Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Misleading study on gay families tells lies, again!

Rob Tisinai :
NOM (and the rest of the anti-gay world) is crowing about a study on the awfulness of gay parenting. ...Let me focus on one distinct and familiar flaw: The study compares the children of married biological parents with those from broken homes — and the study’s “lesbian mothers” that our opponents are vilifying generally weren’t married to each other; nor were the gay fathers. No, they were often in opposite-sex relationships that broke down.

The study was funded by an anti-gay group.  And it's deliberately deceptive. As Live Science explains
... scientists say the research is deeply flawed, and does not measure the effect of same-sex parenting at all. The study defined same-sex parenting by asking participants if their parents had ever had same-sex relationships, and whether they had lived with the parent at that time. That led to a "hodgepodge" group of people who Regnerus then compared with kids in stable, married homes, said Judith Stacey, a sociologist at New York University who was not involved in the research. 
"He doesn't have an actual category of gay parents in the project that you can isolate and say the most important thing in this kid's childhood is that they were raised by gay parents," Stacey told LiveScience. "These are kids whose parents, maybe they divorced, maybe they separated, maybe they had a scandalous affair, we just don't know."   
...In contrast, a fair comparison would have matched up children of same-sex parents with children of heterosexual parents who looked otherwise similar — no extra divorces, no extra separations, no extra time in foster care for the kids, said Gary Gates, a researcher at the Williams Institute, a sexual orientation policy think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles. Instead, Regnerus categorized all people who said their parents were once in a same-sex relationship in the same group, even if those people had also experienced major childhood upheavals.... 
 "All he found is that family instability is bad for children and that's hardly groundbreaking or new," Gates, who was not involved in the research, told LiveScience. "What I find most frustrating is that from what I could tell, he could have used his data to test the way I'm suggesting the test, and he chose not to," Gates added. "He intentionally chose a methodology that is absolutely primed to find bad outcomes in those kids."

More at Gay Married Californian.


dr.primrose said...

An op-ed in today's L.A. Times is very critical of this study --Dad and dad vs. mom and dad. An excerpt:

"The trouble is that no scholarly research, including the Regnerus paper, has ever compared children of stable same-sex couples to children of stable different-sex couples, in part because an adequate sample size is hard to come by. (Regnerus acknowledges he was unable to find an adequate sample size, but he went ahead and made the comparison anyway.) Like the Regnerus paper, all these studies show is that divorce and single-parenthood raise risks for kids. Indeed, the basis of the 20-year "consensus" is that two parents are better than one, not that parents have to be different genders.

"Regnerus seeks to enhance the credibility and relevance of this body of research by including in his sample respondents who actually had a gay parent instead of just people from broken or single-parent homes. But because his sample is mostly made up of fractured families, he fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant. What he has produced is no better than its predecessors at yielding insight into the effect of same-sex parenting.

"There is a larger point, however, that can be lost in the debate over how to read the data. There is no basis in the recent history of American social policy for testing the parenting skills of a class of citizens before we grant them permission to parent — or to marry. Given all the research on the hardships of children raised by single parents, there is still no movement to preemptively remove kids from broken homes after every divorce or to ban single people from having kids; such policies would be patently inhumane and unenforceable. Growing up in poverty increases the risk of a wide range of social and psychological ills, yet since the craze for eugenics died down, no one is proposing banning poor people from marriage or child rearing. And some ethnic and racial groups are statistically less likely to get or stay married, yet there is no ethnic litmus test for marriage or parenting — only a gay one."

JCF said...

"Regnerus acknowledges he was unable to find an adequate sample size, but he went ahead and made the comparison anyway"

That tells you all you need to know. (Well, that---and who paid for the study! >:-/)