Let’s Be Clear

Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of research on children who have been raised by same-sex parents. I know, I know – it’s an incredibly controversial topic. Chances are, I’ll probably receive at least a few anti-gay comments about how homosexuality is a sin and that gaybies (children raised by gay parents) are all going to have terrible lives.
On another day, I might write about the merits of same-sex child rearing, but today, that’s just not going to happen. There are so few studies that take a real, unbiased look at the outcomes of same-sex relationships. And that right there is the motivation for today’s post.
In my research, I came across an article by Mark Regnerus, which was published last year. His study was meant to compare the outcomes of children of opposite-sex parents with those of same-sex parents. His main comparison, however, seems to more accurately depict the differences between children raised in “intact” families – or the nuclear family, if you will – and children raised in single-parent households or families with step-parents.

“Regnerus oversaw data collection for the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), which surveyed nearly 3,000 American adults (ages 18-39), including 175 who reported their mother having had a same-sex romantic relationship and 73 who reported their father having had a same-sex relationship.” [1]

Let’s be clear, here. An individual who reported that one of his/her parents had a same-sex relationship is not necessarily the same as someone who was raised by same-sex parents. However, this is the data he chose to use. And he compared it with data from individuals who were raised in so-called intact families. And of course, he found that individuals raised by single parents did not fare as well, in a general sense. We already know that children raised in single-parent households tend not to fare as well. And we already know that it’s because there has often been divorce (which is hard on everyone); single parents face more economic hardship; children spend more time away from parents; and so many other reasons.
Unfortunately, there are numerous blog posts, articles, etc. citing Regnerus’ work as legitimate scientific evidence against same-sex marriage, parenting, and adoption. They fail to see that his research does not, in fact, indicate whether same-sex parents are any different from opposite-sex parents, in terms of the child’s overall outcome. And this seems to be a trend.
People all over the place are purporting to have scientific evidence to back their claims that homosexuality is a sin, that it’s disgusting, that children raised by gays will turn out to be weirdos. As far as I know, even science can’t prove that something is disgusting or sinful or weird.
My intention here is not to convince anyone to come to the dark side and support marriage equality, but to make you stop and think about where you’re getting your information from. Regardless of what you’re arguing for or arguing against or arguing about, if you’re going to cite scientific sources (for example, statistics or research studies) as evidence to back your claim, there are a few things to consider: where did the information come from? Is the source reputable? Was the study unbiased? How was the data collected and collated? If you find yourself at a loss when trying to answer these questions, I have a suggestion for you: reconsider the idea of posting that article on the internet OR make it clear that what you’re stating is your own opinion. Because citing biased, unrealistic, inaccurate, or irrelevant data as hard evidence to support your claim will make you seem biased, unrealistic, inaccurate and irrelevant. The only people who will agree with you are the people who already agree with you. People on the other side of the argument will just have more ammunition to shoot down your ideas. But that’s just my opinion.

And just to make this post more relevant to the blog, feel free to check out Hamilton Pride!

1. http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/06/11/children_same/

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