Maggie Gallagher

Call it the Murphy Brown Effect: We are busily constructing a picture of how children raised by same-sex couples fare and making dogmatic assertions about the same based on images from the couples we know and the couples we see on TV. There's a big gap between these images and the reality of the average child who has lived with a same-sex couple.

It's quite likely that children raised by two college graduate moms who stay together do pretty darn well, especially compared to the average child in America. (We can't say for sure because we still don't have any nationally representative data on such families.)

Would gay marriage make such families more likely? Honestly, I do not think so. For reasons I'll lay out in another column, I think gay marriage is going to turn out to be largely irrelevant for the well-being of children with gay parents.

It's important to say what we do know: Many gay people are clearly loving, wonderful parents. All good parents working hard to raise their children are well-deserving of social respect. Furthermore, all people, including gay people, have a natural right to the care and custody of their own children that no government has any business interfering with.

I do not say these things because I think saying so will insulate me from criticism as a hate figure. I only say them because they are true.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.