This afternoon, openly-gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts hosted a debate between Freedom To Marry’s Evan Wolfson and the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg about yesterday’s announcement that the House General Council will defend the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Roberts read this popular Facebook message and later pressed Sprigg on why extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians would undermine the institution:
So, let me get this straight…Charlie Sheen can make a “porn family”, Kelsey Grammar can end a 15 year marriage over the phone, Larry King can be on divorce #9, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage, Jesse James and Tiger Woods, while married, were having sex with EVERYONE. Yet, the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage? Really?
Sprigg responded by suggesting that granting marriage to two individuals who can never have children suggested that a mother and a father are unnecessary for child rearing:
ROBERTS: But what happens to people who get married and don’t have children or Larry King who is on his eighth marriage and hasn’t had children with six of his former wives. Are you mandated to have kids if you are married?
SPRIGG: You’re not mandated to have kids if you get married but it makes no sense to extend the benefits of marriage to a type of relationship that is incapable of ever creating children. That undermines the whole purpose of the institution and it sends a message to society that, no, children don’t need a mother and a father. And that’s simply false, the social science shows that children do best when they have a mother and father.
As Wolfson pointed out, “many children in this country are being raised by their gay parents and those kids are being harmed by Mr. Sprigg and his groups and these kinds of discriminatory laws that don’t respect their family and allow them to have the best structure of support for their kids.” Numerous studies have shown that children with same-sex parents show no significant differences compared with children in different-sex households. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, concluded that “children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior.” The researchers also found that “children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.”
Sprigg’s Family Research Council (FRC) was recently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It “bills itself as ‘the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,’ but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians.” Sprigg has “claimed that ex-gay therapy works, that sexual orientation can change, that gay people are mentally ill simply because homosexuality makes them that way, and that, “Sexual abuse of boys by adult men is many times more common than consensual sex between adult men, and most of those engaging in such molestation identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual.” In February of 2009, he told Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied.