A right-wing author has published a paper that claims children of lesbian and gay parents face many negative outcomes—but several leading LGBT organizations are calling his work “flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound.”
The organizations note that Regnerus is well known for his ultra-conservative ideology and the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, both known for their support of conservative causes. The Witherspoon Institute also has ties to the Family Research Council (named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), the National Organization for Marriage, and ultra-conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei.
Key problems with the “New Family Structures Study,” the organizations say, include (my bold):
- The paper is fundamentally flawed and intentionally misleading. It doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring. Most of the children examined in the paper were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship—whereas the other children in the study were being raised in two-parent homes with straight parents.
- Given its fundamental flaws and ideological agenda, it’s not surprising that the paper doesn’t match the 30 years of solid scientific research on gay and lesbian parents and families. That research has been reviewed by child welfare organizations like the Child Welfare League of America, the National Adoption Center, the National Association of Social Workers and others whose only priority is the health and welfare of children and that research has led them to strongly support adoption by lesbian and gay parents.
- In addition, the paper’s flaws highlight the disconnect between its claims about gay parents and the lived experiences of 2 million children in this country being raised by LGBT parents. Americans know that their LGBT friends, family members and neighbors are wonderful parents and are providing loving and happy homes to children.
- The paper fails to consider the impact of family arrangement or family transitions on children, invalidating any attempt on its part to assess the impact of sexual orientation on parenting. The paper inappropriately compares children raised by two heterosexual parents for 18 years with children who experience family transitions—like foster care—or who live with single or divorced parents, or in blended families. Moreover, the limited number of respondents arbitrarily classified as having a gay or lesbian parent are combined regardless of their experiences of family instability.
In contrast, as I mentioned a few days ago, esteemed Cambridge University psychologist Michael Lamb has recently summarized decades of legitimate academic research and concluded that the sexual orientation of parents has nothing to do with child adjustment. (Hat tip to lawyer Nancy Polikoff.)
I’ll give the last word to Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, and a lesbian mom herself, who said, “Everyday people in this country see real-life examples of the love, commitment and caring these parents provide to their children.These parents are raising their children to be kind to their friends and neighbors, support their communities and uphold American values. One biased paper cannot undo the truth nor demean the value of these families.”