There is a very interesting article over at The Public Discourse regarding the marriage debate and parenting. The British Journal of Education, Society, and Behavioral Science has published the largest study ever performed on the emotional outcomes of children reared in same-sex couple households. Mark Regnerus, associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, provides a summary of the article at The Public Discourse. Here is an excerpt:
Results reveal that, on eight out of twelve psychometric measures, the risk of clinical emotional problems, developmental problems, or use of mental health treatment services is nearly double among those with same-sex parents when contrasted with children of opposite-sex parents. The estimate of serious child emotional problems in children with same-sex parents is 17 percent, compared with 7 percent among opposite-sex parents, after adjusting for age, race, gender, and parent’s education and income. Rates of ADHD were higher as well—15.5 compared to 7.1 percent. The same is true for learning disabilities: 14.1 vs. 8 percent.
As it relates to the near-consensus of other studies noting no difference between children from same-sex households and from opposite-sex households, Regnerus notes:
The real disagreement is seldom over what the data reveal. It’s how scholars present and interpret the data that differs profoundly. You can make the children of same-sex households appear to fare fine (if not better), on average, if you control for a series of documented factors more apt to plague same-sex relationships and households: relationship instability, residential instability, health and emotional challenges, greater economic struggle (among female couples), and—perhaps most significantly—the lack of two biological connections to the child. If you control for these, you will indeed find “no differences” left over. Doing this gives the impression that “the kids are fine” at a time when it is politically expedient to do so.
Regnerus suggests that this new study will be attacked just as his was a couple of years ago, but that does not prove anything. In fact, Regnerus’ work was commended after an internal review at UT-Austin, and this work will continue the trend that Regnerus started.
I recommend reading the entirety of Regnerus’ article here.
Mark Regnerus, “New Research on Same-Sex Households Reveals Kids Do Best With Mom and Dad,” The Public Discourse, February 10, 2015.