Conservative Christian Ralph Reed may have bitten off more than he could chew when he squared off with lesbian mom and Democratic analyst Hilary Rosen over same-sex parenting. On NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday morning, Reed declared that the purpose of marriage is procreation and then told the lie that all of social science backs him up in the belief (or fact, in his universe) that a two-parent, heterosexual home is best for children.
The show featured a discussion of a case currently before the Supreme Court–a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that marriage is between one man and one woman. Reed, president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, stated on air:
“The issue before the country is, do we have a compelling interest in strengthening and supporting the durable, enduring and uniquely complementary and procreative union of a man and a woman? And by the way, the reason why is, it’s better for the children, and all social science shows that.”
At this point, host David Gregory couldn’t resist pointing out that a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that marriage was in the best interest of the children whether the parents were heterosexual or same-sex because marriage promotes stability. Hilary Rosen jumped in to say that if the argument before the Supreme Court is that:
“…the only difference between a gay couple and a married straight couple that gets benefits from the federal government is that one has accidental procreation,” then, “I think that would be a surprise to a lot of infertile, heterosexual couples.”
However, Reed insisted that the justification for limiting marriage to heterosexual couples is because having two biological parents is best for children. He said:
“And it’s not even a close call. The verdict of social science is overwhelming and irrefutable. And that is without regard to straight or gay. In other words, this applies to one-parent households, it applies to foster homes, it applies to the whole panoply – they’ve looked at them all – that the enduring, loving, intact, biological mother and father is best for children.”
So, in one fell swoop, Reed discounted and offended not only same-sex two-parent families, but also single parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents. And, by inference, he invalidated the marriages of infertile couples and those who wed in later life, after their reproductive years are over. Then, as he tried to backpedal on his words, Rosen pressed forward on his stance that the point of marriage is procreation, saying:
“That’s not the point of marriage. The point of marriage is love and commitment.”
And regarding his pronouncement about social scientists, she said:
“We’re going to dispute on the science.”
After the show, Twitter lit up with comments in support of parents of all stripes. After all, as David Gregory pointed out–and whether Ralph Reed likes it or not–Americans have undergone a sea change in their attitudes. Fifty-eight percent of Americans now favor gay marriage, honoring the love and commitment Rosen was talking about, regardless of sexual orientation. By extension, that nod of approval includes the almost 2 million children in this country who are currently being raised by gay and lesbian parents.