A Petition Against Students for Child Oriented Policy
The Students for Child Oriented Policy, or SCOP, is applying for SAO recognition. While not explictily stated, SCOP is a student organization that is against same-sex marriage with the defense that same-sex marriage is not a child oriented policy, and can be detrimental to children's outcomes (a full description of club policy can be accessed at the following web pages http://www.irishrover.net/?page_id=5077 and https://www.facebook.com/groups/SCOPND/ ). As a Catholic university, we acknowledge and uphold the church’s teaching that is not in favor of same-sex marriage. However, SCOP does not reject same-sex marriage on moral or religious grounds in their club petition; rather, this petition takes issue with the University’s formal recognition of SCOP as a club due to the following: 1) SCOP’s incorrect implications that same-sex parenting is damaging to children – this blatantly ignores all empirical data in this field of the social sciences (summarized below) that actually indicates the opposite is true. 2) In ignoring this data, SCOP’s policy discriminates against all non-traditional family structures in a way that is in direct opposition of the university policy on diversity inclusion and message of love and acceptance.
By signing this petition, you are agreeing to take a stand against obstruction of the truth surrounding this issue, and stating that you, as a student, and we, as a University community, do not tolerate discrimination.
Declaration of Grievances
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that Students for Child Oriented Policy (SCOP) be disenrolled as a University recognized and supported club in response to the following grievances of club policy that stand in stark contrast to the Universities mission statement in the pursuit of knowledge and diversity inclusion.
We recognize that the Catholic Church’s official stance is not in support of homosexual marriage, and that as a Catholic University, we uphold this teaching. However, the Students for Child Oriented Policy, “places primary emphasis on how any particular policy [gay marriage] will affect children”. We, the undersigned, are not taking a stand against the club’s stance on homosexual marriage. We respect the objection to homosexual marriage on moral and religious grounds. Rather, we find take issue with 1) SCOP’s incorrect assertion that same-sex parenting is damaging to children – this blatantly ignores all empirical data in this field of the social sciences that actually indicates the opposite is true. 2) In ignoring this data, SCOP’s policy discriminates against all non-traditional family structures in a way that is in direct opposition of the university policy on diversity inclusion and message of love and acceptance.
Rather than gathering a group of students who agree that homosexual marriage is wrong on moral groups, which would be in accordance with the Catholic Church teachings upheld by the University, this student group attempts to impose their own beliefs in an incorrect and discriminatory manor. The club claims to be “In accordance with its [the universities] stated mission to engage in the “pursuit and sharing of the truth for its own sake”, if this is the case, then it is essential we put aside moral opinions and focus on the empirical data surrounding the issue of same-sex parenting and childhood outcomes. In a 2005 study conducted by William Meezan and Jonathan Rauch, they conclude that children studied who were raised in same-sex households do equally as well as children normally do (1). They also point out that regardless of whether or not same-sex marriage is made legal, children will be raised by, and living with same-sex couples no matter what. In these case, which SCOP neglects to address, marriage only increases childhood outcomes by conferring benefits that marriage affords to children, including health insurance eligibility and increasing durability and stability of parental relationship (1). In these cases, gay marriage leads to more favorable outcomes for children who will be raised by same-sex couples no matter what.
Further research evaluates differences in Cognitive functioning, development and behavior between children of heterosexual and homosexual couples. No differences were found in cognitive functioning or behavioral adjustment and positive psychological, intellectual, emotional and behavioral development were observed in children of same-sex parents compared to children of heterosexual parents (2, 7). David Rosenfeld’s article on “Same-sex Parenting and Kids Educational Success” explores more concrete measures of outcomes for children raised by same sex parents and uses census date, accessing a large sample with no bias. He concludes that there is no difference in grade repetition for children of same-sex couples and that children of gay parents do equally as well as children from heterosexual unions when controls for socioeconomic, legal status and marriage are added (3). SCOP neglects to recognize that for many children adopted by same-sex couples, the alternative is to remain in foster-care, not to be adopted by a heterosexual family (5). It is clear that children in institutions, like foster care, are the worst off in terms of outcomes (4). Limiting same-sex parenting would increase the number of children forced to remain in foster care, which would thus be worse for children on a whole. New research on same-sex parenting and child outcomes finds that despite the fact that gay parents are more likely to adopt high-risk children from the foster care system, children adopted into same-sex homes have an equal improvement as those adopted into heterosexual homes from the foster care system (4, 5). In response to the common argument that children need a parent of both genders to raise them, this blatantly ignores children of heterosexual single parents with good outcomes, and there is no evidence of the need for gender-different parents as a requirement for healthy or proper development (6). In summary, there is NO empirical evidence, and actually evidence to suggest otherwise, that parental sexual orientation or gender is a predictor of healthy childhood development or outcomes.
Taking a stance against same-sex marriage because it has detrimental or unfavorable outcomes for children is an empirical measure that can be evaluated based on social research. SCOP is choosing to ignore the fact that social research has proven— that children raised in homosexual unions do just as well as children raised in traditional homes. This is false representation of facts that can lead to incorrect and inaccurate spread of knowledge across campus. As a serious academic and research institution, Notre Dame is committed to the pursuit of truth, and SCOP is obscuring the truth in a way that ignores empirical reality and inhibits justice. One can object to homosexual marriage on moral grounds, but cannot apply the logic that same-sex marriage is detrimental to children when the reverse has been proven true. In ignoring these facts SCOP indicts itself – clearly, this group is not actually in the pursuit of knowledge and truth, nor do they want what is “best” for children. If the group actually holds the welfare of children at it’s core, they will recognize the fundamental roll that homosexual couples play in adopting children with special needs and from foster care, and providing loving, safe homes in which children who would otherwise face extreme adversity can thrive, and acknowledge that the view they currently hold is not in accordance with research and data surrounding this topic.
Nowhere does church policy state that a persons sexual orientation influences their ability to be loving parent. The church does not discourage single parents from adopting children, nor does it anywhere deplore couples of the same-sex in raising children. By specifying that homosexual unions are somehow damaging to children (which is simply incorrect given previously presented data) and upholding traditional family values, SCOP implies that any non-traditional family structure is in someway harmful to children. Since SCOP’s argument cannot be supported in any empirical way, this can only be interpreted as discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation. These implications are offensive to members of the Notre Dame community who have been raised by single mothers or fathers, divorced parents or gay parents and those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning. In Du Lac, the statement that university “has strived to advance its understanding and support for student who identify as Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning” and is “committed to fostering an environment of welcome and mutual respect that is grounded in its Catholic mission” deplores this kind of discrimination. SCOP’s blatant ignorance of the facts surrounding same-sex parenting is not in line with these official university policies or “The Spirit of Inclusion at Notre Dame which states that the University deplores any offenses against the inviolable dignity of every person as beloved of God” and “calls all students to be friends and allies of one another”.
By endorsing the SCOP as a club under it’s current specifications the University is sending the message that it is ignorant of the facts surrounding same-sex parenting and that it tolerates discrimination based on sexual orientation, not that we, as a community, embrace all people as created with dignity in the loving image of God. Endorsement of SCOP sends the message that as a University we agree and uphold the assertions of the club. We the undersigned wish to take a stand against this oversight of justice. Given the above grievances of misrepresentation and the serious consequences that the continuation of SCOP could have, we ask that the university uphold its stance on inclusion and nondiscriminatory policy. We respectfully request that the university renounce recognition of SCOP as a club unless they reformulate club policy, in which childhood outcomes should not be included as a defense against marriage.
For complete citations of academic references: