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Are gay relationships typically stable and monogamous?

ECM sent me this post from The Public Discourse which explains a bit more about the two studies on gay parenting that were in the news last week. Some people are complaining that the study did not use enough long-term gay relationships. This quote explains why that was not feasible.

Excerpt:

The [NFSS] study found that the children who were raised by a gay or lesbian parent as little as 15 years ago were usually conceived within a heterosexual marriage, which then underwent divorce or separation, leaving the child with a single parent. That parent then had at least one same-sex romantic relationship, sometimes outside of the child’s home, sometimes within it. To be more specific, among the respondents who said their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship, a minority, 23%, said they had spent at least three years living in the same household with both their mother and her romantic partner. Only 2 out of the 15,000 screened spent a span of 18 years with the same two mothers. Among those who said their father had had a same-sex relationship, 1.1% of children reported spending at least three years together with both men.

This strongly suggests that the parents’ same-sex relationships were often short-lived, a finding consistent with the broader research on elevated levels of instability among same-sex romantic partners. For example, a recent 2012 study of same-sex couples in Great Britain finds that gay and lesbian cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual couples.[3] A 2006 study of same sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that “divorce risk levels are considerably higher in same-sex marriages”[4] such that Swedish lesbian couples are more than three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual couples, and Swedish gay couples are 1.35 times more likely to divorce (net of controls). Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey, two of the most outspoken advocates for same-sex marriage in the U.S. academy, acknowledge that there is more instability among lesbian parents.[5]

Therefore, while critics of the NFSS have faulted it for lacking comparisons between children of IBFs and the children of committed and intact gay or lesbian couples, this was attempted, but was not feasible. Despite drawing from a large, representative sample of the U.S. population, and despite using screening tactics designed to boost the number of respondents who reported having had a parent in a same-sex relationship, a very small segment reported having been parented by the same two women or two men for a minimum of three years. Although there is much speculation that today there are large numbers of same-sex couples in the U.S. who are providing a stable, long-term parenting relationship for their children, no studies based upon large, random samples of the U.S. population have been published that show this to be true, and the above-cited studies of different nations show that on average, same-sex couple relationships are more short-lived than those of opposite-sex couples.

Despite the lack of empirical evidence for the claim that today there are large numbers of stable, two-parent gay households, for the last ten years, contemporary gay parenting research has nevertheless claimed that there are “no significant differences” (and some benefits) to being raised by same-sex parents. Therefore, Regnerus analyzed the new NFSS data to verify this claim. In the end, he found the claim to be more plausible when comparing the grown children of parents who had a same-sex relationship to the grown children of divorced, adopted, single-parented, or step-parented arrangements. The claim is false if one compares the grown children of a parent who had a same-sex relationship to those from IBFs. While the study has been criticized for “comparing apples to oranges,” Regnerus’s work studies the reality of the population of children who were raised by parents who had same-sex relationships.

I think this is an important point to make – and it’s consistent with the research from previous studies. People have been getting their opinions about what the gay lifestyle is really like for children from biased sources and popular culture. But we need to look at research to really know what is true. Any leftist Hollywood producer with money can make a TV show in which all the religious/conservative people look like devils, and all the gay couples are faithful, committed, monogamous and non-violent. But that’s not research – that’s television.To really make policies that protect children, we have to look at the facts.

The right way to think about gay marriage is to think about it as an extension of no-fault divorce. The same feminists and leftists who pushed for the legalization of no-fault divorce told us back then that the children would be fine, that children are resilient. No-fault divorce was a change in the definition of marriage. The leftists said that divorce would never become widespread, and that it would not harm children in any way. It was all a pack of lies. If the practices of the gay lifestyle become conflated with marriage, then marriage will come to denote relationships engaged in for “love” not children, such that unchastity, infidelity, increased domestic violence and frequent break-ups are incorporated back into the definition of marriage.

The American Psychological Association (APA) on lesbian and gay parenting

Here’s the abstract from a study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Social Science Research“.

Abstract:

In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued an official brief on lesbian and gay parenting. This brief included the assertion: “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” (p. 15). The present article closely examines this assertion and the 59 published studies cited by the APA to support it. Seven central questions address: (1) homogeneous sampling, (2) absence of comparison groups, (3) comparison group characteristics, (4) contradictory data, (5) the limited scope of children’s outcomes studied, (6) paucity of long-term outcome data, and (7) lack of APA-urged statistical power. The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted. Recommendations for future research are offered.

And some the findings:

  • 26 of 59 APA studies on same-sex parenting had no heterosexual comparison groups.
  • In comparison studies, single mothers were often used as the hetero comparison group.
  • No comparison study had the statistical power required to detect a small effect size.
  • Definitive claims were not substantiated by the 59 published studies.

In fact, the assertions of the APA are contradicted by a recently released large-scale study of gay and lesbian parenting.

Here are the facts from a study released last Sunday:

Straight vs. lesbian parenting (click for larger image)
Heterosexual vs. gay parenting (click for larger image)

This data is not surprising – we know that fatherless children do far worse than children who have a father present, even when all the factors like income and wealth and education are corrected for. Children need a mother and a father.

Is the APA unbiased?

Why would the APA make pronouncements that go against the scientific facts? Well, consider what a former President of the APA says about the APA:

A former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), who also introduced the motion to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in 1975, says that the APA has been taken over by “ultraliberals” beholden to the “gay rights movement,” who refuse to allow an open debate on reparative therapy for homosexuality.

Dr. Nicholas Cummings was President of the APA from 1979 to 1980, and also served as a member of the organization’s Council of Representatives. He served for years as Chief of Mental Health with the Kaiser-Permanente Health Maintenance Organization, and is the author of the book “Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm.”

In an interview with representatives of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) in late April, Cummings said that the organization’s problems began with the rejection of the Leona Tyler Principle, which required that all public positions of the APA be supported by scientific evidence.

The APA “started changing pretty drastically by the late 1980s,” said Cummings.  “By the mid 1990s, the Leona Tyler principle was absolutely forgotten, that political stances seemed to override any scientific results. Cherry-picking results became the mode. The gay rights movement sort of captured the APA.”

Cummings says that the movement for “diversity” in the APA, which he endorsed, had resulted in a lack of diversity regarding heterosexuals.

“If I had to choose now, I would see a need to form an organization that would recruit straight white males, which are underrepresented today in the APA,” he said.

Cummings says that he personally is not in opposition to the homosexual movement, including gay “marriage,” pointing out that he was the author of the motion to strike homosexuality from the APA’s list of mental illnesses. However, he is distressed at the loss of scientific objectivity at the organization.

More evidence against same-sex marriage is available in this research paper from the Family Research Council think tank, compiled from mainstream statistics like the Census Bureau and the Department of Justice.

Here is my comprehensive case against gay marriage.

Do children raised by gays and lesbians do as well as those of married parents?

Straight vs. lesbian parenting (click for larger image)
Straight vs. lesbian parenting (click for larger image)

ECM pointed out to me that some more information about the two studies that were just published in the mainstream science journal Social Science Research appeared in National Review.

Excerpt:

The mainstream academic journal Social Science Research has just published two articles that expose and challenge the schlock social science on gay parenting that has been uncritically embraced and propagated by so many people eager to advance the cause of gay marriage.

In “Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting,” LSU professor Loren Marks addresses a puzzle: On the one hand, studies based on “large, representative samples” have shown that “[c]hildren who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents.” On the other hand, “social science research with small convenience samples has repeatedly reported no significant differences between children from gay/lesbian households and heterosexual households.” (Pp. 735-736 (emphasis added).)

Marks’s essential answer to the puzzle is that the studies “with small convenience samples” are unreliable. Among other things:

1. “[S]ocial researchers examining same-sex parenting have repeatedly selected small, non-representative, homogeneous samples of privileged lesbian mothers to represent all same-sex parents.” (P. 739 (emphasis added).)

2. “[I]n selecting heterosexual comparison groups for their studies, many same-sex parenting researchers have not used marriage-based intact families as heterosexual representatives, but have instead used single mothers.” (P. 741 (emphasis added).) Despite the broad claims made on behalf of the research, “with rare exceptions, the research does not include studies comparing children raised by two-parent, same-sex couples with children raised by marriage-based, heterosexual couples. (P. 742.)

3. The American Psychological Association’s claim that “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged” fails to take account of the largest study that actually examined “children’s developmental outcomes.” (Pp. 742-743.)

4. The same-sex parenting studies have failed to address a range of outcomes for children that are usually the focus of national studies on children, including drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, sexual activity, and criminality. (Pp. 743-744.)

These new studies contradict the politically correct pronouncements of the APA. But evidence came out last week that they are “controlled” the gay rights movement, according to a former President of the APA, who is himself pro-same-sex-marriage.

We should not be redefining marriage if it is going to hurt vulnerable children. I made the case before from the research that same-sex unions are not the same as heterosexual married couples. And now we have direct evidence that the differences matter to children.

New study finds that children do best in traditional mother-father families

Straight vs. lesbian parenting (click for larger image)
Straight vs. lesbian parenting (click for larger image)

From the Washington Times. (H/T Jonathan)

Excerpt: (links removed)

Two studies released Sunday may act like brakes on popular social-science assertions that gay parents are the same as — or maybe better than — married, mother-father parents.

“The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in his study in Social Science Research.

Using a new, “gold standard” data set of nearly 3,000 randomly selected American young adults, Mr. Regnerus looked at their lives on 40 measures of social, emotional and relationship outcomes.

He found that, 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.

Findings such as these do not support claims that there are “no differences” between gay parenting and heterosexual, married parents, said Mr. Regnerus, who helped develop the New Family Structures Study at the university.

Instead, “children appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day,” he wrote.

Mr. Regnerus‘ study of 2,988 persons ages 18 to 39 — including 175 adults raised by lesbian mothers and 73 adults raised by gay fathers — marks the first research from the new dataset, which initially included some 15,000 persons.

The second study, also in Social Science Research, takes a critical look at the basis of an oft-cited American Psychological Association (APA) report on gay parenting.

The APA brief says, “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,” said Loren Marks, associate professor at the School of Human Ecology at Louisiana State University.

However, after looking at the 59 studies that undergird this assertion, “the jury is still out,” Mr. Marks said. “The lack of high-quality data leaves the most significant questions [about gay parenting] unaddressed and unanswered.”

Problems with the APA-cited studies were their tiny size; dependence on wealthy, white, well-educated lesbian mothers; and a failure to examine common outcomes for children, such as their education, employment and risks for poverty, criminality, early childbearing, substance abuse and suicide. Instead, the APA studies often looked at children’s gender-role behaviors, emotional functioning and sexual identity.

This story was also reported on Science Daily, with the predictable liberal spin.

Here is my previous post on the data that shows why same-sex unions are not good for raising children.

Liberal Democrat David Blankenhorn: Protecting marriage protects children

This is an article from 2008 that appeared in the liberal Los Angeles Times. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

I’m a liberal Democrat. And I do not favor same-sex marriage. Do those positions sound contradictory? To me, they fit together.

[…]Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood — biological, social and legal — into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other.

[…]Marriage is society’s most pro-child institution. In 2002 — just moments before it became highly unfashionable to say so — a team of researchers from Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center, reported that “family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.”

All our scholarly instruments seem to agree: For healthy development, what a child needs more than anything else is the mother and father who together made the child, who love the child and love each other.

For these reasons, children have the right, insofar as society can make it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. The foundational human rights document in the world today regarding children, the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically guarantees children this right. The last time I checked, liberals like me were supposed to be in favor of internationally recognized human rights, particularly concerning children, who are typically society’s most voiceless and vulnerable group. Or have I now said something I shouldn’t?

Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him. Every single one. Moreover, losing that right will not be a consequence of something that at least most of us view as tragic, such as a marriage that didn’t last, or an unexpected pregnancy where the father-to-be has no intention of sticking around. On the contrary, in the case of same-sex marriage and the children of those unions, it will be explained to everyone, including the children, that something wonderful has happened!

I am not a fan of David Blankenhorn at all, but he’s right on this point. This is the argument that motivates most pro-marriage activists, although we have others. I think it’s important for people to see that people who want to preserve the traditional definition of marriage are not anti-gay, they are pro-child. We want children to grow up with mothers and fathers who have every incentive to care for them.