Professor defends homes led by same-sex couples

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2014 12:35 PM

DETROIT (AP) — A sociologist testifying Wednesday at Michigan's gay-marriage trial said children raised by same-sex parents suffer no disadvantage when compared to other kids.

Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University said "there is no basis" for believing that kids develop better in a household led by a man and a woman.

"It's clear that being raised by same-sex parents is no disadvantage to children," he said, broadly summarizing research in the field.

Rosenfeld testified on the second day of a trial challenging a 2004 Michigan constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage only between a man and a woman. Two Detroit-area nurses are asking a judge to overturn it, saying it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer are raising three adopted children at their Hazel Park home, but they're barred from jointly adopting them because same-sex couples can't marry in Michigan.

Many questions at trial have focused on the well-being of children. State attorneys are defending the gay-marriage ban by saying voters wanted to encourage families led by a male and a female.

The issue for U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman is whether there's a rational state interest in restricting marriage to a man and a woman.

While cross-examining Rosenfeld, Assistant Attorney General Kristin Heyse suggested it was rational for voters to approve the gay-marriage ban nearly 10 years ago because same-sex marriage in the U.S. was just emerging.

Rowse, 49, and DeBoer, 42, will not be testifying, although the state agreed with a statement read into evidence that describes them as "responsible and caring parents" who are providing a loving home to their children.

It is the first U.S. trial over a gay-marriage ban since a California trial in 2010, although federal judges in other ways recently have struck down similar bans in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. At least 17 states and the District of Columbia now allow marriage by same-sex couples.

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