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.”
and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,”
said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality
“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