A study which claims to find negative outcomes for the kids of gay parents is facing heavy criticism from gay rights groups and social scientists.

The paper New Family Structures Study, which appeared Sunday in the journal Social Science Research, was authored by Mark Regnerus of the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and funded in large part by the conservative-leaning Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation.

Almost 3,000 people were interviewed for the study, most of whom were raised by heterosexual parents, but 248 had a mother or a father who at one time had a relationship with a person of the same gender. The study suggests that such kids are more likely to have negative outcomes, including being on public assistance, being unemployed or in therapy as adults.

In remarks to The Huffington Post, Regnerus said his study found “that the scholarly and popular consensus that there are no notable differences between the children who grew up with a mother or father in a same-sex relationship and those whose [heterosexual] mother and father were and are still married is fiction.”

Four gay rights groups – the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Family Equality Council (FEC), Freedom to Marry and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) – joined in a press release to speak out against the study, which they described as “biased” and “flawed.”
“Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council.

“The two million kids being raised by 1 million gay parents in this country are doing great, and would do even better if their parents didn't have to deal with legal discrimination such as the denial of the freedom to marry, and ongoing attacks such as this kind of pseudo-scientific misinformation and the disinformation agenda that's funding it,” said Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry.

Only two of the subjects in the study reported having parents in a gay relationship for their entire childhood. About half of the parents categorized as gay had once been in a heterosexual marriage.

“We know that when we compare same-sex couples who are parenting by choice with heterosexual couples who are biological parents, the lesbian couples do really, really well,” Judith Stacey, a sociologist at New York University who was not involved in the research, told The Huffington Post.

“All he found is that family instability is bad for children and that's hardly groundbreaking or new,” said Gary Gates, a researcher at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. “He intentionally chose a methodology that is absolutely primed to find bad outcomes in those kids.”