Tennessee Judge Ignores Supreme Court, Rules Parental Rights Apply Only To ‘Husbands’

by JOSH ISRAEL – Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its historic Obergefell ruling, bringing marriage equality to every part of the nation. But on Friday, a Tennessee judge decided that the protections need not apply in his courtroom, refusing to recognize the parental rights of a mother in a same-sex divorce case because she is not the biological parent. Though Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion held that no state may discriminate against same-sex couples in the licensing and recognition of marriage — and the rights and responsibilities that accompany it — the case included a specific challenge to Tennessee’s same-sex marriage ban. “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry,” Kennedy wrote. “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant...

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The Conservative Argument Against Same-Sex Parenting Just Fell Apart

by ZACK FORD – Conservatives have long squawked that the studies showing positive outcomes for the children of same-sex couples are lacking methodologically, instead offering their own flawed studies to claim negative consequences. A new study, however, uses their preferred methods — minus the flaws — and proves what the medical community has already long known: same-sex couples make great parents. The primary accusation against the plentiful research supporting same-sex parenting is that the samples are skewed. Because researchers have to advertise and search for same-sex couples willing to participate, the families self-select to join the studies, and thus may be not be representative of all same-sex families. Conservatives like Mark Regnerus have insisted that their studies, which are skeptical of same-sex parenting, are more valid because they use data from broad population-based surveys, which are more representative and generalizable. So the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank at the...

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New Study Shuts Down Common Claim Against Same-Sex Parenting

by ZACK FORD – A new study from the University of Colorado Denver finds that there has already been scientific consensus on same-sex parenting for decades. By assessing a compilation of all of the available studies that have examined same-sex parenting and studying the trends and shifts between them, the researchers were able to determine when the scientific community started to agree that there were no differences in children raised by same-sex couples and different-sex couples. Despite arguments made to the contrary just this year in Supreme Court amicus briefs, the consensus is not new. According to the study, there was already a developing consensus affirming same-sex parenting among social scientists by 1990. By 2000 and henceforth, that consensus has been “overwhelming.” Lead researcher Jimi Adams, associate professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies at CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, told ThinkProgress that even though...

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Ten Novel, Absurd, And Irrelevant Arguments Made In Supreme Court Briefs Against Marriage Equality

by ZACK FORD – Oral arguments for the same-sex marriage Supreme Court case are just over a week away, and just as many groups and individuals from across the country expressed their support for marriage equality, many expressed their opposition. Among them are the more familiar arguments, like that “conjugal marriage” (i.e. “complementary” relationships in which someone with a penis has sex with someone with a vagina) is unique and deserves special recognition regardless of whether such unions result in children, that same-sex parenting harms children even though all valid research points to the opposite conclusion, or that marriage is a states rights issue, not a human rights issue. But here are ten novel, absurd, and irrelevant — not to mention offensive — arguments from the dozens of amicus briefs filed in favor of upholding state bans on same-sex marriage. If same-sex marriage is legal, fewer different-sex couples will marry....

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Florida House Overwhelmingly Passes Religious ‘License To Discriminate’ Adoption Bill

by ZACK FORD – On Thursday afternoon, the Florida House of Representatives voted 75-38 to pass a bill (HB 7111) that would allow the state’s adoption agencies to engage in any kind of discrimination if serving a particular family violates its “religious or moral convictions or policies.” The state contracts with several private agencies to manage its child-placement services, some of which are religiously affiliated. Under the bill, the state could not revoke a license nor refuse any funding to these agencies based on their decision not to place children with certain families. Unlike how the “religious freedom” bills played out in Arkansas and Indiana, proponents of Florida’s legislation were quite open during this week’s debates about the bill’s discriminatory intentions. On Wednesday, Rep. David Richardson (D) spearheaded efforts to undermine the bill with various amendments that would have carved out nondiscrimination exemptions. His first amendment would have prevented the...

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Conservatives Seize On Hugely Flawed Study About Same-Sex Parents

by ZACK FORD – Conservatives are excitedly promoting a new study that supposedly reveals negative outcomes for the children of same-sex parents. Like the infamously flawed Mark Regnerus study rushed out two years ago, the new study seems timed to impact the Supreme Court’s upcoming consideration of marriage equality for same-sex couples. It suffers, however, from some of the same flaws and biases as Regnerus’ study, and doesn’t actually support the argument against marriage equality that it tries to make. The new study comes from Donald Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and sociology professor at Catholic University of America. Sullins is a fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, a project of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, and a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, which has funneled millions of dollars into fighting marriage equality over the past decade. In 2010, he co-wrote a study suggesting that female...

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