Bioethics News

Being raised by father and mother does matter

Recent research has dropped a bomb on the incendiary issue of children of same sex parents. In an article published in the British Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, American sociologist Paul Sullins concludes that “Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents”.
It will be impossible for critics to ignore this research, given that it is based on more data than any other previous study. Sullins’s study took 512 children with same-sex parents, from the U.S National Health Interview Survey, and compared them with children from biological parents in the same sample, for twelve measures of emotional and developmental problems. The emotional problems included poor behaviour, worry, depression, poor relationships with contemporaries and inability to concentrate.

Paul SullinsAfter examining the results, Sullins found that opposite-sex parents provided a better environment for their children. “Biological parentage” he notes, “uniquely and powerfully distinguishes child outcomes between children with opposite-sex parents and those with same-sex parents”.
Until recently, almost all studies on same-sex parenting were based on relatively small sample sizes. In a review of 49 of these studies in 2010, an expert found that the mean sample size was only 39 children. Only four of these studies had been conducted with random samples; in the others, selection had been made by contacting gay and lesbian groups. In 2012, an ambitious study conducted by Mark Regnerus of Texas University identified only 39 young adults who had lived with a same-sex couple for more than three years, out of a total of 2,988 cases.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.