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Gay Risk Factors (New Nfss Study): Children From Intact, Biological Families Outperform Those Raised In Same-Sex Relationships


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Conventional 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 that assertion.

It is 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, or NFSS, is a breakthrough report.

Regnerus 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.

The biggest differences were between children of women who have had a lesbian relationship – and those raised by still-married biological parents.

Fully 69 percent of those with lesbian mothers were on welfare as children – four times the 17 percent in intact families ever had that experience. In fact, 38 percent of the adult children of lesbian mothers are currently on welfare versus only 10 percent of those with married parents. That’s the same 4-1 ratio.

Only 8 percent of adult children from intact homes were unemployed when interviewed in 2011 versus 28 percent with a lesbian parent.

What’s most shocking is that only two people of those with married parents were ever touched sexually by a parent or an adult – while 23 percent of those with a lesbian mother had that experience! Golly, they are 11 times more apt to be molested!

The design of the NFSS research was brilliant.

Most research on the impact of homosexual parenting has relied on interviews with same-sex 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 homosexual relationship, and 73 said the same about their father. That’s about 1.7 percent, 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 percent said they had spent at least three years in the same household with a romantic partner of their mother; an additional 57 percent did so for at least four months.

Among those with a father in a homosexual relationship, fewer than 2 percent said they had spent at least three years in that household. These relationships are much more volatile and short lived, but neither compares with the stability of married heterosexual parents.

Also, by interviewing young adults of homosexual 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 percent versus 9 percent). Even more young adults (31 percent) of divorced parents were living together. Twice as many from intact homes were employed full time as those with lesbian mothers.

Only 5 percent of those with married parents had considered suicide in the past year versus 12 percent of those with lesbian parents and 24 percent 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 homosexual parents (8 percent versus 19 percent).

Only 12 percent of young adults with married parents had ever cheated while married or cohabiting, but a big 40 percent of adult children of lesbians had done so.

Just 8 percent of those from intact homes had ever been forced to have sex against their will versus 31 percent with lesbian parents and 25 percent of “gay” parents.

My 2 dads: Childhood not so 'happy and gay'

Another good article:

Despite the lack of empirical evidence for the claim that today there are large numbers of stable, two-parent gay households, for the last ten years, contemporary gay parenting research has nevertheless claimed that there are “no significant differences” (and some benefits) to being raised by same-sex parents. Therefore, Regnerus analyzed the new NFSS data to verify this claim. In the end, he found the claim to be more plausible when comparing the grown children of parents who had a same-sex relationship to the grown children of divorced, adopted, single-parented, or step-parented arrangements. The data suggest that the claim is false if one compares the grown children of a parent who had a same-sex relationship to those from IBFs [intact Biological Familes]. While the study has been criticized for “comparing apples to oranges,” Regnerus’s work studies the reality of the population of children who were raised by parents who had same-sex relationships. As the next sections illustrate, there were clear and, in most cases, very unfortunate differences between the children of parents who had a same-sex relationship and those from biological families of still-married parents.

.......................

However, as early as 2001, social scientists working on sexual orientation and parenting began to claim just that, that there were not as many differences as sociologists would expect between outcomes for children in same-sex versus heterosexual unions, and that the differences were not negative, but favorable.17 Since then, an increase in gay parenting research over the last decade has made similar claims, so that the emergent message from social scientists working in gay parenting has gone in a different direction, to allege that there are no differences in child outcomes—and some advantages—to being raised by parents with same-sex behavior.18

By challenging these claims, the Regnerus paper, as well as the Marks paper summarized earlier, is consistent with the consensus that existed at the turn of the millennium: to be raised by an intact biological family presents clear advantages for children over other forms of parenting. In particular, the NFSS provides evidence that previous generations of social scientists were unable to gather--evidence suggesting that children from intact, biological families also outperform peers who were raised in homes of a parent who had same-sex relationships. Therefore, these two new studies reaffirm—and strengthen—the conviction that the gold standard for raising children is still the intact, biological family.19

http://www.familystructurestudies.com/summary

This is not much different from the other data I've posted previously spanning the 1970's to 2002 or thereabouts. This also makes sense now; to know that many of the studies for the last decade have been biased towards favoring homosexuality and not actual science.

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Seems these kinds of studies might be of minimal use since sustained, long-term same-sex relationships are a fairly new phenomena. 18-39 year olds who had a parent involved in a same-sex relationship probably come from a broken home where a spouse cheated. A fair comparison would be of these children with children from all other broken homes.

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I would echo what Mark says. What is being stated or suggested in these studies makes me suspicious that the study is biased and is being generated by the same reparative therapy/anti-gay marriage groups that have previously quoted quacks like Paul Cameron.

I note that Focus on the Family is touting this study and has made the following statement: "This first article from Professor Mark Regnerus’ (Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin) New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is published in Social Science Research. It is accompanied by published responses from mainstream sociologists, which while critical of a few important points – as academics always are - they are generally in praise of his methodology as well as his unique and needed ground-breaking contribution to the literature on the topic of same-sex parenting. This is key and will go far to rebut the activist’s severe, but largely base-less criticisms. [emphasis mine]

This study is not passing my smell test.

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I would echo what Mark says. What is being stated or suggested in these studies makes me suspicious that the study is biased and is being generated by the same reparative therapy/anti-gay marriage groups that have previously quoted quacks like Paul Cameron.

I note that Focus on the Family is touting this study and has made the following statement: "This first article from Professor Mark Regnerus’ (Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin) New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is published in Social Science Research. It is accompanied by published responses from mainstream sociologists, which while critical of a few important points – as academics always are - they are generally in praise of his methodology as well as his unique and needed ground-breaking contribution to the literature on the topic of same-sex parenting. This is key and will go far to rebut the activist’s severe, but largely base-less criticisms. [emphasis mine]

This study is not passing my smell test.

Your bolded parts don't seem too shifty to me. It's true that in academics there is never 100% consensus. Plus, it's usually a good sign when a paper also publishes opinions that are critical or disagree.

Not that there might not be other issues with the findings, but the bolded part above seems the least of the problems.

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Your bolded parts don't seem too shifty to me. It's true that in academics there is never 100% consensus. Plus, it's usually a good sign when a paper also publishes opinions that are critical or disagree.

Not that there might not be other issues with the findings, but the bolded part above seems the least of the problems.

The bolded portions suggest to me that mainstream sociologists are already poking holes in the study. Studies are only as good as their methodology. While it is true that academics often do not reach 100% consensus, the fact that Focus on the Family is even acknowledging that this study is not fitting in with the views of mainstream academics makes me believe that there are problems with the sampling and/or other aspects of methodology.

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The bolded portions suggest to me that mainstream sociologists are already poking holes in the study. Studies are only as good as their methodology. While it is true that academics often do not reach 100% consensus, the fact that Focus on the Family is even acknowledging that this study is not fitting in with the views of mainstream academics makes me believe that there are problems with the sampling and/or other aspects of methodology.

It would be interesting to know what "important points" the sociologists disagree with.

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Your bolded parts don't seem too shifty to me. It's true that in academics there is never 100% consensus. Plus, it's usually a good sign when a paper also publishes opinions that are critical or disagree.

Not that there might not be other issues with the findings, but the bolded part above seems the least of the problems.

The bolded portions suggest to me that mainstream sociologists are already poking holes in the study. Studies are only as good as their methodology. While it is true that academics often do not reach 100% consensus, the fact that Focus on the Family is even acknowledging that this study is not fitting in with the views of mainstream academics makes me believe that there are problems with the sampling and/or other aspects of methodology

Seems to me that RobertAC might be a little over enamored of bolding:

[mainstream sociologists] - they are generally in praise of his methodology as well as his unique and needed ground-breaking contribution to the literature on the topic of same-sex parenting
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I would echo what Mark says. What is being stated or suggested in these studies makes me suspicious that the study is biased and is being generated by the same reparative therapy/anti-gay marriage groups that have previously quoted quacks like Paul Cameron.

I note that Focus on the Family is touting this study and has made the following statement: "This first article from Professor Mark Regnerus’ (Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin) New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is published in Social Science Research. It is accompanied by published responses from mainstream sociologists, which while critical of a few important points – as academics always are - they are generally in praise of his methodology as well as his unique and needed ground-breaking contribution to the literature on the topic of same-sex parenting. This is key and will go far to rebut the activist’s severe, but largely base-less criticisms. [emphasis mine]

This study is not passing my smell test.

I am not sure why you are posting this study now. It was published last June and widely discredited because of the way the study was structured. It has LITTLE to do with gay parents. There is a good article in the New Yorker that gives information on why this study is completely flawed.

The University of Texas is conducting an investigation on the author if this study

A panel of UT professors is conducting the inquiry, and the process will be completed within 60 days of the complaint, said Gary Susswein, a UT spokesman. Ultimately, if a university investigation finds that Regnerus' work constitutes scientific misconduct, Provost Steven Leslie would decide how the administration will proceed, Susswein said.

Among the study's critics is UT sociology professor Debra Umberson.

"Regnerus' study is bad science. Among other errors, he made egregious yet strategic decisions in selecting particular groups for comparison," Umberson and three colleagues wrote in a June 26 editorial on The Huffington Post

Five UT faculty members also signed a letter, along with 200 scholars at multiple universities, to the editor of Social Science Research, James Wright, pointing out what they said were flaws in Regnerus' methodology and saying the journal's review process took five weeks, when most take between two and three months.

Mark Regnerus Admits His 'Family Sturctures' Study Wasn't About Gay Parenting

REGNERUS: I got taken to task for leaning on young adults’ assessments of their parents’ relationships. I didn’t ask them whether they thought their mom was a lesbian or if their dad was gay. Because, in part, self-identity is a different kind of thing than behavior, and lot of people weren’t “out” in that era. I think we can all think of moms and dads when we were growing up that we either knew or suspected were gay or lesbian, but never “came out of the closet,” so to speak. So, I didn’t want to make the assumption that these young adults would identify their parents as gay or lesbian, so I kept the focus on relationship behavior. [...]

And when pushed, a lot of people who were critics of mine will say: “Yeah, we know that, obviously, family structure matters,” and then they’ll complain, “Why didn’t you find many stably coupled lesbians?” Well, they just were not that common in the nationally representative population. There were two cases where they said the mom and her partner lived together for 18 years. There was another several who lived together for 15 or 13 years. So, stability in the sense of long-term was not common. And frankly, it’s not all that common among heterosexual population. I take pains in the study to say this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents are inherently bad. [...]

I’d be more careful about the language I used to describe people whose parents had same-sex relationships. I said “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” when in fact, I don’t know about their sexual orientation; I do know about their same-sex relationship behavior. But as far as the findings themselves, I stand behind them.

It is no surprise that this study does not pass the smell test. It was set up to show something that some people desperately need to show even if it is a false assumption.

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I'm not surprised California Boy. From health issues to the existence of ancient aliens, I tend to trust conclusions from mainstream studies. My understanding is that such studies tend to show no significant difference in a child's well-being between those raised by heterosexual or homosexual parents.

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I tend to trust conclusions from mainstream studies

The NFSS is a mainstream study.

It is no surprise that this study does not pass the smell test. It was set up to show something that some people desperately need to show even if it is a false assumption

There is no evidence of that. One can see your conclusion is false simply by reading the non cherry picked (unbolded) portions of your quotes.

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Thanks for the study.

You're welcome!

I'm still waiting on a study by the Anna Braun, a German neuroscientist, who's testing same-sex parentage on rhodents. She already found that single motherhood results in children connecting 30% fewer synapses.

You know it's interesting how same sex parenting is turning out to be just as bad or worse for children as those from broken homes.

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I am not sure why you are posting this study now. It was published last June and widely discredited because of the way the study was structured. It has LITTLE to do with gay parents. There is a good article in the New Yorker that gives information on why this study is completely flawed.

The University of Texas is conducting an investigation on the author if this study

I wonder if the New Yorker will update it's information since the inquiry panel, after seizing Regnerus' computers and emails, found the study to conform with University standards and they now stand by the professor.

Aug. 29, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has determined that no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research.

As required by its Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, the university conducted an inquiry to determine whether the accusations made by writer Scott Rose had merit and warranted a formal investigation. After consulting with a four-memberadvisory panel composed of senior university faculty members, the Office of the Vice President for Research concluded in a report on Aug. 24 that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.

Provost and Executive Vice President Steven Leslie accepted the report on Tuesday and deemed the matter closed from an institutional perspective.

As part of the inquiry, the university hired Dr. Alan Price to ensure that the inquiry was conducted appropriately and fairly. Price, a private consultant, is former associate director of the Office of Research Integrity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Price found that the inquiry was handled in a manner consistent with university policy and indicated the process was “also consistent with federal regulatory requirements of inquiries into research misconduct.

The allegations raised by Rose fall under the university’s definition of scientific misconduct, which states, in part, that “ordinary errors, good faith differences in interpretations or judgments of data, scholarly or political disagreements, good faith personal or professional opinions, or private moral or ethical behavior or views are not misconduct.”

As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large. The university expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/08/29/regnerus_scientific_misconduct_inquiry_completed/

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You're welcome!

You know it's interesting how same sex parenting is turning out to be just as bad or worse for children as those from broken homes.

I guess I don't follow. How does a German neuroscientist, testing on rats, make a finding that children raised by single mothers have 30% less brain synapses than children raised is two parent families? Along with methodology, conclusions have to be reasonable. This is a classic example of a nonsequitur. It is like saying "We have conducted tests on cats, and we have determined that children raised in Mormon households have 30% greater chance of having chronic foot fungus than children raised in non-Mormon households."

Assuming that Hamilton is accurately describing Anna Braun's research, I am pretty sure that Anna Braun is a quack.

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I guess I don't follow. How does a German neuroscientist, testing on rats, make a finding that children raised by single mothers have 30% less brain synapses than children raised is two parent families? Along with methodology, conclusions have to be reasonable. This is a classic example of a nonsequitur. It is like saying "We have conducted tests on cats, and we have determined that children raised in Mormon households have 30% greater chance of having chronic foot fungus than children raised in non-Mormon households."

Assuming that Hamilton is accurately describing Anna Braun's research, I am pretty sure that Anna Braun is a quack.

Found this: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive//ldn/2009/oct/09102801

The wiring between certain brain regions in the degus is very similar to that in humans. "So on that level," says Dr. Braun, "we can assume that what happens in the animal's brain when it's raised in an impoverished environment ... should be very similar to what happens in our children's brain."

Other researchers have found similar results in different animals. Xia Zhang of the University of Ottawa and his colleagues in China have found that voles separated from their fathers exhibited more anxious behavior and were less social than those who were not separated. Their study was published in July in the journal Behavioral Processes.

Such neurological research backs a host of sociological studies that have tracked the negative developmental effects of single-parent households.

For instance, a 2004 study in the Journal of Research on Adolescence indicated that growing up without a father was associated with higher odds of incarceration later in life, even after controlling for other factors. Those who grew up in households without ever experiencing the presence of a father tended to have the highest odds of incarceration.

Similarly, a 2006 study in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage indicated that adolescents living in single-parent families were more likely to report depressive tendencies and use of illegal drugs when compared to those living in families with two biological parents.

Approximately 25% of the children living in the US live with only one parent, according to a 2008 press release by the United States Census Bureau.

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Oooooh! massively wrong...according to a very LARGE study. Well, that says it all. Who can argue with a LARGE study?

Well, clearly YOU can't.

The principle is, if one can't argue with the message, one must ridicule it.

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I wonder if the New Yorker will update it's information since the inquiry panel, after seizing Regnerus' computers and emails, found the study to conform with University standards and they now stand by the professor.

It is clear that you so desperately want this study to make the claim that gay parents make crapy parents that you aren't even willing to understand how this study choose subjects to enter into it's statistical analysis. You completely ignore the comments by the author of the subject himself who said this study does not study stable families with two gay parents.

Once again, this is what REGNERUS, the author of the study said HIMSELF about his own study.

I said “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” when in fact, I don’t know about their sexual orientation.

I frankly find your prejudice bordering on being obsessive. Does it somehow help you justify your unfounded views of what it means to be a gay parent? Why are you so desperate for this flawed study to paint a false picture? Yet you have no problem dismissing numerous credible studies over decades that have found virtually no behavioral difference between gay parents and straight parents. Can you tell I have a real problem with people that are so anxious to dump on gay parents that they are not willing to look at truth, but would rather leap to conclusions that even the author of the study is unable to do. What a shame.

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california boy,

You may not be aware, but in fact Regnerus was cleared of all wrong-doing charges. He also just recently published a follow-up piece discussing the most common critiques of his study. The journal also published numerous other replies to these critiques.

By "numerous credible studies over decades" are you talking about the self-selected sample studies of upper-class white mothers self-reporting on raising their children?

The Regnerus study is a breakthrough because it uses a large (hence, unlike many other studies, statistically reliable) and random (hence, unlike other studies, not prone to errors of self-selection by the politically motivated, etc...) sample of children-turned-adults (again, unlike many studies, who have the parents report, rather than the children), who report on their own experiences rather than having a parent report. True, it doesn't discriminate between parents who are solely attracted to opposite genders, nor does it discriminate on how said parents classify their sexual orientation. Rather, it discriminates on the experience of the child-turned-adult, and whether they were aware of their parents ever having a same-sex relationship. To make this distinction clear, Regnerus (in his most recent article) changed the terminology he used to take this critique into account.

But, the important thing is that by that measure said children faired very poorly.

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california boy,

You may not be aware, but in fact Regnerus was cleared of all wrong-doing charges. He also just recently published a follow-up piece discussing the most common critiques of his study. The journal also published numerous other replies to these critiques.

By "numerous credible studies over decades" are you talking about the self-selected sample studies of upper-class white mothers self-reporting on raising their children?

The Regnerus study is a breakthrough because it uses a large (hence, unlike many other studies, statistically reliable) and random (hence, unlike other studies, not prone to errors of self-selection by the politically motivated, etc...) sample of children-turned-adults (again, unlike many studies, who have the parents report, rather than the children), who report on their own experiences rather than having a parent report. True, it doesn't discriminate between parents who are solely attracted to opposite genders, nor does it discriminate on how said parents classify their sexual orientation. Rather, it discriminates on the experience of the child-turned-adult, and whether they were aware of their parents ever having a same-sex relationship. To make this distinction clear, Regnerus (in his most recent article) changed the terminology he used to take this critique into account.

But, the important thing is that by that measure said children faired very poorly.

I don't think there is a reasonable person in this country that will argue that having two committed parents in the home is better for children than having single/divorced/never married/uneducated.boyfriends dropping in and out/ parents in the home. And that is what this study is about. It has little causal basis as to whether those single parents are gay or straight. This is what even REGNERUS keeps stating, but it is not how this study is being characterized. Just look at the headline that BCSpace used as the title of the thread. Does the title say broken homes with single parents where one may or may not be gay do not thrive as well as children from intact families? No it does not! Of course children are going to do better in a two parent home than in a home where one parent may or may not be gay. And I use that term because that is exactly the term the author of the study uses about his subject matter he was studying. That is the fatal flaw of how Focus on the Family, BCSpace and others that want to demonize gay couples use this study. All of the previous studies that you casually dismiss were comparing gay two parent homes with straight two parent homes. Apples to apples. And that is why the studies you want to dismiss show a much more clear stability for children which we all know children thrive on.

From the author HIMSELF

I take pains in the study to say this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents are inherently bad

Yet this is exactly how Focus on the Family as well as BCSpace wants to desperately use this study. They so badly want to say committed gay couples are a bad idea for children that they are willing to make conclusions that this study and even the author of this study is unwilling to make or defend. And that is the problem I have as well as many of his colleagues have with the kind of smear that is going on. This study simply becomes a tool to push their agenda. If anything, you could conclude from this study that encouraging gay couples into committed married relationships would be much better for children. Yet not a single suggestion from Focus on the Family nor BCSpace on that direction.

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I don't think there is a reasonable person in this country that will argue that having two committed parents in the home is better for children than having single/divorced/never married/uneducated.boyfriends dropping in and out/ parents in the home.

Actually, and unfortunately, there are a lot of people that argue otherwise. Check out online newspaper opinion pieces. (I can provide some, probably by just googling, if you'd like some examples). But, more to the point, they argue that a child does not suffer from the lack of both gendered parents.
And that is what this study is about. It has little causal basis as to whether those single parents are gay or straight. This is what even REGNERUS keeps stating, but it is not how this study is being characterized. Just look at the headline that BCSpace used as the title of the thread. Does the title say broken homes with single parents where one may or may not be gay do not thrive as well as children from intact families? No it does not!
I said this in my last post, but let me reiterate. You are correct inasmuch as the study does not purport to look at people who self-classify as homosexual. On that you are correct. What you fail to address is that in this random sample of society, those parents who ever had a same-sex partner have children who report many more negative outcomes. In fact, even accounting for things like economic background, divorce, etc..., they faired worse. Such parents were more likely to have more partners, less stability, etc...
Of course children are going to do better in a two parent home than in a home where one parent may or may not be gay. And I use that term because that is exactly the term the author of the study uses about his subject matter he was studying. That is the fatal flaw of how Focus on the Family, BCSpace and others that want to demonize gay couples use this study. All of the previous studies that you casually dismiss were comparing gay two parent homes with straight two parent homes. Apples to apples. And that is why the studies you want to dismiss show a much more clear stability for children which we all know children thrive on.
Regnerus addresses this very issue in his second article, which I mentioned previously. For your viewing pleasure, here is the link:

Regnerus' response.

Now, to your point. The issue Regnerus is studying is not whether gay parents, in the ideal situation, serve as good parents. The question he is studying is whether, on the average, those who have children and have same-sex relationships, also have children who report a "no differences" outcome. This includes a large number of outcome measurements: Do children raised by a parent who chose to have a same-sex relationship also report a same-sex relationship? Do such parents have more stability or less in their relationships? etc..., etc...

As you are well aware, previously it was reported that such children do not have an increased amount of homosexual activity. This report indicates those reports are incorrect, and that having a parent who has homosexual relations is linked to a higher rate of homosexual behavior in the child. There are many other similar issues. I'll just mention one more, which Regnerus addresses in his response article. One of the main criticisms of the article was that he did not "correct" for higher promiscuity in parents who had same-sex relations. As you put it, he didn't compare "apples to apples". Here is how Matthew Franck responds:

Regnerus addresses at much greater length the more serious charge that he compared apples to oranges by placing a sample of “MLR” and “FGR” families with high incidence of instability next to his “IBF” cases of intact biological families (married heterosexual couples that stay together and raise their own offspring to maturity). His critics insisted that he should compare intact, long-term stable gay and lesbian couples with his “gold standard” IBF households.

On this point, Regnerus yields no ground to his critics whatsoever, but instead only strengthens his case that family instability is not a variable to be controlled for so that it falls out of the comparison; rather it is a “pathway” down which MLR and FGR families typically travel as a social reality.

To begin with, Regnerus notes, “if stability is a key asset for households with children, then it is sensible to use intact biological families in any comparative assessment.” But could Regnerus have produced a data set with a higher number of “stably-coupled” gay or lesbian households? He doubts it.

In his original article, he reported that an initially-screened population of 15,000 young adults aged 18-39 yielded a set of 163 who said their mothers had had a same-sex relationship sometime during their childhood. (There were only 73 who said this of their fathers.)

In his new article, Regnerus has re-sorted a dozen of the FGR cases into the MLR category (since in these cases the subjects reported that both parents had had same-sex relationships). Now focusing on his 175 subjects in the MLR category, he finds that fewer than half of them (85) ever lived with both their mother and her same-sex partner during their childhood.

But that low number tapers off dramatically when subjects report the length of the couple-headed period: “31 reported living with their mother’s partner for up to 1 year only. An additional 20 reported this relationship for up to 2 years, five for 3 years, and eight for 4 years.” He later adds that “only 19 spent at least five consecutive years together, and six cases spent 10 or more consecutive years together.”

How many children were raised by two women staying together from the child’s first birthday to his or her eighteenth? Just two. And how many such cases were there in the FGR category—of children raised by two men together for their whole childhood? Zero. This, out of an initial population of 15,000.

I recite these numbers to make a point of my own that fairly leaps off the pages of Regnerus’s work: that family instability is the characteristic experience of those whose parents have same-sex relationships. This is what Regnerus is getting at when he says that critics who want him to treat stability as a “control variable” are actually “controlling for the pathways.” To go on an endless search for a sizable random sample of long-term, stable same-sex couples raising children is to miss the social reality in front of us, namely that they are conspicuously missing from the lives of children whose parents have same-sex relationships.

Yet this is exactly how Focus on the Family as well as BCSpace wants to desperately use this study. They so badly want to say committed gay couples are a bad idea for children that they are willing to make conclusions that this study and even the author of this study is unwilling to make or defend.
I think you are mischaracterizing their position. They are not opposed to desire of others for committment. They are against legitimizing homosexual relations, independent of a desire of commitment, because of their negative affects on children and society as a whole.
And that is the problem I have as well as many of his colleagues have with the kind of smear that is going on. This study simply becomes a tool to push their agenda. If anything, you could conclude from this study that encouraging gay couples into committed married relationships would be much better for children. Yet not a single suggestion from Focus on the Family nor BCSpace on that direction.
You could conclude that. You could similarly conclude that gay relationships are inherently worse off for children, even with the added benefit of marriage for those few of them who choose to take advantage of it. We'll need many more studies before we know whether or not opening marriage to same-sex partners has had a net positive or net negative affect on children. Just as it took a few decades to find out that no-fault divorce had a hugely negative impact. (Unfortunately, that hugely negative impact is now embedded in the law and it won't be changed. If same-sex marriages have a similar negative impact on children, would you want it stuck in the law?)
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I think you are mischaracterizing their position. They are not opposed to desire of others for committment. They are against legitimizing homosexual relations, independent of a desire of commitment, because of their negative affects on children and society as a whole.

In my opinion, this is a very hypocritical comment. You are asking gay couples to stay in committed relationships without allowing them to be married. Straight couples that are not married tend to be far less stable than straight couples that do marry. Do you also tell them that marriage is not important for making their relationships more stable? Just what do you think would happen if marriage was not allowed for straight couples? Do you think they would also form more long term committed relationships? If you or anyone else really had an interest in children being raised by two parents, you would want every single of those relationships to be married. To prevent a group from not marrying and then complaining that that group does not stay together as well as married couples IS the problem.

You could conclude that. You could similarly conclude that gay relationships are inherently worse off for children, even with the added benefit of marriage for those few of them who choose to take advantage of it. We'll need many more studies before we know whether or not opening marriage to same-sex partners has had a net positive or net negative affect on children. Just as it took a few decades to find out that no-fault divorce had a hugely negative impact. (Unfortunately, that hugely negative impact is now embedded in the law and it won't be changed. If same-sex marriages have a similar negative impact on children, would you want it stuck in the law?)

Can you give me a CFR on your statement. I would really like to know where you got this idea as having any viable credibility.

You could similarly conclude that gay relationships are inherently worse off for children, even with the added benefit of marriage for those few of them who choose to take advantage of it.
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In my opinion, this is a very hypocritical comment. You are asking gay couples to stay in committed relationships without allowing them to be married.

I am doing nothing of the kind. I, personally, would teach men and women that homosexual relations are sinful, and that they should repent.

But we aren't talking about what I'm asking people to do. We are talking about what is the best public policy.

If it turns out that the best public policy for children is that same-sex couples should not be included in the umbrella of marriage, then my comment is still not hypocritical at all. I'm asking those who choose to participate in homosexual relations to not ask that the institution of marriage be changed to suit their needs, when doing so would harm the needs of children.

Straight couples that are not married tend to be far less stable than straight couples that do marry. Do you also tell them that marriage is not important for making their relationships more stable?
No, I don't. And in their case, where even casual sex can result in the creation of a child, it makes sense to promote marriage.

And, by the way, I do not dispute that promoting marriage in the case of same-sex couples would increase the stability of said relationships. I cannot remember the exact percentages, but studies in other countries (I believe it was focused in Denmark) showed that those same-sex couples who had a marriage rather than a civil arrangement showed a marked increase in stability.

The problem is that marriage was not merely designed the increase the stability of relationships (although that is a key component). While those same-sex couples who were married had higher stability than without marriage, they still showed a larger instability than those opposite-gendered couples who were married. Thus, opening marriage to them actually diminishes the overall stability of marriage as a whole, doing further damage to the institution. But that is only one of many other reasons for not opening up marriage, most of which have to do with the rights and protections afforded to children.

Just what do you think would happen if marriage was not allowed for straight couples? Do you think they would also form more long term committed relationships? If you or anyone else really had an interest in children being raised by two parents, you would want every single of those relationships to be married. To prevent a group from not marrying and then complaining that that group does not stay together as well as married couples IS the problem.
To answer your first question, I think it would do damage to the culture of child-bearing and child-rearing. It would also do damage to the culture of finding companions.

Again, I agree with you that by not opening up marriage to same-sex couples such relationships will suffer. Their relationships will be less stable. The culture will not encourage stability to the degree it would otherwise. On that we are in agreement.

But, as I said above, I personally view such relationships as sinful and not in need of encouragement. On the level of society and law, I see many troubling signs in terms of the outcomes of children when the institution of marriage is opened up to such relations. I'm more than willing to wait to see what happens in countries where gay marriages are allowed. So far, the signs have not been positive.

Can you give me a CFR on your statement. I would really like to know where you got this idea as having any viable credibility.
Sure. I simply googled "no fault divorce and effect on marriage" and a large number of articles appeared. The fourth article in the list seemed interesting. But they all agree that the research proves no-fault divorce has had a negative effect on divorce rates, has increased out-of-wedlock births, and so forth and so on. Perhaps one of the strangest consequences is that marital happiness actually decreased.

Even with all these negatives, in July 2010 the 50th state (New York) jumped on the bandwagon and passed a no-fault divorce law.

No-fault divorce has been a hugely negative evil in our society. But we won't get rid of it because people think about their rights above the effects such things have on children and society.

I don't want something similarly negative to happen when we open up marriage to same-sex couples before we know the consequences of such an action. (And, from what studies are now showing, there are many potential negatives.)

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