Students Against Child-Oriented Policy?

A coalition of Notre Dame students has produced a joint petition-statement titled “Students Against SCOP: A Petition Against University Recognition of Students for Child Oriented Policy.”

The authors of the petition lay out a lengthy “Declaration of Grievances” against “SCOP policy,” which allegedly “discriminates against all non-traditional family structures in a way that is in direct opposition of the university policy on diversity inclusion and message of love and acceptance.” (You can view the statement and petition here.)  Numerous of PrismND‘s (Notre Dame’s gay-straight student alliance) members and officers have signed the petition.

The authors of the document continue:

As a serious academic and research institution, Notre Dame is committed to the pursuit of truth, and SCOP is obscuring the truth in a way that ignores empirical reality and inhibits justice…

In ignoring these facts, SCOP indicts itself—clearly, this group is not actually in the pursuit of knowledge and truth, nor does it want what is “best” for children…

…SCOP implies that any non-traditional family structure is in some way harmful to children. Since SCOP’s argument cannot be supported in any empirical way, this can only be interpreted as discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation…

SCOP’s blatant ignorance of the facts surrounding same-sex parenting is not in line with these official university policies or “The Spirit of Inclusion at Notre Dame which states that the University deplores any offenses against the inviolable dignity of every person as beloved of God” and “calls all students to be friends and allies of one another.”

The document directs the intellectually curious to the Notre Dame Marriage Petition page on this website for “a full description of [SCOP] policy.”

In the face of such accusations, I can only refer interested readers to the Notre Dame media release concerning SCOP’s Thursday conference, to an Observer op-ed that one of SCOP’s members recently penned concerning the group’s rationale, and to the synopsis of April 3’s events.

Judge for yourself whether the motivation behind SCOP’s upcoming conference and its related Marriage Petition “can only be interpreted as discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation.”




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  • Keep fighting the good fight Mike. Reading the PrismND response to SCOP, I remembered an article Ryan T. Anderson (Twitter: @RyanT_Anderson) wrote awhile back about “empirical” evidence in raising children that would refute the author’s opinion that we are “obscuring the truth in a way that ignores empirical reality and inhibits justice.”

    Here it is:

    • Patrick Guibert

      Peter, the article you linked to is a little misleading. The data collection practices of the study it cites are impeccable, and should certainly be commended. The organization of that data, however, is not intended to compare apples to apples. Adult children of biological parents who were still together at the time of the study were categorically compared to a number of broken home situations. There was not one other data group that was organized according to two parents. Comparing households of two committed parents to unstable households yields unsurprising results.

      • scottrose

        I call B.S. on Knowledge Networks online “Knowledge Panel” of survey respondents supposedly being representative of the U.S. population.

        How many busy professionals do you know who would take $5 and $20 incentives to take a lengthy survey once per week? The company gives free loaner computers and free internet connection to households too poor to have those things.

        In short, the “Knowledge Panel” disproportionately is comprised of the unemployed.

        It does NOT provide a large random national sample of the population.

    • Patrick Guibert

      Here’s the study that supposedly shows that biological parents are more child-oriented than two same-sex parents:
      I encourage you to read it thoroughly.

      • Tim C

        A nice critique of the Regnerus study, written in layman’s terms, is available here, written in 2012:

        What the author acknowledges, but fails to highlight, is that a major portion of the study’s funding comes from the Witherspoon Institute (a conservative think-tank, contributing a $369,000 grant to this study) and the Bradley Foundation (another conservative think-tank, contributing a $90,000 grant to this study). Each organization has an established history of opposing same-sex marriage. This certainly toes the line in establishing a conflict of interest in this study.

        The technical flaws in the study are by now well-known throughout academia, as well as legal circles as the fatally crippled study for whatever reason continues to be trumpeted in litigation by groups opposing same sex marriage.

  • Patrick Guibert

    Michael, thank you for your article. I agree completely with the SCOP’s mission to promote the wider understanding of the Catholic interpretation of marriage. It’s really too bad that some of the objections to the SCOP have been so emotionally charged and negative. The organization’s members are driven by a love of truth and a love of their neighbor.

    But a problem seems to arise from the use of “Child-Oriented” in the name of the group. Because the group’s mission includes shaping civil interpretation of marriage, any claims that one interpretation of marriage is less “child-oriented” than another interpretation of marriage should be based upon evidence outside of religious doctrine. As it stands, the group argues that heterosexual couples who know they cannot procreate for medical reasons are still able to get married and adopt children. The group objects to marriage of same-sex couples who want to adopt children.

    The group’s current name in conjunction with its mission to influence civil interpretation suggests that there is evidence, not based solely upon religious doctrine, that indicates two same-sex adoptive parents are intrinsically less “child-oriented” than two heterosexual adoptive parents. But without that evidence, the use of the “Child-Oriented” name is misleading. It behooves the organization to remain focused on truth, either by changing its name to be less misleading, or by presenting fact-based evidence to support all of its claims.

    I have done my best to understand the SCOP and its intentions. Please forgive me if I have misinterpreted or misrepresented the organization’s mission or the intent of using “Child-Oriented” in the name. If that is the case, I sincerely apologize and I hope you’ll correct me.

    Furthermore, I realize I’m making a bold claim saying that there is no fact-based evidence to support the idea that children are in some way intrinsically worse off with two adoptive same-sex parents than they would be with two adoptive opposite-sex parents. If I have missed that evidence, which is very possible, this whole argument is moot and I have no objection whatsoever to the SCOP’s name or its mission. I only ask that my attention could be drawn to the evidence I have missed.

  • Watching members of Notre Dame seek to protect their innocent, shell-like ears from the wicked temptations of traditional marriage while places like Oakland are falling to ruin as a result of “inclusiveness” is something else.

    Scoreboard, kids. Championing inclusiveness over traditional marriage is like being a fan of the Houston Astros. Go ahead and root for the Astros, but don’t try telling the rest of us that your team doesn’t stink.

  • Lisa Tuggle

    For more reflection on the suitability of heterosexual couples for child-bearing and rearing — along with a multitude of related issues — begin studying Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. You will be enlightened. Former ND professor, Michael Waldstein, is one of the leading teachers of the world on this subject. Read his book, Man and Woman He Created Them, and visit for more information.

  • Sally

    I sincerely hope you
    can help me with this topic. Studies have shown that if parents are not
    married when a child is born that the father is most likely to be out of the
    child’s life by age 5. Now I don’t have the link and don’t know who
    funded it, but Princeton University has published multiple studies on this.
    Countries in Europe who redefined marriage now have significantly lower
    marriage rates, easy to look up. Even last Fall Pres Obama was quoted as
    saying the two best indicators that a child will not live in poverty when they
    grow up are 1) education and 2) a father in the home. When you put these
    points together, strengthening marriage helps children overall. I haven’t seen
    this to mean that there is a problem with same sex couples raising children
    –> society needs orphans to be adopted. It means that overall, when
    marriage gets redefined, then people are less likely to get married and
    overall, that impacts some children born to these unmarried people. Can
    same sex couples not still foster children or become guardians or form special
    unions without redefining marriage? I believe that yes, an unmarried
    person can adopt.

    Changing everything
    for everyone has fall out, not talking about the children living with same sex
    families at all, but for other children whose families are weakened because of
    marriage not being strong (due to parents not being married or getting
    divorced). That is children ending up
    being raised by mother only due to parents not getting married. Of course, not all children raised by a
    single mother or grandparents etc fall into the “statistics” of poverty or less
    education etc — but a % of them do and
    that is the concern.