And let's not forget that the case against nonbiological parenthood is based on averages. Averages make bad law. The best critique of gay parenting studies is that because many homosexuals are closeted, those who are found by researchers and who agree to participate are disproportionately white, well-educated, and female. But that's exactly what Mary Cheney is. She's a vice president of AOL. Her partner's current occupation is renovating their home. Should they abstain from motherhood because they're above average?
The same goes for gender averages. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, says Cheney's pregnancy is a bad idea because a father "makes unique contributions to the task of parenting that a mother cannot emulate," such as "a sense of right and wrong and its consequences." You must be kidding. Cheney's partner is a former park ranger. They met while playing collegiate hockey. If they want a night out to catch an NHL game, Grandpa Dick can drop by to read bedtime stories about detainee interrogation.
If you're going to base family policy on averages, the chief problem isn't stepparents; it's men. That's what "pro-family" groups keep covering up. According to Focus on the Family, "Increased risks of physical and sexual child abuse at the hands of non-biological parents are another serious concern for same-sex families." Nope, not for lesbians. The latest study cited by the group actually concludes that the "key risk factorsare living with a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend."Of 55 child deaths reviewed in the study, zero were caused by a stepmother or by a biological mother in a stepfamily or live-in relationship. Other studies show the same pattern in child abuse generally.
The Family Research Institute says Cheney's child "will disproportionately associate with homosexuals—who are as a class considerably more apt to have STDs and a criminal history [and] be interested in sex with children." That's hilarious. Women commit 3.5 percent of single-perpetrator sexual assaults and make up 7 percent of the prison population.
The Family Research Council says lesbians are dangerous parents because of their "high prevalence of life events and behaviors related to mental health problems," particularly rapes and sexual attacks. But if you look up the study cited by the council, guess who committed virtually all of the rapes and sexual attacks? Men.
You want to protect kids? Here's my proposed constitutional amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union involving at least one woman."
Or you could just let Mary Cheney raise her child in peace.
A version of this article also appears in the Outlook section of the Sunday Washington Post.