PORTLAND – Is it possible that voting “yes” on Question 1 is a bad idea for our state’s children?

Consider this. In Hernandez v. Robles (2006), the New York Court of Appeals ruled that there is no state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, stating, “The legislature could rationally believe that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father. Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like.”

I appeal to the intuition and experience of the people of the great state of Maine. I know this about you. You are men and women committed to your children. You are serious parents. May I propose that there is not enough data for us to safely conclude that children thrive in households with same-sex parents?

Far too little is known about this new household form. For this reason alone, and for our children’s sake, doesn’t it make sense to wait before we institutionalize same-sex marriage?

To this point, the data shows that the safest place for a kid is in a household with a mom and dad. Common sense dictates that every child should be mentored every day with both male and female influences. Mainers United for Marriage consistently claims that they have 30 years of research on their side. Do they?

Every study has weaknesses, but here are the two weaknesses I see with these studies. First, most of this research is based on samples too small to detect genuine differences that may exist in children raised in opposite-sex partnerships versus same-sex parents; and second, much of this research is based on self-selected pools of volunteers, not a random, unbiased look at the entire population of same-sex parents.

Therefore, I do not believe it is scientifically correct to state that “there is no difference in outcomes between children whose parents have same-sex relationships and their peers raised by heterosexual parents.” Or, as Mainers United for Marriage likes to frame it, “Children do best when raised in a loving, stable home.” Their implication: Two moms or two dads are just as effective as a mom and a dad in childhood development.

What would happen if we would (instead of cherry-picking) perform a random, large study, across the country, and instead of asking parents questions about the impact of their same-sex relationships on their children, we would interview the young people of parents who had been in same-sex relationships? We did, and it was revealing.

Here’s the problem. Proponents of redefining/obliterating in the minds of youth what the wisdom of the ages affirms about marriage – otherwise known as “those who are simply asking for marriage licenses for same-sex couples,” or “those who are strengthening religious freedom by ensuring no church or clergy would be forced to go against their religious beliefs” – are doing all they can to discredit the study.

The New Family Structures Study is the most representative picture to date of young adults whose parents had same-sex relationships. Their conclusion: Compared to young adults in traditional, intact families, young adults whose mothers had a same-sex relationship tended to fare worse than their peers in intact biological families on 24 of the 40 outcomes examined. The principal investigator, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, published an article on the study in the journal Social Science Research (July 2012, Vol. 41, pages 752-770).

Of course, this study has been met with fierce opposition, in particular by Scott Rose, who writes for the blog The New Civil Rights Movement.

Yet, after an intensive investigation by the university, a panel of scholars concluded: “In brief, Mr. Rose believed that the Regnerus research was seriously flawed and inferred that there must be scientific misconduct. However, there is no evidence to support that inference.”

Mainers should vote “no” based on the serious questions that remain concerning the impact of same-sex parenting on children.

Finally, we should vote “no” because of the sheer numbers of people this vote affects. In the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report, the number of children under 18 in Maine was 20.3 percent. The most recent Gallup Poll (Oct. 18) stated that “3.4 percent of Americans say ‘yes’ that they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”

In case that study is questioned, I’ll use the 2008 UCLA Williams School of Law report on Maine: “Same-sex couples live in every county in Maine and constitute 0.7 percent of all households in the state.”

In my opinion, this is not about kids and wanting to protect them at all. It’s about adults asking the state to affirm their relationship choices. As people who care about children, Mainers must vote “no” on Question 1.

– Special to the Press Herald