Why do anti-gay people (maybe, possibly) beat their children?

The other day, Mark Regnerus (of Regnerus study fame) speculated in a blog post that pornography, with its “veritable fire-hose dousing of sex-act diversity,” might be increasing support for gay marriage:

In the end, contrary to what we might wish to think, young adult men’s support for redefining marriage may not be entirely the product of ideals about expansive freedoms, rights, liberties, and a noble commitment to fairness. It may be, at least in part, a byproduct of regular exposure to diverse and graphic sex acts.

As I was working on a chapter on family violence and abuse, I was trying to decide how to divide the discussion of corporal punishment between the abuse chapter and the parenting chapter. I checked the General Social Survey for attitudes toward spanking and found a solid (but declining) two-thirds who agree that sometimes kids need “a good, hard spanking.” (Would the number be lower if they didn’t include “good” in the question?).

So on a whim I asked: What could cause this virulent anti-child attitude, which seems to prevalent in our society? May it be, at least in part, a byproduct of hostility toward some other group, such as gays and lesbians? Sure enough!


I’m not saying anti-homosexual views are the only cause of child abuse, but it’s something to look into.


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11 responses to “Why do anti-gay people (maybe, possibly) beat their children?

  1. See Ellison and Sherkat, American Sociological Review, 1993…..It is the same sectarian Protestant ties and fundamentalist Christian beliefs that cause homophobia and racism and support for discrimination and violence against non-believers that also drives harsh parenting practices—which then help reenforce their peculiar noxious beliefs and social ties. After we published this, Christian apologists then took to claiming that what fundies do is ordered and controlled (Bradley Wilcox was big into that), “yell less, spank more.” Shoot first, ask questions later….


    • Thanks. Here’s the link to that article: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096222
      Conservative Protestantism and Support for Corporal Punishment
      Christopher G. Ellison and Darren E. Sherkat
      American Sociological Review
      Vol. 58, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 131-144


      • Scott Rose

        The real issue here should be why the ASA hierarchy is permitting Regnerus to publish such garbage on his funders’ websites, unremarked. Although the NFSS data set includes responses from males 18 to 39-years-old, in his “porno post,” Regnerus only included males 23 to 39. It could not be any clearer that he data mined in order to produce a pre-desired “finding” in line with his funders’ anti-gay political propaganda aims. People with access to the raw data have reported to me that the “porno post” contains several substantial misrepresentations of the raw data.


  2. Low tolerance of ambiguity, rigid cognitive categories, and enforcing those boundaries punitively. But what’s with the bread boards?


  3. Pingback: Yes, that is a causal claim. « A (Budding) Sociologist's Commonplace Book

  4. Cool database. I messed around with it. The SPANKING question also correlates with bad health, if I’ve got it right.


  5. Confused about your graphic. Does it say that 80% of people in the US think that homosexuality is at least sometimes wrong?


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