Same-Sex Parenting: Getting the Story Straight

How well do children fare when raised by a pair of same-sex parents? Whenever this question arises—and the issue has loomed large in the debate over same-sex “marriage”—homosexual activists have brandished dozens of sociological studies apparently demonstrating that children of same-sex couples do just as well or better than peers being raised by two biological parents.  A growing body of new research, however, raises doubts about the reliability of those studies—and so intensifies concerns about the well-being of children in the care of same-sex couples.  The latest addition to this body of research comes in three new studies conducted by sociologist D. Paul Sullins of the Catholic University of America. In one of these studies, Sullins highlights indications of “strong bias resulting in false positive outcomes” in many studies of same-sex parenting. These indications emerge as Sullins carefully scrutinizes five studies of same-sex parenting, all using the same survey to assess child well-being—two focused on random samples and three with recruited samples. In addition, Sullins draws data from two other random-sample studies of same-sex parenting relying on other metrics of child well-being.   Sullins stresses the importance of the studies involving recruited samples, noting that research on same-sex parenting “has been dominated by small convenience samples recruited from GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender] interest, advocacy or support groups.” Such recruitment practices, as Sullins notes, can easily lead to “volunteer bias.” That bias is all too likely to grow in a field in which it is very rare for “the aim of the study [to be] unknown to participants.” In-the-know participants may deliberately skew the data toward outcomes they favor.   It should come as no surprise, then, that as Sullins compares the random-sample studies of same-sex parenting with the recruited-sample studies, he limns a very s
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