Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Hampshire Ponders Okay of Civil Marriage

(Link) A panel of various experts -- surprisingly free of religous fundies -- brings up more arguments for same-sex marriage rather than against it, particularly when kids are involved. Stable, low-conflict relationships between parents seems to be a winner here.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A state commission studying the legal aspects of allowing same sex unions got an earful Monday from doctors, writers and others hoping to sway the board.

"You have heard people tell you that children and even the social institution of the family will be irreparably hurt if gay and lesbian parents are given the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage," Tufts University pediatrician Ellen Perrin told the commission during a public hearing.

But "there are just no scientifically sound studies that provide evident of any harm to children based on their parents being the same sex," said Perrin, an expert on the children of homosexual parents.

Perrin said children's development and resilience relies on the stability and permanence of their parents' relationship. She said it doesn't make sense to create obstacles to that for homosexual couples.

Maggie Gallagher, a syndicated marriage columnist who once was paid by the Bush administration to promote the president's marriage agenda, agreed that parental bonds are important to a child's development, but said heterosexual marriage is the "gold standard" a family relationships and should not be tinkered with.

"It's not fair to describe this research as saying two parents do better than one," she said.

Gallagher said the children of families where their parents are unmarried, or divorced and remarried, also do not fare as well as nuclear families.

"The family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low conflict marriage," she said. "For all the talk of marriage protecting children, it's not even clear to me how the law of marriage is going to protect children in same sex unions."

But Perrin said studies comparing the children of lesbian and heterosexual mothers' found no difference in the children's self esteem, academic achievement or ability to make friends. The parent-child relationship is a greater influence on child development than a parent's sexual orientation, she said.

The commission, which is studying all aspects of gay marriage and civil unions, has been taking public testimony on the issue for months.

Its final report is due in December.