The red equal sign has become a symbol of support of same-sex marriage.
You may have
seen your Facebook light up with red profile pictures, as some friends indicate
their support for same-sex marriage or marriage between a man and woman. This social
media frenzy occurs as the Supreme Court debates two important cases about
marital equality. One aspect of the debate surrounding same-sex marriage is its
potential effects on childbearing and children’s well-being
The Justices and
lawyers in the case are pulling on the science of love to inform this debate,
but this can be confusing because both opponents and supporters of same-sex
marriage say that the scientific findings are on their side. To help with some
of this confusion, I’ve summarized balance
of many studies that are relevant to some key points in the same-sex marriage
1. Will Allowing Same-Sex Marriage Discourage Procreation?
It’s unlikely. Opponents
of same-sex marriages suggest that it discourages “responsible procreation”, which
is based on the idea that encouraging a sustainable birthrate is good for
society. It’s true that replacement rates (number of births needed to sustain a
population) are falling in the United States, but researchers suggest that this
drop is best accounted for by the recent economic downturn and fewer births
from immigrant women, rather than from a rise of same-sex partnerships.
2. Is Much Known About The Long-Term
Outcomes of Same-Sex Marriage?
Kennedy and Scalia both referred to the idea that social science about the
long-term outcomes of same-sex marriage is still new. Same-sex marriage in the
United States first occurred in 2004, which means that relatively little
research has accumulated about how children raised by married same-sex parents fare versus those raised by married
are well-conducted studies that compare children raised by same-sex parents
(who could not legally marry) versus those raised by heterosexual parents. In
these studies, kids raised by same-sex parents do just as well on key measures
of well-being including: educational performance, social functioning, and
3. Don’t Children Fare Better When Raised
By A Mother and Father?
accurate summary of parenting research is that children fare better when caregivers
provide stability, economic security, and loving parenting. There is little
evidence to suggest that this stability and care is better from a mother and
father versus two dads or two moms.
4. Will Same-Sex Marriage Threaten The Future
It’s true that
we are treading into “uncharted waters” with same-sex marriage, but the best
social science suggests that there is little scientific basis that same-sex
marriage will threaten the institution of marriage. Social scientists have
already charted the waters of factors that clearly do threaten the stability of
families and children’s well-being, including the widespread prevalence of domestic
violence (25% risk rate), poverty (20%), and substance abuse (15%).
their opinions in many ways, including religion and historical precedent, and social
science is just one perspective. In this regard, the science suggests that raising
psychologically healthy kids is reliant mostly upon caregivers who provide stability,
security, and a loving home environment.
See more at Dr. Ty’s blog: SexLoveScience
More on Marriage:
An Easy Way to Make Marriage Work
Top 10 Marriage Myths
Keep Stress Out of Your Relationships