Lund WSJ Op-ed Cautions Need for Scientific Evidence

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Professor Nelson Lund takes the position that "one advantage of democracy is that it allows failed experiments to be abandoned. If the Supreme Court constitutionalizes a right to same-sex marriage, however, there will be no going back. The court cannot possibly know that it is safe to take this irrevocable step.''

Lund argues that assurances offered by organizations representing social and behavioral scientists 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."

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in two cases in which the court is being asked to rule that constitutional equal protection requires the government to open marriage to same-sex couples. 

Nelson Lund: A Social Experiment Without Science Behind It, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2013. By Nelson Lund.

"There has been only one study using a large randomized sample, objective measures of well-being, and reports of grown children rather than their parents. This research, by Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas Austin, found that children raised in a household where a parent was involved in a same-sex romantic relationship were at a significant disadvantage with respect to a number of indicators of well being—such as depression, educational attainment and criminal behavior—compared with children of intact biological families.

"One might expect this work at least to raise a caution flag, but it has been vociferously attacked on methodological grounds by the same organizations that tout the value of politically congenial research that suffers from more severe methodological shortcomings. This is what one expects from activists, not scientists."

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