A new study by a Canadian economist is challenging the notion that children in families headed by homosexual couples are as well-adjusted as their counterparts in traditional families. The study by Douglas Allen, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, found that young adult children of same-sex couples are 35 percent less likely to graduate from high school than young adult children of traditional married couples.
Allen's study, published in the October issue of the Review of the Economics of the Household, is based on a 20 percent sampling of Canada's 2006 census, in which respondents indicated whether they were raised by a lesbian couple, a male homosexual couple, a married traditional couple, a common law couple, a single mother, or a single father. The study went on to compare high school graduation rates of young adults raised in each of those households.
Allen's findings challenge the notion that children raised in households headed by homosexual couples fare just as well as kids in traditional homes. While children of traditional married couples had the highest high school graduation rates, children raised by lesbian couples were at the other end of the spectrum with the lowest graduation rates. They were followed by children of common-law couples, male homosexual pairs, single moms, and single fathers, whose graduation rates were all similar but still lower than those of kids in traditional homes.
Among the most alarming of Allen's findings was that young adult females in households headed by same-sex partners had dismal graduation rates, with girls in homes led by male homosexual partners 85 percent less likely to graduate from high school than girls from homes with a mom and dad.
Allen has been critical of the scores of studies over the past 15 years that have purported to show that there is no difference between children raised by same-sex couples and those raised in homes headed by traditional couples. Allen has charged that much of the research is biased and unscientific.
By contrast, he applauded the 2012 study by Mark Regnerus, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, which found significant differences between children from traditional families and those raised by homosexual pairs. As reported by The New American, 73 percent of the roughly 3,000 participants in Regnerus' study said that their fathers had engaged in homosexual relationships, with 163 reporting that their mothers had had such relationships. The study, published in the journal Social Science Research, found that participants who reported a parent had been in a homosexual relationship were different than children raised by their biological, still-married parents in 25 of the study’s 40 measurements. For example, the children of parents who had been in a homosexual relationship were more likely to be on welfare, have a history of depression, have inferior education, and report a history of sexual abuse.
Regnerus, who helped to develop the New Family Structures Study at the University of Texas, said the findings of the study challenge the insistence that there is little difference between the parenting outcomes of homosexual couples and those of a traditionally married man and woman. Regnerus wrote that “children appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”
Homosexual activists quickly attacked Regnerus, calling his research unscientific and demanding that the the university launch an investigation into his methods. Homosexual activist blogger Scott Rose led the assault, sending letters to university officials accusing Regnerus of deviating from “ethical standards” for research, and “possible falsification” of his findings. Fox News reported that Rose “claimed the study was compromised because it was funded by the conservative Witherspoon Institute and that Regnerus was unable to be impartial because he is Catholic.”
An inquiry by the university found that, contrary to Rose's claims, Regnerus' research methods were sufficiently scholarly. The Catholic News Agency reported that the university's research integrity officer, Robert A. Peterson, “said he 'carefully reviewed' all available data, materials, and information and discussed the process with other inquiry panel members. 'I have concluded that Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct,' he said in an Aug. 24  memorandum to university officials.”
A subsequent statement from the university confirmed that “no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus regarding his July article in the journal Social Science Research. As with much university research, Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study touches on a controversial and highly personal issue that is currently being debated by society at large.” The statement added that the university “expects the scholarly community will continue to evaluate and report on the findings of the Regnerus article and supports such discussion.”
In applauding Regnerus' research, Allen, who will no doubt face similar wrath from militant homosexuals, said that it took nearly “40 years for academics to figure out the effect of no-fault divorce on divorce rates (not to mention all the other areas of life no-fault divorce influenced). With same-sex marriage and parenting, the issues are much more profound and more difficult to measure. Rushing the work or, worse, pushing research claims beyond what the studies justify, is bad social policy.”
Commenting on Allen's study in an article for the Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse, Regnerus wrote that while Allen's research has some limitations (it does not, for example, differentiate between same-sex married parents and same-sex common law parents), such limitations “are modest in comparison to its remarkable and unique strengths — a rigorous and thorough analysis of a massive, nationally-representative dataset from a country whose government has long affirmed same-sex couples and parenting. It is as close to an ideal test as we've seen yet.”
The Christian Post noted that two professional groups, the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association, “have claimed that there are no differences between same-sex parenting and parenting with both a mom and a dad. That conclusion, though, was based upon studies that use small, non-random samples. Regnerus believes that Allen's study should bring doubts to their conclusion.”
In his comments Regnerus wondered if the two professional groups might have been “too confident and quick to declare 'no differences' in such a new arena of study, one marked by the consistent reliance upon small or nonrandom 'convenience' samples? Perhaps. Maybe a married mom and dad do matter, after all.”
Commenting on Allen's research, World magazine noted that the study “does what many studies before it have not been unable to do. It takes a large, random, nationally representative dataset and compares very specific factors across each category. His conclusions may encourage a new wave of sociological research defending traditional parenting as the best option for kids.”