Homosexual and Heterosexual Household Studies

 

As we all know, the Obama White House website has a function that allows anyone to post a petition for any cause whatsoever and, if that petition gets over 25,000 signatures, the Obama administration has pledged to issue a response. As we also know, this has turned out to be a farce - the slew of secession petitions that garnered way over the required 25,000 votes in 2012 went famously unanswered. Many of you are also aware that one of the petitions featured on the site is a request to have the Catholic Church officially labelled a hate group. This designation was sought largely due to Pope Benedict XVI's address to the Roman Curia on December 21, 2012.

In that address, the Holy Father speaks about the need for us to recognize the nature of humanity as given in maleness and femaleness. The pope also speaks of the natural structure of the family and that we cannot remake it.  The pope's insistence on the fundamental structure of the family as a male-female union with children is a clarion call in world where an understanding of the nature of family is rapidly becoming lost. Like everything else, the family is being redefined as something relative, subject to change with the fads and tastes of the world. Of course, I am speaking of homosexual so-called marriage, which is being pushed upon us at this time with the force of an avalanche. We are told that homosexual families are just as stable as traditional families, and that homosexual so-called marriage is just as healthy for children as heterosexual marriage.

These lies are largely perpetrated by the media, academia and the courts specifically surrounding the issue of children raised by same-sex couples. In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) stated, "Evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychological growth." [1] They stated that there was no study that indicated any disadvantage to same-sex parenting. When this study was initially released, I remember at that time thinking that I had assumed that a lifestyle and morality that was such a deviation from nature would have a harmful effect. I wondered if further studies would show differently.

In the meantime, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa, relying on this 2005 APA statement, threw out a definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman (Varnum v. Brien, 2009). He parroted the APA statement that sexual orientation has no effect on the raising of children and that the assertion that children needed a mother and a father was unsupported by scientific studies. [2] Federal Judge Vaughn Walker was even more strident in his language when he threw out a law in California that sought to define marriage as between a man and a woman. [3]

Fortunately, natural law does still hold. Nature proves the meaning of marriage. In fact, science up to this point demonstrates the opposite of what the media seems eager to presume; studies show that children do not seem to do well when raised by same-sex couples.

Social Science Research is an academic journal. In the July, 2012 issue, they included two papers that explode the baseless assertions of those who have a pro-homosexual bias. One study is by Loren Marks of Louisiana State University. The other is by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas. The paper also published critical comments and responses.

Marks' study analyzes the data of previous studies referred to by the APA in their 2005 opinion, so it is just a recap. Regnerus' study, on the other hand, actually furnishes us with new information. I hope you will be patient enough to stick with me here; it is precisely the kind of thing we need to understand and be able to discuss intelligently with others. People do think that Christian morality is defective; that we are morally and intellectually primitive. The morality of the Church, however, is a morality that was shared by all Christians up until modernity. It represents nothing other than the eternal truth about human nature, of which the world is desperately in need.

Let's look at what these studies found.

The Loren Marks Study

Loren Marks study reveals that the APA cites 59 studies as the basis of its 2005 statement about child rearing by homosexual couples. Marks demonstrates, however, that every single one of the 59 studies is non-definitive. More than 75% of the studies are based on "non-representative convenience samples of fewer than 100 participants." Out of the 59 studies, 26 used no heterosexual comparison groups. Of the groups that used comparisons, 13 that did so only against single parent families. Only a few looked at behaviors like criminality, drug use, or suicide, nor was there more than trace considerations given for outcomes of older adolescents and young adults; the studies only tended to track childhood well-being in a very generic way, and only through a elementary and middle school.

Loren Marks thus concludes that none of the 59 studies cited by the APA could have statistical force. She wrote, "Not one of the 59 studies referenced compares a large, random representative sample of lesbian or gay parents and their children with a large, random representative sample of married parents and their children." [4]

The Sarantakos Study

Before we move on, it is worth noting that I think Loren Marks is kind to the APA considering what I found to be gross obfuscations. Here is just one example: The APA ignores a 1996 study by Sotirios Sarantakos that contradicts the APA's party line. The APA cites the study but refuses to report on it. This is odd, given that the Sarantakos study was the seventh largest sample size of all 59 studies they cite! And this study - in contrast to most of the rest - actually compares same-sex households to other groups. Furthermore, while the top largest six studies are adult self-report studies, the Sarantakos study examines the developmental outcomes of students more objectively by scoring students' performance given by teachers. In the chart below, you can see for yourself that there are significant and consistent differences, not simply between married and homosexual households, but even comparisons to cohabiting heterosexual partners.

The Regnerus Study

The Regnerus study is even more enlightening. It avoided many of the flaws Marks' pointed out in other studies: it was a study of a large, random sample of young American adults. It used intact biological families as a comparison group, and it checked for later outcomes, including crime, drug abuse, sexually transmitted disease and other things. It was not a perfect study due to fluctuations of the members of same-sex families over a long period. Nevertheless, it is the most comprehensive study done to date on the topic, and in the words of Ramesh Ponnuru who reviewed the study in the July, 2012 edition of National Review, "the results are depressing." [5]

In fact, since his summary is so good, let us quote Ponnuru's take on the Regnerus study at length:

"Young adults who reported that their fathers had had same-sex relationships were more likely than any of the other groups studied to be involved in crime; those who said their mothers had had such relationships were second most likely. Those who had lesbian mothers (defined as those who had had same-sex relationships) were almost four times more likely than those raised by still-married biological parents to be on public assistance. They were more likely to receive such assistance even than people who had been raised by single parents. They were, not surprisingly given that result, also the group most likely to be unemployed. They had the lowest educational attainment level of any of the groups.

Young adults with gay fathers were five times as likely as those raised by their biological parents to report recently having suicidal thoughts; those with lesbian mothers were more than twice as likely. Rates of sexually transmitted infections were much higher for those with gay or lesbian parents. Those with lesbian mothers reported that as children they were touched sexually by adults as a rate more than 11 times as high as the rate among those raised by their biological parents - and a rate almost twice as high as the next-highest group, those raised in step-families. They also report the highest rate of any group for being forced to have sex against their will. Those with gay fathers ranked second. As usual, children raised by their biological parents had the best statistics.

The emotional outcomes followed the same pattern. Those with lesbian mothers reported having felt the lowest degree of safety as children; those with gay fathers were the next lowest. Kids raised by gay or lesbian parents grew up to have the highest rates of depression of all the groups. People who had gay fathers reported the lowest levels of satisfaction with their current romantic relationships. People with lesbian mothers reported a rate of infidelity in their current relationships three times higher than that of married people raised by still-married biological parents.

Regnerus notes that his findings do not establish causality. They do demonstrate that young adults who had parents in same-sex relationships did worse, on average, than other young adults across a range of variables. He does not show, or attempt to show, that they had these worse outcomes because they had gay parents, He suggests, in his response to his academic commentators, that his main finding seems to be the superiority of the intact biological family compared with all tested alternatives. He suggests further that household instability may play the leading causal role in generating divergent outcomes. It may be, that is, that the chief advantage of biological families over those with parents who had been in same-sex relationships was the greater stability of the former." [6]


You will not be surprised that this study was immediately met by a violently angry response. Gay-rights groups attacked the study, calling it misleading and flawed without saying why. Note that this occurred even though Dr. Mark Regnerus was very careful to try to qualify possible conclusions. He was more careful - yes, I dare say - than his critics would have been had the study gone the other way.

Dr. Regnerus was attacked so violently that the University of Texas, which has a special "office of research integrity", conducted a special investigation and ultimately cleared him of charges of bias.

Not all advocates for same-sex so-called marriage are vicious. And, as people of integrity, we cannot say that these studies in and of themselves demonstrate conclusively that same-sex households would always be less healthy than married households. These studies do, however, indicate a difference overall in the quality of outcomes for children within the limits of the circumstances given.

Importantly, as Mr. Ponnuru points out, judges who frustrated the legitimate will of the people who voted on laws about marriage had no rational basis on which to strike down these laws. In our society, we see increasing pressure to bow to the morality of a secular agenda. A bishop in Canada had to stand before a board of inquiry for upholding the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage. How long before we will have to pay a material price to stand up for the things we believe in?

Conclusion

One important lesson to draw from here: just because our courts say something is so does not make it so! We know that God has put in place a moral law - very much like the physical laws that govern our universe. This universal, natural, moral law is inscribed in every soul. It is referred to in the Sacred Scriptures, as in the first chapter of Romans, for example. And it is an enduring truth about how God made us and how we move towards our fulfillment in Him.

Finally, we ought all be reminded that the most important of all laws is the Law of Love. Christ tells us, the Catechism reminds us, and our own conscience affirms that the highest law is of love for every person - especially if that person hates us.


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Notes

[1] http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting-full.pdf|
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varnum_v._Brien
[3] http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2010/08/judge_vaughn_walker_hands_vict.html
[4] http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/06/5640/
[5] Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review. "Sex and the Social Scientist", July, 2012
[6] ibid.