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Common fallacies about children of same-sex couples

10:30 AM EDT, October 25, 2012

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I was a little confused by Marie-Alberte Boursiquot's recent letter ("Catholic doctors for traditional marriage," Oct. 20). The headline over it says traditional marriage, but in her letter she uses the term "authentic marriage."

I had never heard that expression and neither Google or Wikipedia was of any help. Seems they have never heard it either.

Ms. Boursiquot says that the best published scientific evidence indicates that marriage between one man and one woman in a stable relationship is the optimal situation for the healthy development of children. Yet the American Medical Association adopted a new policy in 2011 in support of same-sex marriage, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says same-sex parents do as well as those raised by heterosexual couples.

In 2006, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers stated in an amicus brief to the California state Supreme Court that "although it is sometimes asserted in policy debates that heterosexual couples are inherently better parents than same-sex couples, or that children of lesbian or gay parents fare worse than children raised by heterosexual parents, those assertions find no support in the scientific research literature."

And the American Psychological Association wrote in a 2010 press release that the "American Psychological Association Reiterates Support for Same-sex Marriage."

"Recent empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights for same-sex couples," the APA noted. "Additionally, children raised by same-sex couples have been shown to be on par with the children of opposite-sex couples in their psychological adjustment, cognitive abilities and social functioning."

New research shows that children adopted into lesbian and gay families are as well-adjusted as children adopted by heterosexual parents and that they follow similar patterns of gender development, wrote Charlotte J. Patterson, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia.

Ms. Boursiquot goes on to say that "marriage need not be redefined to provide benefits such as medical decision-making, health insurance coverage, hospital visitation, etc., which are already available under domestic partnership laws passed in many states."

But according to Wikipedia, only 10 states plus the District of Columbia have domestic partnership statutes. That's not really "many" states. And again, according to Wikipedia, "although similar to marriage, a domestic partnership does not confer any of the 1,138 rights afforded to married couples by the federal government."

It would seem that published scientific evidence can be cherry picked as easily as the Bible can. If you work really hard, you can make either of these sources back up your position. To put it another way, it shows that some people will always use statistics the way a drunk uses a light pole — for support instead of illumination.

David Gosey, Towson