Children Raised By Lesbians Better Off?

An awesome study turns social conservative thought on families completely on its head:

Contrary to what the religious right might say, children raised by lesbian parents are doing just as well as their peers, according to a new report based on a 20-year study to be published in the journal Pediatrics. In fact, they may be even better off. “When we compared the adolescents in our study to the so-called gold standard,” Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the study’s author, said, “we found the teens with lesbian mothers were actually doing better.” Researchers found that the children showed significantly fewer social problems and rated much higher academically and socially. As for why their children are faring well, Gartrell suggested that lesbian mothers “are very committed, very involved parents,” and may also be better off economically.

Such research proves two things: Gay people are actually an exceptionally well-to-do group, likely based on the fact that they are often couples of working individuals. Also, a free society must not only be politically and economically fluid but also culturally so. Every child is different, and there’s no set standard for how to raise every single one.

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  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    The study actually wasn’t nearly as supportive of the conclusion as most newspapers claim… David Friedman explains several of the reasons here. In short, one of the key points you bring up, lesbians and socioeconomic status, was not really a controlled variable. They compared San Francisco & Boston lesbian couples of relatively high income (& 97% white) with heterosexual couples of a much wider geographic, income, and racial mix. The study is likely groundbreaking in that it’s the first large study with the ability to truly address the question, but the results can’t possibly be conclusive without controlling some of those variables.

    David Friedman’s piece also touches on one of my biggest pet peeves — journalists who cannot accurately address both the findings and the limitations of scientific research. They routinely confuse correlation with causation, rarely consider potential flaws in studies, and largely draw their stories from the abstract of a study, not the full report. I think this researcher probably did a pretty decent job with the data she had, and in her own statements (that I’ve seen in other versions of the story) admits that the study is fairly limited. But of course, your typical journalist isn’t really well suited to analyzing scientific research, and so the conclusion is delivered as gospel far beyond the actual research supporting it.

  • Michael O. Powell

    “The study actually wasn’t nearly as supportive of the conclusion as most newspapers claim… David Friedman explains several of the reasons here. In short, one of the key points you bring up, lesbians and socioeconomic status, was not really a controlled variable. They compared San Francisco & Boston lesbian couples of relatively high income (& 97% white) with heterosexual couples of a much wider geographic, income, and racial mix. The study is likely groundbreaking in that it’s the first large study with the ability to truly address the question, but the results can’t possibly be conclusive without controlling some of those variables.”

    Do you think it would be a better bet to make a study of the position of gays as compared to heterosexual couples in their specific locations? I’d gather that gay people tend to locate in like-minded communities – hardly ghettoes but instead places where they’re more likely to be accepted. The economic condition of those areas might be very different than many places in the United States, however.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    I definitely think it would make a much better study.

    Of course, my default position, as all know, is freedom. I find these studies highly interesting from an academic and sociological point of view, but unless someone can show direct harm to a child from a certain upbringing, I’d give parents a lot of leeway.