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“If children don’t do as well when they are raised by same-sex parents, why would we want to establish or encourage that as a social norm?” asked the Rev. D. Paul Sullins, a Catholic University sociology professor. Sullins has analyzed data in government surveys and concluded that children brought up by two parents of the same sex have a higher rate of emotional problems than their peers raised by heterosexual parents.
Sullins has been harshly criticized by sociologists who support same-sex marriage, but he said he stands by his data. “I don’t know of any Catholic way to compute the equation,” he said. “The idea that there are no differences is emphatically mistaken. I don’t know how else to say that.”
Perhaps the most visible defender of reserving marriage only for heterosexuals has been Ryan Anderson, a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Anderson said the push for nationwide acceptance of gay and lesbian unions is a product of cultural degradation that has spanned more than 40 years and includes greater sexual permissiveness, a rise in births to single mothers and liberalized divorce laws.
“If you think the past 40 years has been problematic for marriage,” Anderson said, “you might think this is something we should go slow on and leave it to the states to make marriage policy.”
But more pointedly, Anderson said states are correct in defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman because of their interest in encouraging couples to produce children and then stay together to raise those children.
“Same-sex marriage is about cutting the cord between romance and diapers,” he said. “Marriage becomes just about consenting adults.”
Several groups supporting the states stress that a biologically intact family is the ideal environment for children. But they also are careful to acknowledge the value of adoption, perhaps in recognition of Chief Justice Roberts’ role as the father of two adopted children. “Adoption is an indispensable social good that provides children a home when the ideal, a stable, two-parent biological family, is unavailable,” said a brief from groups that support biological parenting.
Another argument opponents make is that a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage could lead to opening marriage to three or more people.