A Faulty “Gay Parenting” Study

The study that Jason Adkins uses as “good science” in his August 29th article in the Catholic Spirit is seriously flawed and does not show any correlation between intact, biological families and “positive results” in children.  I don’t think Jason even understands the details of the study, but picks and chooses his “facts” to suit his Catholic view of the world.  In fact, I wonder if he ever read the “New Family Structures Study” that he uses to justify a marriage of a man and a woman.  If you do look at the study you’ll easily see the flaws in its design and implementation.
 
First of all, the survey intentionally misclassifies children in the category of same-sex couples. An early survey question only asks if either parent had a “romantic relationship” with someone of the same sex.  If a respondent said yes for even a single “romantic relationship” then they were immediately put in the “gay father” (GF) or “lesbian mother” (LM) category (IF S7=1,2, THEN GROUP=1; on Page 5 of the NFSS Survey Instrument). A parent’s same-sex romantic relationship during someone’s childhood does not logically mean that someone had same sex parents their entire time growing up.  With this misclassification all of the results are instantly suspect (the old fruit of the poisonous tree legal metaphor).
 
Secondly, the number of respondents to this survey is extremely small and prone to larger margins of error.  Out of 31,368 people sampled only 15,058 completed the survey at all (that’s only 48.0%).  Out of that only 3,277 were used for this study (that’s only 10.4% of the original sampling).  Out of that number, only 248 were misclassified as having “Parents of the same sex” in the survey (now we’re down to 0.8% of the original sampling).  This can cause a great swing in the results when the sampling is very small with large margins of error (that Jason doesn’t mention at all in his article because that would look bad).  In addition, the non-response rate of this survey is 52%.  This is the number of people who refused to complete either the entire survey or a certain question of interest. It can be very difficult to draw strong conclusions from surveys with high non-response rates, especially if the people who did not respond differ in opinion from the people who did respond.  Since we don’t know why the 52% did not respond, the answers of those that did should be suspect.  Now there’s some numbers for you that cause the results of this survey to be highly suspect.
 
Despite the flawed methodology and findings, coupled with previous research, point to deeper differences that transcend its original intent of sexual orientation. If this study shows anything, it’s not the effect of gay parenting one way or another, but the fact that kids do better in a parental situation with committed parents gay or straight and a stable home.  Same-sex marriage advocates have been saying all along that we know that there are benefits to stability.  Look anywhere and you can find loving families who care about their children and want to see them grow up healthy and strong.