Scientists Debunked The Biggest Anti-Gay-Marriage Study, Too Bad It Probably Won’t Change Any Minds

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shutterstock_176634134Science has finally debunked a famous 2012 study that alleged that adult children of gay parents were more likely to have a number of serious negative outcomes when compared with children raised by heterosexual couples and confirmed what the American Psychological Association many of us already believed: Kids raised by gay parents turn out just like kids raised by heterosexual parents. Unfortunately, it probably won’t do much to change the minds of people who are against gay marriage. There have been many studies proving that vaccines don’t cause autism, and the anti-vaxxers are still around. This seems like it will probably be much the same thing.

According to UConn, in 2012 University of Texas at Austin professor Mark Regnerus published a study called “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” That study alleged that adult children raised by gay and lesbian couples were more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases, to have been sexually abused, and to have attempted suicide than were adult children raised by heterosexual couples. Regnerus has since been called upon to provide expert testimony against same-sex marriage.

Other researchers have been finding fault with Regnerus’ study since almost as soon as it was published, but now a new team–professors Simon Cheng of the University of Connecticut and Brian Powell of Indiana University–has actually gone through and looked closely at all Regnerus’ data and analysis again, and they say the study was seriously flawed and has now been fixed.

According to Science of Us, Regnerus’ original study looked at 236 adult children of gay parents, but Cheng and Powell said that about a third of those lived with a gay parent for less than four years.

Regnerus also allegedly left several “oddball” respondents in the study–like one person who claimed to be nearly eight feet tall and weigh 88 pounds. Cheng and Powell say it is standard practice to dump any such answers before starting analysis, but Regnerus left them in. Both maintain that in a small study like Regnerus’, those outliers can have a big effect on the data.

Powell and Chen say that once they cleaned up the data they looked at it again to ask Regnerus’ question: Are there statistically significant differences in the outcomes of children raised by homosexual parents compared with children raised by heterosexual parents?

Nope. Cheng and Powell say that by cleaning up the data, virtually all the differences observed by Regnerus disappear.

It is pretty big news and great to see, but I can’t get too optimistic about this making a difference for many people. Regnerus will most likely continue to testify as an expert against gay marriage, and people who oppose gay marriage will continue to pull out Regnerus’ study the way anti-vaxxers still hold up the often-debunked work of Andrew Wakefield that said vaccines cause autism.

At least now hopefully Powell and Cheng will be there to testify against him.