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Second Thoughts on the Marriage Amendment

November 1, 2012

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, a young man who wishes to remain agnostic about the Minnesota marriage amendment cannot be too careful of his reading. Mark Shea’s blog caters to social conservatives and would therefore appear to be safe territory for a Catholic with a heretical leaning toward voting “no”. Not so, it turns out.

Earlier today, Shea linked to a statement by 143 faculty and staff at St. Benedict’s and St. John University in Minnesota. Shea’s goal was not to engage the authors in serious debate—an unnecessary task for a writer whose audience takes the wrongness of same sex marriage as self-evident—but to admonish readers not to “ever give another dime” to the university. Despite Shea’s intentions, the statement provides compelling evidence against one of the central claims made by same sex marriage opponents. Specifically, the third footnote links to an APA Policy Statement that summarizes multiple studies demonstrating that “the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”

Should the APA be blindly trusted? Of course not. But a substantial body of research appears to contradict the bishops’ claim that “respecting a child’s dignity means affirming his or her need for – and right to – a mother and a father.” This should, at the very least, give same sex marriage opponents pause. Moreover, whereas a “no” vote leaves time for additional study and deliberation, a “yes” vote forecloses that possibility, enshrining unsubstantiated claims about gender into our state constitution.

Thus, for reasons quite inconsistent with the libertarian rhetoric of Minnesotans United, I will be voting “no” on November 6th.

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