Children of Same-Sex Parents Fare Poorly
wisdom is that children of same-sex parents do as well as, or even better
than children from intact, two-parent married households. Many studies make
massively wrong according to a new, very large, thorough study published
this week by the journal Social Science Research. It was written by Mark
Regnerus, a scholar at the University of Texas. The New Family Structures
Study (NFSS) is a breakthrough report.
compares how young adult children, aged 18-39, of a parent who has had a
same-sex relationship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational
outcomes when compared with traditional and other families.
differences were between children of women who have had a lesbian
relationship – and those raised by still-married biological parents.
Fully 69% of
those with lesbian mothers were on welfare as children – four times the 17%
in intact families ever had that experience. In fact, 38% of the adult
children of lesbian mothers are currently on welfare vs. only 10% of those
with married parents. That’s the same 4-1 ratio.
Only 8% of
adult children from intact homes were unemployed when interviewed in 2011
vs. 28% with a lesbian parent.
shocking is that only 2% of those with married parents were ever touched
sexually by a parent or an adult – while 23% of those with a lesbian mother
had that experience! Golly, they are 11 times more apt to be molested by a
of the NFSS research was brilliant.
Most research on the
impact of gay parenting has relied on interviews with gay parents who are
from convenience samples. For example, the National Longitudinal Lesbian
Family Study conducted last year “recruited entirely from self-selection
from announcements posted at lesbian events, in women’s bookstores and in
lesbian newspapers in Boston, Washington and San Francisco.”
Such a sample is biased
toward including better educated, wealthier people who visit bookstores.
What about the less educated or less likely to be employed? They aren’t
interviewed. Of course, the children of these more affluent parents are
more apt to do well.
By comparison, NFSS
asked 3,000 young adults if either of their parents had a same-sex
relationship while they were growing up. Result: 175 reported their mother
was in a lesbian relationship and 73 said the same about their father.
That’s about 1.7%, a figure comparable to other studies. The sampling was
so carefully done that it included both those with listed phone numbers, and
those who only use cell phones (about half the total).
Only 23% said they had
spent at least 3 years in the same household with a romantic partner of
their mothers; an additional 57% did so for at least four months.
Among those with a
father in a gay relationship, less than 2% said they had spent at least 3
years in that household. These relationships are much more volatile and
short-lived, but neither compares with the stability of married heterosexual
Also, by interviewing
young adults of gay parents, we can see how the experience shaped their
adult lives. This is vastly more useful information than asking volunteer
same-sex parents if their kids are doing well. Of course, they say YES.
More results: three
times as many young adults of lesbians were currently cohabiting as those
with married parents (24% v. 9%). Even more young adults (31%) of divorced
parents were living together. Twice as many from intact homes were employed
full-time as those with lesbian mothers.
Only 5% of those with
married parents had considered suicide in the past year vs. 12% of those
with lesbian parents and 24% with homosexual fathers. That’s five times
those from intact homes. Similarly, a young adult of married parents is less
than half as likely to be in therapy “for a problem connected with anxiety,
depression, or relationships” – as those with gay or lesbian parents (8% v.
Only 12% of young adults
with married parents had ever cheated while married or cohabiting, but a big
40% of adult children of lesbians had done so.
Just 8% of those from
intact homes had ever been forced to have sex against their will vs. 31%
with lesbian parents and 25% of gay parents.
These are huge
They should be cited by
those opposed to same-sex marriages.
In the last two weeks, I
helped gather signatures for a statewide referendum on whether to reverse a
vote by the Maryland Legislature legalizing same-sex marriage.
I hope this column will
give fresh ammunition to those trying to protect traditional marriage – and
Copyright © 2012 Michael
J. McManus is a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers.