A new study conducted by a University of Texas professor has social conservatives and LGBT groups in a tizzy over its claim that children raised by same-sex parents do worse than those from heterosexual families.
In The New Family Structure Study—the results of which are published in July 2012 issue of Social Science Research—researcher Mark Regnerus asked 3,000 adults ages 18-39 (including 248 with parents in a gay relationship) questions about their income levels, mental and physical health, romantic relationships and other markers.
Regnerus found that kids by their biological parents in an intact heterosexual household showed better long-term outcomes than those from other family structures, including LGBT households, single parent homes and people raised by adopted parents.
Leaders from GLAAD, HRC, Family Equality Council and other LGBT groups are quick to point out Regnerus is known for his “ultra-conservative ideology” and that the study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute. The conservative think tank—which rails against abortion, Islam and stem-sell research—has ties to the anti-gay Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage (not to mention that spooky Catholic cult Opus Dei).
“Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,” says Family Equality Council’s Jennifer Chrisler. “That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author’s work. But on top of that, his paper doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring.”
Of course the right has jumped on the reports as proof that all the other studies showing gays and lesbians are just as good at parenting are “junk science.” The National Review‘s Ed Whelan writes that the results “expose and challenge the schlock social science on gay parenting that has been uncritically embraced and propagated by so many people eager to advance the cause of gay marriage.”
Oh yeah, because your schlock science is sooo much better. Of course, The New York Times raises an interesting point:
Because it focuses on adult outcomes, Regnerus’ study is necessarily a look backward. No matter where they lived or how they were treated by their peers, many of his subjects came of age when homosexuality was still marginalized and despised and gay marriage barely on the radar screen.
The majority were born to male-female couples in which one partner later came out as gay (adding an extra layer of complexity and heartbreak), rather than being planned via adoption, sperm donation or in vitro fertilization. Almost none were raised in a single same-sex household for their entire childhood.
Today the models of gay parenting have presumably shifted, the stability of gay households has presumably increased, and the outcomes for children may be shifting as well.
So the reason why children of gays and lesbians seem to do worse as adults is because our entire society has been hammering away at them for the past 20 years.
Yeah, we can see that.