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ASA Applauds Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn DOMA

WASHINGTON, DC, June 26, 2013 — The American Sociological Association (ASA) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for its decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“As the court recognized, DOMA undermined the validity of state sanctioned same-sex marriages and thus diminished their stability,” said ASA President Cecilia Ridgeway. “By removing a federal barrier to stability in state sanctioned same-sex marriages, the Court has acted to support the well-being of children.”

In February, the ASA weighed in on both gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court, filing an amicus brief outlining social science research that shows “children fare just as well” when raised by same-sex or heterosexual parents.

“The ASA conducted a systematic review of the social science evidence on the well-being of children in families of different types,” Ridgeway said. “The research showed a clear scholarly consensus — there is no evidence that children with parents in stable same-sex or opposite-sex relationships differ in terms of well-being.  But greater stability in a relationship, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, does improve 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 heard cases on DOMA, which denied 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. On Wednesday, the Court effectively reversed Proposition 8, paving the way for same-sex marriage in California. 

In their briefs to the court, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives, which defended DOMA, the Hollingsworth Petitioners, which defended Proposition 8, and their respective supporters asserted that children fare better with opposite-sex parents than with same-sex parents.

Wendy Diane Manning, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Center for Family & Demographic Research, and Co-Director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, led ASA’s examination of the social science evidence. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP of New York City served as counsel to the ASA on the brief.


About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.