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Saturday, 22 September 2018 07:02

A Review of Same-Sex Parenting Research: A Critical Assessment by Walter R. Schumm.

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Now a number of studies have appeared on this matter, and many of them take the line that kids are just fine when raised by two homosexuals or two lesbians. This is the “no difference” hypothesis. Schumm, a professor of family studies at Kansas State University, looks at this research in great detail and shows that much of it is incomplete, skewed, selective, or politicised. Says Schumm, “In this book I will examine and report those outcomes in more detail than have most scholars. The results will show, at the very least, that the situation is more complicated than many have allowed or, at the worst, that much of the way in which the research has been interpreted has been biased in favour of progressive values.” There are six main parts to this vital volume. In Part 1 Schumm offers a very careful and thorough explanation and assessment of how social science research is done – or should be done. Indeed, one major theme found in this volume is just how much social science research is in fact biased, corrupted and politicised. He looks in great detail at this, and asks in conclusion just what sort of research is being conducted and what is involved. For example, “Have all relevant variables been measured and tested? Have all subpopulations been studied? Have the best statistical models been tested appropriately?” Part 2 looks at what we actually know about same-sex parents. He notes how so many numbers have been blown out of the water. Some have even suggested that there are anywhere between 6-28 million children being raised in such households in America! After a careful and thorough look at the data, as well as the methodology being used, Schumm says that the numbers are much closer to 300,000. Thus some of these estimates have been off by a factor of 50! Once again, politics and ideology seem to trump the facts. Other chapters focus on family stability in various household types, and the issue of sexual abuse. Concerning the latter, he concludes: “There have been insufficient high quality studies in this area to draw much in the way of firm conclusions about same-sex parents abusing their children, although there is much more evidence that early childhood sexual abuse seems to have occurred frequently in the backgrounds of adult LGBT persons.” Parts 3 and 4 take a very close look at children in these households and how they fare. The various claims being made about positive outcomes for children raised in same-sex households are meticulously examined, and most are found wanting. For example, consider the claim often made that having homosexual parents makes no difference in how children develop in terms of sexual preference. Says Schumm, “There are now dozens of studies that appear to refute the ‘no difference’ hypothesis with only a few that do not essentially (in terms of effect sizes, if not statistical significance) refute it.” As to mental health outcomes and the like for children, again, the claims of “no difference” do not hold up well upon closer examination. Given that so often these conclusions are made simply by asking same-sex parents about the mental health of their children, this is hardly a scientific or objective means of determining such matters.

Until studies routinely control for pre-existing differences between the two groups of parents and control for social desirability, I doubt that we will get to the bottom of this issue. It is not correct scientifically to take a group of highly educated, wealthy, mentally healthy same-sex parents and compare their children to the children of uneducated, poor, mentally ill heterosexual parents and think you have set up a fair comparison.
Part 5 examines the consequences of same-sex marriage. The claim is made that homosexual marriage offers no negative externalities for heterosexuals. Anecdotal evidence here alone should refute that. But plenty of evidence is examined, including how fertility rates are adversely impacted. Finally, Part 6 offers some concluding thoughts, such as the following:
I am disappointed that many U.S. courts were misled into accepting as valid research, research that was biased, incomplete, and focused on significance levels rather than effects sizes. Numerous studies whose results would have been inconvenient for the ‘no difference’ hypothesis were overlooked or ignored. Research on same-sex parenting has often been cited because it came to the politically correct conclusions, not because it was of the highest quality. In one sense, this book is an attempt to redress that imbalance.
He reminds us that so much of the pro-homosexual, “no difference” research is filled with phrases like “not a single study” and “no evidence” and “uncontroverted scientific evidence” and the like. He calls this “socilese” – it is dogma, not science. All this has been about the politicisation and dumbing down of social science in the interests of promoting an agenda – in this case the radical homosexual agenda. As a result, “it appears that substantial amounts of ‘fact’ have been ignored or suppressed in the process of moving” this agenda forward. Schumm has made it clear in this carefully researched book that “scientific consensus” can often be wrong. And he has given us a great amount of social science details to back this up. Indeed, he says it is remarkable that one can “find 90% of over 70 literature reviews having drawn incorrect conclusions about some aspects of same-sex parenting”. And after this exhaustive examination of nearly 400 studies on same-sex parenting, the bottom-line truth is this: “There do appear to be significant and substantial differences between same-sex and heterosexual parents and in the long-term outcomes of their children, contrary to many, many allegations by numerous social scientists over the past decades.” (This book is available from the publisher: )
Bill Muehlenberg

Author, Blogger and Speaker 

Bill Muehlenberg, who was born in America, lives in Melbourne. He is married to an Australian, Averil, and has three sons. He has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), a MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston), and is working on a PhD in theology. He is Secretary of the Family Council of Victoria. He was formerly the National Vice President of the Australian Family Association. He was formerly the National Research Coordinator at Focus on the Family.

He currently continues an independent ministry in pro-faith and pro-family activism. He is head of an apologetics/ethics ministry called CultureWatch, started in January 2006. This interactive blogsite features over 3,300 articles and 52,000 comments.