LGBTQ Rights Examined: A Marriage of Numbers and Bias

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Gay marriage and LGBTQ rights has taken to the courts with increasing abundance in recent months, making public opinion on the issues increasingly salient. However, almost more important in predicting and understanding the way the issues are developing, are the stats — as Chris Cillizza pointed out in his op-ed with the Washington Post. What he discussed was a study released by Pew Research Center on “Millennials in Adulthood.”

The study showed that generationally, 70 percent of people aged 18 to 33 support gay marriage, with older generations, such as those in their 40s and older less likely to support it. But the study also showed that all four generational groups studied were showing an increase in support, something that Cillizza reads as proof that, “The political fight over gay marriage is over.” Time and the turning wheels of cultural change have already decided the winner of the fight, according to Cillizza.

A court case in Michigan’s Detroit further substantiates the importance of data in examining the fight for LGBTQ rights, though in an entirely different and considerably more negative fashion. According to the New York Times, the most recent Michigan case on LGBTQ marriage and adoption — a two week trial at the District court — saw a fair amount of number slinging. However, most of this scholarly input was given by academics who gave testimony against a largely discontinued argument that same-sex parents are bad for their children, quoting social science research as their backing. Kenneth M. Mogil, on the side of the plaintiffs, responded to these claims by saying that, “Top leaders in their fields” have testified that there is no evidence that same-sex parentage is harmful, or that gay marriage in any way subverts heterosexual marriage, despite what Mogill called a “desperate fringe” of religious academics might say.

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