June 13, 2012 3:37 pm ET - by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has spent the last few days touting a new, widely debunked study which claims to show that the children of married, heterosexual parents are happier, healthier, and better off than the children of gay parents.
NOM cultural director Thomas Peters wrote a blog post asking proponents of marriage equality to “revisit their assumptions” about same-sex parenting in light of the study:
My particular hope in all of this is that individuals who originally changed their views about marriage because of previous misleading research about child outcomes display the intellectual honesty to revisit their support of same-sex marriage now that we have more conclusive evidence to the contrary. [emphasis original]
And Jennifer Morse, president of NOM’s Ruth Institute, appeared on Lutheran Public Radio’s Issues, Etc. on Tuesday to praise the study, citing it as evidence that same-sex parents are a “real risk factor” for children.
Given NOM’s full-throated endorsement of the study, it’s worth noting a few things:
1. The Study’s Author Opposes Using His Research To Fight Same-Sex Marriage. The study’s author, Mark Regnerus, explicitly stated that his research should not be used to promote a “political program”:
I recognize, with Paul and Cynthia, that organizations may utilize these findings to press a political program. And I concur with them that that is not what data come prepared to do. Paul offers wise words of caution against it, as did I in the body of the text. Implying causation here—to parental sexual orientation or anything else, for that matter—is a bridge too far. [emphasis added]
2. NOM Has Ties To The Study’s Biggest Financial Backer. As Alvin McEwen has noted, NOM’s anti-gay co-founder Robert George holds prominent positions with two of the biggest financial supporters of the study, the Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation.
3. NOM Previously Denied Claiming That Gay Parents Harm Their Children. Last December, NOM’s Gallagher attempted to explain away a blog post in which NOM suggested that gay parents are prone to sexually abuse their own children. At the time, Maggie wrote:
I would like to say personally that nothing in any argument I've ever made on gay marriage, rests on the idea that same-sex couples harm their own children at any higher rates than any other family form. (If there is data that shows this, I've never seen it.)
By promoting Regnerus’s study, however, NOM seems to be doubling down on the myth that same-sex parents harm their kids. In fact, Regnerus’s study openly suggests that the children of gay parents are more likely to have been molested as kids or raped than the children of heterosexual parents.
By misusing Regnerus’s already deeply flawed study, NOM has aligned itself with the handful of anti-gay hate groups that rely on pseudoscience to promote heinous and damaging propaganda about gay parents.
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