The latest experiment in "Why the Hell Not?" is underway in a Michigan federal court.
"The undisputed sociological and psychological evidence demonstrates that unmarried persons, straight, gay or lesbian, are no less loving, caring and effective parents than those parents who are married to each other. In addition, there are very significant legal benefits for children having two legal parents rather than one," the couple's lawyers, Dana Nessel and Carole Stanyar, wrote.
There are some things so stupid only a lawyer could mouth them. There is, after all, the rather gruesome track record of reality:
While there are no national statistics available from the federal government, a survey by the Child Welfare League of America bore out the state data, finding that anywhere from one-tenth to one-third of all child fatalities were caused by unrelated adults in the home.
"If you're looking at abuse overall, the natural parents are far more likely to be the perpetrators than anyone else," said Kevin Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Prevent Child Abuse America.
But, according to Walter Smith, director of Family Resources Inc., a local child-abuse prevention agency, ."it's very common, either because of a breakdown in attachment, or failure to create one" for live-in lovers to become involved.
"They don't love the kid," said Martin Daly, author of a number of Canadian studies on the issue. "A lot of stepmothers and boyfriends regard the kid as undesired baggage who they wish had never been born. The child remains a resented nuisance at best."
Daly is the co-author of a 1999 Canadian study that found that an American child living with one genetic parent and one step-parent or a live-in companion was 100 times as likely to suffer fatal abuse as a child living with two genetic parents.
And a number of other studies, in fact, strongly suggest that children being cared for by an unrelated adult are at far greater risk of injury or death than may have been previously believed.
A 1993 British study found the incidence of abuse was 33 times higher in a household where the mother was living with an unrelated boyfriend. And a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics of 175 Missouri children under the age of 5, who were murdered between 1992 and 1994, found that the risk of a child's dying at the hands of an adult living in the child's own household was eight times higher if the adult was unrelated.
You're going to say that, hey, these are adoptive parents, it's different. Maybe. Or maybe [bracketing the gay marriage issue for the nonce] people who can't commit to each other legally aren't in the best place to be committing to the care of children via adoption.
But what the hell--throw the dice. It's not like lives are at stake or anything.