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Eric Ethington Headshot

Same-Sex Parenting Study Already Proven Flawed

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Needless to say, I was shocked the other morning when I opened the Deseret News and saw an article titled "Studies Challenge Widely Held Assumptions About Same Sex Parenting." The shock shifted to outrage as I actually looked at the study myself and found it glaring with major flaws and bias.

Every major and credible study performed in the last 20 years has shown, time and again, through clinical research, solid data, and unbiased conclusions, that the children of same-sex parents are just as likely to be normal, happy adults as the children of opposite-sex couples. They're no more or less likely to use drugs, no more or less likely to graduate from high school and attend college, and, perhaps most interestingly, no more or less likely to be gay themselves.

So why would one single research study fly in the face of every other study that has been performed? Simple: It doesn't. The erroneous conclusions drawn by a biased researcher in no way accurately reflect the data obtained.

The study performed by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas bases its sample on children who identify themselves as having a parent who has had a romantic relationship with a member of the same sex, then compares them with children of opposite-sex couples who raised the child together. There is absolutely zero consideration given to the length of time the romantic relationship lasted, whether or not the child was raised by a same-sex couple or by a single parent, and, perhaps most notably, no consideration of other factors in the child's life, such as family drug abuse, stability of structure, step-parents, or divorce.

To compare such a limited sample to long-term, committed relationships and call it apples to apples isn't just irresponsible; it moves into the realm of dangerous, as anti-gay attack groups will seize upon the research, ignore its flaws, and use it as a weapon against families with same-sex parents who are simply trying to live their lives.

However, it's possible that those outcomes were actually the intent of the study's author, Mark Regnerus. Any research study, to be considered valid, must be performed free of assumptions or personal bias; otherwise, the results of such a study can become quickly influenced or altered to match what the researcher wants it to conclude. Mr. Regnerus has a long, sad history of anti-gay preachings, including an op-ed in The New York Times, attacks on a Pew study, and speeches at Bryan College (another article here), all showing this man's heavy anti-gay leanings and immediately revealing that his so-called "study" shows nothing more than what he had predetermined it would show. (Thanks to The New Civil Rights Movement for the links.)

By contrast, all credible research over the past 20 years has shown conclusively that children of same-sex couples perform at the same rates as children of opposite-sex couples. This was accomplished through strong, unchallengeable research that compares children of single parents to children of other single parents, long-term couples to long-term couples, and comparable home lives.

Science is, by nature, unbiased, honest, and fact-driven. To call Regnerus' work "science" is just laughable -- and shame on the Deseret News for treating it as such without giving any thought to the many, many flaws in the study.

If you're interested, Box Turtle Bulletin has a copy of the full study, as well as a much more comprehensive breakdown of the other mistakes, errors, and flaws. You can see it here.