This past week, President Barack Obama and his administration filed a legal brief that rejected Proposition 8, a controversial piece of California legislation that banned same-sex marriage in 2008. Page 21 of the legal brief, recently released to the public, defends gay parenting:
“As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child rearing.”
The Obama administration’s support of gay parents’ ability to raise children is a huge step forward for LGBT parenting, especially in light of studies that have slammed LGBT parents and their children’s well-being.
In June 2012, Dr. Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Austin released results of a gay parenting study, the results suggesting that children from gay households have more problems than kids form heterosexual households. However, Regenerus was criticized for his sample selection, only using two gay couples in a long-term stable relationship. While his study was subjected to a review for possible scientific flaws, Regnerus was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.
More Gay Parenting Research
Contrary to Regnerus and other gay parenting research, including one conducted by Dr. Douglas Allen that claimed kids of straight parents perform better in school than children reared by LGBT parents, the legal brief challenging Proposition 8 states :
“To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”
Proposition 8 states that domestic partners have “the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities and duties under law,” LGBT California couples in domestic partnerships and civil unions permitted to:
-adopt one another’s children
-become foster parents
-gain parental rights of a non-biological child
-file joint state tax returns
However, the legal brief opposing Proposition 8 points out ways that the proposition violates equal protection under The Fourteenth Amendment that states “all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.”
The legal brief also highlights that gay partnerships and civil unions do not get the same “special validation” that marriage denotes. Refusing to grant LGBT couples with the right to marry denies same-sex couples “the dignity, respect, and stature” afforded to heterosexual couples under state law.
Obama’s Press Conference
This past Friday, President Barack Obama spoke at a press conference regarding the legal brief.
Admitting that his views on gay rights and same-marriage have gradually evolved, President Barack Obama stated “Same-sex couples are a group, a class that deserves heightened scrutiny that the Supreme Court needs to ask the state why it’s doing it and if the state doesn’t have a good reason, it should be struck down (Proposition 8).”
The end of The Obama administration’s legal brief regards Proposition 8’s interest as “impermissible prejudice” and closes with something perpetrators of homophobia and discrimination should take heed of:
“Prejudice may not, however, be the basis for differential treatment under the law.”
How do you feel about the Obama administration’s legal brief regarding Proposition 8? Express your viewpoint below with a comment.