Dear Friends of Marriage,
The defense rested in the Prop 8 trial this week. The same week, as it happens, a new government study came out which examined how family structure affects child abuse.
The study, released by the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is called "Fourth National Incident Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4)."
Ted Olson and David Boies have claimed that Science Says there is no evidence that kids need a mom and dad. That's just the rednecks confusing the research, which only says two adults in a family are better than one. The only reason people think a mom and dad are special is, well, because they hate gay folks.
Well, stay with me a second. This new study did not just compare married parents to single parents. Instead it compared married biological parents to four other family structures: solo parents, cohabiting parents, other married parents, and children living with no parents at all.
What family form best protects children from one of the worst harms of all--child abuse? The answer is: the child's own mom and dad united by marriage.
It wasn't even close.
Let me quote you the hard data:
"Children living with two married biological parents had the lowest rate of overall Harm Standard maltreatment, at 6.8 per 1,000 children. This rate differs significantly from the rates for all other family structure and living arrangement circumstances."
It wasn't just solo parents who had problems.
Children living with one parent who had an unmarried partner in the household had the highest incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment (57.2 per 1,000). Their rate is more than 8 times greater than the rate for children living with two married biological parents.
The incidence of Harm Standard maltreatment also is significantly higher for children living with one parent and that parent's unmarried partner than for children in three other conditions: children living with other married parents (24.4 children per 1,000), those living with two unmarried parents (23.5 children per 1,000), and those living with a single parent with no partner in the household (28.4 children per 1,000). The risk of Harm Standard maltreatment for children whose single parent has an unmarried partner is more than 2 times greater than the risk for children living in these other living arrangements.
Our president, Maggie Gallagher, wrote about this on NOM's blog: "New Study: Married Biological Parents Best." (Are you signed up for twitter notices, which tell you when new stuff is posted on our blog? Go here to sign up!) Maggie writes:
Here's my question for Ted and David as they strive to prove that Science Says same-sex unions are just like opposite-sex ones, when it comes to children.
Perhaps you are right. Perhaps alone of all the family structures science has ever studied, children living with same-sex couples do just as well as children in intact married families. (Perhaps that is true even though your own expert witness admits there is no research on how well two gay men raise children, and there is no nationally representative study that follows children raised from birth to adulthood by same-sex [couples] and compares how they do to children in other family forms).
But does this study, which is one of hundreds with similar results favoring the natural family give Ted Olson and David Boies pause late at night as they assert the scientific irrationality of respect for the natural family at all I wonder? Ted and David, I'm wondering: not even a little bit?
Probably not when it comes to Ted and David, but the rest of us in the reality-based community understand that marriage really does matter because it's the only way to connect a child to his own mom and dad.
All children are gifts from God and deserve our respect. All parents working hard to raise good kids also deserve our respect and help. But there is no call to wipe out the ideal itself, rooted in Nature and Nature's God, and replace it with a man-made fantasy that same-sex unions are just the same as the one kind of union that best protects children.
We are not hopeful that Judge Walker is going to do justice to the 7 million Californians who voted to protect marriage as the union of husband and wife--especially not after his rush to break all the rules to televise this trial resulted in the lost of key expert witnesses' testimony.
Respect for voting rights doesn't appear to be at a premium these days among certain judges. In D.C. NOM is working hard (working with the extraordinary leadership of Bishop Harry Jackson and others) to give the citizens of D.C. the right to vote for marriage. Dozens of Congressmen and Senators are meeting with us and others to figure out the best way to protect not only marriage, but the democratic rights of the people of D.C. from a city council (and a local court) determined to deprive them of their rights.
I met this week with Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), who has taken a real leadership position on the voting rights of the people of D.C. And he understands that this includes the right to vote for marriage. Thank you Congressman Pence!
Truth and love will prevail, in the end, over lies and hate.
Because God is Himself Truth and Love, we need never be afraid.
Thank you for all you do for marriage, truth and democracy.
Until next week, keep fighting the good fight!
God's blessings on you always,
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
PS: NOM relies on your help! This new year will bring many new challenges, and NOM needs to be ready to respond quickly. Can you help us with a monthly gift of $5, $10, or even $20? We truly appreciate whatever you can give--and most of all, we appreciate and thank you for your prayers, and for standing strong for marriage.
NOM Featured Article
"Putting Religion on Trial?"
January 26, 2010
The kid in the audience -- he seems a kid to me, just 20 years old -- asks me a question:
"You say gay marriage will lead to the use of the law to repress traditional faiths including Christianity. But I was raised in a Southern Baptist family. When I came out, I lost my sister. What is wrong with the idea that religions will be pressured to be less anti-gay?"
NOM in the News
"The Case of the Incurious Economists"
Jennifer Roback Morse
January 17, 2010
I recently participated in a round-table discussion about marriage, freedom, and the state. Most of the participants were libertarians and economists. The default position of virtually everyone in the room was a presumption in favor of redefining marriage as the union of any two persons. Normally, economists and libertarians take pride in tracking the changes in incentives as far through society as possible. Yet on the subject of same-sex marriage, these economists seemed uncharacteristically incurious. They seem to think same sex-marriage will affect only the handful of people who 1) currently identify themselves as gay or lesbian, 2) are partnered, and 3) want to get married. My economist friends do not seem to see that redefining marriage will create changes in the social incentive structure for everyone. If I'm right, the behavior of many millions of people could be in play.
"What Family Structure Prevents Child Abuse?"
The Corner on National Review Online
January 28, 2010
Question: What kind of family structure best protects children from child abuse?
Answer: Married biological parents.
"Prop 8 'From Bad to Worse'?"
The Corner on National Review Online
January 27, 2010
Prof. Dale Carpenter, a Federalist Society member, law professor, gay-marriage advocate (and gay man), is dour about the prospects for victory (from his point of view) in the Prop 8 trial. He says Justice John Paul Stevens's retirement makes an unlikely scenario even more unlikely, going from bad to worse.
"Future of Marriage Law Murky As Prop 8 Challenge Begins"
National Catholic Register
January 25, 2010
"If [same-sex 'marriage' forces] win at the Supreme Court level, they will have imposed a national right to gay 'marriage' in all 50 states," said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "That's their goal. That's what they're asking for."
"2 Moms, 1 Child and the Law"
January 23, 2010
"There is no civil right to redefine marriage," said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage. "Marriage is based on biological reality that children do deserve a mother and father. This reality of marriage would be fundamentally turned on its head in redefining it through legislation."
"Obama Urges Senate to Hold Off on Health Care"
January 21, 2010
NOM Executive Director Brian Brown appeared on CBN News' Midday program to explain why his organization was encouraged by Scott Brown's election. Click play for his comments.
"Debating Same-Sex Marriage at CU"
January 24, 2010
The ever-controversial subject of same-sex marriage will be hashed out tonight on the University of Colorado campus as part of the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought's third-annual "Great Debate" series.
Guest speakers Jonathan Rauch (pro) and Maggie Gallagher (con) will tackle the question "Should the Government Approve Same-Sex Marriage?" at 7 tonight in CU's Chem 140 lecture hall.
"Gallagher and Rauch Debate Same-Sex 'Marriage' in Boulder"
Catholic News Agency
January 26, 2010
The debaters were Maggie Gallagher, an author, social commentator and the president of the National Organization for Marriage; and Jonathan Rauch, a senior writer for National Journal magazine and an author of several books on public policy, culture and economics.
"Scott Brown for Marriage Amendment"
Canada Free Press
January 25, 2010
Brian Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, saw it much differently, calling the election 'a victory for marriage.'