Scalia: “I take no position on whether it’s harmful or not, but it’s certainly true there is no answer to that scientific question…”
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) March 26, 2013
This is why the support of the American Academy of Pediatrics matters. When Justice Scalia spouts balderdash like that Tweeted above with regard to the effects of being raised by parents of the same sex, there actually is an answer.
From the AAP’s statement:
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.
I do not know if Justice Scalia is simply ignorant or willfully blind. It is lamentable in either case, because in either case he is plainly wrong.
The AAP has endorsed parenting by same-sex couples for over a decade, and it has done so because we pediatricians have observed and confirmed that parents of the same sex can raise children who thrive just as well as parents of opposite sex. While I am obviously not unbiased as a gay man parenting children of my own, I have seen with my own eyes the love and attentiveness of gay and lesbian couples as they raise children together.
It is a source of dismay but not surprise that Justice Scalia would overlook the scientific answer to his question, because I do not believe he is asking it sincerely. He raises it as a canard, a justification for a decision already made. Some enterprising clerk could put the AAP’s statement on his desk tomorrow, and I doubt it would make much difference. His is a made-up mind.
I do not know how the Supreme Court will rule on the marriage equality cases being argued today and tomorrow. I am skeptical that it will mandate nationwide marriage equality, and am not even entirely sure I want it to. Assuming it doesn’t, that will leave it to proponents of equality to keep making their case to the American people, state by state by state. It will likely be a long process.
But whatever the outcome in the coming weeks of the Court’s deliberations, one thing is already clear — gays and lesbians can make great parents. You don’t have to take my word for it. We have the studies to back it up.