Could empirical evidence change your position on gay marriage?

This question is for both sides. Let’s say that in the wake of Obergefell, academic research clearly establishes a scientific consensus that either:

a) children raised by same-sex parents have worse life outcomes in a number of universally accepted measures of life quality than children raised by heterosexual couples.

b) children raised by same-sex parents do not differ from children raised by heterosexual couples in statistically significant ways.

Would this change your position on gay marriage?

Or in other words, is your opinion on gay marriage based on empirical research or on some combination of law and ethics?

We’ve done the studies, and we already know that B is true. But I’ll play anyway:

No, if evidence came to light suggesting that the children of gay parents had worse outcomes than the children of straight parents, it would not change my stance on gay marriage. People can get married who do not have any intention of having children. And people who have children do not need to get married. So that sort of information would be entirely unrelated to my stance on marriage.

It might get me to change my mind about gay adoption, but that would depend on how big a difference in outcomes there was between children raised by straight parents and children raised by gay parents. If having gay parents guarantees that you grow up to be a rapist drug addict, I’d oppose. If having gay parents mean you have a 5% lower chance, on average, of completing a four-year college degree, meh.

Depends. I believe there is empirical research that shows two parents are better for kids than one (irrespective of their genders, IIRC). Yet, we don’t outlaw single parenthood or go out of our way to penalize it.

Suppose we found that a certain race or other grouping of humans was actually, measurably, less intelligent. Would this justify treating them differently under the law? I’m guessing not, both for ethical and pragmatic reasons.

Yes, we already know B is true, under controlled methods.

If A were true, I would ask- how are other adults treating same-sex couples to influence their general quality of life? Negative attention, fear or abuse, would entail B to be true for their children.

I don’t understand the question. Assuming that having same sex parents is somehow not good I can understand you’d want to ban same sex parents from raising children, but why would you care if they got married?

I’m curious as to what the OP would suggest in the event that children raised by same-sex parents turned out to have significantly better life outcomes in a number of universally accepted measures of life quality than children raised by heterosexual couples. Would this change your position on opposite-sex marriage? Should this then lead to same-sex couples getting preference in adoptions?

My opinion on SSM has nothing to do with procreation. It would be silly to not allow someone in Group X to get married simply because the average Group Xer isn’t a good parent. We can create all sorts of heterosexual Group Xs that are bad parents, and no one talks about preventing them from getting married.

The OP’s attempt to dissuade people from supporting SSM is a big FAIIL.

Even as a hypothetical, I feel this is begging the question. It’s not like somebody is making a decision whether to send a particular child off to be raised by a same-sex couple or an opposite sex couple.

Suppose there was evidence that the life outcomes of children were ranked this way by their backgrounds:

  1. Raised by an opposite sex couple.
  2. Raised by a same-sex couple.
  3. Raised in an institutional system.

In such a scenario, it would still be better for children to be adopted by same-sex couples if that was the available alternative to institutional care.

Nonsense - it’s going swimmingly. I’m sure he’ll be back soon with robust and compelling responses to all our posts.

Along with a beautiful story about how he fell in love with the person best suited scientifically to raise children in today’s society, I have no doubt.

I wonder how the OP will refute the already established facts that destroy his premise.

The law allows for all kinds of suboptimal conditions. Children raised in poverty are at-risk for numerous negative outcomes, and yet it is not illegal to raise children in poverty. Children conceived by older parents or parents who possess deleterious genes are another high risk population. But I don’t hear anyone advocating banning “high risk” conception. There would be a huge outcry if anyone suggested a such restriction. What we can do is allow people their freedom, while mitigating the pitfalls that may spring up.

We incur all kinds risks in this society. One more risk factor isn’t going to break us.

There’s no need to fight the hypothetical. For example, were academic research to establish a scientific consensus that same-sex marriage ceremonies were actually dark rites involving the sacrifice of infants to Cthulu in order to bring on a millennium of darkness and pain to the entire planet, I would definitely reconsider my position on the matter.

My answer is predicated on option C: what if academic research clearly establishes that kids raised by gay parents have significantly better life outcomes in numerous accepted measures? Would I change my position on straight marriage? No, of course not; so, no, I wouldn’t change my position on gay marriage were the tables turned.

Based on his posting history I’d say you’re the most optimistic person on this board.

Are you saying you expect him to construct a more compelling argument?

I don’t have children. How will you assess my marriage? We’ve been married (commitment ceremony, then civil union, then domestic partnership, then marriage, as each option became available) for 17 years.

No…no more than ‘empirical evidence’ could change my position on Civil Rights. There is no argument I can conceive of that would change my position on this issue.

No. If it were the case (and assuming I believed the study…I’d need to see a LOT of cross checking and the methodology, as well as the raw data and probably an entire series of such studies to even start believing such an assertion), I MIGHT be convinced that gay couples shouldn’t adopt (:dubious:). But not that they should be denied the chance to marry.

Law and ethics really. To me, right is right, and no citizen should be denied the rights others enjoy just because some folks don’t like what they do or how they are. To me this is exactly like the Civil Rights, and like I said, there is no ‘empirical evidence’ I can conceive of that would shift my position on that either.

If there was a measurably worse outcome for children raised by same-sex parents… well, my first reaction would be to find out why, since I don’t see an obvious potential linkage between the orientation of the parents and the outcomes for the children. If there was an external element, i.e. children of gay parents get bullied more, leading to depressed academic performance, then my reaction is to crack down on bullying, not on gay marriage.

In the purely hypothetical, if the orientation of the parents was provably causing worse outcomes, and significantly worse at that… yes, I could picture rethinking the issue. I’m also solidly pro-choice and atheist, and I can picture hypothetical circumstances where I’d rethink those, too.

And the OP should answer Gyrate’s question in post 6, if/when he returns.

We literally just did this. Inklings earlier, but asked outright and answered beginning around post 280.

My answer: no. It would, if it happened but it hasn’t, lead me to want more research to find out what challenges gay families are facing that might be addressed by public health interventions, same as families who *have *been found to have greater challenges, like those in poverty or going through divorce.