NOM BLOG

18 Social Scientists Respond to Attempt to Discredit Regnerus Study

 

Eighteen social scientists have responded to the attempt to discredit Prof. Mark Regnerus' study:

Same-sex marriage is one of the most contentious and vexing issues now facing our nation. It is perhaps in part for that reason that the new study on same-sex parenting by University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus, which finds that young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems,[1] has been subject to such sustained and sensational criticism from dozens of media outlets, from the Huffington Post to the New Yorker to the New Republic. These outlets have alleged, respectively, that his research is “anti-gay,” “breathtakingly sloppy,” and “gets everything wrong.”

Although Regnerus’s article in Social Science Research is not without its limitations, as social scientists, we think much of the public criticism Regnerus has received is unwarranted for three reasons.

... We do not think that these new studies settle the nation’s ongoing debate about gay parenting, same-sex marriage, and the welfare of children. In fact, research on same-sex parenting based on nationally representative samples is still in its infancy. But we think that the Regnerus study, which is one of the first to rely on a large, random, and representative sample of children from parents who have experienced same-sex relationships, has helped to inform the ongoing scholarly and public conversation about same-sex families in America. Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships. As social scientists, our hope is that more such studies will be forthcoming shortly, and that future journalistic coverage of such studies, and this contentious topic, will be more civil, thorough, and thoughtful than has been the coverage of the new study by Professor Mark Regnerus."

31 Comments

  1. Posted June 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Are you listening, Judge Walker?

    More to the point, are you listening, Justice Kennedy?

  2. Jon
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The coverage of the Regnerus study is very misleading. The study is itself not "breathtakingly sloppy", but it is not a study about same-sex parents. Readers often see "parents who have had same-sex relationships" and equate it with "two lesbian female parents" or "two gay male parents", but in actuality it means a homosexual parent who has married and had kids with someone of the opposite sex, but whose attempt to live a lie (a lie he/she is forced to live if they want to be married and have a family) has come crashing down.

    The Regnerus study has nothing to do with what one thinks of when one reads "gay parenting". "Gay parenting" is not the same as a homosexual pretending to be heterosexual and raise kids with someone of the opposite sex.

  3. Brad
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    But the study doesn't research families headed by same sex couples. It studies broken families, oh, and some of the parents from these broken families just happened to have sex with someone of their own gende in the past. This study actually supports the benefit of allowing couples of the same sex to marry. It's best for the kids.

  4. Brad
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Even David Blankenhorn says it would be best to allow gay couples to marry.

  5. Paul Mc
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    The 42 professors say that this study supports the case for gay marriage.

    Why is NOM reporting this?

  6. Leo
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Brad, and Jon,

    Gay couples can do whatever they want accept attempt to define relationships and marriage for the rest of us ( 97.5% of the population). Get it! They don't need the public approval, their tax pool would equal to only 3% or less in the US. Frankly, I don't care what they do with their life as long it does not effect mine, lately it has.

    And, regarding gay parenting, you are misrepresenting Mark Regnerus's study; gays parenting does not think about the kids rights to a mother and father figure, and this type of parenting should be discourage at all cost, period. There are other options for kids who need adoptive parents, such as reaching out to family members of the biological parent(s) for starters. We don't need a study to tells us what we already know to be the best proper environment for children.

  7. Leo
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Paul I was wondering the same thing, NOM, is there a misprint in the article? I'm not interested in social scientist opinion that gays should get married or am I reading the article wrong?

  8. Ash
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent statement from these professionals.

    I particularly love how they called out the media on its disparaging of Regnerus and his study, though only praise was offered for the previous, methodologically weaker, studies.

    A thorough, yet concise, analysis that is easy for all to understand. And a great defense of Regnerus against the smear tactics by SSMers in the media who are afraid of good science.

  9. John Noe
    Posted June 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships.

    This is a false argument. There is no evidence that the arguments in this study can be used to make the case for marriage corruption.

  10. Tom173
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    As children of SS couples grow up they will learn how children are conceived. Unlike other children that came along, planned or unplanned, they did not happen because their parents were expressing their feelings for one another.
    When they realize that their "parents" used a third party to conceive them, will they wonder if the reason they are here is to help gay couples mainstream themselves by showing they can raise children like hetero couples do? If they are a boy born to two lesbians, will he see a man as an unnecessary thing in a family? Will he follow in his father’s example and have nothing to do with the children he fathers? Will he always wonder if he is disappointing his or her mom’s or dad’s expectations if he or she is not gay?
    SS marriage advocates seem more than willing to gamble on these things happening, but I am not. I will continue to tell managers at J.C. Penny’s, Starbucks, Target, and any others that support SSM that I will not shop there for that reason.

  11. Paul Mc
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    @John Noe- that is what 18 social scientists have said in support of the study.
    That is unequivocal evidence that the study could be used that way.

    Are you a social scientist? Why is it a false argument?

  12. Randy E King
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Paul,

    "No it isn't" and "so what" are excuses; not rationals.

  13. Posted June 23, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    So the ultimate goal here is to stop gays from adopting, fostering, and "pretending" to be families? Like that's really gonna happen? I guess the only way that will happen, is when God says we are modern day Soddom and Gammorah, and turns us into pillars of salt, or something like that.

  14. Leo
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I would like to get NOM's opinion on this article. NOM we could use some commentary on this one, I mean seriously!

    The article sound contradictory, and towards the end suggests, society ( we the people) should engage in experimenting, and using kids as guinea pigs. But, gives no " scientific reasoning" why society should embrace SSM in the first place. This is the point where these 18 scientist loss me and sounded like operatives for left and the LGBT crowd.

    From the article:
    Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships.

    ***This is a highly outlandish opinion where we need to closely examine the messengers behind it...

  15. Franz M
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I think the question whether same sex couples should be allowed to have children via adoption unrelated children, surrogacy or IVF can be solved without all these studies because children have, just as adults do, a right to experience relationship diversity. Same-sex couples would intentionally be depriving their children of beautifuly loving and defining relationships with both a woman (mother) and a man (father). Children of 0-4 are (apart from love) primarily interested in what their senses perceive directly. That is diverse sounds (acoustic), colours / forms / movement patterns (visual), tactile sense, to a lesser degree sense of smell and taste. At this age there is no mental activity - its about enjoying "input" directly, discovering the basics of the world via senses, not thought or concept. And the world of children of this age consists primarily of their parents, because they prefer them to everything and everybody else. Perception of the parents is prefered over all other perceptions. What ever is learnt directly from them is learnt best.

    Its important to know that children recognize the difference between feminin and masculine very well from about 6 months of age. They evidently love the difference between their mum and dad and they love to interact with both as different expressions of the
    relationship with a parent.

    The gender specific characteristics of the parents are the most important source of perception for a young child - simply because these are what he percieves naturally and by necessity. Gender-specific differences between mum and dad are the 1. the first, 2. the most intensly experienced, 3. the most important kategorie of diversity a child of 0 - 4 can experience. And diversity is fundamentaly important: We hang nice pictures or multi-coulored objects over the cot and try to stimulate the childs senses - let him experience all sorts of diversity through his senses, but nothing is more important and interesting and defining for a child than what he percieves directly from his parents.
    Watch how much a toddler enjoys first listening to his mother sing to him then the male voice of his father sing? Ist excactly this kind of experience of diversity directly from his parents which makes his day.

    Same-sex parents cannot offer their children this advantage of diversity.

    Adults, whether homosexual or straight, rightly take it granted that they can have diverse relationships (friends, partner, family relations etc.) with both male and female persons as part of their freedom and children deserve the same freedom. Only if a child has a loving father and mother, can it have achance of not being intentionaly deprived of the freedom of experiencing relationship diversity in its youngest years from birth onwards regarding the most natural and necessary relationship children can have - namely that with a parent, who is nurturer, role model and friend all in one. I believe this is a matter of morality and basic human rights of children.

    Try this simple experiment:
    Make sure you only listen to music with male vocals. No Whitney, Morissette, Lennox, Bush and co.. Only Clapton, Presley, Daltry and co.

    For two weeks. Whether radio, mp3, hifi or live - no female singing.

    You will probably crave for the tender voice of a female singer after 2 weeks - simply because its acoustically different. And thats just acoustics and if you cut out female spoken word as well the deprivation would be even more apparent. Human beings love to and need to interact with and perceive both males and females on various levels regularly and freely as they desire. This applies especially to very young children. Same-sex parents cannot offer this fundamental form of diversity for these children, and in my opinion it would be wrong to intentionally deprive them of it.

    Adults, whether homosexual or straight, rightly take it for granted that they can have diverse relationships (friends, partner, family relations etc.) with both male and female persons as part of their freedom and children deserve the same freedom. Only if a child has a loving father and mother, can it have achance of not being intentionaly deprived of the freedom of experiencing relationship diversity in its youngest years from birth onwards regarding the most natural and necessary relationship children can have - namely that with a parent, who is nurturer, role model and friend all in one. I believe this is a matter of morality and basic human rights of children.

  16. Paul Mc
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Randy, not sure what you mean.

    But their statement says that the study could be used as an argument for ssm. That's my rationale for posting. You can't on the one hand welcome their support for Regenerus and at same time not recognise what they conclude from the study. Maybe you don,t but NOM and others seem to think the statement was a good thing. The rationale works both ways.

  17. Little man
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Here's an idea related to statistical analyses having to do with the concept of family (which i consider un-identical to household). Similarly, there's a concept of 'house' un-dentical to 'home'. Words tend to reflect our distinctions as a 'changing' or 'evolving' society. Evolving carries the word association of improvement, while the word change does not. nObama promised change not for the better, while he 'evolved' in retrograde. Let's ask the English for some English lessons.

    How much individuals seek love and someone taking note of them. Perhaps this is tied statistically to the breakdown of the family. Maybe Freud could make the connection. People from a broken-down genetic or adoptive family could be statistically, on average, more open to finding love and companionship at sacrificial costs, because they lacked enough of love, and didn't feel valued in their families. Perhaps it was a wealthy family that continued together because of the stability provided by an abundance of funds, but perhaps the father figure was always working making even more money and building a business 'empire'. We live in a competitive society, and the rearing of children amounts to more than paying their tuition and offering them a nice place to live. Suburban teenagers have been, on average, known to get into more trouble - even to the extent of going to school to shoot down their fellow students. People who lacked love and recognition when growing up, will certainly seek it more than average and are willing to pay a high price for it. They network very well in business, and make good Democrats. Perhaps they could even make good 'gays' or 'lesbians' and i don't mean gladness or residence status in the island of Lesbos. How much love do we seek, because we didn't get enough in our child and teenage years? I got lots of love - what a blessing :)

  18. Leo
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Paul you're incorrect:
    Your miss paraphrasing the following:

    "Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships."

    This becomes a personal opinion, not factual based on the Regnerus's study. How does his study presumes evidence for a "need" to legal SSM? It doesn't.

  19. Leo
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    @ 14, you're...

  20. John Noe
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh poster #10, he makes a superb and overwhelming case against same sex parenting. Read and learn the study why don' you.

  21. Leo
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    The article goes from the study analysis, to presenting bias.
    The "bias statement" presumes gay coupling would create healthy stable relationships if society allows them to marry, without providing facts or science to back up this claim, period.

  22. Leo
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I would like to get NOM's opinion on this article. NOM we could use some commentary on this one, I mean seriously!
    The article sound contradictory, and towards the end suggests, society ( we the people) should engage in experimenting, and using kids as guinea pigs. But, gives no " scientific reasoning" why society should embrace SSM in the first place. This is the point where these 18 scientist loss me and sounded like operatives for left and the LGBT crowd.
    From the article:
    Indeed, it is possible to interpret Regnerus’s findings as evidence for the need for legalized gay marriage, in order to support the social stability of such relationships.
    ***This is a highly outlandish opinion where we need to closely examine the messengers behind it...

  23. Little Man
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Leo: The data in this study, as in all statistical studies, can be interpreted in different ways. Yet, there is very little data to support the notion that same-sex couples would be more long-term and 'stable' if they could marry because many do not marry even if the civil marriage definition is changed to include them. Whatever data this study obtained for children living with same-sex couples pointed to their conclusions, but they also agree there's not much data in that respect.

  24. Ash
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Leo, these social scientists are merely saying that some could interpret the study as an argument for ssm. Regnerus acknowledged this, but also noted how people could use it as an argument against ssm.

    They are merely trying to vindicate Regnerus of the "bigot" charges hurled at him for this study. They don't necessarily believe that it can be interpreted as a justification for ssm.

    It all depends on how people interpret it. Personally, I don't see the argument for ssm in the study. Gay men and lesbian women today are more open and not as inclined to enter opposite-sexed marriages in order to keep up an appearance of heterosexuality.

    Since LGBTs will enter into same-sex relationships, children will not result, and their relationships will continue to not be of concern to society. So, I don't see the pressing interest in redefining marriage as a message from this study.

    Furthermore, as Little Man noted, there is no evidence that same-sex unions will be stabilized by marriage. Not only because of their low participation rates, as Little Man noted; but I would add because of their high levels of relationship instability.

    I would also add that the minuscule number of children brought into their homes will lack an intact family from the start, so, there is no child welfare imperative.

  25. Leo
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Little Man,
    I understand what you are saying about the statistical study and will add this:
    The Regnerus's study, confirms that children raised by their biological parents are much better off, in comparison to same sex parenting with all its variables, which is the "the norm" for that lifestyle. For the other side to say SS parenting is equal to biological parenting or better, Regnerus study debunks that notion using similar, creditable SSRs samples, and concluded with the opposite, period.
    It was the gay activists claiming SS parenting evolution based on faulty statistics, because as you noted, there isn't any and never was, creditable data (samples to draw this conclusion).
    Marriage and parenting supporters, based their statistics on self-observation and mother nature, first and foremost, at no time did we suggest or inject experimentation for SS parenting to come to the conclusion we hold, those participants did that themselves. We remain bias to this notion( SSM and parenting) for logical and obvious reasons, regardless of the effectiveness pretentious capabilities when it comes to parenting and raising children. We, marriage supporters, are not interested one way or the other in proving or not proving through statistics that, SSCs raising kids are equal or better to heterosexual couples. The other side is interested (wanting) in such a study for obvious reasons. Quite frankly, for us to every take up such interest or experimentation, the outcome could be devastating. Thus, the scientist’s analysis of the study concludes by overreaching and contesting that, the study is also sound in wanting SSM and parenting to further dismiss the original study for said subject, or to attempt to support a finding for the opposition, despite the harm involved. They also imply manipulation (which includes experimentation) rather than allow nature to determine the outcome for its subject. Regnerus’s raw, unbiased, un-tampered simples, likely represent the natural course, the path same sex parenting will go without coercion for the sake of a study. Leave Regnerus's study be, let the other side remaining wanting to their peril.

  26. Leo
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Ash, I hear you, read my response to Little man's post to me, get back!

  27. John N.
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Franz: Way up there with the 15th comment on this message board. Your comment was so brillant and great that non of the SSM trolls could respond to it.

  28. Little Man
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Leo: The Regnerus' study is formal research in sociology. There's a NOMblog post that shows where Regnerus made a conceptual mistake in the interpretation of some of his data. It is a little involved to read that distinction, but it is spelled out in the NOMblog, and the article it leads to as a source. A research project such as this is expensive, for it obtains a lot of reliable data. It is the data, not Regnerus' interpretations which are the most valuable. Regnerus gets to publish his interpretations because he obtained the grant and he obtained the data. Since children are seen as responding statistically positively to household stability (who wouldn't), it helps explain why children do well in opposite-sex, married families. That children do well even in same-sex, sexually active, homes (many of which were engendered in opposite-sex (sexually active too) homes, points out how important continuity, care, and stability are, for children. They might not have the influence of both genetic parents, but they adapt well.

    Here's the catch: There is no evidence at all in the study to indicate a proportional increase in stable same-sex homes for children, were a State to pass same-sex psudo-marriage as civil marriage. In other words, we cannot assume we have the data that hasn't been collected so far. It would be pure speculation. And speculation has only to do with scientific hypotheses, not theory. Theory has to do with verified and relevant evidence, not imagination.

    I think this Regnerus' study is still under development, because the data set is still under study. Universities that don't follow logic and the Scientific Method cannot progress at all, or compete well with other more objective universities in general. One good thing about the research environment is that 'motivation' for doing the research doesn't matter at all. The research stands on academic standards, and method. Therefore, ad hominem attacks are immaterial, and irrelevant in that research environment.

  29. LEO
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Little man, your getting too involve in the science, academic, technical aspect of Regnerus work, and not looking at the big picture. To be able to paragraphs Regnerus's study, one can use his/her prior knowledge about the subject and reading between the lines... His study requires the reader to not only understand his findings,but having the foreknowledge thereof.
    Also we can't assume facts about the study that
    are not in the study or that has no basis...
    I disagree with you, I believe his study can be concluded for the present. To conclude his study wanting( or the author himself) more of it, can be dangerous, with little confidence in mother nature. Again, as I explain in my last post, we should take what we can from these types of studies like the subject, but ultimately we should remain neutral due to their capability of creating an environment where they can be manipulated, directly or indirectly for the sake of a research. This requires understanding human behavior. The opponents of the study would like nothing more than to invent their own way of life where mother nature should evolve. We should defend our beliefs on marriage and parenting vigorously without any regrets or guilt. Humans and parenting have existed for more than 200 years now, without a statistic or study comparing an alternative way of life... The old saying is true, " If it isn't broke don't try to fix it".
    Additional, I also think you missed my central point in my last post, a little. But hey, we are on the same team with different perspectives for the same subject, which can be a good thing.

  30. LEO
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Little man, your getting too involve in the science, academic, technical aspect of Regnerus work, and not looking at the big picture. To be able to paragraphs Regnerus's study, one can use his/her prior knowledge about the subject and reading between the lines... His study requires the reader to not only understand his findings,but having the foreknowledge thereof.
    Also we can't assume facts about the study that
    are not in the study or that has no basis...
    I disagree with you, I believe his study can be concluded for the present. To conclude his study wanting( or the author himself) more of it, can be dangerous, with little confidence in mother nature. Again, as I explain in my last post, we should take what we can from these types of studies like the subject, but ultimately we should remain neutral due to their capability of creating an environment where they can be manipulated, directly or indirectly for the sake of a research. This requires understanding human behavior. The opponents of the study would like nothing more than to invent their own way of life where mother nature should evolve. We should defend our beliefs on marriage and parenting vigorously without any regrets or guilt. Humans and parenting have existed for more than 200 years now, without a statistic or study comparing an alternative way of life... The old saying is true, " If it isn't broke don't try to fix it".
    Additional, I also think you missed my central point in my last post, a little. But hey, we are on the same team with different perspectives for the same subject, which can be a good thing.,

  31. Leo
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry! my last post...meant to say " paraphrase"...
    Also,..." for the sake of researching and experimentation".....