Lamb [expert for those in favor of gay marriage]and Blankenhorn ["expert" for those opposed to gay marriage (I had to put quotes around expert for this guy, because the judge ultimately disallows his opinion because he doesn't satisfy the rules of evidence requirements for being an expert)] disagreed on the importance of a biological link between parents and children. Blankenhorn emphasized the importance of biological parents, relying on studies comparing children raised by married, biological parents with children raised by single parents [biologically related to the child, right?!], unmarried mothers [again, biologically related], step families and cohabiting parents [biologically related!]. As explained in the credibility determinations, section I below, none of the studies Blankenhorn relied on isolates the genetic relationship between a parent and a child as a variable to be tested. Lamb testified about studies showing that adopted children or children conceived using sperm or egg donors are just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by their biological parents. Blankenhorn agreed with Lamb that adoptive parents “actually on some outcomes outstrip biological parents in terms of providing protective care for their children.”So, what do you think? Does anyone else think that the anti-gay-marriage folks are also the folks who could care less about the biological connection when a single (unmarried) woman is pregnant and they think she should place the child for adoption with a married (heterosexual) couple?
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Blankenhorn’s second opinion is that a body of evidence supports the conclusion that children raised by their married, biological parents do better on average than children raised in other environments. The evidence Blankenhorn relied on to support his conclusion compares children raised by married, biological parents with children raised by single parents, unmarried mothers, step families and cohabiting parents.
Blankenhorn’s conclusion that married biological parents provide a better family form than married non-biological parents is not supported by the evidence on which he relied because the evidence does not, and does not claim to, compare biological to non-biological parents. Blankenhorn did not in his testimony consider any study comparing children raised by their married biological parents to children raised by their married adoptive parents. Blankenhorn did not testify about a study comparing children raised by their married biological parents to children raised by their married parents who conceived using an egg or sperm donor. The studies Blankenhorn relied on compare various family structures and do not emphasize biology. The studies may well support a conclusion that parents’ marital status may affect child outcomes. The studies do not, however, support a conclusion that the biological connection between a parent and his or her child is a significant variable for child outcomes. The court concludes that “there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered.” Blankenhorn’s reliance on biology is unsupported by evidence, and the court therefore rejects his conclusion that a biological link between parents and children influences children’s outcomes.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Prop. 8 & Biological Connection Between Parents & Child
The importance of a biological connection between parents and children was an issue in the opinion released today that invalidated California's Prop. 8 gay marriage ban. One argument used by those opposed to gay marriage was that California could treat gay couples differently from heterosexual couples because marriage is about procreation, and gay couples cannot procreate. Though they might be able to adopt children or have children with the use of egg or sperm donors, gay couples can never BOTH be biologically related to the child the parents are raising together: