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Carol Soelberg

You may not even know who Mark Regnerus is but to United Families International, he is a hero. We have waited almost two weeks to write about the vindication of Mark Regnerus, in the hope that we would be able to report that the major media outlets had given some level of coverage to this story. But still nothing from any major media! So, here is the story and we’re depending on YOU to help us spread the word!

Some of you may remember that Mark Regnerus is a University of Texas sociologist who, in June, released his study on the impact of same-sex relationships on children. But Regnerus’ findings didn’t mesh with the narrative that gay advocates and cultural elites have been crafting for almost a decade. He was immediately and ferociously attacked by gay advocates proclaiming him to be a “fraud” and his research as “bullsh–t.” A particular gay journalist led the charge insisting that Regnerus’ research was driven solely by “animosity towards gays.” Major media was quick to let the pubic know that this new study was thought to be bogus (here and here). The critics were so outspoken and persistent that the University of Texas felt forced to launch an inquiry into the allegations of scientific misconduct.

After hiring an independent consultant to monitor and “ensure that the inquiry was conducted appropriately and fairly,” the University of Texas concluded that a formal investigation was unnecessary and cleared Dr. Regnerus of the charges of unethical research and “scientific misconduct.”

Everything about this incident is disturbing.

It isn’t hard to imagine the effect this assault on academic freedom will have on researchers contemplating any future study on same-sex parenting (unless of course one assures that your study is structured to view gay parenting in a positive light!). The message to those of us in the general public is painfully similar: “think twice about making an utterance that doesn’t fall within the guidelines of the gay lobby.” Further, speak out or produce something that doesn’t extol same-sex partnering and parenting and all stops will be pulled out to undermine and silence you. Even those of us who have been in the pro-family trenches for decades were shocked at how viciously Dr. Regnerus was attacked.

 Why was there such a strong reaction to the new gay-parenting studies?

Gay parenting proponents have a lot riding on everyone buying into statements like the one by the American Psychological Association (APA) that “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” This statement has been repeated in the media and in court rooms and public policy forums across the country.

Major court rulings, such as the one that struck down California’s Prop 8, were heavily influenced by the supposed scientific research proclaiming that the kids who are reared in same-sex parent families “are going to be alright.” The determination that same-sex parenting does not produce the same outcomes as heterosexual parenting would be a major blow to gay advocacy and the push for same-sex marriage.

What’s in this new gay-parenting research?

Mark Regnerus Study

You can read Regnerus’ comments and synopsis of his study here, but here are some basic findings:

  • When compared with adults raised in married, mother-father families, adults raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.
  • Compared to children raised in married, mother-father families, children with mothers who ever had a relationship with another women, were significantly likely to be unemployed as adults, more likely to seek treatment for mental illness, and more likely to have engaged in unmarried sex.
  • When compared with children raised in married, mother-father families, children raised by same-sex couples suffered from greater risk of poverty, substance abuse and criminality.

You can find the entire Regnerus study here and see an interview with Dr. Regnerus here. The Washington Times, however, worked up a chart that gives a simplified version of some of the details:

Loren Marks Study

The research of Loren Marks, Louisiana State University, was released at approximately the same time as the Regnerus study. Dr. Marks’ work involved a methodological review of the 59 studies that were relied on by the APA [American Psychological Association] to make their widely-repeated statement: “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”

The Marks’ study, “Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American psychological association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting” showed that the science is far from settled. He concluded:

[N]ot one of the 59 studies referenced in the 2005 APA [American Psychological Association] Brief compares a large, random, representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random, representative sample of married parents and their children. The available data, which are drawn primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalizable claim either way. Such a statement would not be grounded in science. To make a generalizable claim, representative, large-sample studies are needed–many of them.

You can find a brief overview of the Marks’ research here. Over the years, objections to the numerous and faulty pro gay-parenting research studies have been raised, but as you might have guessed, those voices have been repeatedly drowned out. Seems this time that voice has finally been heard.

The irony is that the Regnerus’ and Marks’ studies have been called “poorly-structured,” “biased,” “fraudulent,” “agenda-driven,” and “advocacy funded,” when in reality those adjectives apply exactly to the research gay advocates have been using to bolster support for same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting and adoption.

Take Aways:

  • Supporters of same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption are highly motivated to send a signal to the public that the children being reared in same-sex homes “are alright.”
  • The pro-gay parenting studies are far from conclusive, certainly not of the quality to merit a statement that “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” Particularly when these types of statements are used to support rulings in court cases and in public policy decisions that have such far-reaching effects.
  • The science on gay-parenting is not settled and civil discourse on the subject is required.
  • Instability in family structure – any family structure – is a huge negative in terms of outcomes for children.
  • Decades of research has shown that children reared by their married biological parents have superior outcomes to any alternative family type.
  • Lastly, our children shouldn’t be treated as guinea pigs in some giant social experiment or used as props to help forward an ideology. They deserve better.

Gender expert Dale O’Leary points out:

“As more persons with SSA [same-sex attraction] acquire children, society will increasingly be pressured to ignore the problems caused by same-sex parenting — just as it ignores the problems caused by divorce — and join in the pretence that that having two mommies is just the same as having a mommy and a daddy. But no matter how many people praise “family diversity,” children being raised by parents with SSA will always know that it’s not the same, and someday they will resent how their needs have been sacrificed for the sake of a social experiment. In a sad irony, the more that cultural elites insist that there is nothing wrong with their situation, the more these children will feel guilty about resenting it, and this guilt will lead them to conclude that there must be something wrong with them.”

Conclusion

This article barely scratches the surface on this issue. To be able to fight the social and political pressure being applied by the gay-rights agenda, we must all be able to articulate the truth concerning the protection of children. There is so much social science evidence to support the historical reality that children do best being raised by their married biological parents. We invite you, even plead with you, take some time to click on the various links provided. Learn what you can about both positions. The United Families International Issues Guides are created to give you one stop resource on decades of research that supports the importance of a married mother and father to the rearing of children. We recommend “The Marriage Advantage” as a starting point.

Then be bold. Speak out when you hear inaccurate information being repeated. Marriage and becoming a parent is not primarily about meeting adult needs and desires. It is about rearing the next generation of honest, caring, educated, hard-working individuals. For the protection of our children and our society, learn to articulate how important the traditional family is in preparing a future generation of responsible citizens! 

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