As a social scientist (Ph.D. from Stanford University) I was taught rigorous
methodology and how to separate valid science from biased work. At the same time
we looked at many family-related studies and it was evident that those on both
sides of the spectrum in the 1960s at Stanford, both liberals and conservatives
and those in between, determined from their research that the traditional family
led by an adult male and adult female and their dependent children was
distinctly better for the children than any other arrangement. I sorrow to see
that so many who do studies today ignore the need to neutralize bias and thus
come up with invalid, often called "politically correct" results.Homosexuals need to be treated with kindness and protected from
persecution. At the same time honest scientists, those careful to follow valid
scientific procedures properly, have concluded that the traditional nuclear
family is better for children than any other arrangement. The Regnerus study is
in this valid, ethical tradition.Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D.
@Voice of Reason"t was simply a ban on gays adopting children that are
not their own, which is the norm in America today. It would NOT have taken away
a gay parent's children, holy cow."It would have taken away
children from adoptive gay parents which qualifies as taking kids away from
parents. I should have specified that more clearly.
With so very few exceptions all gay children were born (in the past) to
hertosexual couples. If the home enviorment of a man and a women couldn't
effect a child being gay, how could gay parents have any effect on a child
either being gay or straight? A child is better off in a stable loving home,
regardless of the parents being straight or gay. I'm sure those who
questioned the study wondered what the purpose of this study was. Is this
ammunition for a straight parent to use in gaining custody of children when the
other parent is gay and can no longer remain in a marriage? Or an argument to
prevent gay couples from adopting children or maintaining custody of their own
children conceived by artificial insemination? (check out the waiting room at a
fertility clinic, a majority of the clients are gay couples) In all the studies
I've read over 30 years in medicine, the abstract indicates the purpose in
conducting the study along with what conclusions (hypothesis) were being tested.
It's hard to imagine the author conducting this study for any purpose other
than to condemn gay parents.
Voice of Reason, you're being dishonest. The study doesn't compare
intact, committed same-gendered partner households to married intact
opposite-gendered households. It compares anyone whose parent had even a random
same-sex encounter to married intact opposite-gendered households. Doesn't
it make sense that if a parent is gay and trying to make a straight marriage
work that there will be problems? The study is more indicative of what happens
to the children of alleged "ex-gay" people trying to be straight. No
matter how you or NOM and its related parties (the author of this article being
one of them) try to spin it, the study is flawed and claiming martyrdom as Ms
Erickson does, doesn't change that.
Why are conservatives so concerned/interested in/fascinated by other
people's private lives? Worry about your own.
DanO,Actually, that is exactly what the study has shown, at least in
a statistically significant sample group. Clearly, that doesn't mean - and
the study doesn't say - that ALL gay-raised children as worse off, only
that on average more are worse off in gay-raised households than in traditional
or non-gay households.
@ VOR: Huh? Where did I say anything about the encounters being non-romantic?
(Hint: If there is no romantic underpinning, there is no "sexual"
aspect to the encounter - same or otherwise. Hint 2: There are 3 dynamics -
straight, gay, and bi.)And, I'm sorry - but I have read enough
of your comments to know how you read things that aren't there into what is
clearly stated in order to make things fit your agenda...I seriously
fear the validity of any survey or study you have anything to do with
I applaud any research done in this area. Unfortunately, this research is
flawed. To be representative the study would have to compare married same sex
couples to married opposite sex couples. As we know, this would be impossible
because same sex marriage has not been legal long enough or widespread enough to
ensure a valid sample. Perhaps the researcher did have an agenda and did deserve
the ridicule from his peers. I have observed the same things the gayldsparent in
Nashville found, committed, gay parents raise emotionally healthy children
(although some might be a bit over indulged). Maybe "all you need is
love" is an accurate synopsis of what makes a happy child.
More honest inquiry would also evaluate the likelihood of children being in a
loving two paretn (mom/dad) environment. Someone earlier commented that
children should be with their own mom and dad and if that isn't available
then placed with a loving mom and dad. How realistic is that? I'm a
single mom of a child with special needs. I divorced when my child was a
toddler. Would you have forced me to stay with his father who was mentally
incapable of dealing with our situation? Subject my child to an alcoholic
parent and require me to take time away from my child to deal with a
dysfunctional adult too? What's next? Will we police families to make sure
that the mom and dad are truly loving? Let's do the best we can and focus
on setting up systems that support our children and our families (whatever
flavor) the best we can -- rather than judging families that have a different
Voice of Reason, the study still can't be used to say that children of
committed same-gendered couples are somehow worse off because the study
didn't study that. I also find it laughable that Erickson compares Regnerus
to Galileo. Considering is was the church that put Galileo on trial. Regnerus is
better compared to a religious "scholar" of the time arguing that the
earth was flat, despite true scientific evidence to the contrary.
Kalindra,So...you're saying the surveyors counted non-romantic
same-sex encounters as romantic? This is false. In reality, the survey was
designed quite well in its questions (I've read them) using inquiry design
previously used many times to ascertain orientation by being careful to only
include ROMANTIC same-sex encounters and relationships (from the period the
individual was newborn to age 18) and only then used it as indicative of a gay
parent. They knew the child would likely only know about it if it was a
significant and ongoing relationship; a one-time coffee with another man would
very likely have not been known to the child at all, and no child I know would
have called that "romantic". At any rate, if his/her dad was having
regular "romantic" coffees with other men, he was gay. Pure and simple.
Short of asking point-blank if their parents were gay - a big statistical no-no
that would have led to response-shaping - that's the best survey method to
determine sexual orientation while maintaining the study's randomness.Having conducted extensive survey design, the more I read the survey
instrument the more I was impressed.
This "study" asked respondents if, at any time from when they were born
until they turned 18, their father or mother had a same-sex encounter - it did not specify that the child had to be living with the parent when
the same-sex encounter took place - it did not define a minimum type
of same-sex encounter - it did not ask if the respondent knew about
it when it took place or found out about it when they were older - According to the criteria of this study, if your parents were divorced, you
were living with your mother, and your father bought coffee for another man, you
were raised in a same-sex household.Really? If we used
this same loose criteria for other aspects of someone's life, would it
still sound reasonable? Let's try with church - from the time
you were born until the time you turned 18, did your father or mother miss
church for any reason other than death or illness?They did?You were raised in an atheist household.Someone explain to me how
that question leading to that conclusion is reasonable - because that is what
this guy did.
@VORthis is by far and away the least credible study conducted on the
subject. There is a reason why the study is so far off what all the other
research on the subject found and its really not a grand conspiracy n the part
of all the other researchers.
atl134,The 2008 Arkansas Proposed Initiative 1 you're referring
to did not - repeat, did NOT - take away ANYONE'S children at all. It was
simply a ban on gays adopting children that are not their own, which is the norm
in America today. It would NOT have taken away a gay parent's children,
holy cow. In fact, only 12 states allow gay-cohabiting people to adopt
children, putting Arkansas in solidly mainstream company. And again: Arkansas
was not trying to take away gay people's children. Seriously, what a
blatantly dishonest scare tactic.And if you expect me to defend
every single word or "tweet" uttered by every single person out there
who has spoken on the subject, you're in for a surprise. I disagree with a
LOT of things said by other conservatives...how often do you disagree with the
monstrous amount of stunningly hateful speech spewed out by most gay activists
I am claiming just that, but do you really want to wait for that study? Why not
just look at the prison system.
@Voice of Reason"Nobody's talking about taking a gay
parent's children away from them. "Actually in 2008
Arkansas had a ballot initiative that would do just that, and the heard of the
Family Research Council (Brian Fischer) has tweeted that we need an underground
railroad for children of gay parents.
xscribe,Nobody's talking about "outlawing" gay
families. Nobody's talking about taking a gay parent's children away
from them. However, adopting children in the first place is another story
entirely. The idea that there are more children than two-parent households
available to take them is a myth; the reality is a 6 month to over 2 year
waiting period for adoptive parents, with an average cost of about $30,000.
There is literally no risk of children going unadopted if gays can't adopt;
the only reason to force gay adoption is political, i.e. to mainstream
homosexuality at the expense of child welfare.Also, you are
claiming, in a small single-paragraph post, that somehow you can immediately
find "one straight-raised kid testing just as poorly for every gay-raised
kid testing poorly", implying that there's no statistical difference
between the two groups. This study, far and away the most comprehensive and
rigorous study on the subject ever conducted, found the exact opposite. Well,
if you can really prove them wrong with a stinging methodological critique,
uncolored by political bias, then we're all waiting. I'll
get the popcorn.
@Roswel: Scientific proof for what? That children are more unstable in a
same-sex marriage? I will bet a lot of money that for every child reared in a
gay marriage that tests poorly by this person's criteria, that I can find
another child in a hetero marriage that tests the same or worse. Are we to find
which situation holds the most stability for children and outlaw the rest? That
would be the next good study: The poor with children; the homeless with
children; children with unstable parents who fight all the time. Time to deem
those couples unfit for marriage and to have children.
@cjb"When this isn't possible, children should be adopted
by a mother and father...., but children should not have to settle for
less to help make this a reality."--What about
children that wouldn't be adopted at all otherwise for whatever reasons?
They should settle for "less" (a loving, same-sex couple) or the
"more" of absolutely nobody?Gah, do you even stop to think?
Some on here have tried to criticize this report by claiming that it only
compared "stable straight marriages to offspring from broken
mixed-orientation relationships." This is not true. In fact, the study
examined children from multiple different family types - single-parent, married,
stable 2-parent, gay single parent, stable 2-gay parent, etc. And across the
board, children from gay-parented familes ended up worse off generally than
straight-parent households, regardless of marriage status. Overall, however,
the very worst was the broken gay parent households, and the very best were the
married heterosexual households.In the real non-ivory-tower world,
we've known for a very long time that the entire "no difference between
gay and straight parenting" myth was completely political in its origins,
and has always been based on a tiny handful of "studies" that would
normally have been thrown out of academic journals to the sounds of loud
laughter if they had been done the same way on other, less-PC subjects.But political pressure and fear tactics from gay activists have gone a long
way in manipulating research on the subject, especially considering social
science academia is an overwhelmingly leftist echo chamber.
Does the study compare the children of same-sex couples to children of unmarried
heterosexual couples? I think the data on that comparison would be interesting.
r.e. A Scientist: Good scientists can disagree without just flatly saying the
other's point of view is "absurd." Where is your evidence to back
up your claim? Your response sounds like it comes from someone who is insecure
in their own position. I didn't come up with my theories on my own. Other
good scientists also agree. I've studied human evolution for over 50 years
and my conclusions are not isolated in the scientific community. Other good
scientists agree with me--and some don't. What I stated was my opinion
based on my own reading and studying. I might be wrong but calling it
"absurd" reveals something uncomplimentary about your objectivity.
@roswellwhat is strangely predictable is that the right is clinging
to this one study conducted under very faulty study and ignoring the mountain of
research that clear refutes every claim made by the author of this one study.
@lost in Dcyou can publish and study you would like but if
your study is based on faulty research methods then you will be roundly
criticized and called out for your failure to follow basic research methods.
You cannot publish a study if it does not support PC dogma.Hutterite,I guess you didn’t read the article, let alone the
study. It didn’t say anything about who or what was married, it compared
same sex relationships with intact biological families.
Strange results from his research. I'm gay, my daughter is now 18 studying
forensic science as a paleontologist at the University, we are part of the LGBT
Community raising kids and none of us have seen this in any of our children.
What we have seen is kids who have grown up to be proud of who they are, get
into loving relationships, became productive citizens, active in politics and
human rights and helping others. So prove to me that his research wasn't
flawed and bias.
Hutterite, perhaps it would be worthwhile to figure out your definition of
'commitment'. You seem to have strong opinions about what does or
does not constitute marraige. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what
constitutes 'commitment', because it appears from this study that no
matter the failures of what constitutes marraige by God and our society
generally,it appears far better than those who feel otherwise. Perhaps
commitment to things and values that matter most are what helps people make
greater 'commitment.' Of course, if one is being honest, then no
matter your stance on marraige, one shouldn't be afraid of independent,
time honored methods for scientific research. Perhaps that is what is so
troubling. In a day and age of shallow thinking on a host of issues, it
isn't surprising that anyone that actually did solid research would be
castigated and maligned.
One could very well predict the comments on this article. Even when
'scientific proof' is cited, those for gay marriage, etc. are
unwilling to believe it. If the study had concluded otherwise, supporting the
children of gay marriage, there would not have been a peep of question from its
supporters. Ultimately, this is not about science, it is about your feelings on
a controversial topic, and truth be damned.
Of course at the heart of the issue is weather or not society as a whole
(government) has the right to determine who can have children and raise them.
Am I hearing this correctly that people (conservatives) are
actulling mulling over the idea of preventing gay parenthood? Preventing people
from raising thier own children? Yes gays are having children by a number of
methods. Having babies is easy rememeber. What definetly messes up
kids is their straight parents getting divorced.
JSB,There is absolutely ZERO scientific evidence to support your
The human species evolved as a heterosexual pair-bonding species. This evolution
occurred as the length of time it took for human offspring to develop into
mature adults increased. Those humans that came from the most stable
heterosexual pair-bonded parents developed into the healthier, more productive
adults. We shouldn't mess with biology to try to accomplish some kind of
sociological, feel good, politically correct goal that will inevitably lead to
more suffering, poorly adjusted children.
There have always been gay parents.... They just didn't tell anyone
including their spouces. What many see as the unfolding of society
is just people being honest.
Men and women both provide a unique and different type of nurturing for children
that the other gender cannot provide. A man and a woman together make a whole,
or a family unit. Without the nurturing of both a father and a mother a child
will lack the needed nurturing and training that is needed in life. This is not
always possible for various reasons. We have already seen that communities with
more fatherless homes have more crime, poverty, etc. The more fatherless or
motherless homes that we have the more society as a whole will erode. What
others do does affect me and society. No man is an island.
Ideally, children should be raised by their own mother and father.When this isn't possible, children should be adopted by a mother and
father.Gays do deserve to be treated with dignity, but children
should not have to settle for less to help make this a reality.
Irrespective of whether we approve or disapprove of gay marriage, we should let
the data speak. We cannot have a rational discussion without considering the
The more important question is, what is the relevance of this study (even if it
is valid) for the debate over the legalization of same sex marriage?And the answer is, it has very little relevance.There are a large
number of factors at work in creating better or worse, healthier or less healthy
environments for children, and as a matter of liberty, we do not regulate and
outlaw all those factors that are less optimal. Americans are protected in their
rights to live sub-optimal lives, to suffer from sub-optimal health and habits,
to be sub-optimal parents, and to raise sub-optimal children.And
that is assuming that this study has any degree of validity for these questions,
which is not the case as stated by the authors themselves.
Sounds like Erickson is right; "...we need more, not less,academic freedom,
honest inquiry and civil discourse."
Sorry to disappoint you Jenet Jacobs Erickson but documents recently obtained
via the Freedom Of Information Act verify that Regnerus Colluded with
Witherspoon Institute (the org that funded him).If the link fails to
open the webpage if you hand type it in your browser it will workhttp://bit.ly/QpVdUE
"Honest inquiry" is not occurring if one points -- as Ms. Erickson does
-- at the three writers of commentaries published beside the Regnerus study as
"proof" of the study's scientific validity, without disclosing that
those three commentary writers are non-topic-experts with conflicts of interest
with the study's chief funding agency, the Witherspoon Institute, whose W.
Bradford Wilcox also is on the editorial board of the journal that published
Regnerus and the commentaries, Elsevier's Social Science Research. The peer
reviewers also had similar conflicts of interest. This conflagration of
unethical science publication practices never would have occurred at a science
journal without a study's funder on its editorial board.
So how does any scientist do a fair, reliable study on this topic when every
study is going to be labled "anti-gay"?
Hellooo, your comment is exactly why Regnerus was so criticized by peers - that
the study would inevitably be mischaracterized as antigay, and that this outcome
was foreseeable and was the specific motive of the ideologues [Witherspoon
Inst.] who funded it.You not-unreasonably but wrongly conclude that
"it appears that those offspring 18 to 30 from same sex relationships are
not doing as well in the measures of the study as the 18 to 30 year old from
offspring of heterosexual relationships." This is exactly what
was NOT studied. What was compared was the offspring from stable straight
marriages to offspring from broken mixed-orientation relationships. Anyone
could tell you the proper comparison would be to offspring from stable gay
marriages. Regnerus acknowledged that this was the proper comparison, but
didn't do it because it would have been more expensive. This failure is
the reason why it was so widely criticized by his peers. He knew he didn't
do a proper scientific comparison, he knew it would be mischaracterized as
antigay, and he knew his conditional funding from ideological sponsors depended
on this improper comparison. Stable families are better than broken
dysfunctional homes. Duh!
Excellent article Mrs. Erickson. Thank you for the thoughtful commentary. We
should evaluate all science on its merits and not by political agendas and not
make any honest scientist recant under the bayonet of political correctness.
Excellent article Ms. Erickson the effort by academy to silence scientific
inquiry is truly a problem of our modern institutions. Hutterite appreciate
your opinion of course the study of which Ms. Erickson is commenting was an
attempt to do exactly what you suggest "before you can get too haughty about
the negative effects of homosexuals..... take a look at how heterosexuality is
doing with it." In this study, it appears that those off spring 18 to 30
from same sex relationships are not doing as well in the measures of the study
as the 18 to 30 year old from off spring of heterosexual relationships.
Important data and something that sociologist should be studying given the
current dynamics moving forward on making same sex marriage an equivalent.
Is the definition of marriage a 'grave and serious' matter to society?
How? My wife and I have signed the legal contract, but that isn't marriage.
Marriage is the ritual we chose to celebrate the contract, and the commitment we
make to one another thereafter. Both of those qualities are entirely personal to
us, and need not have anything to do with societal expectations or those of some
stuffy church. In fact, it can be well said that it's none of their
business. Besides, before you can get too haughty about the negative effects of
homosexuals being able to call themselves married, take a look at how
heterosexuality is doing with it. I don't see any harm in letting people
committed enough to one another that they will suffer abuse for it calling