If sexuality is determined in the womb by genetics, is it safe to say gay parents are more likely to drown their unborn children in amniotic fluid over-saturated with gayness? In an analysis of 26 studies focusing on the children of gay parents, a new research paper from Kansas State University’s Walter Schumm finds “evidence [... that] suggests intergenerational transfer of sexual orientation can occur at statistically significant and substantial rates, especially for female parents or female children.” Isn’t that just what leading bigot Paul Cameron at the nauseously conservative Family Research Institute found?
Schumm was provoked to study the question closely after a researcher at the conservative Family Research Institute was vilified after publishing a study concluding that “parents’ sexual inclinations influence their children’s.” That study concluded that about 30 percent of the children of gay parents identified themselves as homosexual.
That is near identical to the 28 percent figure that Schumm arrived at in his meta-analysis of the 26 previously published studies. The 28 percent figure only applied to children who were over the age of 17; the figure dropped to 20 percent when children younger than 17 were included in the data.
Cameron’s study found,
Of 77 adult children of homosexual parents who volunteered for three different investigations, at least 23 (30%) were currently homosexual: twelve (55%) of 22 daughters and three (21%) of fourteen sons of lesbians; five (29%) of seventeen daughters and three (17%) of eighteen sons of gays; none of six sons with both a gay and a lesbian parent. At least 25 (32%) were currently heterosexual. Of the ten with transsexual parents, one of nine daughters was currently lesbian, one was currently heterosexual, and one was transsexual. The son’s sexual preference was not reported. These findings suggest that parents’ sexual inclinations influence their children’s.
Schumm is considerably more circumspect in how he uses Cameron’s research, but he did publish a 2000 article in Psychological Reports, Paul Cameron’s favorite publication outlet, defending Cameron’s research methods against Dr. Gregory Herek’s criticisms. Schumm is also listed as a member of Cameron’s “Editorial and Scientific Review Board” for the EJSSB.
In the trial, Schumm used data from his recent Psychological Reports article to claim that about 19 percent of children raised by gay parents are likely to become gay, compared with 4 percent of children with straight parents. Testifying for Frank Gill, the gay foster father, Susan D. Cochran, a professor of epidemiology and statistics at UCLA, accused Schumm of cooking his data.
(AOL News claims “Schumm’s testimony actually ended up aiding the gay parents in the trial,” having told the court, “Gay parents can be good foster parents” and “The decision to permit homosexuals to adopt is best made by the judiciary on a case by case basis.”)
Whether you think Schumm’s findings are damaging is one thing. Whether you think he’s motivated by animus is another. Says Schumm: “I’m trying to prove that it’s not 100 percent genetic.” And isn’t that quite the bias going into this. That, and his research is suspect, notes AOL:
His study is a meta-analysis of existing work. First, Schumm extrapolated data from 10 books on gay parenting; Cameron, for what it’s worth, had only looked at three, and offered no statistical analysis in his paper. Schumm skewed his data so that only self-identified gay and lesbian children would be labeled as such.
This is important because sometimes Schumm would come across a passage of children of gay parents who said they were “adamant about not declaring their sexual orientation at all.” These people would be labeled straight, even though the passage’s implication was that they were gay.
[...] In Schumm’s study, he quotes from the extant literature the stories of young women, describing how being gay was never frowned upon in their household, and so that “option” was available to them. That said, Schumm also finds evidence of gay mothers pushing their daughters, upset over a relationship with a man, to “try out women.” But couldn’t gay men also tell their sons this? Yes, but Schumm tells AOL News that most gay men have at some point been with a woman, so they understand why their sons might date them. Whereas the literature shows some lesbians “have a hatred of men that’s intense,” Schumm says.
There’s so much “science” in here, the mind boggles!