A groundbreaking study reveals that adult children of homosexual and lesbian parents experience far greater negative social, economic and emotional outcomes than children raised within intact biological families. The quality of University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus’ study highlights the deficiencies of previous studies that homosexual advocates have relied on to grant same-sex couples a right to marry and adopt children.
“The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” said Regnerus in his study published in Social Science Research.
Regnerus’ comprehensive study examines nearly 3,000 adult children from eight different family structures and evaluates them within 40 social and emotional categories. The results reveal that children who remain with intact biological families were better educated, experienced greater mental and physical health, less drug experimentation, less criminal activity and reported overall higher levels of happiness.
The greatest negative outcomes were found among children of lesbian mothers. This contradicts defective studies popularized by the media claiming children fare as well, or better, with lesbian mothers. Regnerus’ study showed negative outcomes for these adult children in 25 of 40 categories including far higher rates of sexual assault (23% of children with lesbian mothers were touched sexually by a parent or adult, in contrast to 2% raised by married parents), poorer physical health, increased depression, increased marijuana use and higher unemployment (69% of children from lesbian households were on welfare, compared to 17% of those with married parents).
Regnerus’ study debunks an often-cited 2005 American Psychological Association (APA) brief that concluded, “[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”
In contrast to Regnerus, previous studies compared children of homosexual parents to children of stepfamilies and single parents. Regnerus also relies solely on information directly from adult children rather than opinions from their parents.
A second new study confirms the studies touted by the APA are unreliable. Loren Marks, an associate professor at Louisiana State University, found the APA’s studies had limited data and focused on gender roles and sexual identities. They neglected to examine the children’s education outcomes, employment, risk of substance abuse, criminal behavior or suicide.
The discredited APA-endorsed studies have been used in attempts to impact international legal decisions.
Amicus briefs submitted in E.B. v. France in the European Court of Human Rights defended adoption rights for same sex couples citing APA studies with claims that no objective scientific evidence exists to justify “different treatment of same sex couples who wish to adopt because (to the knowledge of FIDH, ILGA-Europe, BAAF and APGL) all reputable scientific studies have shown that the children of lesbian and gay parents are no more likely to suffer from emotional or other problems than the children of heterosexual parents.”
In the case of Karen Atala and Daughters v. Chile in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), an amicus brief defending lesbian parents who lost custody of their children noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics “recognizes that a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.”
How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study
Mark Regnerus (Department of Sociology and Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)
The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is a social-science data-collection project that fielded a survey to a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. In this debut article of the NFSS, I compare 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. The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents. The results are typically robust in multivariate contexts as well, suggesting far greater diversity in lesbian-parent household experiences than convenience-sample studies of lesbian families have revealed. The NFSS proves to be an illuminating, versatile dataset that can assist family scholars in understanding the long reach of family structure and transitions.
Download the article here.
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