I’ve always thought it was bunk

…that the apologists for gay “marriage” had declared–pre-emptively and with a vanishingly small statistical sample–that The Kids Are Alright and that gay “marriage” not only won’t harm children but is actually tremendously good for them. They have to say that crap, of course, because the mission all along has been “Let’s fundamentally alter the most basic structure of human society to suit the narcissistic demands of a minority whose power and influence is vastly out of proportion to the population.” That requires a good deal of lying, shouting down and torquing the truth, as do all “What could it possibly hurt?” social movements of modernity marketed and sold for mass consumption.

Only now, real research is, earlier than gay “marriage” advocates would like, suggesting that it will hurt children quite a bit–as anybody of common sense could have predicted and as coming years will only verify. As it does, the fallback position will be, as it is for the heterosexual culture of divorce, that children are “resilient”. Because, in the end, gay “marriage” was never about children. It is overwhelmingly about the narcissism of gays and the demand that homosex be, not merely tolerated, but approved, and that critics and perpetrators of Thoughtcrime against homosex be punished and silenced by the force of law.

It remains to be seen whether American culture will, yet again, fall for the “What could it possibly hurt?” phase of human history on this question as it did with No Fault Divorce. Odds are pretty good it will, but you never know. If it does, the next generation will get to experience the inevitable “How Were We Supposed to Know?” phase of human history that always follows big, stupid, societal choices to ignore some bleeding obvious fact of the human condition. Eventually, somebody will point out that the Church warned of all this a long time ago. But they will be shouted down by people in the media saying, “What? And roll back all the progress we’ve made since the ‘teens on fundamental human rights for Animal Fanciers and Man Boy Love? What is this? The Dark Ages?” The day is coming when Catholics will be condemned by Forward Thinking people, not for permitting sex with minors, but for condemning it.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


The Only Warning Sign You Need...
Another one bites the dust
Camille Paglia is like a crazy prophet
California Narcissists use children as human shields
  • CJ

    Nah, the excuse will be that the problems are caused by societal disapproval of gays. the same one that gets trotted out for every negative effect of the gay lifestyle. It has the benefit of being irrefutable because one can always say “you just aren’t tolerant enough” no matter how mainstream it becomes.

    • Mark Shea

      True enough. That is another common fallback position.

      • ds

        Why is it that catholics talk about heterosexual love and marriage like its a delicate hothouse flower that will wilt if gays want to marry anywhere near it, yet homosexuals, who have been hated and reviled for centuries and have only begun to receive a modicum of human respect in our lifetimes are, well, hated and reviled for having non-homogenous sex lives? Isnt this kind of a double standard.

        • Mark Shea

          Instant recourse to “hate” .as the only explanation for opposing the fundamental redefinition of the most basic unit of human civilization based on the narcissistic demands of a vanishingly small percentage of the population is but one of the many of forms of bullshit deployed by apologists for gay marriage. Try again. Think hard. Why, besides “hate” might somebody think redefining marriage is a reckless idea?

          • ds

            I think you misunderstood my point, but admittedly I don’t think I made it well.

            Conservatives are always saying there is a war on marriage and that under this assault more heteros are failing at marriage or just plain not marrying. Marriage is a delicate hothouse flower that will wither without proper care.

            Yet gays on the other hand, don’t really want marriage and mostly have perverted and broken relationships. Isn’t it possible that this brokenness is a partially the result of being told for a very long time that any expression of their love is wrong, and that there are still constantly efforts to try to exclude them from institutions that promote fidelity and commitment?

            hetero: marriage must be protected or it will be destroyed.
            homo: gays always have broken relationships and this is an essential part of gay relationships so we must ignore and thwart any efforts they make at stability in marriage.

            Do you see that double standard? If monogamy and fidelity must be nurtured and protected, is it any wonder that examples of it are few in the gay community?

            • Mark Shea

              I’m all for letting gay do as they please behind closed doors. Not. My. Business. When it’s homosex, it’s a sin. But I don’t think every sin should be the subject of civil law. And if gay want to pursue “committed relationships” all the protections for that are already in place through civil law (at least in my state). But that doesn’t mean that a gay relationship can be defined as a “marriage” any more than any other randomly chosen human relationship can suddenly be defined as “marriage”. Saying “Marriage is whatever two (or more) consenting people say it is” is another way of saying “Marriage means nothing.” A word that means anything is a word that means nothing. Gays are welcome to pursue “fidelity”. They are not welcome to fundamentally redefine the meaning of the most basic institution in human civilization in order to compel the pretense that a gay relationship is “marriage”–and then to use the force of law to punish those who recognize that homosex is disordered and sinful.

        • kenneth

          The double standard comes more in the form of a hetero society awash in hypocrisy up to their eyeballs claiming they have the standing to “save” marriage. This self-appointed knighthood which charged itself to save marriage is full to the brim of guys who spend their lives trading up wives like cars or office spaces, spend their working vacations with their mistresses, their evenings perusing online porn that exceeds the depths of Larry Flynt’s imagination and their weekends partying up the child support they didn’t send to their stable of past “baby mommas.”

          Some of the most strident defenders of normative hetero marriage also find time for anonymous encounters with male escorts to um, you know, “help them get out of their disordered livestyles… ”
          We’re told none of that matters, because two guys getting married, even if they led the most humdrum “Ozzy and Harriet” traditional suburban existence, would destroy the “sanctity” of the defender’s marriage. THAT would be the double standard, in my estimation.

          • Mark Shea

            This is like arguing “Humans commit murder and therefore have no moral standing to outlaw it.” Good luck with that.

            • kenneth

              It’s more akin to calling out the engineers of our drone war and torture camps who lecture other nations on human rights and the rule of law.

              • Mark Shea

                Yes. All heterosexual marriages end in divorce and any het who supports the traditional defintion of marriage is like a torturer. Infallible logic.

  • Michaelus

    It is amazing that the attached story got any coverage at all:


    The trial of these two “parents” has not started but the story has faded even from the local news outlets.

  • http://profiles.google.com/JohnMcG JohnMcG

    I’m going to go in a different direction — I think a lot of the support for SSM is about lowering the bar for chastity for all of us, particularly heterosexuals. A general attitude of “who are we to judge” “benefits” all couples, particularly heterosexual couples who find the demands of chastity too restricting.

    • The Deuce

      Bingo. The number of gay people who actually want to get gay “married” is too infitesimal to even raise a public fuss. This whole thing is driven primarily by heterosexuals who want to further enforce their narcissistic ideology on matters sexual.

      • Rachel K

        The Deuce, are you commenting more on how few gay people there are in the country, or are you using the “gay people don’t actually want gay marriage” argument? The former is a valid argument, but the latter has never rung true in my experience. I have three gay friends; two of them are in committed relationships and actively want to get married to their partners, and the other one isn’t in a serious relationship right now but wants the option of getting married if she ever finds The One. There are many good reasons to oppose same-sex marriage, but “even the gays don’t want it” isn’t one of them.

        • Ted Seeber

          What has always surprised me is that gays actually want to get married. It seems to go against *everything* the subculture has ever taught.

          • Beadgirl

            You are assuming, though, that all gays are part of that “subculture,” when in fact they are not.

        • The Deuce

          I’m commenting on both. Firstly, that the population of gays is small, and secondly that only a portion of that small population wants to get married themselves. We’re talking probably around 1% of the total population that wants to get gay married themselves. The actual “consumer demand” for gay marriage is not nearly enough to drive a mass movement. It’s really being driven by predominantly straight leftists because it aligns with their ideology.

          • Rachel K

            Fair enough. Even if only, say, two-thirds of gays want to get married (that’s a totally random number–I don’t know of any stats on this), it’s a pretty tiny minority of the US population. I find it pretty hilarious that the Pew survey about behavior people find immoral was talking about how ridiculous it is that only 10% of Americans find contraception immoral and therefore their religious liberty is inconsequential, without getting into the fact that a much smaller number wants to get gay married.

      • ChrisB

        I agree with many of the anti-SSM arguments, but I’m no longer convinced that only a tiny fraction of gays and lesbians want to get married. I looked up the 2010 stats for my province (British Columbia), and, of people getting married (or, married/”married” if you prefer), 2.o percent of the men were gay and 2.5 percent of the women were lesbian. That can’t be too far off the actual proportions of those groups in the population.




        • ChrisB

          By “gay”/”lesbian”, I mean, entering an SSM. Some people who enter traditional marriages may be gay/lesbian in some other sense, like this guy, self-identified as gay but happily married.

          • Ted Seeber

            Lolly SHEA? Suddenly, when I never had any curiosity about it before, I have to ask the question- Mark, what is the religion of your family of origin?

            • Ted Seeber

              Sorry, messed up the threading. This is in response to the link ChrisB posted, about a gay, but very orthodox-for-Mormonism man who married a woman named Lolly Shea, whom he knew since he was three years old and for whom obviously she is his soul mate, regardless of the homosexuality. A Beautiful story indeed, but boy did the last name jump out at me.

    • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

      Good point…. and quite a few people on this blog have tried to make that point *in defence* of SSM citing that heteros cheat, get divorced, yadda, yadda, yadda.

      My responce is, “so if your friend jumps off a cliff, it makes it okay for you to do so, too?”

  • beccolina

    It’s amazing how concerns for children’s safety fades. I remember all the worry about latchkey children when I was a child. The situation created by two working parents or a single parent who had to work was considered so dangerous and bad for the children for a few years, then it faded away. The same with the effects of divorce. First is was damaging to children, then it slowly changed to the “common wisdom” that the children are better off if their parents aren’t trapped in a miserable marriage (it’s always a miserable marriage presented, despite the flip view that divorced couples have just “grown apart”). Since children have become accessories and a right, general concern for their good has faded. Lots of lipservice from the MSM, but no substance.

  • http://CatholicFamilyToday.blogspot.com Don Gatwood

    Yes, we once held similar myths regarding divorce and the impact on children. We once thought that children were resilient and believed that children would not be impacted as they are by divorce. Study upon study now tells us that children are devastated by divorce. Children in postdivorce families are not, overall, happier, healthier or better adjusted if one or both parents are happier (which seldom do the parents either find happiness in the land of divorced). No, in fact research tells us that children of divorce are more likely to need psychological intervention at school. More of them wind-up in mental health clinics and correctional facilities than their peers fro intact families. They are more likely to become sexually active outside of marriage and at an earlier age than their peers from intact families. They are likely to perform worse academically than their peers of intact families, and the list goes on and on. But, be that as it may the divorce lawyers are not complaining of any shortage of clients. No surprises here in the recent news regarding same-sex couples. as with any time people choose to move in a direction counter to how it is intended, it doesn’t go well. But like everything else the evidence will be refuted and ignored and people will continue doing what they will.

    • Spastic Hedgehog

      Children *are* resilient. However, that doesn’t mean you puposely drop them on their heads.

  • A Philosopher


    You’re massively distorting the significance of the Regnerus study. What Regnerus is comparing is children raised in stable households with both of their biological parents to children one of whose parents has had a same-s*x relation. So, crucially, the second wing of the comparison is *not* children who were raised in the household of a same-s*x relationship. For example, in the case of male-male relationships, only 23% of the children studied spent as much as 4 months living with both partners in the relationship, and only 2% spent as much as 3 years.

    So the study is largely comparing children raised in stable households to children raised in a variety of other circumstances, such as in single-parent households, or in two-parent households in which one parent is having an affair (in this case, a same-s*x affair). It’s of course well-known that many of these other circumstances are detrimental to the welfare of children, and it’s not surprising to see that fact re-affirmed in the Regerus study. (On most of the welfare dimensions studied, the children of parents who had same-s*x relations are not statistically significantly different from children raised in single-parent households, raised as step-children, or (perhaps surprisingly) even from children whose parents divorced after the children left the household.)

    It’s hard, then, to see what relevance this study has to the issue of same-s*x marriage, and in particular to the question of the welfare of children raised within same-s*x marriages. It simply isn’t studying such children. (As Regnerus notes, there isn’t, in fact, a statistically significant number of such cases to study at this point.) Regnerus himself is rather careful in qualifying the boundaries and significance of his work; it’s a shame to see that care being lost as the work is reported elsewhere.

    • julian

      “massively distorting the significance”…hmmm, so the kids ARE alright?

      • A Philosopher


        That’s not what I said. Better would be: so the study doesn’t tell us anything about whether the relevant kids are alright.

    • MattyD

      Well said, Philos.

  • julian

    I agree that the study does have boundaries, (clearly it does, as is the case with ANY study in the social sciences), but it IS significant that any study at all has been released that hints at confirming “what we can’t NOT know” regarding the effects of SSR’s on the kids. As an aside, I don’t know if anyone has been watching Mad Men but that show has got to be one of the best popular moral voices on the impacts that infidelity of any sort has on the kids. It only took about 40 or 50 years for that generation to grow up and say, “Hey, you know, I didn’t really appreciate all that.”

  • julian

    Which kids are the irrelevant ones? OK, OK, I know you’re not saying some kids are irrelevant. My point is though, we already have a general sense that some kids will be marked casualties in the SSFamily. This study makes an attempt at quantifying the impacts of SSR on kids, (albeit with short comings). We quibble over having studies to confirm what we already know about right and wrong and meanwhile there are children whose well, childhood will be given up as offering for this social experiment. There are real people going living through this stuff, not irrelevant statistics.

  • MattyD

    Sorry, but I agree with Philosopher. The study just doesn’t support the Nail in the Coffin triumphalism of Mark’s post. I wish it did (that would make my life much easier). But it doesn’t. As pointed out by Philosopher, and by the study, it compared *stable* hetero families with (mostly) *broken* hetero families in which a parent went on to have a gay relationship, no matter how brief. That is NOT a comparison of hetero and homo family structure. And the study concedes that *stable* homo family structure may well be more beneficial to children than *broken* hetero family structure. The study does not nearly claim what Mark’s suggesting it does.

    • ChrisB

      If the optimal family is two, married parents raising their biological children in life-long relationship, then all same-sex families are “broken” to some degree, necessarily. I don’t intend this as yet another internet LAWGIC TRAP: there’s evidence that all these factors – marriage, biological connection, life-long relationship – matter to children’s outcomes, and I’d be very surprised if having a parent of each gender doesn’t also turn out to be an advantage.

      • Beadgirl

        It may be, it may not, it may only be a slight advantage — we just don’t know. But I’m not sure how fruitful all of this is, because there are so very many factors that go into family life and the health and well-being of a child, not the least of which is the child’s personality. And we are in a fallen world, where it will be impossible to make sure all families are “optimal” — and I certainly don’t want to be the one to tell, say, a woman who is a single mother not by choice or an infertile couple that has adopted children that the home they create won’t be good enough.

        I think it is a mistake to approach this as a mathematical equation, where as long as we add up all the right factors we will get perfect children. I also think we (all of us) need to focus less on proving or promoting an ideological agenda (Gay parents are perfect! Gay parents are ruining children!) and more on actually helping children. And based on everything I’ve read, that means focusing on the stability of the home life.

      • MattyD

        ChrisB, you may be right (that having one parent of each gender turns out to be an advantage to the child). But this study does not allow us to draw that conclusion. Mark’s drawing more from the study than the study actually says. The study (only, I think) supports the argument that two bio parents are better than one parent who has had at least one homosexual relationship. But we already knew that two parents are better than one. A *true* comparison would be 2 hetero parents vs. 2 homosexual parents.

    • Mark Shea

      Mark is not claiming any nails in coffins. Mark is claiming that the pre-emptive legwork of the Kids Are Alright crowd to shove “This won’t hurt kids” down the throats of the culture–based on very little evidence–is not starting to get some pushback and will only get more. Deservedly so.

      • MattyD

        I agree with you that pushback and evidence are warranted for a question this big. I disagree with you that this study provides any such evidence. It does not really support your claim that gay marriage could “hurt children quite a bit”. Or your claim that GM advocates are lying or torquing the truth. In fact, as some critics of the report have pointed it out, this study could just as easily be used to support the *strengthening* of homosexual unions. Because, if I understand the report correctly, the *instability* of the marriage appears to be the key variable not the sexual orientation of parents. I think the report’s author conceded this point.

      • A Philosopher

        Mark is claiming that “real research is suggesting that [same-s*x marriage] will hurt children quite a bit”. But that’s just not at all what the cited studies show. A retraction is really in order.

        I’m also curious about how you see the moral landscape here. Are you endorsing the consequentialist argument that detrimental consequences to children would demonstrate the wrongness of same-s*x marriage? If, hypothetically, empirical research showed that children in LDS marriages had higher welfare than children whose parents were of other religions (I wouldn’t, in fact, be too shocked if such research were to show up), would you take that as showing that it was wrong to let non-LDS wed?

        • MattyD

          Philosopher, that’s an interesting point. We could find a plethora of parental traits that correlate to disadvantages to children — e.g. parents with less education, or a criminal background, or severe depression, etc. But would that warrant a prohibition against marriages between people with those traits? Good point.

      • kenneth

        Thus far the “pushback” amounts to cheap card tricks that anyone with any scientific literacy can see right through.

  • Jane

    In reading some reaction pieces to the Regnerus study, these two lines jumped out at me from a piece by Paul Amato in the same journal in which the study was published (July 2012 Social Science Research).

    1. “If differences exist between children with gay/lesbian and heterosexual parents, they are likely to be small or moderate in magnitude – perhaps comparable to those revealed in the research literature on children and divorce.” … What strikes me is how willing he seems to minimize the suffering experienced by children of divorce (“small or moderate in magnitude…”), which seems flat-out wrong now that children of divorce are coming of age and sharing their experiences, which have been pretty awful (I’m thinking of Marquardt’s “Between Two Worlds” in particular).

    2. “It would be unfortunate if the findings from the Regnerus study were used to undermine the social progress that has been made in recent decades in protecting the rights of gays, lesbians, and their children.” This statement, taken together with the first one, give the impression that the author is more concerned with the forward-motion of Progress (read: marriage redefinition) than with the possibility that children could be suffering from all of the “alternative” family forms that adults continue to create. Does this seem like a problematic take to anyone else? Is it uncharitable to suggest that the well-being of children is not exactly the top priority here?

  • kenneth

    This isn’t “real science”. It’s more junk science from the usual suspects who have a religious/ideological axe to grind. It was a classic case of “scholarship for hire” funded by people and outfits who knew what the “conclusions” were going to be from the outset. They hired researchers who would construct the studies to lead in that direction.

    The “institutes” funding this thing are mostly very recent of origin and have missions more akin to PACs or single agenda think tanks than real scholarship. The Witherspoon Institute, NOM, Opus Dei, the Family Research Institute – they’re all tied together by the same people and dollars and they damn sure wouldn’t have funded any study that ran the slightest risk of disproving their position. The comparisons in samples used to draw the conclusions are not apples to apples. They are apples to elephants, as one critic put it. The study was set up in such a way as to compare a group of children of SSA parents who had disproportionately high rates of divorce and upheaval in their lives with a population of kids from hetero long term intact households. He demonstrated that those raised with lots of chaos in their lives have worse outcomes than those who do not, making sure that the disadvantaged kids all come from the gay background. With science like that I can’t imagine how we could be falling behind in the world….

    The really pathetic thing is that with three quarters of a million dollars, he was able to start out with an excellent overall national random sample. By filtering and massaging the samples and questions to reach his patron’s predetermined outcome, he made a sow’s ear out of a silk purse…..

    • Nonymous

      I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this study. As I read it, it’s powerful evidence for the plaintiffs and support for the decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. You can make the equal protection argument that while Prop 8 privileged *all* hetero couples, this study confirms that there’s no valid outcome difference between their children and the children of GLBT couples. It only suggests (and the study does not go so far) that there are outcome differences between the children of IBF couples and the children of GLBT/Non-IBF hetero couples, which Prop 8 doesn’t recognize. And no community in the United States will *ever* support laws that privilege IBF couples.

  • Harmony

    Oh, I totally predicted this. The confirmation bias is just so pure and unpolluted by troubles of accuracy and careful thought! The antigay crusaders never acknowledge the existence of the evidence until a study comes along that points in the direction they like. I’ll lay 20 to 1 odds that, if later studies confirm the initial ones, those will conveniently be screened off from entering the minds of the all-I-need-is-authority,-not-the-facts crowd.

    • kenneth

      They use science when it suits them because they know it can help bolster credibility where theology falls on deaf ears, but they are contemptuous of science itself. They have no more interest in science as a discipline than the six-day creationists who form “institutes” and publish science-ish articles in self-owned journals.

    • Mark Shea

      Most un-self-aware post of the day.

  • kenneth

    I never said I was an expert at introspection. I leave that to the psych guys. I am pointing out shabby methodology and a funding/affiliation conflict of interest that is so obvious it can be seen from orbit. I’m a sandlot player in the world of science, at best, but what little grant money I’ve drawn has never come from people who pre-wrote the conclusions and hired me to build a data road leading to them. Some part of me regrets that because it’s clearly a very lucrative field for some folks.

    I’d love to see some real science done to study outcomes of same sex parenting. That would mean long term longitudinal studies of people who were as close to identical in life circumstances in every way save for the sexuality of their parents. That would mean comparing apples to apples: the gay Ozzie and Harriets with the hetero ones, not matching the absent gay dad or drunk lesbian mom against the straight Ozzie and Harriets. Do it under the funding and auspices of NIH and some Ivy League university or one that has huge creds in the area of public health, sociology etc. Follow some cohort of kids from kindergarten to adulthood. I’d love to see the science done that way, and if the methodologies were sound, take the results for what they are.

    I suspect we’d find the outcomes are not the same, but probably within the range we’d expect. That is to say, a kid of long term stable gay partners who afford the kid certain economic and academic opportunities will probably have roughly similar outcomes to the same kid in a straight environment. But we might all be surprised in ways we haven’t even thought of.