The Justice Department’s argument on the superfluity of motherhood is presented in a brief the Obama administration filed in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that amended California’s Constitution to say that marriage involves only one man and one woman.
The Justice Department presented its conclusions about parenthood in rebutting an argument made by proponents of Proposition 8 that the traditional two-parent family, led by both a mother and a father, was the ideal place, determined even by nature itself, to raise a child.
The Obama administration argues this is not true. It argues that children need neither a father nor a mother and that having two fathers or two mothers is just as good as having one of each.
“The [California] Voter Guide arguably offered a distinct but related child-rearing justification for Proposition 8: 'the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father,’” said the administration’s brief submitted to the court by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.
“As an initial matter, no sound basis exists for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriage are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing,” the Department of Justice told the court. “To the contrary, many leading medical, psychological, and social-welfare organizations have issued policy statements opposing restrictions on gay and lesbian parenting based on their conclusion, supported by numerous scientific studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”
“The weight of the scientific literature strongly supports the view that same-sex parents are just as capable as opposite-sex parents,” says the administration.
To support this argument, one of the documents the administration cites is a “policy statement” by the American Psychological Association. This statement claims that some studies indicate same-sex parents might be “superior” to mother-and-father families, but then concedes there is little actual data on the results of raising children in two-father households.
“Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners,” says this APA policy statement the administration cited to the court. “The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers' and gay fathers' parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents. There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
“Studies of other aspects of personal development (including personality, self-concept, and conduct) similarly reveal few differences between children of lesbian mothers and children of heterosexual parents,” says the APA policy statement. “However, few data regarding these concerns are available for children of gay fathers.”
The Obama administration further argues that because California law already permits domestic partnerships in which same-sex couples are allowed all the "incidents” of marriage--including the right to adopt children and be foster parents--that Proposition 8 only denies same-sex couples the use of the word "marriage" and does not change the status of child-rearing in the state.
“Moreover, as the court of appeals determined, ‘Proposition 8 had absolutely no effect on the ability of same-sex couples to become parents or the manner in which children are raised in California,’” says the administration. “As explained, California law, both before and after Proposition 8, grants registered domestic partners the same parental rights and benefits accorded to married couples. And Proposition 8 does not alter California’s adoption, fostering, or presumed-parentage laws, which 'continue to apply equally to same-sex couples.’
“In light of California’s conferral of full rights of parenting and child-rearing on same-sex couples, Proposition 8’s denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry bears no cognizable relation, let alone a substantial one, to any interest in responsible procreation and child-rearing (however defined),” says the administration. “Indeed, because a substantial number of California children are raised in households headed by same-sex couples.”
In effect, the administration is arguing that California had already conceded the administration’s point that children do not need a mother or a father when it enacted laws treating same-sex couples the same as married couples in its adoption, foster-parenting and other laws--which Proposition 8 did not seek to overturn.
So far in the history of the human race, no child has ever been born without a biological father and mother. Now, in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government is arguing that, regardless of the biological facts of parenthood, states have no legitimate and defenisble interest in ensuring that children conceived by a mother and a father are in fact raised by mothers and fathers.
The brief that the Justice Department presented to the Supreme Court discussed children only as items controlled by others, not as individual human beings who have God-given rights of their own. It simply assumes that a child has no inherent right to a mother or father and that the only right truly in question is whether two people of the same-sex have a right to marry one another and that that right encompasses a right to adopt and foster-raise children.
To take this view and be consistent with the principles of the Declaration of Independence—which recognizes the ultimate authority of the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and says that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—the Obama Justice Department must advance the assumption that natural law and Nature’s God give children no right to a mother and father and no right not to be legally handed over by the government to be raised by same-sex couples.
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