Studying same-sex parenting

“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” – (G. K. Chesterton)

A recent article promised to take us from the superficial to the sociological but we were left to feed on superficial sociological scraps. How disappointing.

But since we are on the superficial and the social sciences, there are a few studies that deserve a second look before we get carried away with the “no-difference” narrative of those promoting same-sex parenting (SSP).

A Princeton-led study signed by over seventy scholars concluded that children fare better on the following indices when raised by their married mother and father: familial and sexual development, child and adult behaviour, education achievement and emotional health.

Another study led by Princeton and Wisconsin sociologists Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur found that: “Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents … regardless of whether the resident parent remarries.”

University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox and co-editor of Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives, warned his fellow Americans on the eve of Father’s Day, who “conveniently ignore, or are in complete denial about, the most fundamental consequence of the American retreat from marriage: growing rates of fatherless families”.

Finally, Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe had this to say: “The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.”

He goes on: “[W]e should disavow the notion that ‘mommies can make good daddies,’ just as we should disavow the popular notion … that ‘daddies can make good mommies’… The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary–culturally and biologically–for the optimal development of a human being.”

As for the supposed studies that “prove” SSP to be no different, Loren Markes notes that these studies “drawn primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalizable claim either way”.

These studies seldom test for more than two indicators of well being. SSP scholars Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey noted that they “located no studies of planned gay fathers that included child outcome measures and only one that compared gay male with lesbian or heterosexual adoptive parenting”.

Furthermore, two peer-reviewed studies in Social Science Research concluded that “to be raised in an intact biological family presents clear advantages for children over other forms of parenting”. Furthermore, they provide evidence that “children from intact, biological families also out-perform peers who were raised in homes of a parent who had same-sex relationships”.

It should go without saying that studies which show “P” in a favourable light should not be seen as a slap in the face to the actual flesh and blood people who are “not P”. The heroic efforts of flesh and blood individuals in other parenting arrangements are not being belittled.

Any country that takes the institution of the family seriously should think long and hard before acquiescing to the current nonsensical and unfounded “no-difference” SSP narrative.

John Smoot, a judge for twenty-one years in Boston offers wise counsel: “A society that puts children first does not teach young girls that they might grow up to marry a woman and young boys that they might grow up to marry a man, because sexual orientations are far more fragile than people think and, for many, not nearly as immutable as some have claimed.”

Need we be reminded of the dominical utterance concerning “causing little ones to stumble” and “millstones”?

— Adrian Sobers

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