I just glanced at the amicus brief submitted by medical & psychological groups to the Supreme Court in opposition to DOMA. They're explaining the research, which shows homosexuality is a normal phenomenon, same-sex couples have relationships essentially the same as anyone else's, and kids parented by same-sex parents do fine.
That's all well and good... but it plays into the ongoing debate of whether same-sex families are as good as others, good enough for children, etc etc etc. And people treat that debate as though, if same-sex parents turned out to be a bit worse for kids on average, that would justify policies against marriage equality, gay adoption, and so on.
Follow below the squiggly as I explain why that's bullshit.
I want to present a parallel here. Say I found some statistic that said women, on average, perform slightly worse in engineering jobs than men do.
If anyone ever tried to use this as evidence women should never be hired for engineering jobs, we'd all see they were full of it.
That's because averages don't determine one individual's ability. And it's wrong to judge someone based on a class they belong to rather than evaluating the individual. If someone woman were disqualified from a hiring process because of some statistic about women engineers, much of the country would be outraged for her. It would be diaried and rec-listed in a heartbeat. And rightfully so.
But same-sex couples face that kind of judgment all the time, and society's largely on board with it. We've got antigay advocacy groups and policymakers hunting around for any evidence opposite-sex parents are superior on average - as though that could justify policies favoring all opposite-sex couples as better parents than any same-sex couple. And then pro-gay groups say, "Oh, but the statistics don't show that at all!"
If a negative statistic were acceptable as a rational basis to favor opposite-sex couples, then it would also be rational to disqualify all women for some job, or all Black applicants, or all Ohioans. All you'd need is some statistic going that way, and it would justify any discrimination at all.
But that's silly. You can't make good judgments about individuals based on the classes they belong to, whether we're talking about gender, race, or sexual orientation. You certainly can't enact sweeping public policies on such flimsy grounds. And when the statistical differences are minute and/or contradictory - as they are around same-sex parenting - it's obvious the policies have no basis in the evidence in the first place.
A part of me wants to applaud and thank all the organizations who wrote that amicus brief. I appreciate their support and the work they put into it.
But I can't feel good that this debate is even happening. It's wrong - and illegal - to judge women as a class, or Latin@s, or Muslims, or people with disabilities. It may not be illegal (yet) to judge LGBT people, families, and parents as a class, but it's every bit as wrong. And it's high time we call that out for the bullshit it is.