Study: Children fare better in traditional mom-dad families

Washington Post 10 June 2012
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.

New Studies Challenge Established Views About Development of Children Raised by Gay or Lesbian Parents
Science Daily 10 June 2012

READ Media Release from University of Texas
READ Full Study

In a stunning side-by-side comparison, the Washington Times highlighted these discrepancies (and more) in childhood experiences:

17% of those raised with married parents were on welfare, compared to 69% of those in lesbian homes
5% of those raised with married parents thought about suicide, compared to 12% of those in lesbian homes
90% of those raised with married parents are heterosexual, compared to 61% of those in lesbian homes
2% of those raised with married parents were touched sexually by a parent or other adult, compared to 23% of those in lesbian homes
8% of those raised with married parents have a sexually transmitted infection, compared to 20% of those in lesbian homes