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Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow took advantage of former senator Jim DeMint’s willingness to repeat the debunked claim that the marriage equality debate ignores the well-being of children.

“As you just said, you’ve got 37 states where the people have decided that they want to protect that marriage is between a man and a woman because they know that that’s the environment where children can thrive and succeed,” DeMint said.

“I mean, that’s been proven,” he added. “So it’s not about the desires of adults, it’s really about the best environment for children. We’re talking all about politics. But the reason that governments at the state level and the federal level have recognized marriage between a man and a woman is because it’s better for our country and better for children.”

Maddow — like Justice Anthony Kennedy — used children to make the argument for marriage equality:

Justice Kennedy addressed that issue specifically in his ruling. He says that by denying marriage rights to same-sex couples who have kids, you’re humiliating and demeaning those kids. By denying their families equal protection under the law by the parents who are raising them and who love them and who make their family. So we can put it in the interests of children, but I think that cuts both ways. And the ruling cuts against that argument. I mean, gay people exist. There’s nothing we can do in public policy can do to make more of us exist or less of us exist. And you guys for a generation have argued that public policy ought to demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist. But you don’t make any less of us exist, you are just arguing for more discrimination. And more discrimination doesn’t make straight people’s lives any better.

The world’s largest study of same-sex couples released earlier this month found that their children were thriving and succeeding.

Though Kennedy came out on the right side of the marriage equality question, it’s important to remember that he’s been a key player in the Roberts court’s dismantling of the rights of workers and voters — and electing George W. Bush.

While the DOMA ruling made a huge leap for LGBT rights, the other decisions released by the court this term have made America less free.

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