Conservative Author Behind New Paper Marked by Poor Methodology, Faulty Conclusions
Washington - A flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound paper that seeks to disparage lesbian and gay parents was roundly criticized today by organizations that protect and advance the freedoms and equality of Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).
The paper, “New Family Structures Study,” written by right-wing author Mark Regnerus (of the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin) and funded in large part by the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute, makes a number of claims about negative outcomes for children raised by gay and lesbian parents. However, for the most part, the paper doesn’t even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a long-term committed relationship.
The Family Equality Council, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Freedom to Marry, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) pointed out that numerous flaws and a biased agenda undermine the claims made by the paper.
“Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology,” said Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council. “That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author’s work. But on top of that, his paper doesn’t even measure what it claims to be measuring.”
“Because of the serious flaws, this so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research that shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
Griffin and Chrisler added that those conclusions are backed up by every major child welfare organization—whose sole objective is to ensure child welfare-- along with the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of Social Workers, who all confirm that LGBT parents make good parents.
Chrisler also said that these 30 years of research are grounded in the day-to-day reality witnessed by millions of Americans.
“Everyday people in this country see real-life examples of the love, commitment and caring these parents provide to their children, said Chrisler. “These parents are raising their children to be kind to their friends and neighbors, support their communities and uphold American values. One biased paper cannot undo the truth nor demean the value of these families.”
Regnerus is well known for his ultra-conservative ideology and the paper was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation - two groups commonly known for their support of conservative causes. The Witherspoon Institute also has ties to the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, and ultra-conservative Catholic groups like Opus Dei.
Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said it is these anti-gay groups and their dangerous ideologies that, in fact, create some of the biggest legal, social, and economic challenges that LGBT families do face.
“The two million kids being raised by 1 million gay parents in this country are doing great, and would do even better if their parents didn’t have to deal with legal discrimination such as the denial of the freedom to marry, and ongoing attacks such as this kind of pseudo-scientific misinformation and the disinformation agenda that’s funding it,” said Wolfson.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick added, "A growing majority of Americans today already realize the harms this kind of junk science inflicts on loving families. If the media decides that this paper is worth covering, journalists have a responsibility to inform their audiences about the serious and glaring flaws in its methodology, and about the biased views of its author and funders."
Key problems with the “New Family Structures Study” include:
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