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In which Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse forgets that Iowa rulings exist outside of her own imagination

by Jeremy Hooper

This comes verbatim from page 54 of the Iowa marriage ruling:

Promotion of optimal environment to raise children. Another governmental objective proffered by the County is the promotion of “child rearing by a father and a mother in a marital relationship which social scientists say with confidence is the optimal milieu for child rearing.” This objective implicates the broader governmental interest to promote the best interests of children. The “best interests of children” is, undeniably, an important governmental objective. Yet, we first examine the underlying premise proffered by the County that the optimal environment for children is to be raised within a marriage of both a mother and a father.

Plaintiffs presented an abundance of evidence and research, confirmed by our independent research, supporting the proposition that the interests of children are served equally by same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. On the other hand, we acknowledge the existence of reasoned opinions that dual-gender parenting is the optimal environment for children. These opinions, while thoughtful and sincere, were largely unsupported by reliable scientific studies.26


The research appears to strongly support the conclusion that same-sex couples foster the same wholesome environment as opposite-sex couples and suggests that the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else. In any event, we do not address whether there is a rational basis for the marriage statute, as the sexual-orientation classification made by the statute is subject to a heightened standard of scrutiny.

The court considered the research presented to them by both sides. The justices rationally considered the professional opinions. They also considered what they rightly call "reliable scientific studies." Plus they acknowledged that stereotypes have held gay parents back in terms of public opinion, because, well -- duh! But never once in this or any part of the ruling do the justices call anything a "myth" -- they simply said that after considering the evidence, they found the plaintiffs to have made a stronger case. Weighing the merits is kinda, sorta what they are charged to do.

Morse-in-AlbanyBut now listen to how Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse presented this very same chunk of text while speaking on behalf of the National Organization For Marriage at this past Saturday's tour stop in Albany, NY:

(click to play audio clip)
*AUDIO SOURCE: Ruth Institute (with comment section)

Not quite how the court put it, huh? Oh, and not only is she misrepresenting the "mythical" way the information is supposedly presented, but she's also flat-out lying about there being no citation. In reality, the Varnum v. Brien opinion is quite detailed in what the CREDIBLE scientific organizations say:

The plaintiffs produced evidence to demonstrate sexual orientation and gender have no effect on children raised by same-sex couples, and same-sex couples can raise children as well as opposite-sex couples. They also submitted evidence to show that most scientific research has repudiated the commonly assumed notion that children need opposite-sex parents or biological parents to grow into well-adjusted adults. Many leading organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Child Welfare League of America, weighed the available research and supported the conclusion that gay and lesbian parents are as effective as heterosexual parents in raising children.11
For example, the official policy of the American Psychological Association declares, “There is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: Lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for children.”

Almost every professional group that has studied the issue indicates children are not harmed when raised by same-sex couples, but to the contrary, benefit from them. In Iowa, agencies that license foster parents have found same-sex couples to be good and acceptable parents. It is estimated that more than 5800 same-sex couples live throughout Iowa, and over one-third of these couples are raising children.

3This statement is the official policy of the American Psychological Association regarding sexual orientation, parents, and children. See Am. Psychological Ass’n Council of Representatives, Am. Psychological Ass’n, Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children (2004), in Ruth Ullmann Paige, Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the Legislative Year 2004: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI, 60 Am. Psychologist 436–511 (July- August 2005), available at http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/policy/parents.html (reporting adoption of resolution).

Guess she forgot to read that part?

And this is all coming from someone who just accused the gay blogosphere of lowering the discourse. Someone who keeps claiming that gays are the ones on the attack. Someone who, true to the NOM playbook, is working overtime to make her side look like the victims. Someone who is trying desperately to change the court of public opinion by letting her team's preconceived script inform a supposed reality.

What a myth!


*UPDATE: Another less than genuine Morse effort: She has cut and paste a private wall posting from Facebook, supposedly from a mere mother who led a desperate escape out of Providence, RI, so as to avoid the big, bad gays. But what Morse neglects to mention is that the private wall post comes from one Leslie Wolfgang, wife of the Family Institute of Connecticut's Peter Wolfgang (Brian Brown's former colleague). The Wolfgangs are very much a part of the "pro-family" movement (which is why Facebook friend Morse ha access to the private wall post in the first place), so fairness demands that any claim from the Wolfgang camp be seen through a "culture war" filter. But of course Morse never mentions the connection -- she just calls Wolfgang a "mother of young children". Have a look: Escape from Rhode Island [Ruth Blog]

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