by amending our state’s constitution.
One of the reasons, if not the main one, given by these religious leaders and some others is that children who grow up in the parenting care of a opposite-sex couple fare much better than children who grow up in the parenting care of a same-sex couple.
However, research studies on same-sex couples’ parenting come to a different conclusion.
At a 2005 Conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ellen C. Perrin, MD, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, gave a report entitled, “Study: Same-Sex Parents Raise Well-Adjusted Kids.”
In the study, researchers looked at information gleaned from 15 studies on more than 500 children. Reporting on the study, Dr. Perrin said, “The vast consensus of all the studies show that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way.”
In a WebMD’s Health News article, Louise Chang, MD also reviewed the study. Based on her review, Dr. Chang states: “Children growing up in same-sex parental households do not necessarily have differences in self-esteem, gender identity, or emotional problems from children growing up in heterosexual parent homes.”
Evidence-based studies are necessary to understand the outcomes of same-sex parenting on children. Opinions based only on emotions or biased speculation are often strongly held but seldom grounded in reality.
It is not surprising that children raised in a loving home created by a loving couple--a same-sex or opposite-sex couple -- thrive much better than children raised in a home where loving parental care is absent or in short supply.
All loving couples tend to have family and friends who share their love with the couple’s children. Love multiplies, creating a village of loving care.
In villages of loving care, there are many role models -- both male and female -- that have a positive influence on a couple’s children. Truly blessed are the children who grow up in the parental care of a loving couple and experience the benefits of a loving village.
In a society that values liberty and justice for all, civil law needs to recognize the marital rights of couples -- opposite or same sex -- support their relationships, and their efforts to create loving homes for their children.
It is understandable that a given religion’s official teachings, policies or practices regarding marriage may differ from civil law. In our country, civil law recognizes this and does not force any faith community to officiate at or recognize marriages it does not condone.
Most religions value love, compassion and caring for the young and vulnerable. All religious leaders and members of faith communities should reflect on the harm done to same-sex couples, their children and extended families when they are denied a civil marriage and the benefits that it confers.
When civil law recognizes same sex marriages, benefit accrue to the couple and their children. Next-of-kin and inheritance issues are clarified. Same-sex marriage aids the stability to the couple’s relationship, assures the same work related benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples, and improves the long term financial security of the family.
When the marital rights of loving same-sex couples are not protected by civil law, marginalization and harassment of those couples and their children are given tacit approval by the silence of the law. The lack of recognition by civil law tends to feed and support the discrimination of same-sex couples and the bullying of their children.
For the sake of loving same-sex couples, their children, and the common good of our society, I urge my fellow Minnesotans to vote “NO” on the marriage amendment that seeks to restrict civil marriage to only certain loving couples and constitutionally deny it to others.
See also the previous Sensus Fidelium posts
Why Catholics Can Vote 'No'
Marriage Amendment Not In Best Interest of Children and Families
The Marriage Amendment
A Few Questions . . .
A Catholic Case for Same-Sex Marriage
Theological Considerations Behind Opposition to the Proposed Minnesota 'Marriage Amendment'
"This is the Living Word"