According to a press release published by the Baptist Press, the Obama Administration and the House of Representatives differ over whether kids need a mom and a dad. Below is an excerpt taken from the press release:
WASHINGTON (BP)–In remarkably different court filings that highlight America’s cultural divide on marriage’s definition, the U.S. House and the Obama Justice Department have come to opposite conclusions as to whether children need a mother and a father in the home.
At issue is the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law which defines marriage in federal law as between a man and a woman and gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s gay “marriages.”
In its legal briefs arguing that the law should be upheld, the legal team hired by the U.S. House says DOMA, as it’s often called, is naturally tied to procreation and children benefit from having both a mother and father in the home. The Justice Department has discounted the procreation argument and argued that the gender of parents does not matter.
The view that prevails at the Supreme Court — which has yet to take up the issue — could determine the future of gay “marriage” in America.
Gay groups view the law as a major obstacle to redefining marriage nationwide and are hoping the federal courts or Congress overturn it.
The Justice Department is tasked with defending the nation’s laws, but President Obama earlier this year ordered the department to stop defending DOMA, forcing the Republican-led House to step in. In at least one legal case, the Justice Department is actually opposing DOMA.
The House team is led by Paul Clement, U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush. Clement’s team quotes research stating that “the optimal situation for the child is to have both an involved mother and an involved father.”
“[T]he experience of a child raised by a man and a woman may differ from that of a child raised by same-sex caregivers,” reads the House brief defending DOMA in a U.S. District Court case in New York. The brief asks the court to dismiss the DOMA suit. “The federal courts that have upheld DOMA all have recognized that encouraging child-rearing by a married mother and father is a legitimate governmental interest, and that DOMA furthers that interest…. Congress rationally could conclude that each child will benefit from having a role model of his or her own sex as a parent, and from being exposed within the family to how that parent relates to an adult of the opposite sex.”
The brief then affirmingly quotes a 2004 remark by former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent: “One thing that two people of the same sex cannot give children” is “a mom and a dad.”
The House attorneys further said that while same-sex couples “may prove capable parents in many other regards, children raised by them inevitably will miss out on one or both of these benefits” — either having a mother or a father.
The House’s legal arguments, contrasted with the Justice Department’s filings opposing DOMA, provide a dramatic moment in the legal battle over marriage’s definition.
The Justice Department filed a brief July 1 in a separate case arguing that the gender of parents does not matter: “There is no sound basis for concluding that same-sex couples who have committed to marriages recognized by state law are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child-rearing.” It further said gays have suffered a history of discrimination and that DOMA is driven by prejudice.
Read the story in its entirety by visiting Baptist Press online.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary