LGBT groups say study claiming kids from gay families worse off is driven by right-wing ideology

HRC, Family Equality Council and GLAAD blast conservative author who they say used poor methodology and reached faulty conclusions

LGBT groups say study claiming kids from gay families worse off is driven by right-wing ideology
12 June 2012

Leaders from the the leading LGBT organizations in the US are blasting a study by a professor of sociology at the University of Texas which claims children from planned gay and lesbian families did worse than children from heterosexual families.

The Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Freedom to Marry, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) said Monday (11 June) that the study by Mark Regnerus has numerous flaws including not bothering to look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a long-term committed relationship.

They also point out that the study was funded in large part by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute.

‘Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,’ said Jennifer Chrisler (pictured), Executive Director of the Family Equality Council. ‘That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author’s work. But on top of that, his paper doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring.’

Chad Griffin, who officially took over as President of HRC on Monday, added: ‘Because of the serious flaws, this so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research that shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents.’

Griffin and Chrisler said that those conclusions are backed up by every major child welfare organization along with the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, who all confirm that LGBT parents make good parents.

‘Everyday people in this country see real-life examples of the love, commitment and caring these parents provide to their children,’ said Chrisler. ‘These parents are raising their children to be kind to their friends and neighbors, support their communities and uphold American values.  One biased paper cannot undo the truth nor demean the value of these families.’

In the study, Regenerus asked 3,000 young adults questions about social, emotional and relational experiences in 40 areas.

Regenerus concluded that the findings may be caused by ‘forces uniquely problematic for child development in lesbian and gay families’ such as stigma and lack of support for parents.

On his blog, he said of the study: ‘I don’t think it easily lends itself to one particular answer to any of the politicized questions that are circulating about gay marriage.’

The LGBT groups point out that Regnerus is well known for his ‘ultra-conservative ideology’ and the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation – two groups they say are commonly known for their support of conservative causes.

The Witherspoon Institute also has ties to the anti-gay groups Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and such ultra-conservative Catholic groups as Opus Dei.

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said it is these anti-gay groups that create some of the biggest legal, social, and economic challenges for LGBT families.

‘The two million kids being raised by 1 million gay parents in this country are doing great, and would do even better if their parents didn’t have to deal with legal discrimination such as the denial of the freedom to marry, and ongoing attacks such as this kind of pseudo-scientific misinformation and the disinformation agenda that’s funding it,’ Wolfson said. 

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick added, ‘A growing majority of Americans today already realize the harms this kind of junk science inflicts on loving families. If the media decides that this paper is worth covering, journalists have a responsibility to inform their audiences about the serious and glaring flaws in its methodology, and about the biased views of its author and funders.’

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