“No differences” survives the Regnerus paper

Coming soon (or at least sometime in the future): An article by Andrew PerrinNeal Caren and myself, now accepted by the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, “Are Children of Parents Who Had Same-Sex Relationships Disadvantaged? A Scientific Evaluation of the No-Differences Hypothesis.”

Here is the abstract:

In a widely publicized and controversial article, Regnerus seeks to evaluate what he calls the “‘no-differences’ paradigm” with respect to outcomes for children of same-sex parents. We consider the scientific claims in Regnerus in light of extant evidence and flaws in the article’s evidence and analytical strategy. We find that the evidence presented does not support rejecting the “no-differences” claim, and therefore the study does not constitute evidence for disadvantages suffered by children of same-sex couples. The state of scientific knowledge on same-sex parenting remains as it was prior to the publication of Regnerus.

I have posted a preprint of the article here.


15 thoughts on ““No differences” survives the Regnerus paper

  1. Excellent work, Philip, Neal and Andrew. Something that also should be addressed; Regnerus’s heterosupremacist-motivated propaganda by which — if the criteria for inclusion in the survey had been narrowed to children raised by stable gay couples, he wouldn’t have been able to get adequate sample size — Well, no, because with a minority of this small size, one MUST do targeted sampling. There is no expectation — for practical reasons — of being able to base a study of a very small minority on a pure large national random sample. This would also be true if you were attempting to study U.S. Quakers, Jainists or Ultra-Orthodox Jews. Nobody attempts to screen three million Kansans to get at a probability sample of Jainists in Kansas. Yet, Jainists do exist in the United States; they have their temples and their customs. To allege that only a large national random sample study of U.S. Jainists could tell you anything valid about Jainists would be absurd. What Regnerus & Co. are pushing about young adult children of same-sex parents — vis-a-vis large national random sample studies — is no less absurd. Regnerus and his promoters are conducting a public disinformation campaign about science. This is an outrage, quite apart from the gay-specific aspect of it. To deliberately conduct a public lying campaign about science is unethical and disgraceful. It speaks volumes that you contacted him for clarifications and he refused to respond to you. From the Regnerus paper it appears obvious that most of the respondents judged to be offspring of “same-sex parents” had — in addition to the parent who had ever had a same-sex relationship — a heterosexual parent. Yet, none of the “bad” outcomes get attributed to the heterosexual parents. The Regnerus study thus can be considered a monument to heterosupremacist bigotry. We know empirically that for people of the ages he studied, there are some who verifiably were raised from birth to 18 by same-sex couples. (See: Joe Valentine, professional baseball player). Again, thank you for your excellent work in the article.


  2. Suggest you provide a better visual clue at to the link to the report. I kept clicking on that big graphic of the word “Difference” the word that has the link “here” for some reason the color on my monitor is to close to the color of the adjacent text and I never even noticed that it was a hyperlink.
    Here is the link to the study-

    Click to access GLMH2013.pdf


  3. First off congratulations on getting it accepted for publication Drs Cohen, Perrin & Caren! 🙂
    I think this was one of the most stupid and easiest mistakes Regnerus made,

    “One alternative, which Regnerus does not pursue, would be to compare respondents whose parents had homosexual extramarital affairs with those whose parents had heterosexual extramarital affairs as the comparison case varying only the sex of the extramarital partner.”

    That right there would have been a good isolating question and if I were doing it I sure would have had that question in there, I would have asked ALL people 1) did either one of your parents have an extra-relationship romance or affair? 2) If yes, was it same sex or opposite sex.

    I am not even a Sociologist but even I would have worded my questions as above. Is he just dumb, or else why didn’t he do it that way? I can’t believe for all the expert sociologists that he had Witherspoon pay to help him with this, that none of those people thought to ask the question as stated above. Or do you think……Nah, no right?

    Very good article. I can’t say I learned anything new because I had already found these problems myself, but it is nice that “real” sociologists are confirming my criticism of the paper.

    Hopefully somebody soon will do another report where they clean out the bad responses (like my mother was age 82 when I was born) and re-analyze Regnerus data with clean data and proper methods.


  4. I have always wanted to ask anti gay-marriage advocates this. If evidence was provided that the children of bi-racial married heterosexual couples did worse in well-being measures than children born from married, mono-racial heterosexual couples, would they support a ban on inter-racial marriage?

    Anti gay-marriage advocates almost become reductionist in these debates, stating that children’s well-being should be either the prime determinant or sole determinant in who should be allowed to marry. Child well-being is important, but what is also important is autonomy in selecting a spouse.


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