Mormons, Evangelicals Ask Supreme Court to Ignore Science on Gay Parents

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2013 5:48 PM ET

In two "friend-of-the-court" briefs filed at the Supreme Court in late January, a group of religious organizations — including the Mormon Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and Southern Baptist Convention — asked the justices to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence that same-sex parents are equally as qualified to raise children as opposite-sex parents.

Zack Ford at ThinkProgress LGBT collected the key arguments from the briefs, where Mormon Church attorney Von Keetch alleges that same-sex couples make inferior parents. Ford also notes that the briefs cite the controversial parenting study from Mark Regnerus, who has admitted that his research methods were not scientifically sound, and which an internal auditor from the journal that published the study called "bullshit." 

In the brief for U.S. v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the evangelical groups argue: 

"By their nature, such policy questions cannot be definitively answered by science, professional opinion, or legal reasoning alone. Although we are certainly persuaded by scholarly opinion supporting traditional marriage, the truth is that social science scholars, for instance, disagree about the effects of gay parenting on children. Whatever the ultimate conclusions may be, “nothing in the Constitution requires [government] to accept as truth the most advanced and sophisticated [scientific] opinion.”

In the brief filed in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging the constitutionality of California's voter-approved revocation of marriage equality, the religious groups admit, "There is an active debate within the social sciences over whether some of these common sense judgments are empirically sound. But 'nothing in the Constitution requires California to accept as truth the most advanced and sophisticated [scientific] opinion.” Lawmakers — including the people of California — are entitled to 'act on various unprovable assumptions,' including those that in 'the sum of [their] experience' lead them to conclude that traditional marriage and the family structure it supports deserve distinctive legal protection."

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on both cases in March.