The House of Lords in the United Kingdom is in full debate over same-sex marriage in England and Wales. On one side, we have men like Lord Alan West of Spithead supporting the bill, and on the the same side, we have people going after the idea that opposite-sex couples are best for raising children.
Lord West is the former head of the Royal Navy. Lord West supports the bill, and talked about his time in the Navy and about discovering the “absolutely degrading treatment” of people in the forces on the basis of sexual orientation during the 1990′s.
He stated that “I was shocked and appalled at how people treated them and what was done. I stopped it immediately and I then pushed very hard to allow them to be accepted in the armed forces and thank goodness we did it, because it has worked brilliantly and was a good thing to have done.”
He went on to say “We have a terrible baggage of how we have treated homosexuals in this country.” The ban on openly serving in the British armed forces was removed in 2000.
Meanwhile Lord Winston (Lab) and Baroness Stowell (Con) both went after the idea that children do best in opposite-sex households. Both peers are pushing for same-sex marriage. Lord Winston stated that “Is the noble Lord aware of the research on children who are being raised by people who are gay—either lesbian or male homosexual? There is now a large and incontrovertible body of research evidence—particularly from Professor Golombok of the University of Cambridge—which shows that on average such children do better than children who are born in the normal way of current marriage.”
Professor Susan Golombok was asked in a 2012 interview regarding multi-parent child rearing about the effects of having two fathers and two mothers on a child. In this case, the effect of having two gay fathers in a family one of whom is biological, a surrogate and an egg donor. All four are some form of parent. Golombok replied that “We haven’t got any data yet because we’re just beginning the study but we’ve just finished a study of adoptive gay father families and these families are doing perfectly fine.” The last bit is the important one.
Baroness Stowell also made a similar claim saying “I should say to the noble Earl and to all noble Lords that there is clear evidence that the children of same-sex couples do very well indeed. Research shows that they do better than children of opposite-sex couples.”
Both were going after Baroness O’Cathain (Con) who, earlier in the debate, claimed that “The evidence from social science is now emphatic that children do best when raised by their married mother and father. I mention just one example: a paper from the Institute for Fiscal Studies observes that, even by the age of three, there are ‘significant differences’ in outcomes between children born to married parents and those born outside marriage.”
The Institute for Fiscal Studies rebuked O’Cathain. She refused to retract her statements.