A CAREFUL VIEW OF SCRIPTURE with Regard to LGBT Questions
Regnerus's Gay Parenting Study (NFS)
The Regnerus study is well known in most circles. It (falsely) claimed that children from same sex parenting families did not do as well as children raised in opposite sex families. I have links to a deeper analysis of the study at the bottom of the page but I will give you a summary here.
First it is important to recognize that the basic study is useful to sociologists . I am not a sociologist (nor am I a master statistician) but I know per those who are that the sheer amount of data makes this study valuable. The problem is with how the data is used, especially by certain Christian resources.... specifically ... its author. If we wanted to compare the effect of a same sex parent household on the health of children to an opposite sex parent household on the health of children we would need to compare apples to apples. In other words ... the logical step would be to compare a life long parenting relationship in each of the two categories (gay parenting vs. straight parenting). But that is *not* what this study does .. or at least what its conclusions about same sex parenting are based on. Since they did not have enough data points from same sex couples, they included, under same sex parenting, the responses of children (now adults) whose parents (opposite sex) had had a same sex affair!!! Yes .. you heard me right… they lumped in the effects of an affair and/or divorce with same sex parenting. Obviously this is going to tilt the statistics. Note: I am not saying anything bad here to people who have divorced or if you are a child of divorce. The issue here is unequal comparisons. As I said before there has been much back and forth in the media between those who claim this study is not biased and those who claim it is.
While I think it is obvious that the study is biased I am not a college professor nor am I a sociologist. So … to back up the problems of this study... I refer you to the college at which Regnerus serves as a professor. I include excerpts below of a letter leet in the Department of Sociology regarding Regnerus … (emphasis mine). I include the entire letter in the following link for your convenience.
Excerpt of letter from from the Dean of the College to Professor Robert Crosnoe ( bottom of page 2 to the top of page 3...
“Ultimately the members and I agreed that, given the seriousness of the issues discussed, we needed some expert guidance. I therefore asked Senior Associate Dean Marc Musick, a quantitative sociologist with expertise in survey methodology, to review these issues and to provide the committee with a written report of his findings. He did so, and the report was distributed to the committee members. The committee met to discuss the report's findings, including the following:
- The design of the NFS study survey instrument guaranteed that any participant who reported that their parent participated in a same-sex romantic relationship would have also experienced some form of family instability.
- Increased likelihood of negative outcomes for children who experience family instability are well-documented within existing scholarly literature.”
Excerpt of same letter ( bottom of page 3 through much of page 4)....
Following consideration of our discussion, and my own reading of the case, I draw the following conclusions:
(1) Leaving aside for the moment the matter of the NFS study, the departmental review committee's assessment of Professor Regnerus's publication record—both in terms of quantity of papers and quality of publication venues—seems fair and reasonable.
(2) With respect to the NFS study, valid methodological concerns have been raised by former chairperson Christine Williams and Marc Musick. A key one is this: Because the design of the study ensured that the parental same-sex relationship variable was confounded with the family structure stability variable, it is not possible to conclude that the different life outcomes between the two groups were caused by the parental relationship variable. This is not simply because of the usual difficulty of inferring causality from correlation. It is rather because family instability is well-known to be associated with less favorable life outcomes (e.g., Amato & Keith, 1991). Therefore, it cannot be concluded on the basis of the NFS study that the parental relationship variable plays any causal role in life outcomes.
(3) From (2) it follows that no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study. As Professor Regnerus himself noted in the NFS paper, "American courts are finding arguments against gay marriage decreasingly persuasive...This study is intended to neither undermine nor affirm any legal rights concerning such." (Regnerus, 2012, p. 766).
No further action will be taken by CoLA regarding Regnerus's 2014 comprehensive review.....
It is clear from this letter that his study is flawed just the way people have said it was flawed and thus cannot be used to direct public policy. For those seeking a further analysis of just how flawed the study was here is the report produced by Senior Associate Dean Marc Musick who was asked by the author of the above letter to investigate the Regenerus study. Again I include the full report at the link below for your convenience. I have a small excerpt from the report below (emphasis mine).
Excerpts from Musick's report... Based on these [media] appearances and his [court] testimony, it is self-evident that Professor Regnerus has used his research in the debate over same-sex marriage in direct contradiction to the statements he made in the NFSS article and response to commentaries. When combined with clear evidence that he colluded with politically-motivated organizations prior to the publication of the study, it leads to the appearance that the post-study behavior was an extension of the political work that was happening prior to the study. In light of all of this activity, it appears that the statements he made in the article could certainly be seen as misleading at best and an outright fabrication of his intentions at worst.
As stated above ... Regnerus himself claimed that the study should not be used to promote public policy however he has used it in court as a witness for that precise purpose... …
Professor Regnerus testified at a Michigan trial regarding same sex marriage.
Case name: DeBoer v. Snyder Summary (brief): On January 23, 2012, a same-sex couple, individually and on behalf of their three adopted children, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, against the State of Michigan. The case proceeded under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and began by challenging the Michigan law preventing adoption by unmarried parents. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel (including a professor at Wayne State law school), asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the provisions of MCL 710.24, which prohibits second parent adoptions by unmarried persons, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Accordingly, the plaintiffs argued, the court should prohibit judges in Michigan from blocking second-parent adoptions based on the unmarried status of the couple.
For those of you interested in knowing exactly what Regnerus said at the trial I include links to his full testimony below....
Excerpts from the Judge's determination in this case....
"Although Regnerus touted the NFSS as one of the few studies to use a large representative pool of participants drawn from a random population-based sample, other sociological and demographic experts, including Rosenfeld and Gates, heavily criticized the study on several grounds.
First, it failed to measure the adult outcomes of children who were actually raised in same-sex households. This is because the participants’ household histories revealed that many parental same-sex romantic relationships lasted for only brief periods of time. And many of the participants never lived in a same-sex household at all. Regnerus reported that “just over half (90) of the 175 respondents whose mother had a lesbian relationship reported that they did not live with both their mother and her same-sex partner at the same time.” Id. at 11.
Second, many critics voiced their concern that the NFSS made an unfair comparison between children raised by parents who happened to engage in some form of same-sex relationship and those raised by intact biological families. This is because almost all of the children in the former group were the offspring of a failed prior heterosexual union, which produced a significant measure of household instability and parental relationship fluctuation.
Even Regnerus recognized the limitations of the NFSS. In his expert report, Regnerus acknowledged that “any suboptimal outcomes may not be due to the sexual orientation of the parent” and that “[t]he exact source of group differences” are unknown. Defs.’ Ex. 28 at 5. Moreover, of the only two participants who reported living with their mother and her same-sex partner for their entire childhood, Regnerus found each of them to be “comparatively well adjusted on most developmental and contemporary outcomes.” Id. at 11. Nonetheless, Regnerus testified that there is no conclusive evidence that “growing up in households wherein parents are in (or have been in) same-sex relationships” does not adversely affect child outcomes. Id. at 16.
The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 “study” was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it “essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society” and which “was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.” See Pls.’ Motion in limine to Exclude Testimony of Mark Regnerus, Ex. 9 (see below for this file/brief) . In the funder’s view, “the future of the institution of marriage at this moment is very uncertain” and “proper research” was needed to counter the many studies showing no differences in child outcomes. Id. The funder also stated that “this is a project where time is of the essence.” Id. Time was of the essence at the time of the funder’s comments in April 2011, and when Dr. Regnerus published the NFSS in 2012, because decisions such as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921 (N.D. Cal. 2010), and Windsor v. United States,-13-2:12-cv-10285-BAF-MJH Doc # 151 Filed 03/21/14 Pg 13 of 31 Pg ID 3956833 F. Supp. 2d 394 (S.D.N.Y. 2012), were threatening the funder’s concept of “the institution of marriage.”
While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged. Additionally, the NFSS is flawed on its face, as it purported to study “a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18-39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements” (emphasis added), but in fact it did not study this at all, as Regnerus equated being raised by a same-sex couple with having ever lived with a parent who had a “romantic relationship with someone of the same sex” for any length of time. Whatever Regnerus may have found in this “study,” he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus’s views in general and reaffirmed the aforementioned APA position statement.
The file to the right is the momtion that the Judge referred to above in his decision (Motion to Exclude Testimony of Mark Regnerus).
So we see that the judge in this case drew the same or similar conclusions concerning the Regnerus study as the college did. Along with that he found the funding for the study suspect. Additionally, while I am not going to cover this in detail his study was also used and challenged at the SCOTUS level. See the brief challenging his alleged expertise available below for your convenience.
So a study ... declared by its author, Regnerus, to be unfit to be used to determine public policy was used anyway by Regnerus to lie in court. This is despicable behavior for someone that I assume to be a Christian. Lying and slandering about a people group's ability to raise healthy children is just plain wrong. My fellow Conservative Christians often site activist judges as their enemy. I wonder how surprised they would be to find lying witnesses hiding behind credentials and expensive flawed studies to be the problem. Not a good day for people who are giving witness to the one who is the way, the truth, and the life.