Backers of Minn. marriage amendment use controversial parenting study
Conducted by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, the New Family Structures Study has been used by opponents of same-sex marriage to suggest that the children of same-sex couples fare poorly on a number of issues including relationships, abuse, and poverty.
But that’s not what the study actually says. Regnerus’ study compared children from families headed by married, heterosexual parents to children who were raised in families where one parent had a same-sex relationship at some point. The vast majority of the children whose parents had a same-sex relationship where either born out of wedlock or came from a “traditional family” that experienced a divorce. Critics say that comparison is unfair because it compares broken homes to married ones.
In fact, only two of the 2,988 people interviewed were raised by a same-sex couple for their entire childhoods. And only a small percentage of the children Regnerus coded as having gay parents said they had been raised in a same-sex household for more than a few years.
But groups opposed to same-sex marriage have been sidestepping those issues in order to make the point that same-sex couples do not make good parents, and by extension, should not be allowed to marry.
Adding to that controversy was the fact that the study was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation. Both are socially conservative groups with connections to the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage. NOM Chairman Emeritus Robert George sits on the board of the Bradley Foundation and is a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute. The Bradley Foundation also funded NOM in 2011.
Minnesota for Marriage, a NOM-backed grouped campaigning for the marriage amendment, released a video on last week as part of its Minnesota Marriage Minute series. In it, host Kalley Yanta cites “important new research” by Regnerus.
“There are very significant, highly negative outcome differences between those raised by a same-sex parent and those raised by their married parents,” she said. She went on to say: “On 25 of the 40 outcomes, young adults raised in a family structure that included a same-sex parent are worse off than those raised in an intact family with married parents.”
She said the study, along with other recent research, disproves the claims made by marriage equality advocates that there are “no differences” in outcomes for children in families headed by same-sex couples versus families headed by two married parents of the opposite sex.
“It is troubling that gay marriage activists have been attempting to redefine marriage using the now discredited claim that there are no differences for children raised by same-sex parents,” said Yanta. “The evidence shows that there are many major highly negative differences.”
In an interview soon after the study was published, Regnerus said of intact families headed by same-sex couples, “They’re just uncommon, and too small a group to detect statistically-significant differences, for sure. Future studies would ideally include more children from ‘planned’ gay or lesbian families, but their relative scarcity in the NFSS data suggests that their appearance in even much larger probability samples may remain infrequent for the foreseeable future.”
A day after Minnesota for Marriage released its video on the Regnerus’ research, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis touted the study its official puplication, The Catholic Spirit. The article was written by Jason Adkins, who serves as executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the official public policy arm of the Archdiocese. The conference is part of Minnesota for Marriage, along with NOM and the Minnesota Family Council.
“Most notably … the study found that young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems,” Adkins wrote. “The study thus makes doubtful the assertion of those seeking to redefine marriage that there are ‘no differences’ in outcomes between children raised by parents in same-sex relationships and those raised by a mom and dad.”
He added, “In fact, young adults raised by a parent in a same-sex relationship did not fare better on one single outcome measurement than those people raised by their intact, married parents.”
Adkins then tied the study to passage of the amendment: “The Marriage Protection Amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman that will appear on the November ballot is meant primarily to reaffirm the right of children to know and, to the extent possible, be cared for by the two people whose sexual union made them — a right recognized by even the United Nations.”
When the study was released early June, opponents of gay marriage quickly used it as evidence that children of same-sex couples fare poorly.
The study was promoted by the National Organization for Marriage as well as groups affiliated with the Witherspoon Institute, and was used by groups in several states that will have same-sex marriage on the ballot.
But even those with ties to National Organization for Marriage have reportedly questioned whether the study applies to intact, same-sex families. Douglas Allen, a Canadian economist, is on the board of the Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage.
Carlos Maza of Equality Matters reported that at a Ruth Institute conference in July, Allen praised aspects of Regnerus’ study but also told the audience:
“What’s not so good about it, well this is what he’s gotten beat up for. So he has a very wide definition of what it means to grow up in a same-sex household. ‘I grew up in an opposite-sex household, but my dad had an affair with another man when I was twelve,’ that counts as growing up in a same-sex household. A lot of people have said ‘no, that counts as him growing up in a dysfunctional household.’ And, you know, they’re probably right about that. So that’s the Achilles heel of this study, but he has been literally vilified in the blogosphere and all over the place. And of course, he admits this, he’s also unable to disentangle all of his effects.”
That the study was published at all has also been a point of controversy. Social Science Research, the scholarly journal where Regnerus’ study first appeared, conducted an audit of the peer review process and found it lacking. “Scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process,” read a draft of the audit obtained by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The auditor, Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, called the presentation of the data “extremely misleading” and questioned whether the paper should have ever been published in the first place.
Sherkat’s findings will be released in the November edition of Social Science Research.
More importantly, Andy, the study has nothing to do with marriage equality! NOTHING!!
Marriage equality does not change the custody of a single child.
Regardless of whether or not gays can marry, the same heterosexual couples are going to unite in the same marriages and crank out the same kids and sue for the same divorces that result in the same custody arrangements. For their part, gays will adopt the same children and possibly a few more.
In a true Christian congregation, Christians aren’t taghut to stick to their own race , however, they are encouraged not to become unequally yoked , meaning not to date someone who is not a Christian.There might be some legalistic morons who promote only dating within their race because in the old testament, God told the Israelites not to intermarry with the pagan cultures around them. This was solely (or at least mostly) to inhibit religious desertion by Israel.However, in modern, true Christianity, racial differences aren’t taghut.
The Regnerus study only appeared in publication through corrupt peer review, and the corruption involved the study’s funders. The peer reviewers let through scientific errors in the study, that no reputable journal would ever have published. Those scientific errors were very rapidly detected by experts in the field. The President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, has signed his name to a letter expressing concern that the study does not support the conclusions it offers. That letter was further signed by an additional 200+ Ph.D.s and M.D.s, including Dr. Kelly Raley, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Marriage and Family, the premiere scientific journal of family studies. Additionally, the American Sociological Association is poised to act, by filing amicus briefs in several court cases, saying that the Regnerus study does not support the conclusions it offers. Separately, a group of over 8 major professional associations, including the American Medical Association, filed a brief in the Golinski-DOMA case, analyzing the Regnerus study as methodologically unsound. The study was bought-and-paid-for anti-gay hate speech dressed up as a “study.”
Additionally, it has been said over and over how children of divorce (like myself, and, oh just about half the people I know) are harmed as a result. And yet, this has not prompted Minnesota for Marriage to promote a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “one man, one woman, for life” as state Sen. Goodwin (off the top of my head) proposed on the Senate floor last year in an effort to demonstrate how ridiculous this is. Of course, those who voted for this amendment rejected that language (and to clarify, she meant it in jest, not meant to pass). It really is ‘the gays’ that they are after, not preserving marriage.
Again, we don’t vote on marriages, whether it be limiting who marries who, how many times one gets married, whether or not children are ‘required’ as part of a marriage union, and so on. We just don’t vote on it. Grrrr.
The sample says nothing about committed same sex relationships! It talks about boyfriends, girlfriends, dates and one night stands. It says nothing about committed couples, frankly it is like comparing apples and spinach. It also has nothing to do with marriage equality as a majority of same sex couples choose not to have children in he first place!
Um….doesn’t this “study” seem to make an argument against single parent households or heterosexual parenting more than anything else?
I’m not sure how 2 out of nearly 3,000 people surveyed being same sex couples translates to – “See! Gays are bad parents!”
Mr. Birkey, Has the raw data yet been made available? Not that a sample size of two would be an adequate representation of a population, I am curious about the findings of the individuals who were actually raised in a same-sex household.
for it, the divorce proecss is difficult, painful and stressful. The negativity that comes with the divorce proecss can eat away at your health. You can and you must take baby steps to take care of
To each his own, and I would never deny people their own religion, but I really have trouble with some of these things… Are all these things really true about Romney? Does he see marriage for life and ever after?
male health plobrems. A man is as old or young arsenic, acts and feels. Some men in their 20s acting like old men. Several men in their sixties running marathons. One’sattitude and wisdom all his physical and mental well-being, how to determine age inert gas. Apart but love and commitment should not be passed through a filter of what might happen next? A person of any property, any astatine could be affected for example by a debilitating illness.If you are committed as partners and friends, you will stay with them if that happens, then I really do not see what age has to do with it.
May Yahweh bless Kalley Yanta for the noble work she is doing defending traditional marriage! Minnesota needs more people like Kalley Yanta who stand up for what is decent and right! And MN needs less people who stand for what Yahweh says is an Abomination! (Lev 18:22) — The Minnesota Marriage Amendment must pass or corrupt evil Judges will force same-sex marriage upon the State! Soon after that, good people who stand for traditional values will be thought of as “criminal” and promoters of “Hate Speech”! – Preachers don’t “preach hate” they preach love trying to keep Homosexuals out of Hell!