How Different Are Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same Sex Relationships? Comment on a study

The starting point for this thread is a comment written by QB on the gay marriage thread. To quote: “Recently a study came out, greeted by a firestorm from the left, refuting claims that children do equally well raised by either a mother and father or by same-sex couples.

I presume that QB is referring to M. Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study”, Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752 – 7750. As my institution has a subscription to Elsevier journals, I was able to download the original article. This is copyrighted material, so I cannot post it in full here. I think it’s fair use to post the abstract as Harvard does that.

Abstract

The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is a social-science data-collection project that fielded a survey to a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. In this debut article of the NFSS, I compare how the young-adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic rela- tionship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when com- pared with six other family-of-origin types. The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents. The results are typically robust in multivariate contexts as well, suggesting far greater diversity in lesbian-parent household experiences than convenience-sample studies of lesbian families have revealed. The NFSS proves to be an illuminating, versatile dataset that can assist family scholars in understanding the long reach of family structure and transitions.

This is an excellent example of something worth addressing in greater detail. That is, a non-specialist citing current research. [Edit. I recognize this post is doing exactly the same thing. I can drill down a bit further and have familiarity with the publishing process, so have attempted to discuss it in those terms.] One paper cannot simply refute such claims. Then again, the author doesn’t attempt to do so in this paper. Regnerus does raise some interesting questions.

In my science post some time ago, I discussed the pecking order of journals. SSR has an impact factor of 1.57, a bit on the low side. The author’s decision to submit to SSR rather than a higher profile journal may indicate anticipation of a backlash or that he had trouble getting it into a more highly cited journal such as American Sociological Review (3.7). Elsevier is a highly regarded publisher, so he didn’t just put it in a fly by night journal. The paper was accepted within 4 weeks of being submitted. Also, it usually takes an editor a week or two to assign a paper and get a referee to review it. I seriously doubt this paper had more than a cursory review. That doesn’t mean it’s bad research, but it raises a caution flag when it comes to drawing sweeping conclusions.

There are some legitimate questions that can be raised about this study. Principle among these is false equivalence. The comparison is between “intact biological families” (IBFs) and children who report a parent as having a same sex relationship. These are not directly equivalent. As a classic example, a case where a father comes out of the closet and divorces the mother. A better comparison would be with a failed, heterosexual marriage. The author concedes this point. Quoting from the paper: “Child outcomes in stable, ‘‘planned’’ GLB families and those that are the product of previous heterosexual unions are quite likely distinctive, as previous studies’ conclusions would suggest.” He did not attempt to draw this direct parallel or control for other factors (see below). He does make a strong point in that other opposite sex relationships (step parent, cohabitating) fail to achieve the same outcome as IBFs.

Much of the paper is a data dump. It’s useful as a starting point, but drawing conclusions is challenging. There’s a few oddities. For example, only 61% of children with a lesbian mother identify as heterosexual and 71% of children with a gay father. Only 82% of children of non-IBF or non-GLB parents identify as entirely heterosexual. [Note: this is adoptive, step, single parent or other.] Those are far higher numbers than generally accepted (probably 3% – 5%). Are we talking bi-curious? Having had a same sex encounter at some point? I’m a little suspicious. I don’t know if there’s some sample bias (the author worked very hard to get a large sample size, by the way) or something else is operative. If truly a random sample, a tenfold increase suggests a biological connection or there may be issues with the sample. I’d be interested in seeing how those numbers compare for children in which the parent with custody is homosexual.

Another number. 23% of respondents with a lesbian mother report having been sexually touched by a parent or other adult. This compares with 2% for children of IBFs. Contrast this with the overall estimation for the population of 10% or more. I’d like to see how this particular study compares with other studies, independent of the sexuality of the parent. Heck, 69% of children of lesbian mothers report having been on welfare. There’s some really surprising data there, but no follow through. I don’t think the author performed adequate control checks on his sample. That’s probably an issue of resources.

I’m not questioning the accuracy of Regnerus’s reporting, but rather the depth of the study. Overall, this is interesting work, but far from conclusive. The author makes a strong point that studies need to be performed with larger sample sizes. It does open the prospect to me that there may be statistically different outcomes between a planned GLB family and an IBF.

There are also some strong points for proponents of gay marriage in the study. Regnerus cites previous research that outcomes are better for children of a married, heterosexual couple than for cohabiting couples. I quote from the introduction:

“Social scientists of family transitions have until recently commonly noted the elevated stability and social benefits of the two-parent (heterosexual) married household, when contrasted to single mothers, cohabiting couples, adoptive parents, and ex-spouses sharing custody (Brown, 2004; Manning et al., 2004; McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994).”

Those opposing same sex marriage should consider this point. Opposing it apparently condemns children of those relationships to inferior outcomes, to the detriment of society. I suspect there will be interesting research in the decades to come, particularly when it comes to the outcomes of children of married gay or lesbian parents as opposed to those who can only cohabit due to the laws of their state.

BB

43 Responses

  1. Why “climate change”?

    Thanks for the review.

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  2. Thank you. I’ve read a lot of commentary on this study and I agree that the data is being cherry picked to support multiple theories. Having a parent come out of the closet is a very traumatic event. An adult gay man I knew was severely distressed when his father, a Baptist minister, came out after being discovered by his wife.

    This is at least equivalent to have one parent of a heterosexual couple engage in cheating. Perhaps a broader study can look at traditional families without infidelity versus same sex couples with children where there has been no domestic drama of the type associated with divorce due to a notice of sexual orientation.

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  3. I clicked that one as there wasn’t a scientific controversies button. This one is certainly aimed right at a hot topic. And it was certainly misinterpreted. I suspect QB picked up what had been said about the study rather than looking into any analysis of it. It fit a preconceived conclusion and hence was correct. He dismissed any study contradicting his opinion as pseudo-science.

    I suspect that Regnerus selected SSR as a target journal as he knew it would get a quick review. My post-doc supervisor did something similar once. There was a hot topic in the field and he wanted to get some results published before anyone else did. So, he sent a preliminary paper to the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics. It was accepted within several weeks.

    I didn’t get back to QB’s original question on the other thread. I think I had absorbed as perceived wisdom of the community that kids of GLB families are pretty much the same. Regnerus raises some legitimate questions about this. It may be that outcomes for IBF families are superior to GLB families with similar controls. Regnerus didn’t attempt that, but it’s an interesting question.

    BB

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  4. Part of the problem is that since marriage has only been legal for such a short amount of time, there is an insufficient sample size of truly married same sex couples with children to draw from.

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  5. Thank you. I’ve read a lot of commentary on this study and I agree that the data is being cherry picked to support multiple theories.

    Speaking of non-specialists commenting. We’ll keep this in mind in a few hours when the ACA decision is (presumably) announced, and undoubtedly on many other occasions to come.

    Should we expect a series of critiques of pro-SSM studies now as well? Have either of you scrutinized them? Or does your scientific interest lie only in critiquing this one?

    I note that neither of you seems interested in the question I actually posed: what you actually believe about the relative benefits of a child’s having a mother and father versus “two” of one or the other.

    Those opposing same sex marriage should consider this point. Opposing it apparently condemns children of those relationships to inferior outcomes, to the detriment of society. I suspect there will be interesting research in the decades to come, particularly when it comes to the outcomes of children of married gay or lesbian parents as opposed to those who can only cohabit due to the laws of their state

    You are making assumptions that SSM in fact is equivalent to normal marriage. That is, you are citing data comparing IBF outcomes compared to cohabiting heterosexual couples and assuming that the same relationship must exist as to married and unmarried homosexuals.

    Your argument also overlooks inconvenient biological reality that homosexual couples will never produce children in the first place, not unless one of them uses some means such as AI, and that simply raises further public policy questions.

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  6. I note that neither of you seems interested in the question I actually posed: what you actually believe about the relative benefits of a child’s having a mother and father versus “two” of one or the other.

    I believe that all children should be wanted and loved. The number and genders of the parents involved is a poor proxy for this.

    not unless one of them uses some means such as AI, and that simply raises further public policy questions.

    Does this mean that married straight couples should also not resort to fertility treatments if [Diety of choice] so wills it?

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  7. I believe that all children should be wanted and loved. The number and genders of the parents involved is a poor proxy for this

    First, you simply evaded the question. Second, whether or not you think it is a poor proxy, heterosexual couples produce children; homosexual couples don’t. Therefore, the goal of having children loved by their parents has no connection to SSM.

    Does this mean that married straight couples should also not resort to fertility treatments if [Diety of choice] so wills it?

    No. Married straight couples who have fertility issues are dealing with a medical problem. Homosexuals are dealing with the nature of reality.

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    • No. Married straight couples who have fertility issues are dealing with a medical problem. Homosexuals are dealing with the nature of reality.

      Fertility issues = nature of reality in that case.

      QB, I come to this thinking ma-pa has the most potential for parenting, compared with pa-pa, or ma-ma, or pa, or ma, or grandpa-grandma, or uncle-auntie, or any of the other alternatives. In a historical context, I understand protection of the child as a contributor to the state’s interest in marriage.

      But all my listed familial alternatives are potentially better than foster care or orphanage, and cheaper for the state. So aside from my libertarian streak and thinking states should not be in the wedding/marriage business, I have to say that the thrust of the child bearing argument on who should the state recognize as married, from history, has been blunted by the reality of the day.

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  8. First, you simply evaded the question.

    You think I evaded it because I dispute the premise.

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    • You think I evaded it because I dispute the premise.

      What premise?

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      • What premise?

        That the composition of the parental structure is the most important factor affecting a child’s well-being.

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        • That the composition of the parental structure is the most important factor affecting a child’s well-being.

          That’s neither the question nor a premise of the question.

          That’s okay. It’s clear that you are afraid to answer it.

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        • It’s clear that you are afraid to answer it.

          Or that I think it’s irrelevant. Which, in a way, answers the question.

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        • yello:

          Or that I think it’s irrelevant.

          Irrelevant to what? qb simply posed a question that, as he explicitly said, interests him. I’m not sure how you can dismiss the question as ‘irrelevant”.

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    • This was the original question:

      “It will not surprise anyone which side of that debate I am on, but the question I am more interested in is whether anyone will stand up and say he or she really believes that a child is just as well off with two “moms” or two “dads” as with one of each. That is, don’t cite studies; tell me that you believe that, as a child, boy or girl, you would not care whether you had a mother or father, as long as you had two of something. Or as a parent, is it really of no significance to you whether your child has a mother or father as opposed to two gender-optional “parents”?”

      Here is how I restated the question:

      “I note that neither of you seems interested in the question I actually posed: what you actually believe about the relative benefits of a child’s having a mother and father versus “two” of one or the other.”

      What premise do you dispute?

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  9. scotusblog sayjkng entire aCA upheld

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  10. I suspect QB picked up what had been said about the study rather than looking into any analysis of it. It fit a preconceived conclusion and hence was correct. He dismissed any study contradicting his opinion as pseudo-science.

    Your powers of mind-reading, or at least quasi-omniscient observation, give you an unfair advantage in reaching such conclusions.

    That being said, I don’t think an apples-to-apples comparison is possible. Planned families of same-sex couples aren’t socially normative and the complaints or difficulties of children raised by same-sex couples could be assigned to society at large discriminating against same-sex couples and their children, or society at large treating the couples and children differently in some negative way, or the relative infrequency of such families (there will probably always be more IBFs than LTR same-sex couples with children).

    Put another way, in an arguably more enlightened society where all gender and family arrangements are considered normal, the complaints and difficulties of said children so reared might go away. That is, any difficulties demonstrated could be blamed on factors other than having two same-sex parents rear a child.

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  11. Should we expect a series of critiques of pro-SSM studies now as well? Have either of you scrutinized them?

    Regnerus himself questions previous work because of the small sample sizes. So, that work is already done. He does make a decent case that previous studies have had samples that are too small.

    Or does your scientific interest lie only in critiquing this one?

    You used the word refute, not me. Criticizing me for not spending days going through the literature does not prove your point. Onus probandi.

    I note that neither of you seems interested in the question I actually posed: what you actually believe about the relative benefits of a child’s having a mother and father versus “two” of one or the other.

    I addressed this point specifically. It [the Regnerus study] does open the prospect to me that there may be statistically different outcomes between a planned GLB family and an IBF.” There are implied benefits in the Regnerus study, but he didn’t compare equivalent family structures directly. As an example, take a subset of the data. Children for whom the mother separated from the father and moved onto a different relationship. Are there significant differences in outcome based upon the sex of the new partner? As he had 176 respondents with a lesbian mother, I think there were a sufficient number of responses to perform this task.

    There is the key difference in our approaches. You ask what I believe. I look for what the data shows. I’m also not bothering to try to convince you as your mind was made up in advance. The study you cite simply does not say what you think it says.

    You are making assumptions that SSM in fact is equivalent to normal marriage. That is, you are citing data comparing IBF outcomes compared to cohabiting heterosexual couples and assuming that the same relationship must exist as to married and unmarried homosexuals.

    You are making the assumption that it must be inherently different for same sex couples. I take this as an open question as does Regnerus.

    Your argument also overlooks inconvenient biological reality that homosexual couples will never produce children in the first place, not unless one of them uses some means such as AI, and that simply raises further public policy questions.

    Which have been examined in great detail over the last few decades.

    BB

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  12. It’s clear that you are afraid to answer it.

    Mind-readers everywhere!

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  13. I’m also not bothering to try to convince you as your mind was made up in advance.

    No doubt! And important to add to the response, in case anybody might have missed that that was your opinion on the matter.

    Really, how do we know that? Has there never been anybody who has been pretty much dead certain of something that is eventually been convinced otherwise? I know I’ve been certain of things in the past that I am now less certain off, or think in opposite ways on. Ergo, my mind was made up, but eventually, it still changed. Through interaction with other folks making good points, but never by anybody telling me I was close-minded.

    And when people have opinions, aren’t their minds generally made up in advance? At that moment? What bearing does that have on the discussion, really?

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    • That being said, I don’t think an apples-to-apples comparison is possible. Planned families of same-sex couples aren’t socially normative and the complaints or difficulties of children raised by same-sex couples could be assigned to society at large discriminating against same-sex couples and their children, or society at large treating the couples and children differently in some negative way, or the relative infrequency of such families (there will probably always be more IBFs than LTR same-sex couples with children).

      This. Thanks for explicitly making a point that I wasn’t quite sure how to articulate.

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  14. No. Just intelligent people drawing logical inferences.

    Clearly, your mind is already made up on the matter and you won’t listen to any of my data-filled and well-reasoned arguments to the contrary, so I won’t bother.

    🙂

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  15. Kevin:

    Your powers of mind-reading, or at least quasi-omniscient observation, give you an unfair advantage in reaching such conclusions.

    Hardly omniscient. QB stated that an unnamed study refuted “claims that children do equally well raised by either a mother and father or by same-sex couples.” QB is more than welcome to state why he feels the study refutes the notion. He hadn’t read it, so it couldn’t be from the study itself. It hardly takes a quasi-omniscient individual to suggest he read or heard about it.

    That being said, I don’t think an apples-to-apples comparison is possible. Planned families of same-sex couples aren’t socially normative and the complaints or difficulties of children raised by same-sex couples could be assigned to society at large discriminating against same-sex couples and their children, or society at large treating the couples and children differently in some negative way, or the relative infrequency of such families (there will probably always be more IBFs than LTR same-sex couples with children).

    Why do you think the decision to raise children by a same sex couple is not socially normative? Note: if my powers of quasi-omniscience fail me, please restate the question as you prefer. 😉

    Leaving that aside, the entire point of this and other studies is to determine the impact of having children raised by same sex couples. Let there be broader societal impacts on children raised by same sex couples as opposed to IBFs. Including those effects, how do the overall outcomes for this children differ? Delving into the apple analogy, we’re comparing Granny Smiths with Macintoshes. Or perhaps bananas with plantains.

    Put another way, in an arguably more enlightened society where all gender and family arrangements are considered normal, the complaints and difficulties of said children so reared might go away. That is, any difficulties demonstrated could be blamed on factors other than having two same-sex parents rear a child.

    That flies in the face of QBs primary contention. It is not social acceptance. It’s the fact that the child is being raised by one parent of each sex as opposed to two parents of the same sex. Social acceptance could be a significant factor in Regnerus’s results as he acknowledges. If so, then changing social norms will ameliorate any differences.

    You’re still left with two moms or two dads or one of each. If there is an inherent benefit to the IBF, increasing social acceptance will not change that. It is a valid line of inquiry. It’s just an open one.

    BB

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  16. And when people have opinions, aren’t their minds generally made up in advance? At that moment? What bearing does that have on the discussion, really?

    An opinion does not mean your mind is made up in advance. There’s a great series on C-SPAN where two sides argue a proposition. A vote of the crowd is taken in advance of the debate. A second vote is taken after the debate. Whichever side moves the crowd in their direction “wins”.

    If I have made up my mind, then any discussions is exceedingly unlikely to get me to change my mind. If I have an opinion, it’s open to change. Coming into all this, my opinion was there’s little difference between kids raised by same sex parents or opposite sex parents (controlling for other factors). Regnerus did a good job in causing me to question that opinion. The study is insufficiently deep to do anything more. Unless, of course, your mind is already made up. 😉

    BB

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  17. Why do you think the decision to raise children by a same sex couple is not socially normative?

    Because historically it has not been, and even now, there is a very large percentage of the population that would consider a same-sex couple raising child abnormal or suboptimal, and arguably there might even be those that do not regard or treat same-sex couples the same way they regard traditional couples, even if they consider same-sex couples raising children acceptable or even preferable.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Obama signed on (and his administration defended) the Defense of Marriage Act. He may have changed his mind, but a society where same-sex couples were normative, much less same sex couples raising children, there would have been no DoMA and a liberal Democrat certainly wouldn’t have co-signed for purposes of political expediency.

    But, to be clear, I’m not making a comment on how the decision to raise children, as made by same sex couples, is regarded (I suppose, in the abstract, a couples decision to raise children is quite “normal”), only that the conditions in which same-sex child-rearing couples and IBFs exist are necessarily different, especially now (in 25 years, perhaps not), so reaching some definitive conclusion about the differences in children between same-sex and hetero couples is not possible. If the children of same-sex couples are more prone to depression, per se, is that because their parents were the same gender, or was it because of how they were treated, or spoken to, praised or ostracized, or how much focus was put on the sexual orientation of their parents?

    That is, I expect we cannot compare same-sex and different-sex married child-rearing couples in meaningful ways because the context of their existences is very different, and for reasons that are arbitrary and social, rather than intrinsic to the gender arrangement.

    Or, put another way, if same-sex child-rearing couples were old hat, and folks who didn’t think same-sex marriage and child-rearing were perfectly normal were extremely rare, and there was no real difference in cultural regard between same-sex and different-sex couplings, then we could make meaningful comparisons as to the real influence, if any, that being raised by a same-sex couple exerts on the child.

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    • Kev, I wrote this in reply to QB earlier:

      No. Married straight couples who have fertility issues are dealing with a medical problem. Homosexuals are dealing with the nature of reality.

      Fertility issues = nature of reality in that case.

      QB, I come to this thinking ma-pa has the most potential for parenting, compared with pa-pa, or ma-ma, or pa, or ma, or grandpa-grandma, or uncle-auntie, or any of the other alternatives. In an historical context, I understand protection of the child as a contributor to the state’s interest in marriage.

      But all my listed family alternatives are potentially better than foster care or orphanage, and cheaper for the state. So aside from my libertarian streak and thinking states should not be in the wedding/marriage business, I have to say that the thrust of the child bearing argument on who should the state recognize as married, from history, has been blunted by the reality of the day.
      *********
      I did not ask QB a direct ? so he did not comment. But I am thinking of direct questions now. You can pretend to be QB, OK?

      Do you think ma-pa is the top of the potential hierarchy of parenting?

      Do you think foster/orphanage is the bottom of the potential hierarchy of parenting, not counting “the street”?

      If so, why is the child bearing argument relevant to who can marry whom? Why doesn’t the state consider the child rearing function to be the more pressing concern?

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      • Mark,

        I did not respond because I got too busy. I am still scrambling to file a brief tonight. (Waiting for word processing right now.)

        How I wish I were free to just pontificate.

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  18. You’re still left with two moms or two dads or one of each. If there is an inherent benefit to the IBF, increasing social acceptance will not change that.

    I suspect there is an inherent benefit to the IBF, though clearly social acceptance must impact that, in any case.

    But unless you have similar social acceptance and other outside factors, it’s hard to draw that conclusion (what’s different about same-sex families vs. IBFs) from studies. Simply put, same-sex couples rearing children aren’t going to be treated the same as IBFs, even by people who are philosophically indifferent. It’s difficult to compare apples-to-apples.

    There are also qualifiers. Two well balanced gay men or women will demonstrably be better parents than two ne’er-do-well straight marrieds who neglect and/or abuse their kids. There have been some truly horrible stories of child abuse at the hands of straight, married people. I would expect that a child raised in a same-sex marriage, as opposed to an orphanage, is likely to turn out better.

    Also, having a parent reveal themselves to be gay after having pretended to be heterosexual for years is in no way comparable to same-sex parenting that I can see. That’s just an aside, apropos of discussion happening much further up.

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  19. I suspect QB picked up what had been said about the study rather than looking into any analysis of it. It fit a preconceived conclusion and hence was correct. He dismissed any study contradicting his opinion as pseudo-science.

    My, you infer a great deal from little, don’t you? You could have just read what I wrote and stuck closer to that. The sentence you made all this out of was followed by this:

    It will not surprise anyone which side of that debate I am on, but the question I am more interested in is whether anyone will stand up and say he or she really believes that a child is just as well off with two “moms” or two “dads” as with one of each. That is, don’t cite studies; tell me that you believe that, as a child, boy or girl, you would not care whether you had a mother or father, as long as you had two of something. Or as a parent, is it really of no significance to you whether your child has a mother or father as opposed to two gender-optional “parents”?

    I remarked on the study only as a turning off point to say my point of interest was elsewhere. Why? Because everyone can cite studies, and I am rather skeptical of such “science” or, perhaps more pointedly, whether anyone really believes the gender of parents is irrelevant to child well being. I didn’t “dismiss[]” anything. You put your preconceived spin on what I said, to the point of father blatantly misstating it. If this is a demonstration of you rigorously you do science, I hope someone is looking over your shoulder.

    You used the word refute, not me. Criticizing me for not spending days going through the literature does not prove your point. Onus probandi.

    As we’ve seen, it really doesn’t matter much what words I use. You make them say whatever serves your agenda, which here was limited to attacking a study against which you have preconceived notions, albeit I’m sure you never read studies that fit your own preconceived notions. If you are going to the lengths to provide a detailed critique of a study the results of which you obviously don’t like, while pretending to scold me for referring to it, I don’t think it amiss to note your selective interest.

    I addressed this point specifically. It [the Regnerus study] does open the prospect to me that there may be statistically different outcomes between a planned GLB family and an IBF.”

    No, actually you didn’t. I specifically asked what you believe and not what you think of studies. This is a dodge.

    It’s interesting, too, that you admit that this study points in the direction that parent gender/orientation does matter. So you wrote a whole essay over the fact that I used the word “refute” in a comment that I was notasking about studies, when you think that word is too strong. Wow. I actually feel sympathy for anyone who claims not to be able to have an opinion without definitive “scientific” proof on the question. (But then I’m pretty sure you do have an opinion.)

    You are making the assumption that it must be inherently different for same sex couples. I take this as an open question as does Regnerus

    No, sorry, but you are the one who is claiming that the data show that marriage of homosexuals would benefit children. You said:

    There are also some strong points for proponents of gay marriage in the study. Regnerus cites previous research that outcomes are better for children of a married, heterosexual couple than for cohabiting couples.

    and:

    Those opposing same sex marriage should consider this point. Opposing it apparently condemns children of those relationships to inferior outcomes, to the detriment of society.

    You are making the affirmative claim requiring proof, and you are making an assumption of equivalency. Even a nonscientist like me can see that.

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  20. Mark,

    Fertility issues = nature of reality in that case.

    Really, we can’t distinguish between fertility problems a heterosexual couple has and the fact that homosexual behavior by its nature doesn’t produce offspring?

    I’m just not willing to spend time right now exploring those realms of thought.

    As for comparative values of different “parent” configurations, none of that really speaks to the issue of SSM at the end of the day. I have yet to see anyone offer a persuasive refuation of the proposition that marriage is sanctioned because heterosexual relations produce offspring. Whatever you can say about the ability of homosexual singles or couples to function as parents, it really has nothing to do with the basis for marriage. If they live together, sleep together, do whatever together, children won’t result.

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    • I have yet to see anyone offer a persuasive refuation of the proposition that marriage is sanctioned because heterosexual relations produce offspring

      I, and perhaps others, have not tried to refute that as an historical proposition, because I and perhaps others think that was at one time at least a very significant aspect of the sanctioning of marriage as between a man and a woman. It was certainly one of the express issues in Judaism, the other being the protection of women, in the sanctity of a three way relationship among male, female, and God. It remains, I think, part of the understanding of what a Jewish marriage is supposed to include.

      What I and others are questioning, QB, is if that retains current relevance in discussing the interest of a state, as opposed to the stated interests of, say, Judaism.

      I have personalized this as best I can so that you will understand that I am not taking cheap shots at either you or your deeply held convictions.

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  21. QB – Enough with the snit fit. You haven’t a clue as to what this study says or even what its author actually wrote. I actually read the paper and don’t even dispute that it’s decent work. It is obvious that you have misinterpreted it and now are reduced to epithets.

    On one point. You ask what I believe regarding something that can be emperically determined. You may as well have asked me what I believe the exciton binding energy is in conjugated polymers. It would be as inappropriate a question as here.

    To quote you from some time ago, I think we’re done here.

    BB

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    • Lol, nice work FB.

      You go to the trouble of posting a whole essay in a pique of scandalized intellectual superiority over one word, you get taken to the cleaners and then come back with “enough with the snit.”

      You aren’t my Dad, and if you want to pick fights by distorting someone’s words, pick on someone who is defenseless against your vast intellect. I hit back, and I don’t miss often.

      [Edited for proper backlash. lol]

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  22. I disagree with the notion that raising children is the sole or primary reason for marriage in modern society. I’ve said so in my third post of my series.

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    • yello:

      I disagree with the notion that raising children is the sole or primary reason for marriage in modern society. (emphasis added)

      Again with the straw man.

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  23. Ah, QB. It also wasn’t one specific word. Yes, refute caught my attention. You also reference a firestorm on the left and commented that any study to the contrary of your beliefs is pseudoscience.

    You simply don’t understand the issues here. What interested me was reference to this particular paper to score points. It can be outcomes of children of homosexual parents, links of mercury in vaccines to autism, climate change models, genetically modified organisms, or any of a number of matters where a member of the general public latches onto some particular finding.

    Regnerus conducted a specific study that raises some interesting questions. He did not attempt to compare like for like. I find it to be an interesting study and a valuable addition to the literature. It is in my view a preliminary work. There appeared to be some anomalies in the data.

    Given that you do not defend your original contention and cannot acknowledge any fault, you swing wildly. Distort. Pick on. Vast intellect. Blatantly misstating. My dad. [Really?] And, of course, the inevitable disparagement of my professional credentials. You need not worry about someone looking over my shoulder. They’re known as referees and editors. That’s how scientific research is done.

    BB

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  24. I disagree with the notion that raising children is the sole or primary reason for marriage in modern society. (emphasis added)

    The purpose of marriage in ancient society was to protect property rights in women as chattel and to insure the paternity of the offspring a man was raising.

    Like

  25. Ah, QB. It also wasn’t one specific word. Yes, refute caught my attention.

    That’s strange, since that one word is in fact the only thing I actually said that you cited as being wrong. Perhaps you should point out where I missed something else in your essay that critiques something I said or words I used.

    You also reference a firestorm on the left and commented that any study to the contrary of your beliefs is pseudoscience.

    First, what has the firestorm comment have to do with your scientific objection? Are you claiming that you also are the only person qualified to say whether people reacted to the study or to choose nouns to describe their reaction? Do you have a PhD in that field, whatever it is?

    Second, there indeed was a firestorm on the left. Why don’t you spend some time googling and see? Here, I just grabbed a few of the first things that popped up:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2012/06/don_t_let_criticism_of_the_new_gay_parents_study_become_a_war_on_science.html

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/06/16/why-mark-regnerus-study-shouldnt-matter-even-if-it-were-the-most-scientifically-robust-study-in-the-world/

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2012/06/a-faulty-gay-parenting-study.html

    There is more out there, including prominent calls for Regnerus to be blacklisted and ostracized.

    Third, where exactly did I say that “any study to the contrary of [my] beliefs is pseudoscience”? Please quote that statement with a time stamp or reference. [I never said it, so this is something else you just made up.]

    You simply don’t understand the issues here.

    You need to get over yourself. I can assure you that I know much more about science than you know about law. Scientists who work as experts for me and scientists I cross examine on scientific methodology and findings could probably convince you of that.

    What interested me was reference to this particular paper to score points.It can be outcomes of children of homosexual parents, links of mercury in vaccines to autism, climate change models, genetically modified organisms, or any of a number of matters where a member of the general public latches onto some particular finding.

    Interestingly, however, you wrote your whole essay on the Regnerus paper as a platform to criticize me and discuss your views on the the topic of SSM. Nor did you comment at all on the vehement reaction to the study in the media, even though you say you were also responding to my remark that it caused a firestorm. If you had read some of that commentary, it could not have escaped your notice that much of it was wildly unscientific and ideological. You yourself admit that the study has some merit, while Regnerus’s attackers in fact trashed it as pseudoscientific propaganda, no doubt often sight unseen. But your focus was on me and one passing remark. Why that is the case, I suppose we can all speculate.

    Given that you do not defend your original contention and cannot acknowledge any fault, you swing wildly. Distort. Pick on. Vast intellect. Blatantly misstating. My dad. [Really?]

    Given that you haven’t even identified any “contention,” I don’t feel too badly about not defending it. And given that I’ve shown that you in fact not only distorted but blatantly misstated what I said, I’m entirely comfortable with having said you did. In fact, I just showed that you did it again with the “pseudoscience” statement you fabricated.

    If you don’t like my pointing out that you are posing yourself as an intellectual superior, perhaps you should stop saying things like “[y]ou simply don’t understand the issues here.”

    And, of course, the inevitable disparagement of my professional credentials.

    You, not me, brought your professional credentials into it. That was your whole premise: FB the scientist would instruct QB the rube about science, because I was so stupid as to use the word “refuting” in a blog comment. But then you proceeded in your comments to misrepresent what I said and make unfounded claims about my thought process, and you ended up concluding your essay itself by drawing an inference based on unacknowledged assumptions in favor of SSM.

    People discuss law here more often than science. I have a pretty respectable resume in that field. But I don’t post essays purporting to tell nonlawyers that they shouldn’t try to discuss what they don’t understand; in fact, I’ve repeatedly said that anyone who wants to study the issues and discuss them intelligently should not let credentialism stand in the way. And if I did post essays purporting to take nonlawyers to task, you can bet that I would use care accurately to characterize what they said and not flagrantly misstate it. If I did the latter, I would not have much ground to complain about criticism of my self-proclaimed intellectual superiority. Science and law both have at least that in common. When you want to challenge claims that are made, you have to address them fairly without mischaracterization let alone making up words to put in your target’s mouth. If you vouch for distortions with your professional credentials, you ought to expect a vigourous response.

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  26. I didn’t strut out my professional credentials. I simply demonstrated that the study doesn’t say what some claimed it said (as was noted by the author himself). There are some oddities in the sample, such as 2/3 of lesbians going on welfare.

    For all QB’s complaints about what I said about his motives, his comments are rife with accusations about my motives and opinions. If I put an appetizer in his mouth, he shoved an all you can eat buffet in mine. In that context, it’s notable that QB never bothered to say why he cited this study or how he heard about it.

    As for legal opinions, I’m mostly struck that anybody with a copy of the constitution in their pocket considers themselves a constitutional scholar superior to the chief justice.

    BB

    Like

    • FB:

      As for legal opinions, I’m mostly struck that anybody with a copy of the constitution in their pocket considers themselves a constitutional scholar superior to the chief justice.

      This particular bit of snark doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. According to FB-logic, apparently to disagree with someone over a Supreme Court opinion is to insist that one is a superior constitutional scholar to that person. But recall that every single other justice on the court had a major disagreement with the CJ’s opinion. Therefore, one must either agree with the CJ, in which case according to FB-logic one is declaring oneself a superior constitutional scholar to the all the other justices, or one agrees with one of the other blocs of 4 judges, in which case one is declaring oneself a superior constitutional scholar to the CJ. Quite the dilemma that FB-logic puts us non-scholars in!

      FB’s snark becomes even more senseless when one grasps that most of the disagreement with the CJ expressed here revolves not around constitutional interpretation, but rather around the meaning of the term “penalty”. So, according to FB-logic, to disagree with the CJ’s reading of the word “penalty” to mean “tax” is to also declare oneself a superior constitutional scholar to the CJ. Who knew?

      FB-logic isn’t very, er, logical.

      Like

  27. Still at this?

    For all QB’s complaints about what I said about his motives, his comments are rife with accusations about my motives and opinions. If I put an appetizer in his mouth, he shoved an all you can eat buffet in mine.

    The comment thread reads as it reads. I didn’t misstate what you said.

    In that context, it’s notable that QB never bothered to say why he cited this study or how he heard about it.

    I directly stated why I referred to it. You obviously don’t read the comments you are criticizing with much care. How I heard about it? It was all over the blogosphere. I posted a few links. No mystery, nor any relevance.

    As for legal opinions, I’m mostly struck that anybody with a copy of the constitution in their pocket considers themselves a constitutional scholar superior to the chief justice.

    I’m not really sure what that is supposed to mean, but I can assure you that I have more than a copy of the Constitution that says I know what I am talking about.

    Beyond that, Scott corked me! I’m appalled that all these liberals with a copy of the Constitution think themselves superior to Scalia and Thomas.

    Like

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