February 2014 Issue • Volume 42 • Issue 2

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ASA Files Amicus Brief in Support of Suits to Overturn UT, OK Gay Marriage Bans

The American Sociological Association (ASA) filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit supporting the fight to overturn gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. This brief is part of the Association’s continuing effort to highlight the overwhelming body of social science research that confirms “children fare just as well” when raised by same-sex or heterosexual parents. The 10th Circuit is scheduled to hear lawsuits challenging the bans later this year.

“Our latest amicus brief is part of the ASA’s ongoing effort to ensure that U.S. courts considering lawsuits to legalize gay marriage understand that social science research shows parents’ sexual orientation has no bearing on their children’s well-being,” said ASA Executive Officer Sally T. Hillsman. “The claim that same-sex parents produce less positive child outcomes than heterosexual parents is simply false.” 

This is the third time in the past 13 months that the ASA has supported challenges to same-sex marriage bans through amicus briefs. In October 2013, the ASA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that addressed gay marriage bans in Nevada and Hawaii. Similarly, in February of last year, the ASA weighed in with the U.S. Supreme Court via an amicus brief on Proposition 8, the California amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“As the same-sex marriage debate continues in courtrooms across the country, the ASA will continue to emphasize the clear social science research consensus that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as children raised by heterosexual parents,” Hillsman said. “In addition, we will continue to correct the record when gay marriage opponents misinterpret or misrepresent social science research to support their position.”

Same-sex marriage opponents, including those defending the gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma, often misinterpret or misrepresent social science research, claiming it indicates children with gay parents have worse outcomes than those with heterosexual parents. In particular, same-sex marriage opponents frequently misportray research by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas-Austin.

Rather than proving same-sex marriage is a bad thing for children, social science research actually suggests the opposite.

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