I'm sure you've seen it. It's been all over the news. A new study claims "children of lesbian couples do well." You can read the study for yourself. I hadn't read the study but when I first heard about it, I was skeptical. Why? Because families are not socially constructed but divinely designed. And when human beings function outside of God's design they don't do well, rather they break down. Hurt, pain, and dysfunction follow.
Today at the Acton University, I was able to sit in on Dr. Jennifer Roback-Morse's lecture, "Beyond Contracts: Marriage and Sustainable Markets." She addressed the study and has outlined "8 reasons why the study does not prove anything about the functioning of the children of lesbians":
1. The sample is extremely small: 78 children of lesbian mothers and 93 children in the control group.
2. The sample of lesbian mothers is unlikely to be representative of the general population of lesbians. This is a sample of people who volunteered for the study, not a random sample. The most motivated and high-functioning people are the most likely to volunteer for a politically charged study.
3. The “results” are intrinsically unreliable. The results are nothing but the mothers’ reports of their childrens’ behavior and functioning. There is no cross-checking with objective outcomes, such as actual school achievement or teacher’s reports of behavior problems.
4. The results for the lesbian moms show no difference in any indicator between boys and girls. This is highly unusual, and supports the possibility that the lesbian mothers are under-reporting difficulties.
5. The children of lesbian moms do just as well, whether or not the couple had separated. This too, is highly unusual. Most studies show that children are harmed by disruptions in the parental relationship.
6. This study makes no attempt to control for possibly confounding factors, such as socio-economic status. According to previous reports on this sample of lesbian mothers, 67% were college educated, and the median household income was $85,000. The children’s high functioning could be due to the fact that these lesbian mothers have more resources than the average family.
7. The study does not report on how the control group of 93 children was selected. We have no way of knowing who these 93 children are, or how representative this control group really is.
8. The most detailed part of the study was devoted to showing that any problems the children of lesbians experienced were due to homophobia. But the causal link between the mother’s reports of homophobia and the mother’s reports of aggressiveness could run the opposite way: kids might dislike those who are aggressive, and this dislike could be interpreted as homophobia.
Not only is the study completely unreliable, but Roback-Morse argued there are at least 3 harmful messages behind the study:
1. Women are better parents than men. Therefore, two women are better for kids than a mother and a father. Men are unnecessary and possibly dangerous.
2. The only problems that the children of lesbians experience are really caused by straight society.
3. The children of lesbian parents were intensely planned and deeply wanted. Therefore, manufacturing children through Donor Insemination is superior to conceiving children through an act of sexual intercourse.
It's naive to think that changing the fundamental institution of civilizations--the family--won't have serious consequences. Make no mistake. When you redefine marriage, you redefine parenthood. And when you redefine parenthood, the impact will endure for generations.