Homosexuality and Academic Research

The Washington Times published an article on two studies recently done on the issues relating to homosexual marriage.  You can read the article here.  The article presented two studies, the first which sought to prove that children are better off in traditional marriage settings and the second which proved that the previous 30 years of “research” supporting same-sex marriage came from convenient samplings, chiefly, “wealthy, white, well-educated lesbian mothers.”  The often cited studies also fail to “examine common outcomes for children, such as their education, employment and risks for poverty, criminality, early childbearing, substance abuse and suicide.”  I think the second study is spot on.  The first study, however, has some concerns.

A critique by Jim Burroway presents the case that the first study, performed by Mark Regnerus, fails to distinctly compare the conditions of children from monogamous heterosexual marriages versus monogamous homosexual couples. You can read Burroway’s critique here.  He has 4 main points of disagreement with Regnerus’s study.  The first one is his best: Identifying a Same-Sex Relationship Doesn’t Tell Us Anything About the Nature of the Relationship. And his fourth point, This Study Makes The Wrong Comparison, I take to be essentially arguing the same thing as the first.  The point is that Regnerus’s study asked respondents if the child’s parent had ever had a homosexual relationship.  Burroway is correct to point out that doesn’t say anything of the relationship: a one night stand, an affair, or a monogamous long-lasting relationship.  And this is problematic because what we really want to know is how children of monogamous relationships compare between heterosexual parents and homosexual parents.

But, Burroway has a few problems with his analysis.  The second point, “Arbitrary Decisions in Dealing with…,” is petty.  What Regnerus did was, instead of creating a third category for respondents who had both parents in any sort of homosexual relationship, he placed such respondents into the category of respondents who had fathers who were in any homosexual relationship.  All Regnerus needs to do to ward off this attack is to create a new group that refers to respondents who had both parents in homosexual relationships.  And it is not as if the data would be strikingly different. Fact is, respondents with just their fathers in homosexual relationships and respondents with both parents each had fathers who had homosexual relationships!  Burroway thinks that this “manipulation” of the data “represents the fatal flaw of this study.”  Hardly.

The third point, It Doesn’t Study Children Who Grew Up In Gay- or Lesbian-Led Households, is blatantly false.  It does study such children. People who answered “Yes” to the first or second question of the study (whether your mom (Q1) or dad (Q2) had a homosexual relationship) are possibly people who grew up in homosexual-led households.  What Burroway meant to say was something like, ‘The study doesn’t distinctly look at children who grew up in homosexual-led households.’ And that’s true. But that is merely to reiterate the first/fourth point.

Allow me to close with three swift points that are important to consider.  First, the discussion of what practically is the case ignores any moral maxims we have. If it is true that God has revealed to humans how we should live (and I would argue that he has), then who cares what practically is true or false?  Second, medically speaking, homosexuality is a horrible behavior to partake in.  A Google search for ‘health risks homosexuality’ will show you how much more likely homosexuality will lead to a loss of quality of life or life itself.  Third, this is a special interest issue. The U.S. census bureau discovered that there are roughly 131,000 same-sex married couples in the States (http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn181.html). If there are 330,000,000 people in the country, that comes out to 0.03%. Yes, that’s 3 tenths of 1%. Politically speaking, this is insane to be discussing what 6 tenths of 1% of Americans should or should not be doing.  Let’s stop pandering to that interest group and instead focus on issues that affect a larger number of the populous, like immigration policy or education.

UPDATE: Wintery Knight as provided me with some new information as to why Regnerus struggled to find stable same-sex couples.

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Kurt Jaros is the Director of Operations at Apologetics.com, where he oversees various projects, including Real Clear Apologetics (which he founded). He holds a Master's degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University and a Master's in Systematic Theology from King's College London. He teaches part-time at Naperville Christian Academy and also blogs at ValuesAndCapitalism.com, a project of the American Enterprise Institute.

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