APA Blasts Allegedly Biased Report on Gay Parents

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com June 14 2012 3:40 PM ET

A recent study called into question the ability of gay parents to raise well-rounded children, but the report has been widely blasted as biased, manipulative, and agenda-based. Now the American Psychological Association has stepped in to reiterate its belief that gay parents are just as good as straight parents.

"On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association and other health, professional, and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation," the APA announced on its website earlier this week. "That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish." 

The APA was responding to the "New Family Structures Study," which called into question the effectiveness of gay parenting. But according to several equality groups, the study is majorly flawed.

According to a joint press release from the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Family Equality Council, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the paper was "written by rightwing author Mark Regnerus (of the Department of Sociology and Population Center at the University of Texas at Austin) and funded in large part by the antigay Witherspoon Institute." It "makes a number of claims about negative outcomes for children raised by gay and lesbian parents. However, for the most part, the paper doesn't even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a longterm committed relationship."

Many of the study's children considered to be raised in gay households were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship, whereas many of the children in heterosexual households had two married parents. Children of parents who had at one time in their lives been in a same-sex relationship were considered to be part of a "gay household." The bias of the report has sparked much ire. The equality groups point out the study's major funder, the Witherspoon Institute, is connected to antigay groups like Opus Dei and the National Organization for Marriage.

It's no surprise that people and groups connected to NOM and the Mormon Church jumped on the findings.