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Gay families study built on suspect survey

Family

A new study claiming children raised by same-sex parents are at least as well-adjusted—if not more so—than children of heterosexual parents is making a big splash in mainstream media, with barely a nod to the glaring flaws and shortcomings of the research.

Like all similar previous studies, the Australian study published last month, draws its conclusions from seriously inadequate data, said Glenn T. Stanton, director of family formation studies with Focus on the Family. To date, all of the studies showing positive effects of being raised by same-sex parents have been based on very selective and often small samples.

The current study was based only on parental reports, and the parents were recruited through gay publications and word-of-mouth within the gay community. They knew they were participating in a significant study that would have very important political and social implications, giving them a strong reason to be more positive when reporting their child’s well-being than the comparison sample group of heterosexual parents, whose data came from general, non-partisan public health surveys, Stanton said.

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The researchers also did not take into consideration the type of home used in the control group. Growing up in a single parent home, with divorced parents, with cohabitating parents, or in blended families can have vastly different outcomes in terms of child well-being, Stanton said. “The study is useless because no one is attempting to say that children raised by same-sex couples are not as well-adjusted as children raised in just any type of heterosexual home,” he said. Rather, those in support of the traditional family argue that children raised by same-sex parents will not do as well as children raised in intact families by their own mothers and fathers.

Studies that use more relevant comparisons, such as those done by Douglas Allen and Mark Regnerus, show that children raised in same-sex families have significantly more adjustment difficulties than their counterparts. But these studies are completely ignored by groups like the American Psychological Association (APA), which claims, “there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation.”

Benjamin Siegel, a professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, speaking in support of same-sex parenting, told The Washington Post, “I can tell you we’re never going to get the perfect science, but what you have right now is good-enough science. The data we have right now are good enough to know what’s good for kids.”

Stanton believes research that disagrees with the gay lobby’s agenda suffers from a “massive chilling effect.”

“No scholar is going to step into really sandbagging their academic or political career like that,” he said, adding he remains confidant the traditional family will survive. “No politically manufactured form of family has ever rivaled or replaced the natural form of family, of mother, father, and child.”

Julie Borg
Julie Borg

Julie is a clinical psychologist and writer who lives in Dayton, Ohio.

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