The bishops are rightly concerned for the welfare of children. They’re adamant that children are in great danger when raised by a same-sex couple. This is because a same-sex couple’s relationship involves sexual acts that are fundamentally selfish and immoral. Children raised by couples who engage in such acts are disadvantaged and prone to all kinds of potential traumas and problems.
For a church with as rich an intellectual tradition as the Roman Catholic Church, this particular argument is quite unacceptable. And we need to make this known to our bishops, our legislators and our fellow Catholics.

To help in this important task we offer the following 8 talking points that refute the Catholic hierarchy’s oft repeated but erroneous claims regarding the psycho-sexual health of gay people and of children raised by same-sex couples. These talking points are based on a comprehensive and balanced review of the scientific and professional literature pertinent to same-sex marriage. This review was undertaken by the nation’s leading associations of mental health professionals and behavioral scientists (i.e., the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers) and in response to a case filed with the California Supreme Court in September 2009 involving a constitutional challenge to California’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [10]
(i) Homosexuality is neither a disorder nor a disease, but rather a normal variant of human sexual orientation. The vast majority of gay and lesbian individuals lead happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and productive lives.
(ii) Many gay and lesbian people are in a committed same-sex relationship. In their essential psychological respects, these relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships.
(iii) The institution of marriage affords individuals a variety of benefits that have a favorable impact on their physical and psychological well-being.
(iv) A large number of children are currently being raised by lesbians and gay men, both in same-sex couples and as single parents. Empirical research has consistently shown that lesbian and gay parents do not differ from heterosexuals in their parenting skills, and their children do not show any deficits compared to children raised by heterosexual parents. It is the quality of the parenting that predicts children’s psychological and social adjustment, not the parents’ sexual orientation or gender.
(v) By denying same-sex couples the right to marry, the State reinforces and perpetuates the stigma historically associated with homosexuality. Further, by legitimizing and reinforcing the stigma of sexual minorities and by according them inferior status relative to heterosexuals, such institutional stigma gives rise to individual acts against gay and lesbian people, including ostracism, harassment, discrimination, and violence.
(vi) Research indicates that experiencing stigma and discrimination is associated with heightened psychological distress among all gay men and lesbians, not only those who seek to be married.
(vii) Children of same-sex couples may experience “stigma by association” created by the existence of separate statuses for heterosexual parents who are legally married and same-sex parents who are not married. Thus, children of unmarried parents may experience teasing at the hands of other children or may find that they are excluded from play groups, and teachers and other adults may exhibit biases that favor the children of married parents over those with unmarried parents.
(viii) Research on parent-child relations in heterosexual parent families has consistently revealed that children’s adjustment is often related to their parents’ mental health – which is enhanced when parents are financially secure, physically and psychologically healthy, not subjected to high levels of stress, and when their relationships are stable and likely to endure. Thus, to the extent that legal recognition of their parents’ relationship enhances the stability and security of that relationship, the children of same-sex couples can be expected to benefit from that recognition.
10 Case No. S147999: In the Supreme Court of the State of California. In re Marriage Cases (Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4365). September 7, 2009.
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