A new study released earlier this month reinforces what social scientists have known for ages: Traditional families produce more stable children. According to the New Family Structures Study (NFSS), adults who grew up in a married-mom-and-dad family are better off than peers whose parents engaged in same-sex relationships.
This is hardly a surprise. Anyone familiar with the mountain of social science research relating to the well being of children knows that the familial gold standard is the traditional one: a mom and dad who marry and successfully avoid the perils of divorce.
University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus' findings, based on the lives of nearly 3,000 randomly selected American young adults, measure social, emotional and relationship outcomes in 40 categories. Among the 2,988 people in the study, 175 were raised by lesbian mothers and 73 by homosexual fathers. Mr. Regnerus' results soundly refute the claim that all households are equal when it comes to raising children. Compared to adults from married-mom-and-dad homes, those raised by lesbian mothers had negative outcomes in 24 of 40 categories and those raised by homosexual fathers had negative outcomes in 19 of the 40 categories.
The NFSS is particularly relevant in how it overcame the problems besetting previous studies, such as biased samples, parental self-reports, small samples, nonstandard methodologies and so on. Some previous studies made completely unsupportable claims, such as the one reported in an article in the Los Angeles Times that there was 0 percent child abuse in lesbian households. Legitimate studies never get 0 percent.
This study was a large project, screening 15,000 adults. The demographics of the study are comparable to other nationally represented data sets. In fact, it is the largest family structure study completed to date. There is greater diversity in this data than many others since much of the measured information cannot be gleaned from Census Bureau statistics or other public sources. The questionnaire from which the findings resulted is detailed, taking more than half an hour to complete. While the study did not follow subjects over a lengthy period, it provided data on a wide population cross section and was nonpolitical.
The NFSS found that only 1.7 percent of Americans ages 18 to 39 reported growing up in a home where a parent had a same-sex relationship. This reinforces the fact that homosexual couples are a very small percentage of the population. In fact, the NFSS report revealed that fully 58 percent of adults spent their childhood and youth with their married-couple, biological parents.
Several facts in the study underscore the terrible price children pay for parents who put their wants ahead of their children's needs. Of those adults who were raised by a lesbian, 57 percent of their mothers lived with their partners only four months, while a mere 23 percent lived with their partners for three years. For those who lived with a homosexual father, only 24 percent of the dads lived with their partners only four months. None of the adults had homosexual dads who lived with their partners for three years.
Across the board, gay relationships were not stable - 14 percent ended up in foster care. Adults raised by same-sex parents are less likely to be heterosexual. Sixty-one percent of the adults of lesbian mothers and 71 percent of the adults of homosexual dads identify as heterosexual, compared to 90 percent of intact married-mom-and-dad families, 81 percent of those in "stepfamilies" (those whose custodial parent remarried before the adult turned 18) and 83 percent of single-parent families.
No matter how politically incorrect it is to say so, the fact remains that same-sex relationships do not provide the stability and gender-balanced home environment that children need. The Regnerus study is scientifically and methodologically sound. It proves once again that children need a married mom and dad to thrive.
Janice Shaw Crouse is senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute and author of "Marriage Matters" (Transaction Publishers, 2012).