David Quinn has authored another post defending his misuse of Child Trends’ research. Mr Quinn finally admits that it would be a misuse of Child Trends’ research to apply its findings to same-sex couples:
It would be invalid, therefore, and a misuse of the Child Trends paper quoted above to pretend the available research shows that children raised by same-sex couples do worse than children raised by their own married, biological parents.
But Mr Quinn then goes on to pretend that Iona and himself never did thatt:
And of course, we have never used the quote in this way, nor will we.
At the beginning of the post, Mr Quinn explains why Iona utilises the research conducted by Child Trends:
In a number of our publications, including our submission to the Constitutional Convention on the issue of marriage, we have used (among other quotes) a very serviceable one from Child Trends, a US-based NGO.
The quote is taken from a document called ‘Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?’
It reads as follows: “Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”
It goes on to say: “There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.”
Whenever we have used this quote, it has been to explain why the marriage of a man and a woman receives special status as distinct from any other family form.
The reason is clear; it is the most beneficial family form that we know of from the point of view of children.
The key words there are, ‘that we know of’.
So Mr Quinn argues that his usage of Child Trends’ research is to explain why marriage between a man and a woman should receive special status, because it is the most beneficial family form, from the point of view of children, that they are currently aware of. However, this argument is simply Mr Quinn attempting to backtrack and alter his line of arguing without owning up to his misuse of Child Trends’ research. I find it interesting that in the above argument the key words are “that we know of”. Words so key that Mr Quinn has never used them before, so key that this is the first time Mr Quinn has employed this line of argument. I believe the only key aspect about those words is that it gives Mr Quinn a route to try and wiggle out of the hole he has put himself in.
Let us revisit Iona’s submission to the Constitutional Convention.
The social sciences confirm what every known society in the world has known instinctively, namely that marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely beneficial to society and to children. This is the case even though some individual marriages may be dysfunctional and harmful to children (as can any other type of family).
One of the most important child research organisations in the United States is Child Trends, which is centrist in its politics and ideological outlook.
It produced a paper in 2002 called ‘Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children and What Can We Do About It?’
This summarises what the social sciences have to say about the matter.
The summary is as follows: “Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage…There is thus value in promoting strong, stable marriage between biological parents.”
A great deal of additional material is available that attests to this fact.
Note the various elements in the above summary. There are two parents. The parents are the biological parents, that is, the mother and the father. They are married.
The research demonstrates why a truly child-centred society will continue to give marriage
between a man and a woman special status and will not see this as unfair and unjustified discrimination.
I fail to locate Mr Quinn’s key words “that we know of” or any other similar disclaimer. Instead what we find are statements of surety: “namely that marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely beneficial to society and to children”, “the social sciences confirm this”, and “a great deal of additional material is available that attests to this fact”.
Mr Quinn did indeed attempt to use Child Trends’ research in an effort to pretend it showed that children raised by same-sex couples do worse than children raised by their own married, biological parents. If one is to argue that a certain family structure is uniquely beneficial to children then you are claiming it contains certain positive attributes that other family structures do not. It is impossible to claim that one parenting structure is unique without making a negative claim about other family structures. To buttress this argument, Iona uses Child Trends’ research. In essence they used Child Trends’ research to make a negative claim about same-sex parents, to claim they are lacking in essential elements which are beneficial to children.
Mr Quinn can now employ the key words “that we know of” all he likes, those words and that line of argument are entirely absent from the Constitutional Convention Submission. The timing of this added qualifier is interesting. It comes after David Norris questioned Iona’s submission in the Seanad, and Child Trends themselves released a statement that their research should not be used in such a fashion.
Mr Quinn also says that there is not enough information to draw conclusions about same-sex parents.
there are no large national surveys that allows us to draw reliable conclusions about the children of same-sex couples.
If Mr Quinn believes this to be true then how can he argue that married biological parents are uniquely beneficial? If there is a whole family structure unexamined then surely an honest person cannot claim that one family structure is uniquely beneficial. There simply is not enough information available to make such an assertion.
- Will David Quinn admit that the new found qualifier was not present in the submission to the Constitutional Convention?
- Will David Quinn admit that he did misuse Child Trends’ research in the submission, intentionally or otherwise, and retract and offer an apology?
- Will David Quinn stop claiming that biological married parents are uniquely beneficial when he himself admits that there is not enough information to make such a claim?
NB: There is actually a plethora of research which shows that same-sex parenting is just as beneficial to children as married biological parents. I will detail this in a post next week.