As election season heads into the final stretch, politicians running for office are increasingly likely to say whatever they can to help them get elected. Sometimes they can talk to voters with sincerity (or as much sincerity as politicians can have) and other times, they’re talking out of their asses.
Last week while fielding questions from voters, Illinois congressman Joe Walsh explained that he was against gay marriage because “male-female, two-parent households” produce children who do better in school, stay away from drugs and are less likely to be in poverty.
He goes on to say that voters aren’t concerned as much about social issues as they care about economic issues. But gay marriage by Walsh’s logic is both a social and an economic issue and thus should be of great importance to his constituency. While it’s likely that many voters aren’t concerned about gay marriage, that still does not give Walsh the opportunity to make statements that have no basis in reality.
Walsh is partly correct in identifying that there exist social and economic components of gay marriage. Focusing solely on the act of getting married, one sees that New York City generated $258 million in economic activity within a year of same-sex marriage being legal in the state.
Looking at the children of gay parents, as Walsh did, one finds no evidence to support his statements. Rather, study after study shows that the sexual orientation of a parent is not related to a child’s mental health or social development.
Children, in particular, benefit from marriage equality. In one study, nearly every same-sex couple that was raising children surveyed said the children were happier and better off as a result of the marriage.
When he first ran for Congress in 1996, Walsh supported abortion rights and described himself as one of the “most gay-friendly Republicans around.”
Walsh explains that the reason for his change in views was because of his studies and prayers in the years since. But perhaps if Walsh spent a little more time in reality and studying actual research, he’d be less likely to make all the other boneheaded statements he’s made recently.