Ralph Reed went on ABC News on Sunday and, when asked about same-sex marriage, trotted out the tried and false claim that there is “irrefutable” social science research that shows that children raised by straight parents are better off than those raised by gay parents.
“This is about what’s best for children here in the United States. And the social science is irrefutable,” Reed said. “And it is that a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present and they both play very unique procreative, nurturing and socializing role, they’re nine times more likely to end up dropping out of high school. They’re five times more likely to end up in poverty. And they’re three times more likely to end up addicted to drugs and alcohol.”
PolitiFact rates this claim as false:
The social science statistics Reed called “irrefutable” actually have nothing to do with gay couples raising kids. Instead, they’re focused on the effects of children who grow up without a father in a one-parent household. Put another way, the studies focus on the quantity of parents and not their gender.
Reed’s office pointed us to his book, as well as a Brookings Institution report that says parents who graduate from high school and bear children within marriage have a 2 percent chance of living in poverty. But neither the study nor his book draws any comparison between gay and straight marriages. In fact, it makes no mention of gay marriages.
Other research often cited by gay parenting critics, like Sara McLanahan’s Growing Up With a Single Parent, similarly doesn’t include any information on gay parenting, specifically.
Again, the critique is focused on having one parent present versus two. We decided not to investigate further the specific stats Reed cited once we realized they weren’t measuring what he said they were.
Comparisons like Reed’s are “a complete misuse of the research,” said Judith Stacey, a New York University sociologist.
And then of course there is the Regnerus study, which was a complete farce. As usual, the Christian right is distorting reality.