Laura Laing, who wrote to criticize my op-ed on same-sex marriage ("Same-sex marriage opponents misrepresent the facts," February 14), may know math, but there is a gap in her understanding of federal law.
She correctly notes that the federal report I cited includes a definition of the "nuclear" family stating that it includes "two parents who are married to one another" without specifying the sex of the parents.
However, the sex of those who are "married" is specified in federal law. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states:
"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
Thus, unless the federal employees who wrote the report in question (published by an "administrative bureau ... of the United States") were violating federal law, the "married" parents all consisted of a husband and a wife.
This study was only one more brick in a massive edifice of research. The non-partisan research group Child Trends has summarized the evidence:
"Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage."
Advocates of same-sex marriage are free to downplay the significance of this body of research or to argue their position on other grounds. However, if they deny that these findings even exist, it is they, not I, who are guilty of "misrepresenting the facts."
Peter Sprigg, Washington
The writer is a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council.