Video: study shows children better off with father and mother

A new study shows there are significant differences among children raised by gay and lesbian parents when compared with children raised by intact biological families. Watch this video report to learn more from Bill Duncan, Sutherland Institute’s Director of the Center for Family and Society, and to hear a reaction to the study from Karrie Galloway, president of Planned Parenthood Utah.


Here’s the script of the video: 

VOICE-OVER: Last week, a reputable scholarly journal published a key study showing there are significant differences among children raised by gay and lesbian parents when compared to children raised by intact biological families. Bill Duncan, Sutherland Institute’s Director of the Center for Family and Society, says this study makes some important discoveries.

BILL DUNCAN: “In the past – for the past, really, three decades we’ve had a lot of these little studies with heavily criticized methodology. They’ve all said, ‘You know it really doesn’t matter for children if they’re raised by two women and two men. There’s not going to be any difference for them compared to married couples’. And this research says, ‘Well, actually, no, that’s not true.’”

“When we take a snapshot of adults who, at some point in their childhood, were in a home with the mother or father who was in a same sex relationship, we actually show that on 25 of 40 different measures they actually were different. Twenty-four of those would be very obviously negative differences. One of the differences is, is that those children were more likely to identify themselves as gay or lesbian.”

VOICE-OVER: According to lead investigator Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, the study did not attempt to show what caused the differences in outcomes and it did not predict if changing attitudes will produce different results for those currently growing up with same-sex parents. Duncan says, unlike past studies, this current study tested a large number of individuals.

DUNCAN: “This study is—it’s actually a beginning of a series of studies and what’s different about it is it uses a different set of individuals that they are interviewing so the key thing is it’s very large, it’s nationally represented, it’s not a volunteer sample. In other words, they randomly found a certain number of people, and they’re asking different questions to find out how children do based on the family’s structure they grow up in.”

VOICE-OVER: Some of the data that was collected in the study claimed eight percent of children in their intact biological family homes, or IBF, reported being forced to have sex against their will compared to 31 percent raised by lesbian mothers. Thirteen percent of children in IBF homes reported having an affair while married or cohabiting compared to 40 percent raised by lesbian mothers. Seventeen percent of children in IBF homes reported their family receiving welfare while growing up compared to 69 percent raised by lesbian mothers. Karrie Galloway, president of Planned Parenthood Utah, shares her opinion of the study.

KARRIE GALLOWAY: “It was an interesting study, I felt as though its headline didn’t really match what the study said. It talked about comparing gay, lesbian, transgender families versus the gold standard. What I think it ended up comparing was stable families – the gold standard, versus troubled families – unstable families. What the researchers were looking at were adults, so they were raised in families 18 or 20 years ago, society was much different then.”

VOICE-OVER: Galloway also explained the individuals in this study weren’t raised in a same-sex parenting household from birth necessarily to adulthood.

GALLOWAY: “The majority of the families in the same sex households hadn’t lived there but an average of three years. That’s not a comparison between the gold standard and alternative families, unfortunately it’s a comparison between stable families and families that are challenged.”

VOICE-OVER: However, Bill Duncan has a differing opinion.

DUNCAN: “I think there are two things to think about that, one is that it’s kind of an invalid criticism inherently because it’s like saying, ‘Well, you know, drunk driving didn’t cause the accident, driving in the wrong lane caused the accident.’ Well, you wouldn’t have been driving in the wrong lane if you hadn’t been drinking. So instability clearly did have an effect on the children, but what we’re learning is that these relationships were just more unstable. There are very few people who stayed together for a full lifetime with their children.”

VOICE-OVER: Duncan adds that this study is just an invitation to start more research.

DUNCAN: “People now need to be more serious, stop doing these kinds of studies they’ve had in the past, where it’s just, ‘Well, let’s get a volunteer to come forward and show us how good their family’s doing.’ And instead, what’s the real experience of families in this situation? It ought to be a warning to us that there are very, very few children that are raised in a stable relationship with having two women or two men raising them for all of adulthood. That in itself is an important fact that this study helps us to learn.”

VOICE-OVER: For Sutherland Institute, I’m Alexis Young, reminding you that public policy changes lives.