ACRU-Authored Brief Warns Court to Avoid Ideologically Driven Research in Marriage Case
(Washington, DC) In a brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 29 in the California Proposition 8 marriage case, co-author Ken Klukowski, a Senior Legal Analyst for the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), argues that the Court should be leery of depending on social science to come to a verdict.
In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court will decide whether the people of California can amend their state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. California voters did this in 2008, prompting legal challenges that have made their way to the high court.
“This case should be decided on the basis of the law, without reliance on the social science studies and authorities that Respondents and their amici will undoubtedly put before the Court,” the brief states. Written by Mr. Klukowski and George Mason University Law Prof. Nelson Lund on behalf of Leon R. Kass, Harvey C. Mansfield and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the brief states:
“The social and behavioral sciences have a long history of being shaped and driven by politics and ideology. This is partly because researchers often choose to study issues implicating controversial questions of public policy. And it is partly because it is often impossible to perform the kind of objective observations and controlled experiments that are standard in the physical sciences.”
The brief further notes that, “History is littered with notorious examples of false theories gaining wide acceptance among respected social and behavioral scientists, some of which supported pernicious public policies.
“There is good reason to believe that the political climate has strongly influenced much of the existing research on issues raised in this case. That body of research, moreover, is radically inconclusive. Same-sex marriage is a very recent innovation, as is the practice of child rearing by same-sex couples. The effects of these new developments could certainly be significant. But only an advocate for social change could claim to know that the effects will be entirely or even largely benign.”