25 July 2015

The ABC’s FactCheck is premature in dismissing social science which says children do best with their married biological parents.

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said he was disappointed FactCheck implied ACL and a group of Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders had misused social science data.

“There is a consensus in social science that positive child outcomes are most associated with a child growing up in a married family with their biological parents, something even FactCheck does not deny.

“This does not mean that two people of the same gender cannot be good parents or achieve good outcomes for children. We have never claimed they cannot.

“But there are other legitimate questions surrounding the legislation of family structure through same-sex marriage which will require children to miss out on their natural parents.

“It would be more helpful for the debate if FactCheck also examined social science research which does point to the importance of gender in the raising of children.

“I’m sure Australian sociologist Steve Biddulph would not be disrespectful to same gender parenting but his books on fatherhood do point to the important role gender plays in the raising of children, and this should not be dismissed as irrelevant.”

Mr Shelton said it would be a useful exercise for FactCheck to benchmark same-sex parenting with parenting of children by their married intact biological parents rather than against the general population, as most same-sex parenting studies do.

“It would also be useful for FactCheck to examine the impact on children of donor conception and the heartache caused by not being allowed to know their biological parents.

“The ‘marriage equality’ political agenda is already driving a debate about donor conception and surrogacy rights for same-sex attracted men,” Mr Shelton said.

“These practices are ethically fraught and have consequences for children and for women whose eggs are harvested and who are required to act as carrier wombs.”