The new study out of Australia that finds the children of gay parents do at least as well as the children of straight parents (better, by some measures) has the anti-gay bigots in this country scrambling. The Family Research Council made this lame attempt to refute it by citing the ridiculous Regnerus study as the “gold standard” of such research.
But the data are of dubious value to begin with, because they are based on the parents’ own self-report (“My kid is doing great!”) rather than a more objective measure; and they are drawn from a “convenience sample” (like people responding to an ad in the “gay” media) rather than a genuinely random one. The distortion this introduces is clear from the socioeconomic profile of the sample — 73% of the homosexual parents had at least a college degree (vs. 28% of all Australian mothers), and 59% (79% of the men) had household incomes over $100,000 in Australian dollars (the median Australian household income is only $64,168).
Yes, the fact that it was a convenience sample rather than a random one is problematic, but they did that in order to get a large sample size and the researchers acknowledge that this is a limitation and hope that future research will be able to overcome that limitation. The fact that the sample was better educated and more affluent could be a problem, but the researchers did account for those factors in the study. But that criticism is actually more of a problem for the Regnerus study, which they absurdly claim is the best study on the subject:
In his 2012 research, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin turned the conventional wisdom of the politically correct academic world on its head by proving that children raised by homosexual parents do suffer disadvantages when compared to children raised by their married mother and father. FRC’s Peter Sprigg analyzed the study — published in the journal Social Science Research. He and others confirmed that it was the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted on the issue — which explains why liberals have tried so desperately to discredit it.
Regnerus’s research found numerous and significant differences between these groups — with the outcomes for children of homosexuals rated “suboptimal” (Regnerus’s word) in almost every category. His study remains the gold standard for such research — and it clearly showed children do better with a married mom and dad.
Now remember above where the FRC argues that because those in the sample of the Australian study were wealthier and better educated than the general population discredited that study? That’s an acknowledgement that lots of factors other than the sexual orientation of the parents have a major influence on outcomes for the child. And that argument applies far better to the Regnerus study than it does to the Australian study. If they were logically consistent — and they aren’t, ever — they would recognize this.
Regnerus’ study not only did not take into account those factors when comparing the two sample groups, it also did not take into account the fact that all of the examples from the “gay parents” group were of broken homes. And that almost none of them were actually being raised by gay parents. Of the 3000 families in the sample, only two — TWO, for crying out loud — did not come from broken homes led by an opposite-gender couple. Regnerus didn’t study gay parents raising children at all, he studied families where a couple had children, then divorced before or after one of them came out as gay (in fact, even less than that — he defined a “gay parent” as any parent who had ever had a “homosexual experience” at all).
The Regnerus study is laughably bad. If he had proposed such a study as a grad student, he would have been hammered by his thesis advisers. It’s the gold standard of how not to do sociological research.