Santorum picks on kids with gay parents, is wrong

Everyone’s abuzz about thought leader Rick Santorum’s latest inflammatory comment. If you’re not sure which one I’m talking about, it may be because he’s been making a lot of them lately.

But this time, I’m not talking about his nonsensical metaphors on gay marriage, or his unpopular views on banning contraception.

Nope, the Santorum comment in question deals with gay parents, and specifically, whether having gay parents has a negative impact on the child. At a recent campaign event at a boarding school in New Hampshire, Santorum told kids, at least three of which had gay parents themselves, that they’d be better off with parents in prison.

The LA Times reports:

For the second time in as many days, Rick Santorum waded into the issue of gay marriage, suggesting it was so important for children to have both a father and mother that an imprisoned father was preferable to a same-sex parent.

Citing the work of one anti-poverty expert, Santorum said , “He found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their children’s lives.”

Allowing gays to marry and raise children, Santorum said, amounts to “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.” [...]

The students at Dublin School, which runs from ninth through 12th grade, were primed for Santorum’s visit, said headmaster Brad Bates. He said three students in the audience had gay parents, though they were not among those who asked about the topic.

Obnoxious and offensive, yes, but is it true? How sound is this “anti-poverty” logic that Santorum is employing?

The answer is that it’s pretty fucking un-sound.

We at Feministing have reported extensively on the links between same-sex parenting and positive outcomes for children, including this groundbreaking study showing that lesbian households produce astonishingly low child abuse rates.

While the sample size in that study was relatively small, it jives with the findings in many other, larger studies that counteract the negative information and myths that are constantly being perpetuated by anti-LGBT culture

As Think Progress reports, Santorum “isn’t wrong that numerous studies have highlighted the importance of keeping children connected to parents who may be in prison, but none of them include any actual research on comparisons with same-sex families… In reality, studies have consistently shown that same-sex couples are just as capable of raising children as opposite-sex couples, and any attempt to suggest otherwise is not only wrong but hurtful to same-sex families and the children they are raising.”

So essentially, this presidential hopeful is spending his campaign time wrongly informing grade school students that their parents might as well be in jail. Rick Santorum: vile, disgusting, and way too easily spread around.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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