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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.

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.

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."

Apparently such little details as a study's legitimacy don't really matter to Jackson and his ilk.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Following the link to the audit is interesting (7+ / 0-)

    to say the least.

    In the final paragraph of the report, Regnerus himself suggests that his study might plausibly be viewed as supportive of same-sex marriage because indicates that "more stable households produce less troubled children." Which is nice, I suppose, if those were the conclusions Regnerus had chosen to draw and if his study had been designed to establish such a conclusion. As far as I can tell, neither of those was the case and neither claim was made in the published study.

  •  If he really wants to see how it works out, (1+ / 0-)

    all he'd have to do is look at the states where it's already in effect.  Massachusetts has had it for a long time and I haven't heard any horrible stories from them.  I'm in Iowa and I never really hear about it, except for when the judges who ruled it legal come up for reaffirmation.  I will break my 2004 pledge and vote for one Republican* this year, Wiggins on our SC.  He voted for marriage rights and  I just think it's right to support someone who supports me.

    *Our judges are supposed to be non-partisan, but since he was appointed by a Republican, I view him that way.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 07:30:22 PM PDT

  •  Walter Schumm's nonsense study (0+ / 0-)

    I remember this one - I diaried it when it was new.  

    He took ten books which were not studies, but popular-audience books about the children of GLBT parents.  Schumm read them, tallied up the number of GLBT parents & children, and concluded that these were reliable numbers for the chances of GLBT parents having straight or GLBT children.
    At least one of the books was by an editor who consciously chose  to use equal numbers of families with straight or GLBT children.  I could do the same "analysis" with the same ten books and prove that 100% of the parents in the United States are GLBT.

    This nonsense gets quoted on the right because of Cameron Rule #1, a law that I identified many years ago and named after Paul Cameron:

    People are more easily suckered by crap with numbers in it than by garden-variety crap.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 07:32:00 PM PDT

  •  i guess i'm a bit confused as to how this (0+ / 0-)

    professional journal defines "peer review", because it doesn't appear that actual peer review took place, other than that a couple of people with similar credentials skimmed through it. in ordinary peer review, the data sets purportedly used are taken by reviewers, who then attempt to come up with the same (or close to) results and conclusions. if they can't, something is clearly wrong, and the study shouldn't be published until valid explanations for any material differences are received. is that not how it works in the social sciences?

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