New Data on Same-sex Parenting Challenges Gay Orthodoxy

The Washington Times reported on Sunday that two new studies indicate that children raised by gay parents might not benefit from the experience like kids raised by married mother-father parents.

"The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go," University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus said in his study in Social Science Research. 

Regnerus's study involved 3,000 randomly selected young adults in the U.S.  These young adults' lives were measured for "social, emotional, and relationship outcomes." 

The other new study challenges the widely accepted contention by the American Psychological Association that "[n]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents."

Reports the Times:

He [Regnerus] found that, when compared with adults raised in married, mother-father families, adults raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories, while adults raised by gay fathers had negative outcomes in 19 categories.

Regnerus is careful not to assert that his study is conclusive, though some pro-gay parent advocates seem to want their "evidence" for same-sex parents' equality to end the debate. 

Michael E. Lamb, who's reported by the Times as a scholar at the University of Cambridge, is quoted as saying in Applied Developmental Science in April:

[A]vailable evidence is sufficiently conclusive [that] children and adolescents being raised by same-sex parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children and adolescents with heterosexual parents.

Regnerus' study, in particular, is welcome.  There needs to by honest examination of and open challenges to the conventional wisdom about the role of gays in parenting. 

Marriage and parenting aren't invented, but evolved institutions.  They evolved from human nature, from millions of years of human (and before that hominid) adaptations to the environment.  Heterosexual marriage and parenting are conformities to nature; they are time-tested as the most efficacious ways to nurture children to adulthood. 

Of course, there are exceptions or deviancies; that's the case with most rules.  But gay advocates (most progressives, as a matter of fact) have a curious belief that 5-8 million years of human hardwiring and the social arrangements that have grown out of that hardwiring through environmental responses can be disposed of.  Social arrangements are furniture to be moved around at will.  It's a conceit. 

Yet it's often the same gay advocates who argue that marriage and family are pliable who are as likely to advance the case that homosexuality is inborn or genetic, without any scientific confirmation (or, perhaps, without any good science confirming).

If homosexuality is ever proven to be inborn (perhaps new science will prove something someday), it still stands as a deviancy (the word isn't being used pejoratively, but descriptively).  Again, contrary to popular thinking, gays constitute about 3% of the U.S. population, making gays a significant "deviation from the norm."  That 3% figure is likely true across the planet. 

Preponderantly, the norm is heterosexuality, and the norm that is optimal for the benefit and promotion of the human species (and the societies within which humans prosper) is heterosexual marriage and rearing of children.

For larger purposes, one can put a match to the straw man that it would be better for a loving and decent gay couple to raise children than an unloving and abusive or neglectful straight couple to do so.  Sure.  But the bigger truth may be that children would be better off being raised by (presumably) loving and decent heterosexual parents than by gay ones -- or so Mark Regnerus' study suggests.

Given how politically charged gay issues are, it's important to stress that no one is suggesting that gays be denied their natural rights; there's no suggestion here that gays be driven back into closets.  Gays have a right to live their lives openly, freely associate, and pursue their interests.  But heterosexual marriage and parenting are foundational to human well-being and advancement.  Society has -- continues to have -- a responsibility to ratify that reality through its customs and laws.