Penn State’s Paul Amato Gets It Wrong

Paul Amato, one of the revered deans of American sociology, has shown courage in bucking his academic peers, as he did when he suggested that a “good divorce” is not all that good for children (see New Research, Summer 2012). Yet the scholar has not demonstrated the same resolve in dealing with the academic and media lobbies that assert that homosexual parenting can be good for children. In his relatively fair review of the studies by Loren Marks and Mark Regnerus (see the two New Research commentaries above), he defends the policy statements of the American Psychological Association (APA) that endorse homosexual parenting while fearing Regnerus’s work might be used “to undermine the social progress that has been made in recent decades protecting the rights of gays, lesbians, and their children.” That’s a surprising response, given the conviction of a fellow employee of Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, both a gay father and gay predator. Amato is more than willing to give the APA homosexual-parenting studies the benefit of the doubt, largely because the population of such parents is exceedingly tiny and difficult to locate, making it difficult to collect the large representative sample that Marks claims is necessary to draw fair conclusions. Perhaps more revealing, Amato praises the APA studies for getting “this field of study ‘off the ground’ and setting an agenda for future work” (emphasis added). To his credit, Amato acknowledges the methodological superiority of the Regnerus study: “In contrast to most prior studies, the Regnerus study has adequate statistical power for most comparisons” between children of homosexual parents and those of other family backgrounds, and “is better situated than virtually all previous studies to detect differences between these groups in the population.” Indeed, using Regnerus’s data, the Pennsylvania researcher calculates “moderately large” or strong effect sizes for differences separat
Please subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.