Crossposted to Vermont’s Green Mountain Daily
id-i-ot… Middle English, from Anglo-French ydiote, from Latin idiota ignorant person…
Same-sex marriage rights got an endorsement Monday from four Vermont professional organizations who cited research findings that “children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”
Their statement, which comes as the Vermont legislature prepares to consider same-sex marriage legislation, was released at a news conference called by the Vermont Psychological Association, the Vermont Psychiatric Association, the Vermont Association of Mental Health Counselors and the Vermont chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
This, however, is not good enough for everybody:
Steve Cable is the founder of the Vermont Marriage Advisory Council, a group opposed to gay marriage. The lack of any landmark study tracking the outcomes of children raised in same-sex households, Cable said, makes it impossible to determine how they fare. The groups’ endorsement of gay marriage, he said, uses inconclusive science to justify a political agenda.
First, I find it really funny to see Cable talking about science, as though he gives a damn what science actually says. Ditto for the use of it as a political agenda.
Cable said large-scale studies have proven one fact – that children raised by a married mother and father achieve measurably better outcomes than children reared in nonconventional families.
So let’s talk about the actual science here. Studies have shown that children raised by married parents do better than children raised by divorced parents, and that children raised by married parents do better than children raised by single parents.
A sidenote here: this does not mean that divorce is the problem. It could be that being raised by parents who are not a good fit for one another isn’t the best thing for kids. The divorce itself may just be a byproduct. We also know that children do better when both parents present a consistent message, and though some divorced couples are great about this, there are probably more divorced couples who present an inconsistent message than married couples, if for no other reason than simplicity of contact.
Now, as far as the science goes, Cable is doing something a bit slimy here. He is pretending that same-sex marriage is the functional equivalent of divorce:
Jackie Winestock, associate professor of human and family development at UVM, is quoted in the same article:
However, Weinstock said it’s inappropriate to assume that children raised by gay couples will mirror the statistical outcomes of those raised by single parents or divorced parents.
She pointed to a 2004 policy statement by the American Psychological Association, which concluded that “conscientious and nurturing adults … homosexual or heterosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits and protections of civil marriage,” according to the statement, “can further strengthen these families.”
An American Academy of Pediatrics study, meanwhile, concluded there is “ample evidence” to show that “children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents.”
Cable is not an idiot. He knows how to manipulate things to pretend they suit his agenda.
What Cable is doing here is appealing to a cadre of useful idiots: trying to pretend that science supports him, giving them cover for their bigotry.
Facts are on our side here, and he’s going to lose, eventually, but the real question is whether it will be in months, years, or decades.
Vermont was on the right side of history when this first came up, before anyone else in the union was. Now is not the time to end up on the wrong side.