A photo of two men holding a newborn baby is making its rounds on the internet. The baby boy was born to an unrelated surrogate mother during Toronto's WorldPride week. The photo has generated many reactions and garnered the support and praise of many who are supportive of redefining marriage.
Everyone can agree that a defenseless, precious baby deserves love from all of the people in his life. But many who viewed this photo--or have read stories about same-sex couples adopting, or are curious about what effect the redefinition of marriage has on children--have likely wondered what family structure best benefits children.
Social scientist Mark Regnerus's acclaimed Family Structures Study examined a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. Those who viewed this viral photo would perhaps be interested in and benefit from reading Regnerus's findings.
Regnerus's extensive study revealed that "children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day."
The study showed that there are "consistent differences among young adults who reported maternal lesbian behavior (and to a lesser extent, paternal gay behavior) prior to age 18," and although it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior does not necessarily have anything to do with the ability to be good, effective parents, the data suggest "that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number."
The study showed that there are "consistent differences among young adults who reported maternal lesbian behavior (and to a lesser extent, paternal gay behavior) prior to age 18."
Compared with children raised by their married biological parents, children raised in same-sex households are much more likely to have received welfare growing up, have lower educational attainment, report less safety and security in their family of origin, report more ongoing "negative impact" from their family of origin, are more likely to suffer from depression, and have been arrested more often.The study also showed that children of lesbian mothers are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance than children raised by their biological parents. Regnerus's study shows clearly that the ideal home for a child is with his or her mother and father.
Nobody is saying that gays and lesbians don’t love their children and don’t work hard to be good parents. The point that needs to be understood is that this is not about what adults want for themselves, it’s about what is best for children. Adoption exists to serve the needs of children, not the desires of adults. Adoption places children with the parents they need, not adults with the children they want. The rights at stake here belong to the children – their right to expect to receive the love of their mother and father.