New Findings On Same-Sex Parenting
Special Report - June 15, 2012
A major new national study finds “numerous, consistent differences” between the young adult children of homosexual parents, especially lesbian mothers, and young adults who were raised by their own married mothers and fathers. The findings are from the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), an ongoing, federally funded study led by sociologist Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin. The study is following a nationally random sample of young adults who were raised in a variety of family forms, including a large sample of young adults with parents who were involved in same-sex relationships. The first of several studies to come from the NFSS compared “how the young-adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic relationship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when compared with six other family-of-origin types.”
“Just how different are the adult children of men and women who pursue same-sex romantic (i.e., gay and lesbian) relationships, when evaluated using population-based estimates from a random sample? The answer, as might be expected, depends on to whom you compare them,” Regnerus writes in the study’s discussion section. “When compared with children who grew up in biologically (still) intact, mother father families, the children of women who reported a same-sex relationship look markedly different on numerous outcomes, including many that are obviously suboptimal (such as education, depression, employment status, or marijuana use).” Regnerus notes that children from married-parent families differ significantly from children from lesbian-mother families on 25 out of 40 outcomes in the study, and on 11 of 40 outcomes compared to children with a homosexual father.
Specifically, the study found that young adults whose mothers had a same-sex relationship with a woman were more likely than young adults from intact biological families (married mom and dad) to:
- Be unemployed at the time of the survey (28 percent vs. eight percent, respectively);
- Report being in counseling for depression, anxiety, relationship problems, etc. (19 percent vs. eight percent, respectively).
- Be open to homosexual relationships. For example, 61 percent of those raised by lesbian mothers identified as “entirely” heterosexual, compared to 90 percent of those raised by married biological parents. Additionally, the study found that “a greater share of daughters of lesbian mothers report being ‘not sexually attracted to either males or females’ than among any other family-structure groups.”
- To report sexual activity with another person other than their spouse/partner while married or cohabiting (40 percent of those raised by lesbian mothers, vs. 13 percent of those raised by married biological parents).
- To report some type of sexual abuse (23 percent of those raised by lesbian mothers vs. two percent of those raised by married biological parents).
The study also found key differences between young adults with homosexual fathers and those raised by their own married parents. Compared to those raised by a married mother and father, young adults with homosexual fathers reported less closeness to their biological mothers, and more depression, and were more likely to smoke or use drugs, and to report numerous sexual partners.
The findings from the NSFS run counter to previous studies of children of same-sex couples that purport to find little to no differences between the children of same-sex couples and those with married parents. These studies have been frequently used by homosexual activists and their allies to argue for the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” and to seek to alter existing family laws, including laws related to adoption.
Professor Regnerus acknowledges the differences between his study and many previous studies. “Why the divergence between the findings in this study and those from so many previous ones? The answer lies in part with the small or nonprobability samples so often relied upon in nearly all previous studiesthey have very likely underestimated the number and magnitude of real differences between the children of lesbian mothers (and to a lesser extent, gay fathers) and those raised in other types of households,” he writes. “..[T]he sample-selection bias problem in very many studies of gay and lesbian parenting is not incidental, but likely profound, rendering the ability of much past research to offer valid interpretations of average household experiences of children with a lesbian or gay parent suspect at best. Most snowball-sample-based research has, instead, shed light on above-average household experiences.”
Regnerus concludes that, “to claim that there are few meaningful statistical differences between the different groups evaluated here would be to state something that is empirically inaccurate.”
Problems With Same-Sex Parenting "Research" - March 3, 2012
Group Issues Parenting Guidelines - September 12, 2011
“Why Gender Matters to Parenting,” - FNC- Spring 2011
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