Wash. Times defense of "traditional marriage" is full of distortions

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

A Washington Times editorial -- being promoted on the Fox Nation -- claimed that "[a] large number of studies show children raised in a family with a mother and a father perform much better in everything in life"; in fact, studies show that children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development. Additionally, the editorial distorted the words of Chai Feldblum, President Obama's nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to suggest she did not support marriage, when, in fact, she said "marriage is a normatively 'good' framework for most people to aspire to."

Wash. Times: Kids "perform much better" in two-parent heterosexual households

Times: "Social science backs" the "value of marriage." In criticizing Sunstein and Feldblum, the editorial asserted that "[p]rotecting and nurturing the natural two-parent union is clearly important. Most people have seen the consequences when we fail -- most vividly in the problems that children with divorced parents face. ... The value of marriage hasn't just been proven by experience. Social science backs it as well. A large number of studies show children raised in a family with a mother and a father perform much better in everything in life, from school to staying away from a life of crime."

In fact, experts say children raised by gay or lesbian parents suffer no adverse effects in their psychosocial development

Chicago Tribune: "[W]ithin the research community there are no empirical studies demonstrating adverse effects." A March 1 Chicago Tribune article reported that "[s]ociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz published an analysis in 2001 in the American Sociological Review of 21 studies of children raised by homosexual parents and found that, overall, they were no more likely to suffer from psychological problems than kids raised in conventional homes." The article added: "Ultimately, their findings were generally endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and other mainstream organizations. ... [T]he bottom line is that within the research community there are no empirical studies demonstrating adverse effects, says Stacey, who is now at New York University."

American Psychological Association: "Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged." The APA concluded in a 2005 report on studies of lesbian and gay parenting that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." The study also found that "the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth."

American Academy of Pediatrics: Children of gay parents "fare as well" as those of straight parents. In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported on the psychosocial development of children raised by same-sex parents. The report noted that a "growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual."

National Association of Social Workers: "compelling" evidence that parenting is equal. In a 2006 Boston Herald opinion column, NASW executive director Carol J. Trust wrote in support of same-sex parenting, noting: "Anyone who wishes to examine the 20 years of peer-reviewed studies on the emotional, cognitive and behavioral outcomes of children of gay and lesbian parents will find not one shred of evidence that children are harmed by their parents' sexual orientation. The empirical and clinical evidence suggesting same-sex parents are equivalent to heterosexual parents in their ability to care for children and provide loving homes is so compelling that there is a growing consensus among legal and child welfare experts that there is no rational basis to deny adoption to gay and lesbian couples solely on the basis of their sexual orientation."

Child Welfare League of America: Children of gay parents are "just as likely to be healthy and well-adjusted." Child Welfare League of America president and CEO Shay Bilchik noted the organizations' support of gay and lesbian couples' adopting children in the foreword to "Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting":

It has now been established by the research that gay people are just as capable of being good parents as heterosexual or "straight" people, and that their children are just as likely to be healthy and well-adjusted. Not a single reputable study has found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents have been harmed because of their parents' sexual orientation in any way.

Because of this research and because exclusions based on traits other than one's ability to be a good parent are contrary to good child welfare policy and practice, the Child Welfare League of America has issued a public statement supporting the parenting of children by lesbians and gay men, and condemning attempts to restrict competent, caring adults from serving as foster and/or adoptive parents.

Times editorial, Fox Nation falsely suggest Obama nominee is against marriage

From the October 28 Washington Times editorial:

Mr. Holder and Miss Schmaler, however, are not the only powerful Obama administration officials who want to redefine one of our society's central institutions. Cass Sunstein, Mr. Obama's powerful "regulatory czar," is equally out of touch. In a new edition of his book "Nudge," coauthored with Richard Thaler, the authors call marriage an "anachronism" and its benefits "surprisingly low." The book goes on to complain that marriage, "produce[s] unnecessary polarization. ... the most obvious difficulty is that religious organizations insist that they should be permitted to define marriage as they like, while same-sex couples insist that they should be able to make long-term commitments without having a second-class status."

So, because the federal government does not recognize marriage of homosexuals, Mr. Sunstein's solution is that we shouldn't recognize traditional marriage. There's more. An Obama nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chai Feldblum, claimed in 2005: "I, for one, am not sure whether marriage is a normatively good institution."

Fox Nation hyped the Times editorial as "Obama Appointees" questioning marriage. The Fox Nation linked to the Times editorial with the headline, "Obama Appointees Question the Value of Marriage."

However, Feldblum said marriage is something to "aspire" to

Feldblum: "I currently believe that marriage is a normatively 'good' framework for most people to aspire to." In an essay titled, "Gay is Good: The Moral Case for Marriage Equality and More," from which the Times quotes, Feldblum wrote that "I, for one, am not sure whether marriage is a normatively good institution. I have moved away from the belief that marriage is clearly the best normative way to structure intimate relationships, such that government should be actively supporting this social arrangement above all others. I currently believe that marriage is a normatively 'good' framework for most people to aspire to (I think), because it serves some very deep and legitimate human needs. But I also believe all of us are harmed, as members of a society seeking a common good, when society fails to acknowledge the wide array of non-marital intimate social structures that we as humans have ingeniously constructed to negotiate and make sense of the world."

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