By Derrick DePledge
The American Sociological Association announced Thursday that it has filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supporting legal challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Hawaii and Nevada.
The appeals court is reviewing the Jackson v. Abercrombie case from Hawaii, where gay couples have sued after being denied marriage licenses, and a similar case from Nevada. The proceedings in the Hawaii case are on hold pending a special session of the state Legislature to consider a gay marriage bill.
The American Sociological Association contends that social science research shows that the sexual orientation of parents has no bearing on their children's well-being.
"When the social science evidence is exhaustively examined -- which the ASA has done -- the facts demonstrate that children fare just as well when raised by same-sex parents,” the association's brief states. "Unsubstantiated fears regarding same-sex parents do not overcome these facts and do not justify upholding the Nevada and Hawaii marriage bans."
The association claims opponents of gay marriage misportray research from Mark Regnerus, a University of Texas sociology professor who has studied same-sex parenting.
Regnerus himself told state lawmakers in Hawaii at an informational briefing on Wednesday night that the children of same-sex couples do not do as well as children in families where there is a mother and father. He said, however, that the distinction is more about gender than sexual orientation.