Oral arguments on gay marriage take place before the Supreme Court the last week of March, and the pile of amicus briefs filed by interested parties long ago passed the point of redundancy. We prefer briefs filed by disinterested parties, such as the one put before the Court earlier in the month by Leon Kass of the University of Chicago and Harvey Mansfield of Harvard University. The Kass-Mansfield brief is silent on the larger question of gay marriage as social policy. The professors instead confine themselves to a shared area of expertise: the relation between social science and cultural and political life, which they have pondered and written about for many years.
The brief is an attempt at intellectual hygiene. Among the many annoying tics of contemporary liberalism is its insistence that liberal social policies are always and everywhere determined by the latest findings of social science. Redistribution, affirmative action, tighter economic regulation—name the policy and you’re sure to find some associate professor of some social science or another beavering away with a labful of undergraduates to discover its benefits. Such are the claims made for gay marriage. “More than thirty years of social science,” as one piece of NPR agitprop declared on Morning Edition last week, have demonstrated that children raised by homosexual couples show “no difference” in social outcomes from children reared in heterosexual households. And more recent cutting-edge data show the salubrious effects of gay marriage in general. We are told.