We have been left with large, scientifically strong studies showing children do best with their married mother and father–but which do not make comparisons with homosexual parents or couples; and studies which purportedly show that children of homosexuals do just as well as other children–but which are methodologically weak and thus scientifically inconclusive.
This logjam of dueling studies has been broken by the work that Regnerus has undertaken. Unlike the many large studies previously undertaken on family structure, Regnerus (“How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 [July 2012], pp. 752-770) has included specific comparisons with children raised by homosexual parents.
Unlike the previous studies on children of homosexual parents, he has put together a representative, population-based sample that is large enough to draw scientifically and statistically valid conclusions. For these reasons, his “New Family Structures Study” (NFSS) deserves to be considered the “gold standard” in this field. […]
Regnerus has analyzed his findings, and their statistical significance, in two ways–first by a simple and direct comparison between what is reported by the children of homosexual parents and the children of “intact biological families” (“IBFs”), and second by “controlling” for a variety of other characteristics. “Controlling for income,” for example, would mean showing that “IBF” children do not do better just because their married parents have higher incomes, but that they do better even when the incomes of their households and the households of homosexual parents are the same. Again, Regnerus has done these comparisons for “LMs” (children of “lesbian mothers”) and “GFs” (children of gay fathers) separately. […]
Compared with children raised by their married biological parents (IBF), children of homosexual parents (LM and GF):
Are much more likely to have received welfare (IBF 17%; LM 69%; GF 57%)
Have lower educational attainment
Report less safety and security in their family of origin
Report more ongoing “negative impact” from their family of origin
Are more likely to suffer from depression
Have been arrested more often
If they are female, have had more sexual partners–both male and female
The high mathematical standard of “statistical significance” was more difficult to reach for the children of “gay fathers” in this study because there were fewer of them. The following, however, are some additional areas in which the children of lesbian mothers (who represented 71% of all the children with homosexual parents in this study) differed from the IBF children, in ways that were statistically significant in both a direct comparison and with controls.
Children of lesbian mothers:
Are more likely to be currently cohabiting
Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
Are less likely to be currently employed full-time
Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
Are nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
Are 3 times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
Are an astonishing 10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver.”