Minnesota Gay Marriage Advocates Mislead, Distort Facts

Minnesota Gay Marriage Advocates Mislead, Distort Facts

“Research” casting same-sex parenting in neutral or positive light shown to be unsound

Minneapolis, Minn.—The claim of marriage amendment opponents, most recently including some doctors, that 25 years of research supports the conclusion that there are “no differences” in outcomes between children raised in gay and lesbian households and kids raised in intact homes by their mother and father is false. As chronicled in the journal Social Science Research there is no scholarly rigorous body of scientific research that supports the idea that children raised in gay or lesbian households do as well as or better than children living in an intact home with their married mother and father.  In fact, the most recent, peer-reviewed research casts serious doubt on the “no differences” claim and suggests that there may in fact be significant differences.

“The statements made by some doctors and gay marriage advocates that dedication and love is the primary factor in child well-being relies on the underlying premise that family structure does not matter—a claim which is both unsupported by significant data and an assault on common sense,” said Jason Adkins, Minnesota for Marriage vice chairman. “Men and women are not interchangeable parts or parents. We continue to ask gay marriage advocates which parent is insignificant or less important for a child, a mother or father, and they and their allies continue to ignore the question and move into the realm of agenda-driven politics.”

Statistics also show that those medical professionals who publicly oppose the amendment do so based on opinion, not sound research, as discussed above.  Minnesotans United for all Families, the lead opponent of the marriage amendment, has noted that there are around 1,600 same-sex couples raising children in Minnesota,  which is about eight one-hundredths (.08) of one percent of all households in Minnesota. Given the relative scarcity of these family arrangements, there is no possible way any more than a handful of Minnesota doctors have any direct, or significant long-term experience working with children of same-sex couples.

By contrast, the journal Child Trends, summing up the abundant research on child development, has declared, “Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters to children; and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.” For a summary and analysis of the latest research and links to the newest articles, visit familystructurestudies.com/summary.

Following are three central claims made by gay marriage advocates and a response:

The Claim: “The most important thing is that children have dedicated and loving parents.” (MN United for All Families press release, October 17)

The Truth
The latest, most extensive research indicates that no other parental arrangement, ranging from single motherhood to cohabitating unmarried parents, shared custody situations to same-sex parenting households, affords as many social, economic and emotional advantages as being raised by biological parents joined in marriage.*

*See research from Mark Regnerus, University of Texas; W. Bradford Wilcox et. al., Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute of American Values; or Paul Amato  and Isabel Sawhill, both from Princeton’s Brookings Institution.

The Claim: “Over 25 years of research has shown that children of gay and lesbian parents do just as well as they do with heterosexual parents.” (MN United for All Families, Letter to Mr. Matt Birk, September 30)

The Truth
Minnesota gay marriage advocates cite for support a statement from the American Psychological Association (APA), which was recently criticized in a scholarly analysis of fifty-nine major same-sex parenting studies cited in the APA’s 2005 brief on the topic. As Loren Marks, the researcher, put it, “not a single study, including the few that reported [statistical] power, meets the standards needed to detect a small effect size”…“incorrectly concluding that there is no difference between groups.”  More recent research, including the National Longitudinal Lesbian Study has the same flaws of small sample size, self-selection, and self-reporting.

Additionally, new research with more representative sampling, the New Family Structure Study (NFSS), raises serious doubts about their assertion. Rightfully, the NFSS is limited in what it can tell us, like most social science research. Yet, if NFSS is claimed to be an unacceptable study by gay marriage advocates, then none of the “research” showing “no differences”—significantly smaller, with unrepresentative sampling—qualifies as valid evidence in this discussion.

The Claim: “The [New Family Structure Study] is fundamentally flawed and intentionally misleading.” (GLAAD national joint news release, June 11)

The Truth
Contrary to the claims of gay activist groups, the study’s author openly recognized the limitations of his study and does not draw causal conclusions. Rather, he limited his claims, centering on the conclusion that children are most likely to be successful as adults if their entire childhood is spent with their married biological parents, particularly if they stay married. Although the NFSS casts doubt on the largely unsupported assertion that there are “no differences” between kids raised by gay or lesbian parents and kids raised in intact biological families, it is less an indictment of gay parenting than it is a confirmation of decades of research showing the advantages to children of being raised by one’s mother and father. The study stands as a significantly larger, randomized, heterogeneous, and nationally representative sample (15,058 adults were screened, and 2,988 between the ages of 18 and 39 completed full surveys) with more adequate comparison groups than past studies.

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