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Sociological certainty?

Published April 14, 2013 5:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In response to "Scalia and Oaks" (Forum, April 5), about sociological research on same-sex parenting, there is less consensus than some sociologists reveal.

The executive officer of the American Sociological Association recently argued that sociologists have shown "consistently and incontrovertibly" that children's well-being is unaffected by parents' sexual orientation. That statement is false, because there is no undisputable evidence on any issue addressed by sociologists.

There may be no argument more counterproductive to the legalization of same-sex marriage than that sociologists would support it. Such extracurricular activities show that the American Sociological Association is an advocacy group interested in publicity rather than truth, a major reason why I and other sociologists have left the organization.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had no basis to state that there is "considerable disagreement among sociologists" concerning the children of same-sex couples. But neither can anybody claim that there is a consensus to the contrary.

Sociological evidence on the implications of same-sex marriage is irrelevant to the question on its legalization. My opinion that same-sex marriage should be legalized would not change because of any information on its consequences. Rights are to be respected under all circumstances.

Mathieu Deflem Professor of sociology University of South Carolina

Columbia, S.C.