Recently, Bishop Harry Jackson, the leader of the effort to roll back same-sex marriage in DC, has started a campaign to use the marriage issue as a wedge to peel born-again voters away from the Democrats. In a recent column at TownHall, Jackson repeats the usual fundie shibboleth that same-sex marriage hurts children in the long run. But People for the American Way discovered that Jackson relies heavily on a couple of studies that are, to put it mildly, dubious.
One of those studies was conducted by Kansas State's Walter Schumm in 2010. Jackson seized on it as evidence that the old "they recruit" canard is indeed true.
As our nation continues to wrestle with the meaning and precise definition of marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered activists consistently dismiss the issue of children. Same-sex marriage advocates insist that children of homosexual couples have the same or better outcomes than children of heterosexual couples. Unfortunately for them these assertions are based more on philosophy than hard science. For example, a 2010 study by Dr. Walter Schumm of Kansas State University confirmed that adult children raised by homosexual couples are (unsurprisingly) two to five times as likely to identify themselves as homosexual as children of heterosexuals. But the nation is divided as to whether that is an important outcome or not.However, according to Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, Schumm's "research" was a bad joke. Rather than draw his samples from other scientific studies, Schumm merely used some completely unscientific general-interest books about gay parenting. Also, Burroway points out that Schumm has a serious conflict of interest--he's buddy-buddy with viciously homophobic quack psychologist Paul Cameron.
Jackson also cites a study conducted earlier this year by Texas' Mark Regnerus that supposedly confirms another fundie urban myth--that kids raised by gay parents don't turn out well.
Common sense would remind us that the results of any particular study depends both on how one defines a household headed by an LGBT couple, and what factors one evaluates when looking at “outcomes.” Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin, recently set out to hear the stories of the adults living in America today who were raised by parents in homosexual relationships. LGBT activists have fought vigorously to malign and suppress his findings. In short, he learned that, on 25 of 40 different outcomes evaluated, the children of women who’ve had same-sex relationships fare quite differently than those in stable, biologically-intact mom-and-pop families, displaying numbers more comparable to those from heterosexual stepfamilies and single parents.What Jackson doesn't tell us is that in the face of severe criticism, the journal that published Regnerus' paper, Social Science Research, conducted an audit of that study. The Chronicle of Higher Education got its hands on an advance copy of the audit results, which will be published in November. It found that Regnerus' paper was so badly flawed that it should have never been published. Among other things, it contained a dubious definition of "lesbian mother"--any woman who was in a lesbian relationship at any point after having a child, even if the child wasn't raised by the couple. It also found that only two of the children in the study lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods. The guy who conducted the audit, Darren Sherkat, bluntly described the paper as "bullshit."
This study included controls for age, race, gender, and the impact of being bullied as a youth, or the gay-friendliness of the state in which they live. Yet the respondents of same-sex parents were more apt to become unemployed, be less healthy and more depressed. They also were more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, have more male and female sex partners, experience more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life. Those raised by same-sex couples also were more likely to smoke marijuana and have trouble with the law.
Apparently such little details as a study's legitimacy don't really matter to Jackson and his ilk.