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In-Laws

Gay Marriage: From Sexual Outlaws to Sexual In-Laws by Walter Russell Mead.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Supreme Court this week is entertaining two gay marriage cases. On Tuesday, the Justices heard oral arguments about Proposition 8, the California ballot proposition that mandated that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. On Wednesday they hear arguments about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes. The decisions on the cases won’t be handed down until June, but virtually the entire commentariat has been jumping in. On homosexuality as well as on marriage, everyone is an expert.

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Related: Nelson Lund: A Social Experiment Without Science Behind It

The Supreme Court is hearing two cases this week that represent a challenge to one of the oldest and most fundamental institutions of our civilization. In Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, the court is being asked to rule that constitutional equal protection requires the government to open marriage to same-sex couples.

The claimed right to same-sex marriage is not in the Constitution or in the court’s precedents, so the court must decide whether to impose a new law making marriage into a new and different institution. The justices are unlikely to take so momentous a step unless they are persuaded that granting this new right to same-sex couples will not harm children or ultimately undermine the health of our society.

A significant number of organizations representing social and behavioral scientists have filed briefs promising the court that there is nothing to worry about. These assurances have no scientific foundation. Same-sex marriage is brand new, and child rearing by same-sex couples remains rare. Even if both phenomena were far more common, large amounts of data collected over decades would be required before any responsible researcher could make meaningful scientific estimates of the long-term effects of redefining marriage.

More at the WSJ.

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