Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said that he respected Maryland’s right to decide the issue of marriage equality, just one day after that state passed legislation same-sex marriage. “The beauty of our regulators under the 10th amendment…is that states are the laboratories are democracy and innovation and they have the freedom to make different choices,” he said during a Politico forum this morning with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). “Martin and I have different views on this issue, on others, but that’s what’s great about having 50 states.”
But when O’Malley responded by suggesting that the well-being of children informed his own evolution towards marriage equality — “we concluded that it was not right and not just that the children of gay parents should homes that are protected in a lesser way under the law than other children,” he said — McDonnell remained unconvinced, insisting that gays and lesbians make worse parents than heterosexual couples and should thus be the last to adopt children:
MCDONNELL: Most of the data that I’ve read that the best environment for a child to grow up to be fully capable of achieving the American dream and having the best start at life in an intact two-parent family made up of a man and a woman. I would say that that’s what all the data would suggest…An intact two-parent family is in fact the best for our country. Should be the model, but when it doesn’t work we have safety nets.
Indeed, it’s because an “intact two-parent family” is “the best for our country” that gay and lesbian families are seeking recognition under the law. A range of studies, including the the American Psychological Association, have concluded that “beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation.” In fact, a recent analysis found that the 2 million children who are currently living with LGBT parents are hurt not by the sexual orientation of mom or dad, but the social stigma and legal inequality that people like McDonnell perpetuate.
Recently, Virginia passed legislation “allowing private adoption agencies to discriminate against gay prospective parents” and the governor has pledged to sign the measure, which will take effect July 1. Meanwhile, O’Malley said that he will sign his state’s marriage equality measure next week.