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Study shows children from gay families 'worse off'

Two new reports criticize landmark 2005 gay parenting brief that says LGB families as good as straight ones
Mark Regenerus, author and professor at the University of Texas

Children with lesbian, gay or bisexual parents are worse off, a report from US university scientists claims.

In the study of 3,000 adults, Mark Regenerus, author and professor of sociology at the University of Texas, found that children from planned LGB families did worse than children in conventional relationships with stable families.

The study asked 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, Regenerus 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.

‘What it comprises is significant, new, high-quality information on the long reach of household structure in the lives of American young people.'

In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a brief on lesbian and gay parenting that has been cited ever since in the formation of US social and political policy.

It concluded: ‘Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.’

In a separate study, Loren Marks made a direct review of 59 studies that the APA referenced in their brief.

Criticizing the rigor of these studies, especially in regards of the small sample sizes and the lack of inclusion of a more diverse sample of same-sex families, he concluded, 'strong, generalized assertions, including those made by the APA Brief, were not empirically warranted.’

Dr Marks received his undergraduate and MS degrees from Brigham Young University, which was founded and is supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons), a church which opposes gay rights.

Paul R Amato of Pennsylvania State University responded directly to both the studies, saying that they, 'provide useful opportunities for readers to think about the current state of research on children with gay and lesbian parents.

‘These articles raise two sets of issues. One involves the scientific status of research on this topic and the other involves concerns about law, social policy and civil rights.

‘If growing up with gay and lesbian parents were catastrophic for children, even studies based on small convenience samples would have shown this by now.'

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