During the oral argument on the Prop 8 case, Justice Scalia trotted out the tired old “gosh, this same-sex marriage stuff is so new that we have no idea what effect it will have” argument and he claimed that this was a matter of some controversy among sociologists.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Cooper, let me — let me give you one — one concrete thing. I don’t know why you don’t mention some concrete things. If you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, you must — you must permit adoption by same-sex couples, and there’s – there’s considerable disagreement among — among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a — in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not. Some States do not — do not permit adoption by same-sex couples for that reason.
There is “considerable disagreement” about this among sociologists in the same way there is “considerable disagreement” over the age of the earth among geologists — yes, you can find a small handful of people with PhDs who continue to claim the opposite, but they are motivated solely by their a priori religious commitments and their arguments and “studies” are bad to the point of being utterly laughable.
We now have dozens of studies on this issue and they are nearly unanimous in concluding that the children of gay parents are no different than the children of straight parents in any meaningful way. The one study that suggests otherwise, the Regnerus study that came out last year, had a methodology so clearly at odds with any reasonable protocol that it was withdrawn by the journal it was published in. It did not compare stable homes headed by straight people with stable homes headed by gay people, it compared stable heterosexual households to families with a whole range of damaging factors, most obviously divorce.
The American Academy of Pediatrics just a week ago released a statement in support of marriage equality and noted some 80 studies on the subject that conclude otherwise:
A great deal of scientific research documents there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being, according to the AAP policy. In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.
According to the policy statement, the AAP “supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children.”
But Scalia isn’t really saying this because he believes it, but only because it gives a thin veneer of objectivity to his prejudices. That’s the same reason why creationists talk about the tiny handful of real scientists who reject evolution.