By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Aren’t you glad you live in a country where rights really matter?

The history of our last century is dominated by the struggle for and defense of important rights, the right to vote, the right to equal treatment under the law, freedom of speech.

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We take our rights very seriously. And the injection of sexual orientation into the debate over rights has turned up the heat, as the boycotts of North Carolina and the firing of Curt Schilling have demonstrated recently.

I don’t have any easy answers.

But I do recall quite vividly a key element in the bitter debate over same-sex marriage that occurred here a dozen years ago. Then, as in the current argument over transgender rights, protection of children was a major issue.

What impact would gay marriage have on them?

Out of 76 studies over the last thirty years of kids raised by same-sex couples, only four found evidence the children had a tougher time of it.

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As one 1998 study put it: “Parents who were experiencing higher levels of parenting stress, higher levels of interparental conflict, and lower levels of love for each other had children who exhibited more behavior problems.”

In other words, with rights – to marry, adopt, or use public facilities – come responsibilities.

Most people meet the challenge; a handful do not.

We have a responsibility to remember that, even as we exercise our right to yet again ignite the argument that defines us.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

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Jon Keller