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Less than ideal

Study challenges rosy assumptions about homosexual parenting


Associated Press/Photo by Ronnie Miller/The Ames Tribune

Less than ideal
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A new study by Mark Regenerus in the Social Science Journal challenges a notion that many already find untenable: Growing up in a homosexual household doesn't carry significant disadvantages for children.

That's what the American Psychological Association declared in 2005. By 2010, another pair of social scientists went further: Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz contended that lesbian households were better for children than heterosexual homes.

Sociologist Mark Regenerus was dubious. The University of Texas professor noted that research as recently as 2001 declared opposite findings. "Scientific truths are seldom reversed in a decade," he said.

Regenerus conducted his own study and published the results in June. He used a far bigger sample than previous studies by randomly screening more than 15,000 Americans ages 18 to 39. Of that number, 175 said that their mothers had been in a same-sex romantic relationship, and 73 said the same about their fathers.

Researchers found that respondents with parents involved with homosexuality were more apt to report "being unemployed, less healthy, more depressed, more likely to have cheated on a spouse or partner, smoke more pot, had trouble with the law, report more male and female sex partners, more sexual victimization, and were more likely to reflect negatively on their childhood family life, among other things."

The study found the respondents in homosexual settings reported less stable upbringings, with less than 2 percent of children in lesbian households living with a mother and her partner for all 18 years of their childhood.

Regenerus wrote that the findings didn't prove that "sexual orientation is at fault," but said "social scientists, parents, and advocates would do well from here forward to avoid simply assuming the kids are all right."

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