Study: Children of parents in same-sex relationships face greater risks
A pair of studies published today in the journal Social Science Research turns the widely accepted notion that kids raised by parents in same-sex relationships grow up to become well-adjusted adults on its ear.
According to data from the New Family Structures Study, led by Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin, children raised by homosexual parents are dramatically more likely than peers raised by married heterosexual parents to suffer from a host of social problems.
Among them are strong tendencies, as adults, to exhibit poor impulse control; suffer from depression and thoughts of suicide; need mental health therapy; identify themselves as homosexual; choose cohabitation; be unfaithful to partners; contract sexually transmitted diseases; be sexually molested; have lower income levels; drink to get drunk; and smoke tobacco and marijuana.
The study of 2,988 people between the ages of 18 and 39, including 175 adults raised by lesbian mothers and 73 raised by gay fathers, marks the second-largest data sample ever used to examine the issue. The U.S. Census Bureau had a larger sample, but didn’t probe as deeply as the 40 measures Regnerus used, said Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family’s director of Global Family Formation Studies. In all, children raised by parents in same-sex relationships fared more poorly than their peers on 24 of those measures.
“All the other studies that have come out on how kids do in same-sex homes are all done by lesbian activist scholars,” Stanton noted. “They have found either there’s no difference between the two kinds of homes, or that the kids actually do better (in homosexual-led households).
“Regnerus’s study shows nothing could be further from the truth. It compares not just homosexual and heterosexual homes, but married intact biological families, divorced, single-parent and cohabiting families,” he added. “All the other studies have just lumped those together.”
In a second article published in the journal, Loren Marks, an associate professor at Louisiana State University, examines the shortcomings of a seminal brief on gay parenting from the American Psychological Association, which states that “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged” compared to peers raised in intact households with married parents.
“This is the kind of research Americans need to take a hard look at in the context of the ongoing efforts to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples,” said Focus on the Family President Jim Daly. “Scientific data doesn’t ‘hate.’ It can’t be a ‘bigot.’ While such words have been used against those of us who hold to a biblical view of God’s design for human sexuality, this study is impartial, unemotional and non-religious. It’s not a soldier in the ‘culture war,’ but research conducted at a prestigious university and published in a respected scientific journal. It reinforces a cultural truth on which public-policy decisions on how marriage is defined ought to be based: Moms and dads matter, and the best environment in which to raise children is a household headed by their married mom and dad.”
“It really is stark to see the contrast,” Stanton agreed. According to Regnerus’s analysis, “there’s only one thing where gay homes did better: Their kids are more likely to vote.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” by Mark Regnerus.