Do Children with Gay Parents Do Just As Well? The New Social-Science Debate


That's the title of NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher's post in National Review on this topic:

Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in his decision overturning Proposition 8 that social science had disproven the idea that children benefit from being raised by their mom and dad in a marriage. The American Psychological Association has issued a proclamation to that effect, allegedly based on a neutral study of scientific evidence.

Today in the Social Science Journal, as Charles C. W. Cooke reports over on the home page, two new studies were published that challenge these assumptions and launch us into a new phase of the scientific debate.

Professor Mark Regnerus, the author of the New Family Structures Survey project, has published a study that is not only the largest and most comprehensive, it is only the second study based on a probability sample. Scientifically this is huge.

... On 25 of 40 outcome measures, adult children who reported their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship fared poorly compared to children raised by intact biological married parents. This should surprise no one. It doesn’t mean that gay parents are bad parents. Plenty of kids raised outside of intact married families do fine. Nonetheless, this new research tends to affirm that the ideal for a child is a married mom and dad.

Major family scholars such as Paul Amato, while cautioning that this should not be conclusive for policy questions such as same-sex marriage, affirm that this is an excellent study, indeed probably the best study we have to date on gay parenting.

... I’ll write more on this later. For access to the studies and to the “comments” by significant outside scholar, go here.


  1. Pete
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    And yet not one study has found anything bad with same-sex parenting.

  2. Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Thankfully, not even authors of scientific studies are yet prepared to start filing lawsuits against biology itself.......yet.

    We require no assistance from academia in order to conclude that every child, without exception, is the product of the union of one man and one woman.

    Nothing could be more basic and essential to the common good, than to protect marriage as that unique relationship which unites the genders and provides stability for the nurture of the children who commonly result.

  3. Ash
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    As expected, the more rigorous the study, the less glamorous same-sex parenting looks as compared to the reigning champion: the intact married family.

    I'll repost this, because the information is valuable, even more so now that we have this new study.

    Dr. Loren Mark's did a review of the studies cited by the APA to conclude that same-sex parenting is wonderful. Download the article and read it, but here are a few points:

    -Only 33 of the 59 studies cited by the APA even contained a heterosexual comparison group.

    -The vast majority of the comparison group samples were broken families, i.e. single and divorced parents.

    -The studies don't even measure up to the research standards set out by the APA in its own publication manual.

    -And possibly the most shocking fact of all, there was a study done in 1996 that found the married mother and father to be superior to cohabitating couples, and cohabitating couples to be better than homosexual couples in terms of child outcomes. This study was more rigorous and methodologically sound than the others, and the researcher went on to publish textbooks in research methodology. Nevertheless, it was dismissed by the Charlotte Patterson (author of the APA paper, and a regular producer of the weaker studies) because it bucked against the "no differences" research, and was published by a lesser known journal. She claimed that the paper had no abstract, but it did.

    Studies showing that divorce did not harm children, and that single-parent families were better than married families, abounded in the 1970s and 80s. Decades later they have been discredited after millions of harmed lives.

    I'm thankful that we're not waiting so long to call out the same-sex parenting research, and to conduct better research on the matter.

    Although I read the Marks paper a week or so ago, it seems that it has now caught the attention of Science Daily, which is reported on the new Regnerus study.

    I'd agree that this new study doesn't show any harms of same-sex parenting, but because it is far more representative of same-sex couples, it can at least put a halt to the "lesbian parents are better than a mother and father" fanfaronade.

  4. Ash
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    *Correction: it seems that it [Dr. Mark's review] has now caught the attention of Science Daily, which is reporting on it with the new Regnerus study.

  5. Pete
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Now Ash, your purely anti-gay stance is all over your post. You can't find studies that say same-sex parenting is bad so you attack the credibility of those that support it.

    Check this out:

    Consistently over the years, infant mortality among African Americans is double that of any other race. Are we to take s page from NOM's book? Should certain races be told that they are bad parents?

    Your reasoning and NOM's would say do.

  6. John
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    The children are the ones that have to live with the repercussions of same sex unions...not the parents.

  7. Ash
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Pete, I never said that any group of people are "bad parents," as I'm sure you know, but you just want to argue on your own terms.

    And "anti-gay" charges don't move me. They just show that you can't argue with the content of my post, so you attempt to (in your words) "discredit" it by leveling charges of animus.


    We all know that African Americans have the highest rates of children being born without a married mother and father, which is correlated with higher rates of infant mortality. I understand that there are other factors that play into infant mortality levels, but the high rates of unwed child-bearing is one of them. In fact, all of the risks and underlying community problems noted in your link (lower gestation and birthweight, violent neighborhoods, inadequate child supervision) are disproportionately high for unmarried families, and in communities with a high concentration of those families.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  8. Lefty
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Yes Pete, when confronted with harsh realities you'd rather not address, always change the subject to blacks.

  9. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Charlotte Patterson is a propagandist, not a researcher. Not surprisingly, she's a lesbian living with a female partner and raising three children. She has a clear agenda to redefine what a family is or should be.

  10. Randy E King
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink


    The race card again; seriously...?


  11. OvercameSSA
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Can't wait to see when the mainstream media reports about these studies. But I won't hold my breath, heh, heh.

  12. Ash
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Barb, agreed. Nanette Gartrell is also a lesbian mother. She is the author of the widely-acclaimed longitudinal lesbian parenting study that was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

    You know...the one that found that children of lesbian parents did better than everyone else, regardless of whether their parents split up or not.

    Apparently, in the circus known as same-sex parenting research, parental separation doesn't harm children!

    I guess it doesn't...if all the data is based on the self-reports of the mothers and children, the lesbian group is disproportionaley wealthy and educated, and the children are not followed and measured for decades.

  13. Posted June 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Children have the right to be raised by both their mom and dad. Just common sense.

  14. Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Children have the right to be CONCEIVED by a man and a woman. They have a right to know the identity of their mom and dad, but only have a right to be raised responsibly and with their best interest in mind. Ie, bad parents don't have a right to harm their kids.

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