Junk Science and Your Gay Family

When studies like this come out it just sickens me. This is not science. This is comparing apples to…sidewalk chalk? For this so-called study adults were polled about their childhoods, and then that data was compared to how they were doing as adults (emphasis is mine):

The children of parents who at some point had a same-sex partner were more likely to be on welfare, have a history of depression, have less education and report a history of sexual abuse, the study found.

Well there you go. The study didn’t show that kids in two-parent households where the parents happened to be gay were more likely to have messed-up adulthoods. It didn’t compare stable childhoods to stable childhoods. It simply took into account whether or not one or both parents “had engaged in a same-sex relationship” at some point during the subjects’ childhood.

So basically, it could have been comparing children with two married heterosexual parents to children whose parents had a gay affair. In fact, out of nearly 3,000 respondents, “only two of the respondents reported living with their mother or father and a same-sex partner for their entire childhood.” Um, yeah. Not the same thing. At all.

It’s no surprise to me that a conservative, religious group would produce a study devoid of reasonable controls, designed to give them the answer they wanted. But for reputable news organizations to put out headlines like this gives fuel to the people who would ignore the many, many studies of children in stable relationships who happen to have gay parents.

gay study headline

Because those other, more reputable studies are there, in abundance. Like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and even this one, which showed that while there are some differences in how children of gays and lesbians turn out, these differences translate into advantages, not deficits.

I’m also perturbed with Slate for giving the author of the study a big voice. He basically throws all previous same-sex research under the bus for (he claims) daring to seek out stable, affluent same-sex couples, while touting that his study did no such thing:

I realize that one same-sex relationship does not a lesbian make, necessarily. But our research team was less concerned with the complicated politics of sexual identity than with same-sex behavior.

That’s a not-so-clever way of completely dismissing the difference between what could have been adulterous one-night stands and stable relationships. The difference between kids who had parents who had a same-sex relationship at a time when same-sex families were largely non-existent, and now, when there is so much more support for same-sex couples.

Apples to sidewalk chalk.

And these results will be repeated and referred to by – and especially for – people who are desperate to find validation for their backwards thinking.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.


  1. Melanie says

    Very nice article! Your thoughts are all interesting. But for me I never judge any same sex relationship, I do believe that there’s nothing wrong with them, It’s just peoples mind who’s saying they’re wrong, that they disobeyed the bible and so on. It’s just respect! Thanks for posting… :)

  2. says

    See… that one thing about surveys and studies like this. So many are misleading and more often than not wrong because they were misconducted.

    Backwards thinking is exactly what it is.

  3. says

    Wait, so for all of us… I mean, THOSE… girls who “experimented in college”, we’re doomed to have depressed kids who grow up to be unemployed and uneducated? Bull.

    Think about it: what percentage of the country is on welfare or food stamps right now? What percentage is also on anti-depressants? Are they saying ALL OF THEIR PARENTS “experimented in college”?


  4. says

    Bah! That makes me sick. My nephew is transgender and married to a wonderful woman (so I suppose in some circles that still makes them gay) and they are wonderful parents who just adopted a baby girl.

    Of course I thought they were wonderful as a lesbian couple so maybe that makes me even more open-minded…

    Nevertheless, their daughter is growing up in a stable, happy, healthy and well educated home. I have no worries that she will be just fine.

    • says

      @Suzanne: I know, that’s what really gets me: of all of the family situations that could inflict really serious, long-term damage on a child, so many people have devoted their lives to battling this one. It’s an insane waste of energy.

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