RNC Resolution Against Same-Sex Marriage Relies On Junk Science And Heterosexual Superiority

The Republican National Committee is set to consider a new resolution condemning same-sex marriage at its spring strategy session. What is most compelling about the resolution is not the text itself — which reiterates arguments about how opposite-sex parents are best for children — but the citations the resolution uses to defend those points. Each of the documents either relies on Mark Regnerus’s politically-motivated junk-science study that attempts to draw conclusions about the inferiority of same-sex parenting or the National Organization for Marriage’s talking points about the supposed definition of marriage.

Here’s a look at the six points the resolution attempts to make and how the citations simply do not support them.

Defining Marriage For Straight Couples Only

The resolution claims that marriage is based on the “conjugal relationship that only a man and woman can form.” To defend this, the claim cites the Supreme Court amicus brief field by NOM founder Robert George and his co-authors of What Is Marriage? George argues that marriage is about “joining spouses in body as well as in mind,” which apparently only counts when they can procreate — except for infertile opposite-sex couples, who get a pass because their union would still be “apt for procreation.” There’s no logic to the rationale, just a bold claim that same-sex couples’ relationships are inherently inferior.

Same-Sex Marriage Has Been Banned And Condemned A Lot

This argument from popularity reminds that lots of states and lawmakers have jumped off the cliff of discrimination, so it’s okay for the RNC to do it again now too. The resolution cites an op-ed by the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, who is also George’s protege and co-author. The op-ed contains the same generalizations about the definition of marriage, again simply suggesting that relationships between men and women are unique and thus should be uniquely recognized — without any compelling evidence that same-sex couples should be deprived of the same recognition.

Government Can’t Change The Definition Of Marriage

The RNC suggests that the government can’t change that “marriage is a natural and most desirable union.” Though of course the caveat of “especially when procreation is a goal,” was included, it’s unclear how wanting to partner with someone to start a family should exclude same-sex couples. The answer can be found in an amicus brief filed by the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence’s John Eastman, who just happens to also be NOM’s chairman. Eastman argues that since Proposition 8 was voted on by the people of California and reaffirmed a status quo about the definition of marriage, the Court cannot undo it. Of course, this simply isn’t true.

‘It Has Been Proven’ That Parents Do Best With ‘Both Mother And Father’

This claim relies on two dubious sources. The first is another op-ed, this one by Doug Mainwaring, a supposedly gay man and Tea Party activist who opposes marriage equality and is frequently cited by NOM. The particular citation links to the version of his op-ed published by the Witherspoon Institute, which incidentally provided the bulk of the funding for Mark Regnerus’s fraudulent study. Mainwaring claims that children are “being reduced to chattel” by selfish gay couples and that same-sex marriage will “undefine children.” As in the other citations, there’s no evidence of this; it’s just a derogatory smear of gay people.


The other citation is unsurprisingly Mark Regnerus, but not his study. Instead, the resolution cites the Supreme Court amicus brief he actually signed onto opposing the freedom to marry. The brief, of course, cites his study, as well as other studies that similarly didn’t actually measure same-sex parenting — as their researchers have pointed out in objections to such citations. It also tries to criticize studies that actually did measure same-sex parenting, the very studies that the American Sociological Association and a coalition of other major medical associations cited in their amicus briefs supporting marriage equality. Given that same-sex parenting is a new phenomenon, it’s not particularly convincing to claim that the research about it is biased because the studies focused on actual same-sex parents instead of a “random sample.”

Marriage Helps Protect Children From Poverty

This is actually a compelling argument in support of the many same-sex couples raising children. Though the citation is once again the anti-gay Heritage Foundation, it doesn’t even say anything about same-sex marriage or parenting.

The RNC resolution is built on a very weak foundation of junk science and assumptions of heterosexual superiority. If passed at this spring retreat, it would undermine the Republican Party’s new plan to oppose LGBT equality more quietly by sugarcoating their arguments by simply relying on the same anti-gay talking points as before.