March 24, 2013

That Nurture Thing
Photo of Sprigg

Peter Sprigg doesn’t believe that same-sex marriage is as good for children as a heterosexual marriage. To him the biological trumps everything.

As I walked home from work the other day I listened to NPR’s All Things Considered. This is my “me” time.

Gay marriage is a trending topic these days and that day the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had just endorsed same-sex marriage. The data, over sixty studies, showed no difference in the well-being of children raised by gay and lesbian couples than of children of heterosexual couples. You would think the studies, covering a wide breath of childhood metrics from emotional well-being to academic achievement, would prove the point nicely. But, of course, not to everyone.

As part of NPR’s “balanced” approach to reporting, commentator Alix Spiegel interviewed, not only a pediatrician who helped craft the Academy’s review, but Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the conservative Christian public policy organization, the Family Research Council. He reviewed the same studies but came to a very different conclusion. Here is the transcript of his interview (emphasis mine):

PETER SPRIGG: I think it reflects more political correctness than it does any actual findings of the research in terms of the well-being of children.

ALIX SPIEGEL: Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the conservative Christian public policy organization, the Family Research Council, says he has reviewed much of the same research, but not surprisingly has come to a very different conclusion. Sprigg says that the AAP is right that marriage is advantageous, but wrong about the cause of that advantage.

SPRIGG: The demonstrable benefits of being raised by married parents relate in large part to the benefits of being bonded to the mother and father whose union created you, who gave you life.

SPIEGEL: In other words, the advantage comes from the biological bond between the two parents and their child.

SPRIGG: And so it’s not valid to assume that homosexual couples who are allowed to legally marry would be able to transmit the same benefits to their children.

SPIEGEL: The AAP, though, isn’t alone in asserting that the children of gay parents seem to fare just as well as the children of heterosexual parents. In 2005, the American Psychological Association reviewed the research and came to the same conclusion.

If the biological bond is so critical to the well-being of children, Mr. Sprigg, why are my adopted girls so well-adjusted, good students, and critical thinkers? And I’m in a “traditional” marriage. Nature can be important, but love is pure nurture. And you don’t have to be straight to experience that!

Mr. Sprigg, you’re more than misguided. Your religious beliefs have blinded you to the facts. And my family and the families of my gay and lesbian friends and relatives are the facts.

Related: Read or listen to the entire story on NPR.

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