Ralph Reed’s ‘Irrefutable’ Evidence on Same-Sex Parenting

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.

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  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    This is the same chinless weasel who was the star of the “moral majority” back before that scam collapsed?

  • gshelley

    So studies that show having two parents in a marriage is a positive thing are used to argue against same sex marriage?

    Excuse me while I pick myself up from the floor

  • eric

    This is about what’s best for children here in the United States.

    No, if it were about that, you would be proposing legal requirements for childrearing that everyone – gay, straight, couples, singles – needed to meet. But you are not proposing any legal requirements for childrearing, you’re opposing two adult gay people getting married. Because it’s really about government legitimization of gay relationships for you.

  • Randomfactor

    Hey, if he never tells you what the evidence is, it’s irrefutable.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    So he is arguing for abolishing divorce and/or compulsory shotgun weddings?

  • felidae

    As we learned from the Abramoff affair, cute little Ralphie is just a remorseless grifter using religion for personal aggrandizement and enrichment

  • Henrietta Swan

    I feel that again, Politifact soft-pedals.

    This isn’t just false, it’s a deliberate lie, and deserves Politifact’s “Pants On Fire” rating.

  • Chiroptera

    Okay, just assuming for the moment that it is true that children raised by straight parents are better off than children raised by gay parents, how does preventing a gay couple from marrying help the children that the couple is raising?

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    Ralp’s “evidence”: “God said it; I believe it; That settles it.” Everything else is details.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Bear in mind that to someone who lives in the Bubble, “irrefutable” means that refutation will not be tolerated. Which is, in fact, true of his claims: anything contrary is heretical.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Marcus Ranum @ # 1: This is the same chinless weasel who was the star of the “moral majority” back before that scam collapsed?

    No.

    Moral Majority, Inc, had room for only one star: Jerry Falwell.

    Ralph Reed was the famous Boy Wonder® of the Christian Coalition™, who got out just before that caved in and has recently started up a new hyperchristian org.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    felidae “As we learned from the Abramoff affair, cute little Ralphie is just a remorseless grifter using religion for personal aggrandizement and enrichment.”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. He’s not cute.

     

    Henrietta Swan “I feel that again, Politifact soft-pedals.”

    Typical Liberal Media!

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    You have to realize that their definition of “better off” is different than ours.

    Straight children raised without exposure to gay parenting are more likely to see gays as “other,” and therefore possibly frightening. Thus they will be more likely to persecute gays as adults, which pleases their god, and improves their chances of getting into heaven. Therefore they’re better off.

    Gay children raised without exposure to gay parenting are more likely to find their sexuality confusing and possibly frightening. Thus they will be more likely to hate themselves as adults, which pleases their god, and improves their chances of getting into heaven. Therefore they’re better off.

    Of course, the fact that these are not healthy attitudes and increase the amount of misery in the world is irrelevant. “Better off” is all in terms of the eternal fantasy world.

  • http://saltycurrent.blogspot.com SC (Salty Current), OM

    I’m almost ashamed to say that I think I understand the connection he’s making. It’s rooted, naturally, in sexism.

    “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,…

    Children need both a mother and a father because men and women are totally different and have completely different but complementary roles in parenting. A gay couple, therefore, would simply be redundant and, like single mothers or fathers, missing one of the two separate and necessary parental components.

  • bryanfeir

    @Salty Current:

    That’s not just plain sexism. More specifically, that’s gender essentialism.

  • http://saltycurrent.blogspot.com SC (Salty Current), OM

    Yes.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed states:

    As usual always, the Christian right is distorting reality.

    FTFY.

  • David C Brayton

    Did anyone on ABC News ask for his source?

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.mulroney Josef Mulroney

    it would be nice if the mainstream media would stop giving time to liars in the name of giving “both sides” of the story fair time. sometimes there is only one side to an objective story.

  • Jeff D

    I had only minimal “steeping time” in the teacup of American popular TV-driven culture, but to me, Ralph Reed always came across as the Eddie Haskell of American politics.

  • vmanis1

    It’s important to understand that Reed is quite capable of doublethink. According to Jeremy Hooper at Good As You, Reed contradicted himself 38 seconds later, by saying `I think the social science is not in yet on same-sex couples’.

    It’s quite clear that opponents of marriage equality and LGBT rights in general will say simply anything at all in defence of their position, regardless of facts or even basic logic. Sad.

  • dingojack

    Bring it on Ralphie-boy, let’s hear your ‘irrefutable evidence’ [see here].

    ) Dingo

  • cjcolucci

    Reed’s “irrefutable evidence” is bogus, of course, but it would not surprise me in the least if real evidence were to show that, by and large, children raised in a family structure that has been the socially-approved model for centuries made out better in the very society that approved that structure than children raised in other, less-favored, family structures, be they single-parent homes, same-sex families, or hippie communes. So what? We allow children to be raised in a variety of family structures that might be less advantaged than the intact, two opposite sex biological parent set-up. Is there any reason to think two same-sex parent families are any worse than other set-ups we allow?

  • scienceavenger

    One waits with baited breath Mr. What’s-best-for-the-children’s reaction to the many studies showing the academic deficiencies of children raised as fundies.