The National Catholic Review

There are many celibate gay Catholic priests in the church today.  (And let me emphasize, since that last statement is usually misunderstood, I'm speaking about celibate gay priests.  These are validly ordained homosexual men who lead celibate lives.)  What is exceedingly rare is the Catholic priest who speaks publicly about his own homosexuality.  (There are only a handful in this country who have done so.)  An article in America in 2000 examines this phenomenon, and lists some of the reasons why Catholic priests remain silent about this aspect of their lives--even as they lead celibate lives. 

Even rarer is the openly gay Catholic priest who speaks about issues related to homosexuality and homosexual activity.  That is why this ten-minute speech by Robert Pierson, O.S.B., a member of the Benedictine community at Collegeville, MN (and listed as a priest in good standing in the 2011 Official Catholic Directory) is so unusual.  Father Pierson, who had worked in campus ministry at St. John's University and is currently the director of the Spiritual Life Program at St. John's Abbey, speaks of his own homosexuality, his experience in ministering to gay and lesbian students, and then describes why he bas concluded that a Minnesota Catholic may vote "no" on a proposed state amendment that would prevent same-sex marriages.  In 2005, Father Pierson had resigned from his post as director of campus ministry after the Vatican officially barred men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from ordination, and because of broader issues in the church's teaching. "Because I can no longer honestly represent, explain and defend the church's teaching on homosexuality, I feel I must resign," he said at the time.

Needless to say, his comments on same-sex marriage are in direct opposition to the U.S. Catholic bishops, including Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who has vigorously supported the amendment (that is, opposing same-sex marriage) and asked parishioners in his archdiocese to recite a "A Prayer for Marriage" as part of the Prayers of the Faithful (petitionary prayers) at Masses.  The bishops could not be clearer in their opposition, which rests primarily on the Christian tradition of marriage as between a man and a woman (as well as on the church's opposition to homosexual activity).  Father Pierson's appeal is primarily to freedom of conscience, and on that topic he quotes both the Catechism and Pope Benedict XVI. "Our Holy Father taught in 1967 that we must obey our own conscience, even if it puts us at odds with the Pope. I doubt that he knew that he was going to be Pope when he said that."


Show Comments (46)

Comments (hide)

Carlos Orozco | 6/15/2012 - 10:04am
Abe and Bill:

Has the purposefully designed culture of homo and metrosexual nature in which we live in so alienated the concept of virility that it cannot be understood in the context of the discussion?

Virility: Having the nature, properties or qualities of an adult male; characteristic of or associated with men.
Carlos Orozco | 6/14/2012 - 9:21pm
Karl, so I understand that you think there is such a thing as "gay virility"? That is obviously an oxymoron.
Liam Richardson | 6/14/2012 - 9:04pm
Holy virility is not demonstrated by sexual orientation but by being accountable for your cover-ups, by not whining that you're being victimized by journalists and lawyers, by not silencing real victims, and by not seeking to deflect blame to others. It's called being a mensch. The prelature of the Church as a class is lacking in that kind of virility. 
Carlos Orozco | 6/14/2012 - 7:54pm
Let's not act surprised when we find out that victims of sexual abuse by priests are overwhelmingly boys: four out of every five are male (2004 American Catholic bishop's conference).

Catholic men should project the holy virility of Jesus. To undermine and celebrate otherwise is sabotage directed at the Church. We have but only to study the present situation of the Episcopal Church to understand the tragic consequences of homosexual clergy.
Tim O'Leary | 6/14/2012 - 4:09pm
Fr. Pierson is correct in emphasizing that one is obligated to inform one’s conscience on moral and religious matters, although from his tone (and the many guffaws in his friendly audience), I am not sure he (like this blog’s editors) would support extending the right of conscience to the Bishops, as in their recent religious liberty case. Also, some correspondents above do not want to even extend freedom of conscience to economic choices. Very hypocritical! Moreover, it is getting tedious of Fr. Martin to keep highlighting purveyors of non- or anti-Catholic teaching without coming-out himself as a dissenter on these several distinct but related sex & gender issues. 

As to informing one’s conscience, Fr. Pierson makes some statements that are imprudent and wrong. One concerns the potential and real harm to children who are raised by parents in unstable heterosexual relationships and same-sex relationships of any duration. Fr. Pierson confidently states that social studies say there is no harm to children raised in same-sex households. This goes against the history of social science, Catholic teaching and common sense.

Until infected by ideology, social science was unanimous in defining the ideal nurturing environment for children as a married man and women in a life-long faithful relationship. This criticism (dead-beat dads, welfare moms, etc.) reached its peak when divorce became common, resulting in so many broken families, and when illegitimacy became the norm in many poor neighborhoods. But the selfish (sexual) revolution continued, so that now, gay parenting is being given equal or even superior standing over the past norm. The most comprehensive survey on the impact on children when raised by parents with same-sex relationships was just published in Social Science Research (author Mark Regnerus) Regnerus concludes that “children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day”. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Fr. Pierson should read this paper.

Fr. Pierson also neglects to mention that Catholic adoption agencies, some that were in existence for over 100 years, have lost contracts from state governments to place any children in good homes, because they see stable heterosexual marriages as the best for the children under their care. They didn’t remove these contracts when unmarried heterosexuals were not considered, just for gays. This is even in states where the majority of citizens have voted against gay marriage, so it is essentially an undemocratic as well as a discriminatory rule. But, it is evidence that legalization of gay civil marriage will further marginalize Catholic charities – all in the name of a selfish sexual ideology. There is worry in the UK that the Church of England will be forced to recognize gay civil unions or even preside at gay marriages. So, it is completely wrong to say that the legalization of gay marriage will not deprive Catholics of their civil rights. Even several people in the UK gay community have expressed their opposition to forcing gay marriage on society, against the wishes of the majority. See here:
Liam Richardson | 6/14/2012 - 3:24pm
Mr D'Eramo

But there are all these people saying gay folks already have full marriage equality, so long as they marry someone of the opposite sex. So, it would seem gay people can take a vow of celibacy.
Angelo Roncalli | 6/14/2012 - 7:11am
We commend Fr. Pierson for his thoughtful and reflective comments on Gay Civil Marriage, especially for pointing out that CIVIL marriage is NOT the realm of religion and for underlining the importance of the Catholic teaching on following one's own good conscience.  The Catholic Church presently says little or nothing about the state allowing thousands of divorces and the civil re-marriage of already divorced persons.  Modern society would openly ridicule the Catholic Church for attempting to prevent civil divorce or civil remarriage of divorced persons.  Yet, the Catholic Church focuses much of its influence, energy and money on the very tiny proportion of civil marriages that MAY occur between persons of the same sex. 
One must ask, WHY the Church is focused on the sanctity of civil marriage only when it applies to Gay People and not when it applies to divorcees civilly remarrying?  The answer to this question seems clear:  although the Catholic Church forcefully denies a policy of institutional homophobia, the motivation for its war on Gay civil marriage and other Gay civil rights seems clearly rooted in homophobia.
The Catholic laity are not ALL stupid or ignorant . . . many of us can read and write and many have even been to college.  Do the bishops ever see themselves as others see them?  Do they ever stop to think how bigoted and wrong they are on the Church's opposition to Gay CIVIL marriage?  I would say to them, render to Cesar the things that are Cesar's (civil marriage).  In this matter, the Catholic Church must curb its dogma. 
Stephen Murray | 6/14/2012 - 12:12am
Kathryn Lyons Keyt: Again, celibacy is a decision by a heterosexual not to marry.  Sex in the Catholic Church is understood to occur within a heterosexual relationship. Celibacy is abstinence from sex because one is not married.  There is no such thing as homosexual marriage in them Catholic Church, therefore it does not apply to homosexuals, who can nonetheless remain chaste and continent. Chastity applies to everyone, not celibacy.
Rick Fueyo | 6/13/2012 - 7:56pm

Thanks for the clarification.  What a relief.  For a second there I thought you were talking about real people's lives.  Now I realize it was just semantical.
Jim McCrea | 6/13/2012 - 7:39pm
"This is an issue of ontology - of being and order ..."

A nice theological construct, but absolutely irrelevant to secular institutions designed to benefit all tax-paying citizens.

The U.S. still is not a theocracy, not matter how much some would wish a change to happen.
Rick Fueyo | 6/13/2012 - 5:12pm
Trying to frame the argument as regarding the "redefinition of marriage" or the “normalization/promotion of homosexual activity" is just an attempt to disguise the fact you're actually talking about is relegating fellow citizens to second-class status. It's not a semantics issue, or even a sexual issue, it's a justice issue.
And the study referenced in Slate has little credibility. It's Artie been exposed as being based upon selective methodology in order to try to promote an indefensible result. It has nothing to do with the conclusion that purports to support, because it doesn't control extraneous variables, which is the sin qua non behind any attempt to draw a causation.
Katherine McEwen | 6/13/2012 - 4:50pm
As my jaw dropped to the floor at the comment by Steve Murray about what constitutes celibacy, I went and found this article entitled Why Choose Chastity by David MacDonald at the Catholic News Agency.  As he states: 

''...Here are some Catholic definitions: Chastity:  No sex outside of marriage, sex is perfectly acceptable in the context of a marriage blessed by the Church. Marriage: An unbreakable lifelong union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Celibacy: Abstinence from sex, and usually implies remaining single.
The Catholic Church has always asserted that chastity, or alternatively celibacy, are the correct expressions of our sexual natures. The Bible supports this. It applies to everyone, including straights, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and Transgendered (GLBT), two-spirited people etc.'' 

My understanding of Catholic teaching is that celibacy is abstaining from sexual relationships outside of marriage.  In practice, that means if you're not married, you don't ''do it.''  Period.

And celibacy is not only for vowed religious.  Even single people maintain celibacy.  I do and have done so for many years.  ''Nuf said. 
Alessandro Bresba | 6/13/2012 - 4:07pm
Fr. Martin,

Thanks for the link.  It's good to hear a priest explore his conscience and speak in favour of gays and lesbians.  I hope Fr. Bob Pierson's bravery acts as both an example and a source of courage for other gay priests who feel unable to speak from their personal experience and knowledge of what it's like to be gay and Catholic.
Michael Barberi | 6/13/2012 - 3:06pm
The theology of conscience (and the theology of reception) is rarely discussed or taught adequately in the Church, either formally or God forbid from the Pulpit.

In Veritatis Spendor (VS) #64, John Paul II speaks out of both sides of his mouth when he proclaims "the magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather it brings to light the truths 'which it ought already to possess'. Hence, regardless of how well you inform your conscience, your judgment must be that of the magisterium because your conscience ought to already possess what the magisterium says it ought to possess as truth. 

Well, if this were true and every Catholic followed this proclamation, then Usery, Slavery, Freedom of Religion, the Ends of Marriage, the Torture of Heretics would be never have been changed. Usery was written in Scripture as Divine Law, proclaimed by popes, 3 papal bulls and several ecumenical councils. It was the theologians and the laity who objected to it based on their informed consciences and made the papal bulls irrelevant. Eventually, this doctrine was reformed. Ditto for the many papal pronouncements about the morality of slavery. At one time, bishops, priests and theologians taught that sex was only for procreation, sex during menstuation was a mortal sin, sex during pregnancy was forbidden and sex had only one licit position (Noonan). 

Thank God for our informed consciences.

T BLACKBURN | 6/13/2012 - 12:32pm
"A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself." Catechism, 1790. There is more to that section, leading into how to form a conscence.

One is obligated to look at all he or she can see when he or she is told, as a fact, that "gay marriage" will undercut or destroy heterosexual marriage, or that the Ryan budget is designed to save Medicare. One may look and look and not see the fact the teller wants him or her to see. It's a problem. There is always the hard case of St. - Saint, to spell it out - Joan of Arc, of course, but "hard cases make bad law."
Stephen Murray | 6/13/2012 - 12:15pm
Fr. Martin is mistaken or innocent of what celibacy means.  Celibacy is a decision of a heterosexual not to marry another heterosexual.  There is no such thing as gay marriage in the Catholic Church and there never will be.  Celibacy does not apply to homosexuals. Homosexuals can be chaste and continent, but they cannot be celibates.
Stephen O'Brien | 6/13/2012 - 12:12pm
A crucial section of the new catechism’s treatment of conscience is being neglected in this discussion:

''Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.''  (section 1792)

The point of deciding to become or remain a member of the Catholic Church is that one has simultaneously decided that the Church’s teaching authority, on matters of faith and morals, speaks directly to our consciences in the name of Jesus - in accordance with his own words: “He who hears you, hears me” (Lk 10:16; CCC 87).  This approach to conscience is one of the chief differences between Catholicism and Protestantism.
T BLACKBURN | 6/13/2012 - 11:08am
Whatever the Abbey link was yesterday at 11:30 p.m. (#15) , it is up this morning as of 11:04.

And whatever the Ryan budget was when the House passed it, it's still more aspirational than specific or inspirational. But I am at sea over what it has to do with gay marriage.
Beth Cioffoletti | 6/13/2012 - 11:05am
I'll bet the 99 times out of 100, following your conscience rather than the status quo, means risking reputation, status, and wealth.  It ain't for the faint of heart.
Joshua DeCuir | 6/13/2012 - 10:26am
"I say that because the Ryan budget contains a preferential option for the wealthy and powerful, and is conspicuously constituted to harm the poor.
I have always contended that in the intersection of the religious and political, one must be much more prudent and modest when employing the perceived will of the Divine to limit the freedom of another, even a freedom which one is convinced is inconsistent with the Divine plan, versus employing the perceived will of the Divine to free another from oppression"

That is your own, prudential, judgment, formed on the basis of your own, prudential, reading of the Church's tradition.  Of course there is no "teaching" to that effect, which is of course not the case with the essence of marriage.  My point in raising the question of whether one may support Ryan's budget was to test the limits of freedom of conscience.  I often find it easy to say "freedom of conscience" when one agrees with the issue.  

And suffice it to say I have a different, prudential, understanding of Ryan's budget.
Thomas Rooney OFS | 6/13/2012 - 8:58am
@ James Peterson - I echo a previous sentiment...what's creepy to you?  That a homosexual priest would dare to collaborate or ''have a bit of a history'' with homosexual rights advocates, both Catholic and non-Catholic?  That St. John's Abbey is ''gay embracing'' as the opinion piece states?

Or is it just the whole homo thing in general that gives you the willies?
Cody Serra | 6/13/2012 - 12:20am
God has already blessed Fr. Pierson's priesthood and life. May HE support him and continue to strengthen his faith and continuous service.

Thank you, Father for your honesty and for you passionate defense of the freedom of conscience.
Jim McCrea | 6/12/2012 - 11:31pm
What is creepy, James, is that you waste your time watching this drivel.  BTW,  the Abbey Road link is now defunct.

Steve Francis:  you can keep your access and hegemony over Matrimony - that's a religious institution.  Marriage is a secular activity that triggers rights, benefits and responsibilities to all citizens and which are funded by taxes paid by ALL citizens.  Get over your alleged right to the term.
Sara Damewood | 6/12/2012 - 10:18pm
God bless him for his honesty.   I share his beliefs.   Thanks so much for posting this!
David Pasinski | 6/12/2012 - 9:59pm
A wonderul post.
A good friend of mine is one of those few openly gay, celibate priests. We celebrated a memorial at his church Sunday with the parents of Jamie Rodemeyer (the 14 year old  who had committed suicide for being bullied at being gay). In the midst of many tears we were all inspired to commit ourselves to humanize the Church's message and the parish declared itself an "open and affirming parish." We will see how that goes. It received good press coverage...

It is of course, ironic that as bishops continue to call for "religious liberty," they are so ready to pronounce that someone else's notion of their religous liberty eg Metropolitan Church and some UCC and others) does not warrant the same respect. I really don't understand that logic except that I know the bishops again argue natural law and that this "error" has no righrs - as in the former disposition.
Barry Moorhead | 6/12/2012 - 9:55pm
As a Benedictine monastic, Fr. Bob Pearson, is fortunate that he has an Abbot who is understanding and supportive in his stance. Fr. Pearson is also fortunate that his Abbey is in the diocese of St. Cloud. Bishop John Kinney is not really the type who would fume and smoke and withdraw his faculties.

As for the Metropolitan, John Niensted, just the opposite is possible. I see that Fr. Pearson is giving his talk to a group in Edina which is located in the archdiocese (Edina, by the way, is perhaps the wealthiest of the suburbs of the Twin Cities). From what I have observed of the Archbishop for some time is a strong desire to be noticed by those who count. After all, Chicago will soon be opening up!

Don't be surprised if Fr. Pearson is soon forbidden to open his mouth in the Archdiocese. Which is sad, since the monastic vocation has always first been seen as a prophetic one.
Robert Killoren | 6/12/2012 - 9:17pm
"This is the way we have always done it" seems the only response Rome can make when dealing with matters of sex and gender as of late. Every year we learn more about being human through studies of psychology, physiology, genetics, biochemistry, neuroscience, and many other branches of the natural and social sciences. To dismiss it all as error rather than allowing for theological examination by Catholic scholars sounds more like the days of Galileo than the 21st century. What does the Church have to fear? Perhaps it is fear that they will lose their chief weapon to keep Catholics in line: fear of eternal flames. 
Vince Killoran | 6/12/2012 - 8:34pm
Steve argues, "to equate it with marriage and call it such is an offense to our religious sensibilities" but he doesn't explain why his "religious sensibilities" trump the civil rights of gays & lesbians.
Bill Freeman | 6/12/2012 - 7:59pm
@Steve Francis - I do find it amazing if not utter hubris to read how heterosexuals seem to know all about my life, my development, and my "objective value." I've been with my partner for 24 years - we aren't playing house.  

Steve, take a deep breath.  No one is going to make you gay.  Not one heteroseuxal marriage will be harmed; the children will be fine; civiliazation will continue.  Breath. 
GIOVANNI SAFFIRIO | 6/12/2012 - 7:48pm
The issue of ''gay marriage'' would not be so volatile if people did not want to use the religious term, marriage, for their civil union. The blurring of the lines between the civil recognization of religious unions has caused this great debate.

Yes, one can argue that homosexual men and women should be afforded the same sorts of privileges that heterosexual men and women are afforded when they unify and raise a family. However, this does not mean that a so-unified homosexual couple are married in the same sense that a man and woman become married in God's eyes.

Fr. Pierson quotes the Catechism in defense of his position; I will quote it in opposition:
1601  “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”

The Catechism, as it is deemed to be free from serious error, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Magisterium of the Church, must be internally consistent, free from self-contradictions. Therefore, Fr. Pierson's quote on how we are to treat homosexuals does not imply that we are to throw the rest of the Catechism out the window in order to make them appear equal to heterosexuals. We are to treat them as they are, human beings who are undergoing an intense trial, having an inclination ''which is objectively disordered'' (CCC 2358). Thus we are not to elevate this disorder to the same level of sanctity that marriage, which ''has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (CCC 1601), has already in our society.

Yes, the state may be allowed (and perhaps even obligated) to acknowledge homosexual unions for tax purposes, as that is why marriage was first included in governmental law, but to equate it with marriage and call it such is an offense to our religious sensibilities.
Terence Weldon | 6/12/2012 - 6:28pm
For half a century in South Africa, my education in Catholic schools, and decades of parish life thereafter, firmly imprinted on me that we have not only the right but the obligation to follow conscience before the law, especially if those laws areunjust - as many so clearly were under apartheid. In company with countless other South African Catholics, I took this to heart, and did what I could in my small way to make a contribution to justice, including at times knowingly and deliberately breaking some laws when my conscience dictated I do so.

As an openly gay Catholic, I fail to see why the principle of compliance with conscience rather than with unjust laws should not apply equallly when the injustice is perpetrated by Catholic bishops, and not secular authority.

I applaud  Father Pierson for his integrity and courage - speaking up publicly in opposition to the powerful Catholic oligarchy is an act of remarkable bravery.
Rick Fueyo | 6/12/2012 - 5:58pm
In answer to whether one's conscience could permit one to vote for the Ryan budget, I think the answer is clearly yes, so long as the conscience was well formed by the process of due reasoning, applying Catholic principles, such that  one reached the conclusion that the Church's teaching was advanced by the budget.
Of course, I don't see how that's possible, and would also submit that the analogy is flawed. I think a better analogy would be if Fr. Pierson or some other person were arguing that heterosexual marriage with a procreative dimension should be outlawed and that only gay marriage was permissible, and that was mandatory. That would be a more appropriate analogy to the issue of the Ryan budget, as, one would be using once conscience to justify a position that advances a position actually contrary to Catholic teaching, instead of employing conscience to reach a conclusion that merely permitted other citizens to legally not follow Catholic teaching.
I say that because the Ryan budget contains a preferential option for the wealthy and powerful, and is conspicuously constituted to harm the poor.
I have always contended that in the intersection of the religious and political, one must be much more prudent and modest when employing the perceived will of the Divine to limit the freedom of another, even a freedom which one is convinced is inconsistent with the Divine plan, versus employing the perceived will of the Divine to free another from oppression
Thomas Farrell | 6/12/2012 - 5:05pm
Freedom of conscience means freedom of conscience when we vote.

However, unless you are a member of Congress, you are not going to vote for or against Paul Ryan's budget proposal. But you may vote for or against political candidates who support his budget proposal.
Joshua DeCuir | 6/12/2012 - 4:42pm
So Freedom of conscience means we can vote in support of Paul Ryan's budget, too?  Or are only some things subject to freedom of conscience?
Michael Barberi | 6/12/2012 - 3:41pm
Thank You Fr. Martin for this moving and inspirational homily of Fr. Pierson. There has been no article on America Magazine that I have ever read that spoke about same-sex marriage, one's conscience and the love of God better than Fr. Pierson did. I applaud his courage, faith and love for those who are estranged from the Church especially those with a same-sex orientation. We need more like him in our Church.

Beth Cioffoletti | 6/12/2012 - 3:31pm
Thank you, Fr. Pierson.  Listening to him I was reminded of Blessed Franz Jagerstaater, who, against the advice of his priest and bishop (who told him he was "in error"), followed his conscience and refused to collaborate with the Nazis.

Fr. Pierson's courage to follow his conscience gives hope to the Catholic Church's mission of protest and prophesy.
Paul Kelley | 6/12/2012 - 2:57pm
I agree that a Catholic can and perhps should vote no in opposition  to the amendment to ban same sex marriage. I am from Massachusetts where our court was the first to grant the right for same sex marriage. I suggest people might read that decision which one may find persuave. However my support is based on a further fact. When I learned that the issue was arising and that there was a case to come before the court I thought that the question of allowing same sex marriage could be readily thwarted by passing a pending bill to allow civil unions with the rights comparable to marriage. When I sought to check on the status of civil union legislation I found that such legislation was also stronly opposed by the church. I believed the church's unwillingness to concede on civil unions forced the court to act with the resulting decision for which the church's obstinacy bears some responsibility.
Tim O'Leary | 6/18/2012 - 8:32pm
Jim #46
Gregory Herek is a gay man who advocates gay marriage. The article you connected me to is an opinion piece that pretends to be more, but it's not an objective study or evaluation. 

I know you desperately want to prove that a child who doesn't grow up in a house with his biological father and mother has lost nothing. But that is not credible. We all have biological parents, one father and one mother (not 2 dads or 2 moms, not 3 or 10 parents). The ideal remains to be raised in a stable family with a father and mother. Children who lose parents through death, divorce, or departure for any reason lose a lot. Some states refuse to allow Catholic adoption agencies to try to find parents to match the ideal. This is putting a gay ideology above what's best for the children.
Jim McCrea | 6/18/2012 - 7:13pm
How do you prove it is harmful or not harmful unless you try it out? Burroway did a very good job at showing that the sample was so skewed as to get the results that REgerus wanted.

You might want to check some of these references:;jsessionid=FE0F7277F5EE09EE4643F9413B154403.d04t02?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

This study examined associations among family type (same-sex vs. opposite-sex parents); family and relationship variables; and the psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic attractions and behaviors of adolescents. Participants included 44 12- to 18-year-old adolescents parented by same-sex couples and 44 same-aged adolescents parented by opposite-sex couples, matched on demographic characteristics and drawn from a national sample. Normative analyses indicated that, on measures of psychosocial adjustment and school outcomes, adolescents were functioning well, and their adjustment was not generally associated with family type. Assessments of romantic relationships and sexual behavior were not associated with family type. Regardless of family type, adolescents whose parents described closer relationships with them reported better school adjustment."

Whether and how civil society should recognize committed relationships between same-sex partners has become a prominent, often divisive, policy issue. The present article reviews relevant behavioral and social science research to assess the validity of key factual claims in this debate. The data indicate that same-sex and heterosexual relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent's sexual orientation is unrelated to her or his ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment; and that marriage bestows substantial psychological, social, and health benefits. It is concluded that same-sex couples and their children are likely to benefit in numerous ways from legal recognition of their families, and providing such recognition through marriage will bestow greater benefit than civil unions or domestic partnerships. Trends in public opinion toward greater support for legal recognition of same-sex couples are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Tim O'Leary | 6/18/2012 - 1:36am
Jim #44
I read the Economist article (another secular magazine that has come out for gay marriage).  While they reiterate the Burroway critique (quoting him without indicating his agenda), they also confirm that the scientific evidence showing no harm is poor to non-existent. 

When one is trying to change a parental system that has been in place for a million years or more, don't you think the onus is on the revolutionaries to demonstrate the new system is not harmful? Alas, revolutionaries rarely work out the consequences beforehand. Communism tried to eliminate the free market that has been the natural form of human economic exchange for thousands of years, and only conceded its failure after 100 million had been killed. The radical feminists are killing millions with abortion and still only slowly coming to understand the huge damage they are inflicting on the western world, as well as their own 'liberation' cause (need I mention the tragic irony of sex-selection abortion). The gay marriage revolution is by nature a much smaller event (2-3% of adults) but it is yet another attack on the stability of the mother-father parental bond that is best for the children.
Michael Schlacter | 6/16/2012 - 9:50am
This is sad and tells more than is stated about us in this black and white zero tolerance Church of today.
May God, the God of all tendancies have mercy on all of us! 
Tim O'Leary | 6/15/2012 - 11:42pm
Jim #41
Thanks for the link. I read the details. I should first note that the purpose of the site is to advocate gay marriage. The author (Jim Burroway) does a good critique of the limitations of the study, and you listed them. However, he also said (in the section “The Study’s Sample”), commenting on the studies that have been used in court cases concluding no harm to children in same-sex households, that “all of the studies to date of gay and lesbian parenting use non-representative convenience samples,” which he correctly indicates is inferior to the methods of this study. He states “Unlike prior studies, the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is based on a national probability sampled population. This is the gold standard for all social science studies, and it’s extremely rare for a study to achieve that mark” both because of the expense involved and because “the number of adult children of gay or lesbian parents is so small.”

The first lesson I get of this critique is that there is no good science demonstrating the safety to children’s psychological or developmental upbringing in this environment. So, if we keep the children top of mind on this and take the medical principle of primum non nocere (first, do no harm), we should be very careful depriving children of the ideal of a father and mother in adoption preferences, whenever possible. The states that are trying to run Catholic agencies out of the adoption business are not doing this.
Jim McCrea | 6/15/2012 - 3:50pm
Let me repost this so the separations make more sense:

Re #35: “The most comprehensive survey on the impact on children when raised by parents with same-sex relationships was just published in Social Science Research (author Mark Regnerus) “

Identified difficulties with Regenerus’s study:

Problem #1: Identifying a Same-Sex Relationship Doesn’t Tell Us Anything About the Nature of the Relationship.

Problem #2: Arbitrary Decisions in Dealing with Overlaps Between Categories Make the LM and GF Categories Heterogeneous While the Other Categories Remain Relatively Homogeneous.

Problem #3: It Doesn’t Study Children Who Grew Up In Gay- or Lesbian-Led Households.

Problem #4: This Study Makes The Wrong Comparison.

Obviously the citation I reference above goes into lengthy explanations under each problem header.
Jim McCrea | 6/19/2012 - 12:39am
Good parenting is a matter of love, support, welcoming and forgiveness. That has nothing to do with opposite genders of the parents. Birthing is one thing; parenting is an entire different ball of wax.  How many people were raised in totally dysfunctional families headed by a man and a woman?  Were those people parents or just procreators?  Any dumb fools can breed.  It takes the right kind of people to be parents who are lucky enough to raise happy, wholesome, adjusted children to adulthood.

Like these:

Will all same-sex couples be sterling parents?  Probably as many as opposite-sex couples on a percentage basis - maybe even more.
Jim McCrea | 6/15/2012 - 3:47pm
Carlos said:  "Virility: Having the nature, properties or qualities of an adult male; characteristic of or associated with men."

And how, pray tell, do you figure that gayl men cannot mirror this?  What do you think ARE the qualities of an adult male that are not/cannot be exhibited by gay males?