‘Gold standard’ study’s striking findings: children of heterosexual parents happier, healthier
June 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A new study which found that children of heterosexual parents fare better on numerous indicators of personal well-being than children of homosexual parents is being hailed by true marriage advocates as by far the most scientifically credible studies to date on the subject.
Authored by Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the study will be published in the July 2012 issue of Social Science Research, and is currently available online.
Regnerus’ findings, based upon the responses from children raised by their biological parents, or a homosexual parent with his or her partner, were striking.
He found that 12% of those with a lesbian mother and 24% of those with a gay father reported having recently contemplated suicide, compared to only 5% raised by an intact biological family or a single parent. While 28% of those raised by a lesbian mother and 20% of those raised by a gay father reported being currently unemployed, compared to 8% raised by an intact biological family and 13% raised by a single parent.
One of the most remarkable findings was that 23% of those with a lesbian mother reported having been touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2% of those raised in an intact biological family. The percentage was 6% among those with a gay father and 10% with a single parent. In another striking statistic, 31% of those raised by a lesbian mother, and 25% of those raised by a gay father, reported being forced to have sex against their will at some point, compared to just 8% of those raised by their biological parents.
Forty percent of those raised by a lesbian mother and 25% raised by a gay father reported having had an affair while married or cohabiting, compared to 13% of those raised by their biological parents. And 19% of those raised by a lesbian mother or gay father were currently or recently receiving psychotherapy, compared to 8% of those raised by their heterosexual parents
Twenty percent of those raised by lesbians and 25% of those raised by gay men reported having contracted a sexual transmitted infection, compared to 8% of those raised by their biological parents.
Interestingly, only 61% of those raised by a lesbian mother and 71% of those raised by a gay faather reported identifying as “entirely heterosexual,” compared to 90% of those raised by an intact biological family.
“To claim that there are few meaningful statistical differences between the different groups evaluated here would be to state something that is empirically inaccurate,” Regnerus writes.
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Regnerus’ findings conflict with studies widely touted by homosexual activists which have claimed that children raised by homosexual parents fare as well or even better than their peers. Many of these studies, Regnerus points out, have relied on small, self-selected samples, parent rather than child reported outcomes, and have exhibited evidence of political bias.
He notes, for instance, that one meta-analysis claiming that homosexual parenting had a positive impact on children was problematic because participants in the studies were nearly always a small group of volunteers “whose claims about documentable parenting successes are very relevant in recent legislative and judicial debates over rights and legal statuses.”
The problem of sample bias, in fact, has been pervasive in previous literature on the subject, according to Regnerus.
“Many published studies on the children of same-sex parents collect data from ‘snowball’ or convenience samples,” he writes. “One notable example of this is the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, analyses of which were prominently featured in the media in 2011 (e.g., Huffington Post, 2011). The NLLFS employs a convenience sample, recruited entirely by self-selection from announcements posted ‘at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores, and in lesbian newspapers’ in Boston, Washington, and San Francisco.”
Regnerus continues: “While I do not wish to downplay the significance of such a longitudinal study—it is itself quite a feat—this sampling approach is a problem when the goal (or in this case, the practical result and conventional use of its findings) is to generalize to a population. All such samples are biased, often in unknown ways.”
In contrast, Regnerus drew his data from the New Family Structures Study, a data collection project that drew from a large, random sample of American young adults. Regnerus analyzed responses from 3,000 young adults, 175 of whom reported having a lesbian mother and 73 of whom had a gay father. He compared their responses to their heterosexually-raised counterparts, to determine who had fared better on forty different social, emotional, and relational outcomes.
Regnerus notes that his study is one of the few that measures outcomes as reported by the children of homosexuals, rather than relying on an assessment by the homosexual parent.
Critics of the study are contending that the young adults surveyed were raised by homosexual parents at a time when there was a greater social stigma attached to homosexuality, a fact which may have contributed to greater instability among homosexual couples.
“It is clear that families are stronger and more stable when they can stay together,” Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the pro-gay Family Equality Council told ABC News. “That means what we should be doing is supporting policies that make it easier for gay and lesbian families to stay together.”
Traditional marriage advocate Patrick Fagan, however, called Chrisler’s assertion an unsubstantiated hypothesis in comments to LifeSiteNews.
“If you cannot take these results, there is nothing in the field. Nothing else comes close to it. The gays who object to it would essentially be saying, ‘we know nothing,’” he said. “It has essentially supplanted all the other prior research because none of them come close to it for national representativeness.”
Fagan, who directs the Marriage and Religion Institute of the Family Research Council called the study the “gold standard” for research on children of homosexuals.
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