So much for ‘same-sex parenting is just as good for kids’

Truth will out in the end. Despite the handful of small dubious studies that portray same-sex parenting as 'just as good' as natural parenting, larger properly constructed studies say otherwise. Not that we need 'social science' to tell us the blindingly obvious - that a kid should have a mum and a dad. But here is the biggest study yet, and its conclusions include: “Emotional problems [are] over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents”. And no, that's not because they are given a hard time: "children with opposite-sex parents are picked on and bullied more than those with same-sex parents.” The writer makes a profound observation: that “the primary benefit of marriage for children, therefore, may not be that it tends to present them with improved parents (more stable, financially affluent, etc, although it does this), but that it presents them with their own parents.”

So why are our politicians contemplating a new institutional violation of the natural bond between a child and "their own parents"? Have we learnt nothing from the grief of children and "their own parents" from the forced adoptions era, or those children (see 'Tangled Webs') conceived by anonymous sperm-donation? Same-sex marriage, which means same-sex parenting in law, is just another way of messing with the fundamental biological relationships a developing child most needs: the bond with her very own mother and her very own father.

And why are victims of forced adoptions, donor-sperm conceptions, or even the 'stolen generations', not crying from the roof-tops that "Saying Sorry means Not Doing it Again"...

Hat tip to our friends at Mercatornet

For detailed discussion of the claim that there are 'no differences' between man-woman and same-sex parenting - follow that link to further important research on the impact of same-sex marriage/parenting on children.

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32 Responses

  1. If children of same sex parents are being bullied more at school, maybe the focus should be on bullying and to teach students that not all relationships consist of a male and a female and that it is okay for two people of the same sex to be attracted and loving to one another.

    • It may be worth reading the paper:

      You should note the comment on page 102: “Almost all opposite-sex parents who are raising joint biological offspring are in intact marriages, but very few, if any, same-sex parents were married during the period under observation.” (probably due to the fact it wasn’t legal at the time the data was collected).

      So the study, can’t be used to comment on same-sex marriage and its impact on child welfare, since none of the data is relevant.

      Also, the paper itself says that the sample size is too low on page 114: “The greatest limitation of this study is its use of a representative sample of only 512 same-sex parent families, which is several times smaller than optimum for most population studies.”

      It also ignores a well-known issue: groups who are actively discriminated against often show lower levels of self esteem and higher levels of emotional problems. So even IF this report is statistically correct, it does not identify the cause.

      For example in the US December 2007 Census snapshot, gay couples with children had significantly fewer economic resources and significantly lower rates of home ownership than heterosexual married couples.

      So the paper should have compared gay couples to heterosexuals in the same economic brackets to provide a more valid comparison.

      Basically, the report is highly flawed. The hint here is that a Catholic priest writing an analysis of data about gay marriage may not be a reliable, unbiased analysis.

      • admin

        Interesting comments, thanks.

        The study is of parenting, not of marital status. Kids in the study are raised by same-sex couples or by married couples or by de facto gay / straight couples – and the researcher can study ‘parenting’ no matter what legal category the adults live within. In no way does that make the ‘data irrelevant’ as you say. NOte also, that economic resources etc did not have a significant bearing on the child’s emotional health; what seemed to matter most was being linked to his or her biological parents, even if they weren’t brilliant parents.

        This is in fact one of the largest studies – because it is so hard to find children in same-sex households. Here in Australia, only 1.2% of adults identify as homosexual, and only a third of them, 0.4% of adults, live as a same-sex couple (according to ABS). Even fewer of them have kids in the household. So to get 500+ you need a sample population of 200,000 as per this study. Other studies used to advocate for same-sex parenting use samples so tiny as to be absurd, and selection/ reporting bias to gross that they should not have seen publication.

        This has its shortcomings, like any study – but is more robust than many others.

    • I agree! Its the bullies who need to be taught.
      A child only needs to learn love from their parents and if that is two women or two men it doesnt matter as long as it isn’t an unhappy marriage.
      My parents divorce was horrible and growing up in a single parent family was hard. Hard for Mum, my brother and myself. Living alone was awful for my Dad.
      Yet they are the typical Aussie family.

      Ps- I am a 36 year old, white, heterosexual bloke and I don’t care who you marry as long as you show your children that you love your partner to provide a good grounding on what marriage is really about… Partnership, understanding, forgiveness and love.

    • The study shows (see table 2, page labeled 108) that children of same sex parents are bullied less. The conclusion is that common biological parentage is the key thing to create lower levels of emotional problems.

    • “children with opposite-sex parents are picked on and bullied more than those with same-sex parents.” – a quote from the mentioned study which is in contradiction to your comment – “If children of same sex parents are being bullied more at school … ?? Given this is the case (which is not what we are more often then not told by the mainstream media) – what is the point of your comment?

      • admin

        There might be a misunderstanding: we are saying that people might attribute this increase in ’emotional problems in kids of same-sex households’ to the kids being bullied more at school, or suffering from social stigmatisation. This study found that to not to be a valid assertion. This study found that, in fact, kids from same-sex households got less bullying / ‘stigmatising’ than kids brought up in typical homes with both biological parents. So there is no way, in this article, to attribute the worse emotional problems in kids of same-sex households on ‘external’ factors like bullying. It appears to be due to the ‘internal’ stress of being in a same-sex household and / or away from one’s own biological parents. That is the point – apologies if it seems convoluted.

    • Maybe you missed the wording. It said children with opposite-sex parents are picked on and bullied more than those with same-sex parents. Therefore children of same sex parenting were picked on LESS.

    • But it isn’t okay…

      If it were then there would be no fight to legalise it. The right thing is not illegal in the first place.

  2. K.

    This just smacks of religious rhetoric. How dare you say that our children are worse off than any other child and that they are emotionally worse off. Where are your statistics on how many children are in foster care due to the neglect of their heterosexual parents. Single parents where the child has zero contact with the other parent.

    Our children are bullied no more than most and like the person above says: the real issue to be addressed is stopping the bullying behaviour. However the bully learns to be a bully from their parents, poor and bigoted attitude towards others.

    The stability and financial benefits comment, I defy you to point out what our children have missed out on and also what does being financially affluent have to do with the ability to raise a well rounded adult with a good moral compass? There are plenty of spoilt rich kids that have killed maimed and raped despite their “affluent” upbringing. Their is a plethora of people who have come from the most humble of homes who are truly inspirational human beings, money had nothing to do with how they turned out, it was how they were raised!

    Your moaning about the damage to a child’s “fundamental biological relationships”. What makes you think that our children don’t learn about real relationships? I find it rather disgusting that this could be even remotely likened to what the religious zealots did with the stolen generation. The forced adoptions era was just as disturbing, young women made to feel inferior and targeted for falling pregnant at a young age. The churches have alot to answer for with the horrible and disgusting way they have conducted themselves. How about you put all this time effort and money into finding all the child molesters that the churches shuffle around and hide from persecution. Now that is something we should be protecting a child from. Seek out the hypocritical church goers who are wife bashers, child molesters, drug abusers etc., who go to church seeking absolution for their sins and all is forgiven. See how damaged those children are, protect them.

    Unless you, so called doctor, President of the Australian Marriage Forum, can put forward an argument with substantiated evidence I would suggest you resist the temptation to dissect loving family like mine.

    • admin

      It is not AMF saying it; it is this article. There is a link to the full article, and it can still be downloaded in full for free, to our knowledge.


  3. Dr Dan Summers from the American Academy of Paediatrics summarises the clinical evidence in this YouTube clip

  4. J

    Thank you Australian Marriage Forum, for exposing truth, and for defending the innocent.

    Yes, marriage by design should only be between a man and a woman. This is the very basic building block of our human-race. Surely any common-sense thinking person can see that. Now is the time to stand up and defend that!

  5. Kim

    The quote said the exact opposite:
    “children with OPPOSITE-sex parents ARE picked on and BULLIED MORE than those with same-sex parents.”

    *Maybe* the focus should be that bullying is bullying whether it is applied to a minority or not.

    • admin

      There might be a misunderstanding: we are saying that people might attribute this increase in ’emotional problems in kids of same-sex households’ to the kids being bullied more at school, or suffering from social stigmatisation. This study found that to not to be a valid assertion. This study found that, in fact, kids from same-sex households got less bullying / ‘stigmatising’ than kids brought up in typical homes with both biological parents. So there is no way, in this article, to attribute the worse emotional problems in kids of same-sex households on ‘external’ factors like bullying. It appears to be due to the ‘internal’ stress of being in a same-sex household and / or away from one’s own biological parents. That is the point – apologies if it seems convoluted.

  6. Lisa R.

    I am truly shocked that this website even exists in 2015. Would it be better for children to grow up in an unhappy home with domestic violence/abuse as long as it is a mother and father. What about all those single parents out there. My children’s father died last year so what choice did they have in that? I actually spend time with many single gender families. Their children are the happiest most well balanced children I know. They come from very loving homes who’s parents worked so hard to bring them into this world. I can’t imagine any of you have actually spent any real time with these families. I also as a mum of 4 wondered how these children felt and now that I have seen it for myself I see it from. Whole new pod pectins. Maybe you should too.

    • admin

      Yes, some parents are abusive. That is not right for kids. But because a kid in one house is being badly treated by his parents does not make it right that another kid in another house should be forced – by our laws – to have no mother or no father. Neither option is right for a child. We need to restrain and retrain parents who harm their children; we also need to restrain governments who would create laws that deprive, in a premeditated way, a child of their natural right to their biological mother or father.

  7. JPG

    While I am very interested in the outcome of this debate, I am slightly confused by your argument of children with “their own parents.” What are you saying about children being put up for adoption? My wife and I adopted a child no more than a year ago. Are you saying now that because we are not her biological parents, that we are unable to have a ‘natural’ bond with our daughter because of our DNA?

    • admin

      Hi, JPG – no, we obviously include adopting parents in the same category as biological parents because they, too, ‘give a child a mother and a father’. Certainly, there are additional levels of kinship in being with one’s biological parents – but as we repeatedly say, that is not always possible: a parent might die, or desert, or prove unfit to care for a child for medical / psychiatric reasons. Adoption steps in and makes something good out of a bad situation.

      The main point is that such situations are tragedies – for which adoption is a creative and life-giving response. What we object to in same-sex ‘marriage’ is that it is a coldly calculated decision of government to deprive a child of one or other parent. It inflicts a tragedy on a child as an act of government. That is wrong.

  8. Unfortunately the research you quote may appear scholarly, however it is flawed for s number of reasons that have been previously raised, and any academic researcher could point out. In summary, the research does not compare children of two parent, stable families, it compares intact families with other families which may not be intact, however, the parent/s identify as same sex attracted. If you were to compare opposite sex families that were intact and not intact, the result would be as has been found, but attributed to same sex status.

    If marriage equality was permitted, it may very well improve family stability and outcomes for children of same sex families.

  9. If we are genuinely thinking of the child who is not in receipt of the one male/one female parent model, should we also confiscate the children of all single parents, widows, widowers? If it’s about having “their own” parents, then adoption should also be off the cards? While claiming to look at the heart of the issue, you’re not even trying to be logical. The heart for you is that same sex parents shouldn’t have kids. That’s it. Trying to slant your argument to come across as caring people with only the little kiddies as your concern simply doesn’t work to anyone with a brain and minus your bigotry. Your ad was sickening, targeting not just gays, but families left lost from death or desertion, or even domestic abuse.

    • admin

      Not so. We have written for years that laws to created motherless or fatherless families is a different matter from the situation that comes about, through unforeseen circumstance, for single parents. For instance, if you link from our banner to the article in The Australian in 2011 you will read:

      “Obviously there are tragic situations where a child cannot have both a Mum and a Dad – such as the death or desertion of a parent – but that is not a situation we would ever wish upon a child, and that is not a situation that any Government should inflict upon a child.

      Yet legalising same-sex marriage will inflict that deprivation on a child. That is why it is wrong, and that is why all laws are wrong that permit single people or same-sex couples to obtain a child by IVF, surrogacy or adoption.”

  10. Dr Dan Summers – paediatrician at American Acadamy of Paediatrics summarises the evidence.

    Would deleting this comment amount to censorship?

    • Both of your comments have not been censored.

  11. Marriage has been and always will be between a huaband and a wife. I don’think many people will give any credence to political manipulation of the meaning of a word in dictionaries all over the world just for the sake of a view votes. I think society is not quite that fickle, or ignorant not to realise what our responsibilties are in respect of the children that will be brought into same–sex relationships , by various means .
    Many children brought up in such unnatural situations have already spoken out against same-sex marriage.being legalised.
    It is time we listened to them and to what common sense and our consciences dictate!.

  12. It’s quite interesting reading the feedback relative to the individuals that are against the conclusions found from this study. In no situation, when reading a pro same-sex study, have I seen not even one individual say, “this data set is bias nor does it take into account xyz…”

    Another thing that I find very interesting is the constant finger pointing saying it is Christian or it is a Catholic priest who came to these conclusions.

    I think people seem to forget that it is extremely hard for anyone conducting a study to have a sample that meets every ones needs and is based on the entire population.

    In each study or poll taken that is for same-sex marriage or households, the exact same issues can be identified in the data set. Further, for all the comments that have been made saying, “My gay friends children are the happiest in the world…” The following question could simpliy nullify that: have you met every child of every household in the world? No. Of course not. Does that make you wrong? Well, it doesn’t, however, if the same judgmental approach you have taken is adapted then, yes, your statement is obsolete.

    It is important to understand the reality behind what has been experienced in the past and what is being experienced in the current time… such as, whatever the situation, the children are prioritised first and that they have the choice to be brought up with an objective view on what they would have considered appropriate. Or, if that child wanted to become a Christian or Muslim and go to church or a mosque, would this be a possibility in a same-sex household? Based on the comments above, no! How is that fair to the child? How is that equality?

    I think that a lot of aspects need to be considered before changes are made to current laws… more so than just jumping up and down and screaming screaming “GAY RIGHTS!!” I think that until there is conclusive evidence to contradict the current, there should be no change for concerns of the impact it could have on children.

    • admin

      Agreed F.C. – the onus of proof is on those who should subject future children to a prolonged experiment on their emotional development. OR, as they say, the “precautionary principle” means the evidence of harm to children (e.g. Sullins) would be taken with utmost seriousness, even with its imperfections.

  13. Probably the most interesting part of the study for me are these two points:

    “The unadjusted risk for children with same-sex parents is not significant relative to opposite-sex cohabiting”

    “The overall risk for same-sex parents is greatly increased compared to two married biological parents and reduced relative to all other opposite-sex family structures.”

    Meaning that far and away the most important factor here is whether or not the children’s parents are married. Which makes it all the more strange why we would advocate AGAINST same sex marriage. Don’t we want what is best for the children?

    The reality today is, quite obviously, that children are already in families that are composed of same sex parents. As much as some people might want it to be so, not having same sex marriage for the past however many years hasn’t stopped that, has it? In fact it hasn’t ever been an issue that has gotten publicity, until now. Now sure, I understand the idea that if we “normalise” same sex marriage that all of a sudden we’re going to see more children in those family structures. It’s an interesting idea, but why is it assumed to be true? Same sex parents can already have children in some limited capacity or another. Why would allowing them to get married change that one way or the other? It seems like it’s nothing more than assumption that allowing same sex marriage is going to lead to more children with same sex parents.

    The only difference I can see it would make for sure to the children is that the children would now be part of a more stable family with committed, married parents. According to the data in this study, that should be good for them. So if we really care about these children of same-sex parents then we should support their quest to be allowed to be married.

    • admin

      Thanks for your comment Adam, it’s important to note that children do best when living with two married ‘biological’ parents. SSM will guarantee the child is only living with a maximum of 1 biological parent. We are advocating for the best possible scenario in which to raise a family. Yes, death and divorce happen but is the worst case scenario really where we should be setting the bar?

  14. Nothing could convince me that this ‘lifestyle’ is acceptable in any way, shape or form.

    The anus is not designed to have a penis inserted and sperm deposited into it. The anus is for removing waste from the body. It is the final stage of the digestive process and has no part in reproduction…
    Some argue that since homosexuality has been recorded in other species, that it is therefore perfectly natural. This is simply false. Any homosexual act recorded in other species was the result of young animals practising skills for the future, dominance or simple mindlessness. No animal is gay. Any animals that have mounted the same sex will just as quickly mount the opposite sex too. Take a common Dog for example. In any case, animals have also been observed eating their own young, eating their own faeces and killing and raping for sport. To justify your actions by using animals is to lower yourself to something less than Human…
    An even weaker argument that homosexuals/sodomites use is to claim that Jesus Christ makes no mention of homosexuality/sodomy in the New Testament, therefore He must not have a problem with it. Jesus Christ may not have spoken directly of homosexuality in the New Testament, but he also didn’t speak directly of bestiality either. It was common knowledge that these acts are sinful.

    They will NEVER be recognized as married in my eyes.

  15. A.W

    I will try to explain this as simply as possible. Bear with me.

    The major problem with this study is that you cannot average two different groups when comparing it to another group, unless you have performed a contrast between the groups to see if they are the same or not. If they are NOT the same then averaging the groups to compare to a third group is completely invalid, and the results mean nothing.

    What they have done in this study which is good is they separated children from two parent biological families, and heterosexual step-families and single parent families and compared them. They found that children from these step-families and single parent families had increased risk of emotional problems. They commented that family instability is a major risk factor for emotional problems in children.

    However as they stated that same-sex parent families would be too small to split up into these groups they decided just to average across the different same sex family groups, even though it violates what I said in the first paragraph, as these groups are most likely different from each other (based on their findings discussed in the second paragprah). They did not compare different same-sex family groups as they did heterosexual family groups. This may have shown that children from stable same-sex family homes have no significant differences in emotional problems to children in stable two biological parent families (as found and discussed in other studies such as, Regnerus, 2012). However there is an increased risk in children in unstable homes such as step-families and single parent homes, just like heterosexual step-family, and single parent homes (Regnerus, 2012).

    The factor that this study seemed to ignore is looking at the different structures of two parent same-sex families, as a large proportion of these families (although continuing to reduce in the past decade) have children that were born into two biological parent families and have since moved into same sex family homes. This is due to prior laws of same-sex relationships being illegal in some places and homosexuality being socially unacceptable. This study and many other studies have found that instability in the home is a major risk factor for child emotional problems. As most likely a large proportion of the same-sex parent sample have children that have moved from their original home it is not surprising that when comparing this sample to a sample of 48.5% of children from two-biological parent families that there is going to be a significant difference. That is this study compared a sample of children from predominantly stable homes to a sample of children in predominantly unstable homes, and then stated in the results that their results are due to being with same sex parents or rather non-biological parents rather than confounding variables such as instability, not to mention the violation of validity because they averaged multiple different groups together. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    There are quite a few studies that observe children from two stable biological parent families to two stable same-sex parent families that find no significant differences. These studies also have limitations with them like the small sample sizes, homogeneity of the samples (mainly caucasian), how participants are recruited and the lack of representation of male same-sex parents. Due to the the amount of studies comparing child outcomes of stable two-parent families that show no differences, even with these limitations do not violate validity and therefore evidence points towards there being no significant differences. I have done extensive research and have yet to come across a peer reviewed article against same-sex parents that does not compare children of two biological parent families to children of multiple same-sex family structures. However more research is needed.

  16. Thanks AMF for standing up for kids in a time when most of Australia has (I think, unwittingly) turned it’s back on them.

    Statistics and research always presents the problem of ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’, reminding me how people will see what they need to see, be it in the Bible, history or research. Pro-gay marriage advocates will discredit research that opposes their agenda, and it’s probably the case that it goes the other way sometimes – except to say that on the YES side what we saw a lot of was pithy statements like ‘love’ and ‘equality’ and not much about legal consequences.

    The survey itself indicates this. The question we were all asked was about being okay with same sex marriage, and I think it’s fair to say that many a fair minded person said ‘why not?’ What they may have failed to read was the ‘change in marriage law’ which implies another separate issue – the eradication of the masculine and feminine from our law.

    This is an extremely serious matter. The long term effects are potentially incalculable. However what people misconstrue here is that it is simply another anti-gay person trying to say that gays are ‘bad parents’. This childish escalation occludes the real issue – or, to add a personal view, the real Agenda.

    Which is that an eradication of the masculine and feminine from our law is social engineering of the highest order. Pure base biology will tell anyone that conception is male-female. As is DNA. The science behind this union is STILL being uncovered and it is beyond comprehension. But along we come, clever humans, and figure ‘what the hey, love is love’ and so on. It follows from the science that the m/f duality is deeply internal to humanity and we see constant evidence of this importance in everyday life, be it a hyper-feminine drag show, sport, the struggle for sexual identity, domestic violence or simply, a dad imparting love to a daughter, a mother to a son – bonds that are unique and valuable.

    With an eradication of m/f from marital law, the traditional institution most likely to preserve this essential duality is rendered stateless legally. It isn’t whether you’re a good or bad parent, that is a smoke-screen. The dire nature of a world without any value placed on the masculine and feminine should be obvious, sadly, we are crabs boiling in a pot so no-one’s feeling the heat. I have stated in other forums we are in a deadly mess, one that will kill. No-one seems to get it but the quiet few. But slowly, a world in which boys have no social right to access the value of manhood through fathers, as only one of endless examples – the masculine doesn’t disappear just because we say so. It becomes dangerous, even lethal. The protector and defender becomes a predator. The failure to acknowledge masculinity means it doesn’t ascend to the best of manhood, but the most inferior. Same for femininity.

    While on this topic, we see another problem (actually I see dozens) that the absence of duality presents – feminism gets railroaded into thinking that women should be like men. And not even the best of men, the worst: competitive, power-hungry, egotistical, dominating, insensitive. Now they play into an outcome that it’s a ‘man’s world’ more than ever! And not even a good one!

    The short way of saying all this is that at the very least we are twisting ourselves as a society into knots – humans are deeply dual and crave a realisation of their own masculine and feminine YET we are simultaneously eradicating that duality from every law and institution we can think of. This is way bigger than whether same sex people can have a ceremony and say they love each other for life – Australians have said that is fine on the whole and I can understand that. They just don’t know how massive a change that the legal eradication of duality brings.

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