Moms and dads are irreplaceable
And much of what is presented as “scientific research” is questionable
A much-cited analysis published in BMJ Global Health, an online medical journal, claims that children of same-sex parents experience better psychological and relational outcomes than children of opposite-sex parents.
News outlets like Forbes have amplified the meta-analysis, claiming in a headline, “Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Fare Same As—Or Better—Than Kids of Straight Couples, Study Finds.” The author surmises the results can be accredited to same-sex parents’ higher tolerance for “more diversity” and an ability to be more “nurturing toward young children.” A left-wing news outlet reported on the study, stating “science proves LGBTQ+ parents raise better adjusted kids.”
But a closer look at the study, titled “Family outcome disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual families: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” paints a very different picture, one that includes a questionable methodology, unsupported results, and a funding source that threatens the integrity of its research.
Researchers analyzed data from just 16 studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. The only studies eligible for review were those conducted after the legalization of homosexual unions, and the studies were chosen by the researchers based on titles. Both factors may have contributed to bias. In the United States, a positive view of gay unions rose after the Obergefell decision in 2015, while tolerance toward the opposition to such unions waned.
The researchers are transparent about their politics, openly advocating for the legal advancement of gay adoption, parenthood, and unions, so it’s not difficult to surmise that their political leanings contributed to their selection of data for the analysis. And, since the studies chosen all use varying metrics to measure the quality of life for kids of same-sex and opposite-sex parents, it is impossible to adequately aggregate them to form a cohesive conclusion.
Furthermore, even with an apparent cherry-picking of data, the studies included in the researchers’ meta-analysis don’t actually support its stated results. While the authors claim kids of same-sex parents fare better psychologically, only three of the five studies—which may have their own methodology issues—appear to indicate this, while two studies find kids with gay parents suffer more emotionally than kids with a mom and dad. The analysis claims to find that parents with gay parents have warmer parent-child relationships, but the metrics used to measure such a subjective category are unclear.
Other studies included in the meta-analysis demonstrate the opposite of what some in the media advertised. Two studies find that kids with gay marriage suffer from more emotional problems. One study claims that children with lesbian parents tend to have worse physical health. Some data show that children in gay households have lower educational attainment.
Besides progressive ideological leanings, why would an analysis claim results based on shaky—at best—findings? The answer may lie in who’s behind it. Ten scholars from the Chinese Guangxi University, along with a Chinese researcher from Duke University, conducted the meta-analysis, which was funded partially by the National Natural Science Foundation, an entity run by the Chinese Communist Party.
The CCP is no bulwark of LGBTQ values. Gay representation is banned in media and on social media, gay unions are illegal, and, while homosexual behavior is technically legal, it is highly culturally stigmatized. So, why would the Chinese government fund such a project that advocates for the opposite of its own policies? It’s certainly not to champion free speech and independent research, which are virtually non-existent in China. Could it be the CCP doing what it has always done—pushing propaganda it believes will weaken and divide the United States?
The facts back up God’s Word. Walter Schumm, professor of Family Studies at Kansas State University, published an analysis in 2018 titled Same-Sex Parenting Research. Looking at 400 studies of same-sex parenting, Schumm found that almost all the results revealed that kids of gay parents fare significantly worse than kids with a mother and father. Schumm’s assessment supported the findings of another professor, Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas. Regnerus surveyed 15,000 American adults and found that those raised in a household with same-sex parents fared worse in a variety of categories.
Of course, even if these studies didn’t exist, even if the presented data seemed to support the health of gay parenting, Christians aren’t beholden to fallible human research but rather to the infallible Word of God. God’s Word is clear: God made us male and female, in His image (Genesis 1:27). And what God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6). This is a picture of Christ, the bridegroom, and his Church, the bride, and therefore has not just physical, but eternal and spiritual, significance (Ephesians 5:32). And no study, no state power, no political trend, and no sexual revolution will ever change that.
These daily articles have become part of my steady diet. —BarbaraSign up to receive the WORLD Opinions email newsletter each weekday for sound commentary from trusted voices.