Resources regarding the recent study of Gay Parenting

As reported today in various news outlets:

“A new study finds that adult children of parents in same-sex relationships fare worse socially, psychologically and physically than people raised in other family arrangement.”


As student of sociology, and a keen observer of human behavior, I predict 2 probable reactions to this research:

1. Liberals get their knickers in a twist because of limitations in the study that have already been explicitly addressed and acknowledged by the principle investigators.

2. Conservatives jump on the opportunity to use the findings as a political tool, oblivious to the reality that they’re holding a toothpick but wielding it like its a club.

As predictions go I’m not going out on too much of a limb here. When God was handing out hotlines to the throne room of heaven I was passed over in favor of Pat Robertson, Harold Camping and other luminaries of the church. But I do have an interest in doing a small part in tempering the  unnecessarily heated reactions, from all over the political spectrum, to this research. Dr. Mark Regnerus, principle investigator of the study, works at the University of Texas, Austin, and our departments share some geographical proximity. I’m familiar with his body of work, and he is an excellent and exciting sociologist. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him and he’s a very nice fellow. He is also a committed Catholic, and I suspect that piece of information about his personal life will be worked over in public as people react to this research. I understand the University of  Texas has been supportive of this study, despite knowing its controversial findings, so good on them. All to say, I expect there will be plenty of deserved attention directed towards Dr. Regnerus in undeserved ways.

Dr. Regnerus is also a contributor to Black, White and Grey, a blog by Christian sociologists (hosted by Patheos, but don’t hold that against them). He’s posted 2 entries in a series on the New Family Structures Study addressing questions and concerns about his research; if everyone read them before reacting to the outcome of the study there would be a good deal less misuse and misunderstanding about the results, but that is obviously too optimistic. My more modest goal is that the readers of Unsettled Christianity would give it a read and be better educated than the average person skimming news headlines. Also I’d like to send some more readers towards the blog, because the posts are generally very good and deserve more attention.

Part 1: Q & A with Mark Regnerus about the background of his new study

Part 2: More Info about the Study on Adult Children of Parents who have Same-Sex Relationships
If more posts in this series appear I will try to keep updating this post. But do visit their blog and spend some time learning about the process of social science research; I expect to have more contributions to this blog along that vein in the future.

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2 Replies to “Resources regarding the recent study of Gay Parenting”

  1. Two things that come to mind.

    1. If the same-sex relationship occurred some time ago, in the 70s or 80s or 90s, that might have results in less acceptance by peers, more embarrassment, etc, than might be the case now, at least in some communities. That, I’d think, could cause more trouble than would be likely now.

    2. If the child had male and female parents, and then one parent came out later, with associated divorce, etc, and adjustment by the child, that might be more problematic than a child being born to or adopted by same-sex partners, and thus never really having to deal with that stress.

    1. Two very valid points about the limitations of the findings, Jon. Unfortunately that kind of analysis would require longitudinal data, of which none is available, and will not be available in the future unless funding appears for it.

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