Posted tagged ‘Gay adoption’

The Data Matter: Does John McCain Hate Kids dept.

July 28, 2008

Trying even harder on the keep-it-short imperative, just a quick hit on McCain’s fumbling anti-gay adoption stance as expressed yesterday to George Stephanopolous on ABC.

Three rapid thoughts:

1. What else did anyone expect him to say? If he comes out embracing, or even tolerating gay adoption, he loses the election in July, IMHO — given what such a stand would do to his support, such as it is, among the 20% or so of the GOP base made up of social and religious conservatives.

2. Just to make the absurdity of his fumbling explanation a little more obvious, someone in the media should ask him, pressing him for a specific answer: would he prefer unmarried, single parent adoptions as long as the man or woman were straight, to placing children in two-parent, same-sex couples?

3. Most seriously: this is another case of McCain being either ignorant — unaware of the scientific data on the question he addresses — or else being simply expedient (what a polite word!), willing to sacrifice children in order to win an election. McCain said

I’m running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent — families that are of parents that are the traditional family.

The rest of his answer is similarly incoherent, but the point he seems to be trying to make is that there is a moral and social benefit that accrues when only male-female couples raise children. Unfortunately, as a matter of empirical investigation, this is wrong. Consider:

A study released in May 2007 by the Department of Justice (Canada), Children’s Development of Social Competence Across Family Types, points out that “A few studies suggest that children with two lesbian mothers may have marginally better social competence than children in ‘traditional nuclear’ families, even fewer studies show the opposite, and most studies fail to find any differences.”[32]

There are a host of other studies confirming and broadening this conclusion. There are a few that challenge it. Strangely, they all seem to derive from groups that have a polemical interest in that outcome.

The inference becomes more clear when you consider the question McCain was actually asked: is it better for children to linger in foster care or to be raised in two parent, same gender families? To him, no. In the real world, where children without parents actually live — not just moral feeling, but the data suggest (strongly) otherwise.