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American Sociological Association files Supreme Court brief addressing same-sex parenting

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By Scottie Thomaston

The American Sociological Association has filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief at the Supreme Court in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases the Court will hear in March. The brief presents research on same-sex parenting. A press release from the group says:

The American Sociological Association (ASA) weighed in on the gay marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court today, filing an amicus brief outlining social science research that shows “children fare just as well” when raised by same-sex or heterosexual parents.

“The results of our review are clear,” said ASA President Cecilia Ridgeway. “There is no evidence that children with parents in stable same-sex or opposite-sex relationships differ in terms of well-being. Indeed, the greater stability offered by marriage for same-sex as well as opposite-sex parents may be an asset for child well-being.”

Founded in 1905, the ASA has more than 14,000 members and a long history of presenting the consensus research findings of sociologists to American courts for their use in evaluating evidence and legal issues. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear cases on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages already legalized under the law of several states, and Proposition 8, which revoked the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

“An issue at the heart of these cases is whether family composition, per se, affects the well-being of children and thus, provides a justification for limiting the right to marry,” said Ridgeway, the Lucie Stern Professor of Social Sciences in the Sociology Department at Stanford University. “This core question is an empirical one and is the subject of a broad range of social science research. As a scientific body, ASA has a duty to provide the court with a systematic and balanced review of the evidence to assess what the consensus of scholarly research has shown.”

As John Becker’s report (linked above) notes, the brief not only addresses House Republicans’ claims that children do better with two opposite-sex parents, but also addresses the widely discredited study by Mark Regnerus purporting to show the same.

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