This week the Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning two similar cases that question whether states or the Federal government can constitutionally deny the right to marriage to homosexual couples. The cultural ramifications to this essentially political question are enormous, deserving of serious consideration by Americans on many levels. Is homosexuality a learned behavior or a human characteristic that occurs naturally? If a new definition of marriage is institutionalized by the Supreme Court, to whom will it apply and by what test? (Will any two persons, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, be permitted to join in matrimony to acquire the civic privileges of marriage?) Will the change in the definition of marriage have a beneficial or harmful effect on children raised in these new families? Right now, answers are not concrete, but based on evolving opinions. No matter how much the political class wants the judicial decision, is it too soon for our society to make such a momentous decision – or rather to be forced into whatever box is provided by the court?
Following are some interesting arguments regarding the evidence before the Court from the amici curiae brief by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy to the Supreme Court of the United States; it is in reference to the case questioning “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
“There is good reason to believe that the political climate has strongly influenced much of the existing research on issues raised in this case. That body of research, moreover, is radically inconclusive. Same-sex marriage is a very recent innovation, as is the practice of child rearing by same-sex couples. The effects of these new developments could certainly be significant. But only an advocate for social change could claim to know that the effects will be entirely or even largely benign. Even if same-sex marriage and child rearing by same-sex couples were far more common than they now are, large amounts of data collected over decades would be required before any responsible researcher could make meaningful scientific estimates of the effects. Social and behavioral scientists, moreover, have inadequate tools for measuring the effects of different family structures on children. Notwithstanding the patent weaknesses of the existing research, Respondents sought to persuade the courts below that there is a scientific basis for constitutionalizing same sex marriage. In fact, there is no such basis. There neither are nor could possibly be any scientifically valid studies from which to predict the effects of a family structure that is so new and so rare. The necessary data simply do not exist. There could conceivably come a time when supporters of traditional marriage are compelled by scientific evidence to acknowledge that same-sex marriage is not harmful to children or to society at large. That day is not here, and there is not the slightest reason to think it is imminent. It is no less possible that scientific evidence will eventually show that redefining marriage to encompass unions of same sex couples does have harmful effects on our society and its children. That day is also not yet here, but there is no basis for this or any other court to conclude that it will never arrive. Now and for the foreseeable future, claims that science provides support for constitutionalizing a right to same-sex marriage must necessarily rest on ideology. Ideology may be pervasive in the social sciences, especially when controversial policy issues are at stake, but ideology is not science. . .”
“. . . The Court’s deep concern about the use of unreliable evidence in the context of physical causation should be magnified a thousand-fold in a case like this one. Unlike a tort case, this litigation raises elusive and contentious issues about the nature of homosexuality and the personal and social effects of alternative family structures. A decision constitutionalizing a right to same-sex marriage, moreover, would have social implications far beyond any that might arise from a mistake in a product liability case.”
These quotations are from pages 14 and 17 of the friend of the court brief, here in its entirety.