Now comes new evidence in the deeply emotional debate over the impact on children of same-sex marriage versus traditional marriage.
The mere mention os this research will raise hackles among those who insist that children of same sex couples grow up no different than children of men and women unions. But if we can get past the name-calling and actually read the research, maybe we could have a rational discourse.
The new study, by Douglas W. Allen published in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household, concludes from an analysis of a large, population-based sample that children of gay and lesbian couples are less likely to have graduated from high school.
Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20 % sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.
Of particular note, the study finds that the disadvantage falls heavier on girls than on boys:
...the particular gender mix of a same-sex household has a dramatic difference in the association with child graduation. Consider the case of girls. . . . Regardless of the controls and whether or not girls are currently living in a gay or lesbian household, the odds of graduating from high school are considerably lower than any other household type. Indeed, girls living in gay households are only 15 percent as likely to graduate compared to girls from opposite sex married homes.
On a broader scale, the "Children from Different Families" argues that the evidence of the better outcomes for children biological, different-sex couples is adding up:
The widely circulated claim that same-sex families are “no different” from intact, heterosexual families is not settled science. New studies suggest that children do best when they are raised by their biological parents in a stable, intact marriage.
Mark Regnerus, whose earlier study has on the matter has proven extremely controversial, calls the new study "a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing."
This is hardly the last word on the subject, something that both sides in the debate must keep in mind.