Social Science Research July 2012Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, has published a new study in the July issue of Social Science Research showing that children raised by homosexual parents have distinct disadvantages compared to those raised by their married mothers and fathers.

The Family Research Council calls this “the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted on this issue”.

A common problem has arisen in the debate surrounding gay marriage about children’s wellbeing: most studies showing the advantages of children raised by their married biological parents compared them to children of divorced or single parents, not homosexual parents; and most studies of the children of homosexual parents were done on anecdotal groups, failing to provide statistically viable or scientifically conclusive results.

In particular, Regnerus’ study finds overwhelming statistically significant evidence that children raised by their married mother and father

  • Are less likely to be on welfare (17% as opposed to 69% of children of lesbian mothers and 57% of children of gay fathers)
  • Have higher education attainment
  • Report more safety and security in their family
  • Are less likely to suffer from depression
  • Have been arrested less
  • Have fewer sexual partners
The study had fewer respondents with gay fathers than with lesbian mothers, but more statistically significant results showed that compared to children with lesbian mothers, children raised by their married mother and father
  • Are less likely to be currently cohabitating
  • Are more likely to be currently employed full-time
  • Are less likely to identify as other than entirely heterosexual
  • Are one-third as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabitating
  • Are one-tenth as likely to have been touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver
  • Are one-fourth as likely to have been physically forced to have sex against their will
  • Use marijuana less frequently
  • Smoke less frequently
  • Less frequently watch TV for long periods of time
  • Have less often plead guilty to a non-minor offense
The study sheds significant light on differences in sexuality. While in the past many have claimed children raised by homosexual parents are no more likely to to homosexual, this study finds that children of homosexual fathers are nearly three times as likely and children of lesbian mothers nearly four times as likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual. Children of lesbian mothers are 75% more likely and children of homosexual fathers are three times more likely to be currently in a same-sex romantic relationship.
 
The most disturbing results, however, are those related to sexual abuse. 
  • Children raised by a lesbian mother were ten times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver” (23%, vs. 2% for children of married biological parents), while those raised by a homosexual father were three times more likely (6%).
  • Nearly four times as many children of lesbian mothers (31%) and three times as many children of gay fathers (25%) reported they have “been physically forced” to have sex against their will (not necessarily in childhood), compared to children of married biological parents (8%).
Published alongside this study in Social Science Research was an article by Loren Marks evaluating the scientific viability of the studies cited by the American Psychological Association when they determined having homosexual parents was not harmful for children.
 
The Family Research Council attests “The articles by Marks and Regnerus have completely changed the playing field for debates about homosexual parents, ‘gay families,’ and same-sex ‘marriage’. The myths that children of homosexual parents are ‘no different’ from other children and suffer ‘no harm’ from being raised by homosexual parents have been shattered forever.

Read Regnerus’ full study in Social Science Research

Read the Family Research Council’s Issue Brief

Read Marks’ examination of the APA’s brief

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