Monday, October 14, 2013

Helping Nebraska's children

Nebraska's state motto is equality before the law, but for some in Nebraska, that's just a motto.

Since 1995, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has prohibited placing foster children with those who identify as homosexuals or unmarried, non-related adults who live together.

Proponents of this law and similar laws try to claim that their discrimination is rooted in science, instead of disgust.  Luckily, they were able to find a study that confirm their already held beliefs.  The study was produced by University of Texas-Austin's associate professor of sociology, Mark Regenerus.  The study allegedly found that children raised by same-sex parents suffered a number of negatve consequences. This study was rightfully criticized for its flawed methodology.

The study's criteria for a same-sex couple was if the parent EVER had a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.  Regenerus even remarked in his study that it is not comparing heterosexual families with families headed by homosexuals, but by households in which parents broke up.  The methodology was "designed to find bad outcomes" for children with same-sex parents.  Regenerus's study was based on surveys from 1971-1994, before the gay marriage movement and long-term familial arrangements rooted in homosexual partnerships, really took off.  I'm sure the study was endorsed by other scientists, I mean opponents of same-sex marriage always base their reasoning in science.

During the controversial Supreme Court case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, the American Psychological Association (APA) submitted an amicus brief saying "there is no scientific basis for concluding that gay and lesbian parents are any less fit or capable than homosexual parents, or that their children are any less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted."  But it seems that it's much easier to confirm your beliefs.

Not allowing same-sex couples or homosexuals to adopt is not rooted in any science but disgust.  Instead of claiming that stopping homosexual from adopting will benefit children, we should ask the nearly 4,000 children currently in the foster care system in Nebraska.  These children suffer through multiple failed placements, long stays in emergency shelters, and long waits to be adopted, even though, there are a number of same-sex couples who are willing to adopt.  When people say we should think of the children, maybe we should with an eye toward ACTUAL science, instead of discriminatory disgust and confirmation bias.

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