The Regnerus Controversy: Children In Traditional Families Do Better Than Those Raised In Non-Traditional Settings

Originally published 24 July 2012. No changes have been made, though I’m sorely tempted to comment on the weeds descending from Regnerus’s chin.

Doubtless the nastiest phenomenon in nature is when an impassioned school of shark turn on one of their own and savagely rip their brother animal to pieces, eating him alive. Not a pretty sight and a reminder the world in its natural state is not a paradise.

Similarly, it is a nauseating sight when a school of sociologists, including amateur sociologists we call “the press,” go mad and engage in a frenzied, no-holds-barred attack on one of their own. An ugly, stomach churning business.

Poor Mark Regnerus! A professor (as of this writing) at the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. There he was, innocently swimming along publishing papers, applying for grants, and grading exams, when the sea erupted around him! A blur of teeth, invective, insult, blood in the water—oh, the humanity?

And why? Well because Regnerus had the temerity to say things like this (if you are unused to raw, unmedia-filtered data, then I suggest you avert your eyes until after the summary):

  • 23% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Ever touched sexually by parent/adult“, versus 6% of those of families with a gay father and only 2% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad, Ozzie-Harriet families.
  • 31% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Ever forced to have sex against will“, versus 25% of those of families with a gay father and only 8% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families.
  • 12% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Thought recently about suicide“, versus 24% of those of families with a gay father and only 5% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families.
  • And perhaps the worst of all (to Regenrus’s career prospects) only 61% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother said ‘yes’ to “Identifies as entirely heterosexual“, versus 71% of those of families with a gay father and with a full 90% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families. So much for theories that acculturation plays no role!

And these are only the highlights from his peer-reviewedHow different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study” in the journal Social Science Research.

Now, I don’t buy the logistic regression p-values Regnerus displays, but the tables which summarize the raw data are intriguing. And horrifying to progressives. According to Regnerus, traditional kids vote more, are more liable to be employed, are less likely to have a sexually transmitted disease, are more likely to feel closer to their parents, are happier, are less impulsive, make more money, are in better health, use less marijuana, are less likely to get drunk, watch less TV, have far fewer sexual “partners” (there’s a progressive word for you: it means the exact opposite of what it says), and (my favorite) are less likely to have pled guilty to a non-minor offense.

Journalists and academics on the left reasoned: these results cannot be true because we don’t want them to be; therefore, they are not true. And that’s when the frenzy started. They began by pointing out what Regnerus admits in his article as a weakness: that the “lesbian” moms and “gay” fathers might not be (but also might be) full-time lesbians and gays, but have, at least once, engaged in a “same-sex” relationship, even if married to a heterosexual. This, according to progressives, invalidates the entire study, is not a “fair” comparison, is “deeply flawed” methodology, etc.

But this would only mean the conclusions would have to be re-written; e.g. “31% of now-grown children of families with a lesbian mother or a mother who at least once cheated on her spouse with another woman said ‘yes’ to ‘Ever forced to have sex against will‘, versus 25% of those of families with a gay father or a father who at least once cheated on his spouse with another man and only 8% of those now-grown children from traditional mom-dad families.” I don’t see how this helps progressives.

Neither do the folks at the New Civil Rights Movement who resorted to the standard political trick, when they could not disparage the results, they attacked Regnerus: “His professional integrity was cast into doubt…” etc., etc. The New Republic said “It’s a real relief to see the takedowns pile up in response to” Regnerus. It sure is! The LA Times used the phrase “hopelessly flawed.” And there was more, much more.

So much more that a team of academics who wanted nothing more than a return to peace and quiet were forced to issue an open letter which said “Although Regnerus’s article in Social Science Research is not without its limitations, as social scientists, we think much of the public criticism Regnerus has received is unwarranted for three reasons.”

  1. “The vast majority of studies published before 2012 on this subject have relied upon small, nonrepresentative samples that do not represent children in typical gay and lesbian families in the United States.”
  2. “what his critics fail to appreciate is that Regnerus chose his categories on the basis of young adults’ characterizations of their own families growing up, and the young adults whose parents had same-sex romantic relationships also happened to have high levels of instability in their families of origin.”
  3. Newer research “comes to conclusions that parallel those of Regnerus’s study.”

Then in chimed well-tenured professor Christian Smith (who took pains to say he was not a conservative) in the (lefty) Chronicle of Higher Education. Juicy summary follows:

Whoever said inquisitions and witch hunts were things of the past?…In today’s political climate, and particularly in the discipline of sociology—dominated as it is by a progressive orthodoxy—what Regnerus did is unacceptable…a heretic, a traitor…Advocacy groups and academics who support gay marriage view Regnerus’s findings as threatening…Sociologists tend to be political and cultural liberals, leftists, and progressives…One cannot be too friendly to religion…such as researching the positive social contributions of missionary work overseas or failing to criticize evangelicals and fundamentalists…the ideological and political proclivities of some sociologists can create real problems…It is also easy for some sociologists to lose perspective on the minority status of their own views, to take for granted much that is still worth arguing about, and to fall into a kind of groupthink…The temptation to use academe to advance a political agenda is too often indulged in sociology…political attacks like those on Regnerus are contemptible and hurt everyone in the long run, including progressives.

Young scientists, in any field, can learn much from Smith’s advice. Particularly this: don’t buck the consensus. Do what everybody else does, say what everybody else says. Support the findings people want to be true and denigrate that which everybody hates. What matters is how you get along with your colleagues, not the truth.

This works equally well in, say, climatology as it does in sociology.

Update New article on acculturation.


Thanks to Micah Mattix for altering me to this story.


  1. Steve Crook

    I can’t say that this is a unique phenomenon. I see something similar when it comes to openly admitting that, gulp, genetics might actually play a part in determining intelligence. At the moment it would appear that genetics has a hand in determining (to one extent or another) almost everything about a person *except* their intelligence…

    Perhaps it’s just the reaction to cognitive dissonance that produces this feeding frenzy.

  2. Luis Dias

    That’s all very nice, mr. Briggs, but I look at that data, and I just see politics. 23% of children of lesbian mothers were touched “sexually”? What the hell does that even mean? Considering that (hey, let’s assume the lesbian mothers aren’t all perverts OK?) 50% of them are males, then what that statistic suggests is that somewhere around 40% of the girls who are daugthers of lesbians were “sexually touched” by their mothers?


    And then 31% of the children (a bigger number? shouldn’t it be a smaller one?) said they were forced to have sex? That’s called rape. Are you saying they were raped by their mothers?


    Well I am sorry, but I have little patience for these shenanigans. Color me extreeeemely skeptical. Not because these “facts” go against my “politics” (I am quite peaceful with controversies), but because they just seem to miss some zeroes before the integers.

  3. GoneWithTheWind

    If I’m not mistaken homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This happened not because science or psychiatrists determined that homosexuality was not a disorder (of some kind). It was purely political. Suppression of science and/or information isn’t going to help either side of this issue.

  4. Luis Dias

    … and since when is not the arbitrary catalogation of “mental disorders” a political judgement, mr Windy?

  5. txslr


    Perhaps the author should have thought twice before publishing results that conflicted with your priors.

  6. Doug M


    “And then 31% of the children (a bigger number? shouldn’t it be a smaller one?) said they were forced to have sex? That’s called rape. Are you saying they were raped by their mothers?”

    Not necessarily…my reading of this is that young adults reported that they were either raped or coerced into sex. And, that the abuser was not necessarily the parent, or an authority figure, but more likely a peer or a stranger.

    It still seems like a big number.

  7. michael felong

    I wonder if there’s some selection bias here, either by the experimenter or in the group of people willing to respond, or in the personal and social difficulty of being LGBT. These are pretty impressive numbers, almost too good. You can look at these aspects better than I. I understand your post is about the political aspects, but what about the science?

  8. “Children in Traditional Families Do Better…”

    Any statistician worth his salt knows how to knock this one down. Just redefine “better.” I’m sure the guy who anally extracted a p-value of 0.05 could craft a fitness function acceptable to the most progressive of GQBLT advocates. Then Dr Regnerus would have statistically non-significant results and nothing to publish, and we can ignore him. Nothing to see here, move along, please.

  9. Andy

    One can imagine luis’ eyes swivelling and his mouth frothing as he writes.

    I thought lefties accepted peer reviewed science……..oh sorry when you say evidence you mean bias, when you say bias you mean evidence.

  10. This cannot be true. Too many of us do not want it to be true, therefore it cannot be true. It’s quite simple.

    Furthermore, since it obviously is not true only a scalawag would falsely say it was. Conclusion: Many so-called scientists are scalawags. Shame on them. They should be pilloried. Only truth should be allowed to be published.

    OK, I feel better, now.

  11. Mack

    Impulsive, drunken, tv watching, promiscuous, low income, pot head…sounds like a typical college student. I shall gleefully inform them of their parents’ likely sexual orientation.

  12. Steve Crook


    Confirmation bias is bi-directional:-)

    This must be true. Too many of us want it to be true, therefore it must be true. It’s quite simple.

    Furthermore, since it obviously is true only a scalawag would falsely say it wasn’t. Conclusion: Many so-called scientists are scalawags. Shame on them. They should be pilloried. Only truth should be allowed to be published.

    OK, I feel better, now.

  13. Sylvain Allard

    Has a progressive I cannot say that these result are alarming or can be considered a which hunt.

    Who cares how many sexual partner a person has?

    It would be interesting to see the break down between gender, since women are more likely to be bisexual which would impact some of the answers.

  14. Noblesse Oblige

    Amusing to see the reaction of the deniers who refuse to accept the science. Yes. Children raised in non traditional families will tend to be … er “untraditional.”

    But isn’t that the point?

  15. Briggs, I hope you have not been “altered” too much by Micah.
    Steve Crooks. Well said.

  16. cb

    “Young scientists, in any field, can learn much from Smith’s advice.”

    Yarp: Do not be a scientist. Scientists are either themselves liars, or else complicit in the lies of others, or else enablers who ‘do not buck the consensus’.
    F-ing fantastic: why not just go stand on a street corner and be open about your career choice? Hey, at LEAST the street-walkers are up-front and HONEST!

    Scientists are pathetic, worthless, sub-human gnats. Of course, typical of all hippies, they lay claim to the cudos that belong to Newton, Einstein, etc. By the simple mechanism of labeling such people ‘scientists’, and then self-labeling themselves the same. Pah-theh-tic.

    Let this also be said: ‘confirmation-bias” has become little more than a way to excuse LYING. The ASSUMPTION of honesty on the part of ‘scientists’ is unfounded, BASED ON NOTHING, and in fact so strongly counter-indicated that only an utter moron would buy into it.
    ‘Science’ has become as vacuous as modern economics, resting on nothing more than the stupidity that is ‘public trust’: “Trust me, I’m a scientist”. Pah-theh-tic.

  17. StraightGrandmother

    I would suggest to this author that he take the time and read the Survey Instrument, the Survey Design, the Survey Codebook to get a full grasp of how this research was conducted.

    You take the whole population and ask, “Did your mother or father ever have an extra marital or extra relationship affair while you were growing up until age 18?
    If Yes, was it same sex or opposite sex?

    Seems the right way to frame the question, right? But that is NOt the way Regnerus did it. He only asked people who did NOT live wiht thier parents for 18 years. In other words the only people who were asked about an extra marital or extra relationship affair were people who had lived in unstable families. Furthermore he never bothers to ask ANYONE if thier parents had an opposite sex extra marital or extra marital affair.

    I know you people here are smart so you can see how this changes the entire results of the Survey.

    Regnerus, [begin quote] We had only two cases in which mom and her partner were together for 18 years. We’ve got only six cases where mom and her partner were reported to have stayed together for 10 or more years, and 18 cases for five years. We’re still seriously in small-sample-size territory, prone to making what’s called a Type II error, meaning we could erroneously conclude that there are no differences when there really are. How about those 81 cases wherein respondents reported living with mom and her partner for at least a good share of a year or more?[end quote]

    2 -18 Years
    6 – 10 Years
    18 – 5 Years
    26 Long Time

    81 cases of living with mom and her partner a good share of a year or more. (short time)

    26 (long time)+81 (short time)= 107

    175 respondents
    175 – 107(Long and short time) = 68 (39%) who NEVER LIVED WITH THEIR MOTHER AND THEIR MOTHERS GIRL FRIEND

    AND for my money I BET that the 81 he talks about above I BET included in that 81 is the 26 Long Time numbers. I think he was being sneaky by the way he wrote that.

    Walter Olson Cato Instituite, [begin quote] The Witherspoon Institute, discussing the study’s findings, adds another clue: “48% of the respondents with a GF, and 43% of the respondents with an LM indicated that they were either black or Hispanic.[end quote]

    Funny how Regnerus failed to mention in his report the racial or ethnic background of the so called “lesbains” and “gay” fathers.

    The Williams Institute from UCLA does a very good job of slicing the 2010 Census Data. Same-sex couples with children include a larger portion of racial/ethnic minorities than different-sex married couples.
    Data below on Same Sex Couples so called head of household-
    African American – 11%
    American Indian Native Alaskan – 4%
    Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander – 0.3%
    Other race – 8%
    Two races – 4%
    Hispanic – 22%

    Regnerus makes a very big deal in his report how poor these lesbains are, they are on welfare etc. BUT read Regnerus Code Book and you will see that his question was very broad, Did you ever get, WIC (Womens Infants and Children program that give free milk and dairy products to poor pregnent women) a Free Lunch at School, welfare.

    First of all you need to knwow that Latina Lesbains receive public assistance at 3 times the rate of all other lesbians. Now think back to that 43% of the respondents are AA or Hispanic.

    Now let us examine the family income of the people who took this survey this is found way at the end of the report in Appendix A.

    In the first Column is the income for respondents in the Regnerus Study. In the second Column is the data from the 2010 Census.

    Household Income
    Under 10,000- 11.9% – 5.7%
    10,000 – 19,999 – 9.2%- 7.4%
    20,000 – 29,999 – 10.5% – 9.5%
    30,000 – 39,999 – 9.6% – 9.4%
    40,000 – 49,999 – 9.9% – 9.1%
    50,000 – 74,999 – 19.2% – 20.3%
    +75,000 – 29.8% – 38.6%-

    You would want to read this blog, which from what I can tell is all a bunch of Sociologists and especially interesting are the comments-

    Also please notice what Regnerus says right at the beginning of his report, this is research that will guide us as we make court and policy decisions on gay marriage. This is not some random “Oh let’s see I think I will study this”, research.

    Finally yes I am angry that Regnerus labels mothers and fathers as lesbian and gay when his data doesn’t back it up. Let me ask you this, how much do you know about YOUR parents sex life? Do you think you could answer questions about your parents sex life? It is absolutely and ethically WRONG of Regnerus to smack that label on the parents when his data does not justify it. And Regnerus admits this. He basically says in page 7 paragraph 4 of his report, “Well I can’t really prove they are gay or lesbian but I don’t want to have to argue that point without the data so I am just going to call them lesbains and gays *anyway*”

    If you buy that he did find real lesbains and gay men (which I don’t) then you have to agree that Regnerus basically studied people who were born to parents in a Mixed-Sexual-Orientation-Marriage, one parent gay and the other parent straight. He took this population and compared it against children who were raised by their biological parents for 18 years. and the parents split up.

    Actually he told me in an e-mail that he only did find 2 straight up lesbian couples who raised a child and those children did very well.

    Because he deliberately choose never to ask anyone who was raised by their biological parents for 18 years if their mother or father had a same sex romance, because he chose to do that he eliminated any possibility of getting the whole population.

    Then when you survey you do not get a good distribution. Here are the top States
    State-Number of Respondents- percentage- Cumulative percentage

    CA 378 12.65% 12.65%
    TX 227 7.60% 20.25%
    NY 161 5.39% 25.64%
    FL 143 4.79% 30.42%
    IL 139 4.65% 35.07%
    PA 137 4.59% 39.66%
    OH 119 3.98% 43.64%
    MI 116 3.88% 47.52%
    WI 85 2.84% 50.37%

    For some reason reason Regnerus failed in, I think it was the Survey Design Document, when he listed the States, he failed to sort them in ascending order. So basically I had to enter all the mixed up data in Excel and then sort. Keep in mind the Willaims document about the struggles of Latina Lesbians and what states they live in. Washington DC had only 5 respondents in the Survey, both gay and straight (that is if you accept that he really found gays).

    And I did not even talk about his $875,000 funding from the Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation.

    Regnerus is SMART, I do not believe that these are plain errors. You overload the population with poor people, you overload the sexual minority groups with African Americans and Latinos, you make very broad questions about public assistance, yes you can make the data say that *which you designed it* to say.

    I encourage all of you to learn more about the statistics on sexual minorities at the Williams Institute at UCLA.

    I think we *do* have something to complain about.
    Please do your Due Diligence before you continue to post on this topic. Thank you.

  18. Ken

    NARTH.COM published the following (at: ), which provided additional analysis from experts in relevent fields:

    In a historic study of children raised by homosexual parents, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin has overturned the conventional academic wisdom that such children suffer no disadvantages when compared to children raised by their married mother and father. Just published in the journal Social Science Research,[1] the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted on this issue found numerous and significant differences between these groups–with the outcomes for children of homosexuals rated “suboptimal” (Regnerus’ word) in almost every category.

    Detailed and Related Articles:

    The Study as published in Social Science Research

    Analysis: Family Research Council

    Dr. Mark Yarhouse Commentary

    Political Commentary from Jeff Jacoby, Townhall

    Aliance Defense Fund Commentary

  19. Matt


    Are you refering to the author of this Blog or the author of the referenced study?

    The auther of this Blog is primarily commenting on the highly political response to the study, not on the merits of the study itself.

  20. StraightGrandmother

    Matt, I was referring to the owner of this blog as well as the commentors. Mark Regnerus made this political, he took it political. He starts right off in his report and says that this research is done to help the political process. He is going to help “inform” through this research. Then he went out on the stump, ABC, CBS, interviews with the National Review, Slate and more that I can remember.

    It is a little unrealistic to tell people who are gay and their straight supporters that we should sit down be quiet and wait for the next issue of Social Science Research to be published which will be November. In other words Mark Regnerus can go out into the public square and claim his research proves a GOLD STANDARD of Mommy+Daddy, when it absolutely does NOT because he never found Mommy+Mommy nor Daddy+Daddy to compare to Mommy+Daddy.

    I had a pretty long post above so I didn’t even talk about what he did with the records where the person answered that both their mother and their father had a same sex romance. Well he tells us, “I could barely find any gay fathers so I stuffed them in the gay father category”

    Nobody takes the time to look at all of the records Regnerus puts out there the design plan the survey instrument etc. and analyzes them except for a very few people, like me. When you do that you realize that the mistakes, or shall I say the “liberties” he took, are mistakes not even a Freshman would make much less an Associate Professor at Univ of Texas Austin. And all the “mistakes” or liberties that he takes, slant towards portraying sexual minorities in the worst possible light. I cannot see a man of his stature making these mistakes innocently. I believe he had choices to make and he made them, and he made them for political reasons. He did not have a valid sample size but rather than admit that, he expanded out the requirements as who qualified as gay or lesbian, and even with this expanded definition his sample is horribly horribly lopsided. It is not evenly distributed and it is full of poor people. I believe has has committed scientific misconduct for political reasons and I want an investigation, I support it. If he is innocent he will come through with his reputation in tact.

    Think of the errors the way the questions are structured, that was done with a purpose. Not even a freshman would design a survey like that. Failure to withhold in his report the extremely high numbers of racial and ethnic minorities, strategic decision. Regnerus is not so innocent, he is not. I have good reason to support an investigation by his school. There is sufficient defects to at least look into the matter. Look if there were NO defects or just one or two minor ones, then people would be right to say this is a Witch Hunt. But that is not the case, the defects are MAJOR, and a man of his training knows better, and he did it anyway.

    He went out into the press and promoted this, that gays make bad parents, he should expect that people who are for civil rights for sexual minorities are going to respond in kind if his data doesn’t back up his swagger. And his data doesn’t.

  21. Briggs


    My fault, I didn’t highlight it sufficiently so you didn’t notice the Open Letter from Baylor, from the academic sociologists in support of Regnerus. HERE IS THE LINK. Also see that especially damning Chronicle of Higher Education piece. Ouch.

  22. Joey H

    Dr. Briggs,

    On the link to the Chronicle of Higher Education piece, I get a redirect to your front page. Is that expected?

  23. Fitting for these comments, mayhap, is Eric Hoffer’s quote: “Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.”

  24. StraightGrandmother

    Briggs, thanks yes I missed that. Hey! I’ll see your one ouch and raise you two ouches, ha-ha.

    Of course I looked up the people who signed at the Baylor RELIGIOUS website in support of Regnerus. Basically they are 90% of them a bunch of religionists. That last guy on the list the one from Connecticut, he writes books on Christianity. I think what this proves is that Mark Regnerus is backed by relgionists sociologists.

    I raise your ouch by 200 Social Scientists who signed a complaint letter against Regnerus.

    See this is what I was hoping to avoid. I was trying to get you and others to do your due diligence and look at the defects I am pointing out to you. Look at the survey design survey instruments survey code book etc. Then come and tell me why it is statistically okay to have 43% African Americans and Hispanics in the data pool. Why is is okay to have dirty data, example one person answering that they have had 22 abortions. Q3: Two respondents had mothers more than eighty years old at the time of birth
    With just under 3,000 records there really is no excuse for not scrubbing your data.

    If you were going to publish a report that cost $875,000 would you have scrubbed your data? 3,000 records are not all that many records.

    Are you aware that he turned it in for Peer Review PRIOR to receiving all the responses from the Survey Company?

  25. StraightGrandmother

    Ken, I don’t know who the heck you are but to lead by Citing NARTH tells me all I need to know. Why don’t you do your own analysis instead of simply citing others?

    You do know the Nicolosi of NARTH, was just exposed yesterday for claiming to cure homosexuality by eye movement therapy, right?

    Briggs are you a religionist too? I didn’t even look you up before I commented. I just thought it would be good to converse with a Statistician but by your comment it doesn’t look like you have invested into researching for yourself, preferring just to quote from the Baylor RELIGIOUS Studies website.

    Have a good day anyway.

  26. George Kaplan

    Strong moves to the hoop, Straight Grandmother!

  27. GoneWithTheWind

    I believe in the scientific method. If a particular disability or mental disorder is incorrectly labeled/diagnosed then the doctors, psychiatrists and scientists should study it and make a decision. Isn’t that better then having the patients revolt and coerce and politicize the issue to bully the doctors to call it something more politically correct? So the question is: was homosexuality removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)? AND did this happen as a result of coercion and not as a result of a medical/psychiatric study?

  28. Ray

    I think this article shows us by good example something of what Jesus talked about in Matt 7:1-5. It is certainly something to consider in the context of this article. I believe hypocrisy is seen and known by the fruit as Jesus also taught in the same chapter of Matthew.

  29. StraightGrandmother

    What kind of blog is this? You git Ken quoting from NARTH, Briggs is pointing me to the Baylor RELIGIOUS studies website, GoneWithTheWind is questioning removing homosexuality form the DSM when was that 1972? and Ray is quoting from the Bible. Somebody help me out here. If you had to describe this blog how would you describe it in a sentence or two? I thought this was a Statistics Blog, huh?

  30. RickA


    What kind of blog is this?

    If you review Mr. Briggs list of classic posts, I think you will see that this blog covers Philosophy & Culture, Statistics, Probability Puzzles and Global Warming & The Environment.

    Maybe “religionists” [a religious zealot – is that name calling?] are not supposed to read and/or comment at this blog, in your opinion.

    However, I enjoy reading this blog and lurk here often.

    I suggest you review some of the other posts before you get to critical, but hey its a free country.

    Hey StraightGrandmother – are you one of them their atheists?

  31. Guam

    From where I sit it seems to me someone who publishes a piece of work that could prove socially devisive and cause potential harm. Should have their methodology right on the button.

    Political bias from either side of a debate is unhelpful and clouds the discussion.

    If as Straightgranny suggest His methodology is that messed up, then the correct stance is to focus on that and only that imho.
    Hopefully Mr Briggs will weigh in on the critiques regarding this report as he would with AGW

  32. StraightGrandmother

    RickA- It seems really weird to me that on a statistics blog we are talking about those things I mentioned above. Which is why I asked people to describe this blog in a sentence or two. I am perfectly fine that people have religious blogs or whatever kind of interest blog, I am simply honestly confused because I was expecting this to be a straight up Statistics Blog, that’s all. I was more or less expecting we would be talking about statistics.The banner up on top says Statistics so that is what I thought we would be talking about, you know dry statistics.

    Guam, yes you are right, if you are going to produce research that proposes and reports that “My research overthrows all previous research in the field,” you better have every data point buttoned down tight. Your methodolgy and analysis has to be very very strict. Can we talk about the data and methodology now?

  33. Leg

    Grandma: Wow! You really go for the big splash the first time you enter a website. Welcome to a website where you can get a statitics education, basically for free. However, there are assignments and your first one is to find the table you presented that does not add up to 100% and tell us why this is correct or incorrect. (Hint: it is cited as being from a West Coast University for which it is probably fair to describe the university as being rather liberal).

  34. Ken

    StraightGrandma –

    IF you’d read the blog & its various posts you’d realize that this blog does a good job of delving into various topics in some depth. Statistics is a primary focus, but hardly the sole focus. This derives in large part by the various readers, those that comment, who for the most part THINK about what they’re addressing before they address it.

    For example, when you quoted me “quoting” NARTH, and then segued instantly into bashing NARTH for some oversimplified & distorted thing its head did you completely missed the fact that for all practical purposes I did NOT quote NARTH in any substantive sense–I merely its convenient links to other’s analyses about the Regenerus paper/study (the material I “quoted” from NARTH contains no NARTH-original analysis beyond a blurb overview of the paper).

    In other words, you’re clearly inclined to pounce on an ad hominem-based rejection of third party data, sight unseen, merely based on a second party’s posting of it (I’m presuming that’s the inclination as evidenced by the demonstration of that very behavior).

    This is the kind of blog that attracts & retains people that would generally never think to make such broad overgeneralizations & sweeping conclusions …because… they understand that the vast majority of research & researchers will have inherent flaws/limitations (for a variety of reasons) and are inclined delve into various facets to extract the substantive material and understand the less robust material in context (i.e. will try to separate the “wheat from the chaff”). On any social/psychological subject a variety of factors invariably come into play — and on a topic like that Regenerus examined within the limited data & other constraints, a lot of factors he didn’t study clearly apply to varying degrees….so it ought not come as a surprise that various readers will touch on some of these.

    Put another way, as Benjamin Franklin observed: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

    This is the kind of blog that doesn’t tend to attract & retain fools.

  35. Briggs


    It’s called the genetic fallacy, and when it’s used it’s a clear admission you’ve lost the argument.

  36. StraightGrandmother

    Leg on, Hey that is a really good question! Alright, so I went back and looked again and I see my error. If you think about it Hispanic is not a race, it is an ethnicity. I just copied across the figures and actually I miscopied as well, completely missing Asians, geesh. If I make a mistake I am not afraid to admit it and am appreciative of anyone pointing this out to me. Here let me repost correct this time-

    White- 72.0
    African-American- 11.0
    American Indian/Alaska Native-0.02
    Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander-0.3
    Other race-8.0
    Two Races- 4.0

    Hispanic 22%

    Correction made, but it still doesn’t change my point. The over representation which above I quoted-

    Walter Olson Cato Instituite, [begin quote] The Witherspoon Institute, discussing the study’s findings, adds another clue: “48% of the respondents with a GF, and 43% of the respondents with an LM indicated that they were either black or Hispanic.[end quote]

    Anybody else can you punch a hole in what I have posted? Do you still say that Regnerus can make the claims he is making based on his data and this his data is representative?

    And please can we just cover the statistics, not whose side of the fence you are on by linking to Left Wing or Right Wing Opinion Pieces? The only time I do that is to bring back some piece of data to discuss, not to bring back opinion. If you can bring in some good data from other websites, great let’s have a look, and link to the source. But I am seriously hoping for data and not opinion pieces.

  37. JH

    Dear StraightGrandmother,

    I appreciate your comments.

    As I am not a sociologist or political pundit, I have to admit that I lack of the motivation to finish reading this paper. After reading 6 pages, it’s quite clear why one would immediately raise many consequential questions regarding the survey instrument and data integrity, though Regnerus attempts to justify that NFSS sample is representative.

    Anyway, in short and most importantly, since (many) variables are prone to measurement errors, the statistical results in the paper simply should be taken with a truckload of salt.

  38. Bill S

    Just one warning about this blog.
    Brigg’s typos are always so atrocious that they cannot possibly be random events!

  39. Andy

    Sorry I was under the impression that our lefty friends did not rate non peer reviewed literature when science is under consideration and that you should attempt to get published if you disagree with research.

    But in this case, hear them whinge, call for censorship, threaten careers and not bother with the peer reviewed debate in the literature.

    You could be forgiven for thinking they had double standards!

    So basically if mum and dad are a little ‘confused’ they don’t make good parents. Shock!

  40. Leg

    Grandma – I am not a sociologist or statistician; my expertise is in a different science. So I can not help you much in your statistical quest. I must note that given my understanding of the scientific method, I have a pretty low opinion of all sociology studies. Notwithstanding this opinion, I wish to point out to you that the UCLA study that you quote may have flaws and bias (god forbid in this era of unbiased science /sarc)therefore you need to look for those errors before trying to apply the UCLA study to the study in question here.
    I find your distinction between race and ethnicity to be odd and perhaps (I haven’t looked at it) so is the UCLA study. The three main divisions of race are Caucasoid, Negroid and Mongoloid. Ethnicity relates to subgroups that have a common heritage, culture, and language. African American is not a race, but is an ethnicity. It aappears that you are placing Hispanics in with caucasoids What I see in so many sociology papers is the fact that there are gazillions of of ways to interpret the human condition and it makes sociology a almost worthless study.

  41. Leg

    Re previous post. I apologize for grammatical errors but this website is acting up and I could not see the line I was typing in the comment box. Briggs: you might want to look into this. It also is running slow and taking a lot of memory.

  42. StraightGrandmother

    Leg on I am sure that Gary Gates at the Williams Instituite followed the Census, that is the basis of his report, it is based on the 2010 Census.

    Alright, I went and searched all the documents on Hispanic and I found it in his report, he says, “Among respondents in the NFSS who said their mother had a same-sex relationship,
    43% are Black or Hispanic” here-

    In the Survey Design Document they seem to me to use these same categories I think it was page 13 or 14

    It is kind of cute in Regnerus report that he Cites Gary Gates of the Williams Institute on a 2004 paper but does not bother to cite him on the 2010 Census which shows his data is over representing African Americans and Hispanics.

    It doens’t look like the Hipanic thing is odd, it seems like that is consistent. I am guessing but i think what it can be is that you can be black Hispanic or white Hispanic. There must be a question like that on the census, probably 2 questions maybe what is our race and what is your ethnicity.But either way they are using the same buckets and Regnerus’s respondents are over represented by AA and Hispanic gays and lesbains. Being over represented by Lesbian Hispanics is really bad because Lesbian Hispanics receive public assistance at 3 times the rate of other lesbains. It is in the Willaims file I linked to above.

  43. StraightGrandmother

    Birth Control Question and his Masturbation questions into the supposed purpose of family structure “research” he reveals himself. In case you don’t know Catholics don’t want anybody to masturbate, it is against the Bible. Well some good Catholics must have filled in the survey because out of 2,988 because 620 people said NO they have NEVER masturbated.

    Then he goes DEEP Catholic, WHEN did you last masturbate?
    Please see the Survey Design Instrument and for the respondents answers the Code Book found here (and I know you are going to go look this up)-

    Do you understand how the survey company works? These in fact are not random people. The Survey company has a bunch of people on file that they constantly send surveys to. The more surveys you take the more money you get. At first it is very low but nobody has said so far if you are a great customer of theirs how much people are really making taking these surveys. One thing they do disclose is that to get people without internet i.e. poor people, what they do is say, “If you’ll take surveys we will give you a free laptop and internet for a month” I think it is in the Survey Instrument (but it might be a different one you have to read through all these documents) in the Survey Instrument they disclose that 10% of the people responding are on the free internet plan. You get VERY adept at taking these surveys. At the start they do screening questions and if you answer wrong then you don’t get to take part in the survey. If you stop taking surveys you stop building up your Rewards and if you claim not to have internet you loose your laptop and internet that the Survey company is paying for. So you want to answer those early screening questions right. And then after that, well there you see the really WEIRD answers which you find in the Codebook, because obviously people are just clicking through the screens.

    These are NOT random surveys, this is not like they cold called 15,000 people no, heck no. These are professional survey takers who are incentiviesd and Regnerus never scrubbed the data. I’ll venture a guess, I bet he didn’t scrub it because he was hard pressed to make his deadline. He had to get it in by a certain date in the spring so that it would be published in July and NO Critiques of his survey would then be published until wait for it, NOVEMBER. If his report made the July issue no other researchers critiques would be published until NOVEMBER. If I had to guess, that is my guess why he didn’t scrub the data. He didn’t even get his final data until February 22nd and during this time it was in peer review.It was in Peer Review without the final data in Regnerus’s hands. I think him and the editor Wright did everything possible to publish this in July to get a political win because no other scholar would be able to publish a critique until NOVEMBER. That is the schedule of the Journal Social Science Research. If you publish in July no rebuttals are printed until November. And I know this because Editor Wright told me this.

  44. andom

    There is no over representation of Hispanic or Black people in Regnerus’paper.

    ” Among heterosexual married heads of household, 22.2% were black or Hispanic, while 40.4% of gay fathers and 36.1% of lesbian mothers were black or Hispanic”.
    (Michael Rosenfeld “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School”, Demography, Volume 47, Number 3, August 2010 pp. 755-775)

    (p.s. also UCLA’s paper agrees that “Same-sex couples are the most likely to be interracial or interethnic”).

  45. Briggs


    You would make a good prosecuting attorney, on television I mean. In person, in a real case, not so much. A lot of splutter and dramatics, but almost no substance.

    You seem awfully desperate to prove Regnerus’s results wrong, even accusing him of purposely cheating and committing open fraud. Tsk, tsk. This, my dear old lady, is defamation; fraud is the most serious charge you can bring against an academic. And yet you fling it around with passion. But don’t worry, I imagine Regneru’s skin is thick enough to resist your dull barbs.

    Fact is, Regnerus’s study, while imperfect, is better than the others which have come before it. This is widely acknowledged, too. So it comes to why a person would believe the central thesis: kids who are bred under mom-dad families do better (on average and over a wide variety of areas) than do kids raised in “non-traditional” settings. The best empirical evidence so far comes from Regnerus (and a few other studies).

    The worst evidence comes from the plain desire that the thesis is false, on the theoretical (not empirical) belief that no difference will be found. Actually, what you hear from this theory are distinct hints that kids of non-traditional parents (e.g. those who cheat on their spouses with a person of same sex) will do better than kids of traditional parents.

    Well, just like many, you will believe what you desire. The real question you should be asking yourself is why?

  46. andom

    ” Well some good Catholics must have filled in the survey because out of 2,988 because 620 people said NO they have NEVER masturbated.”

    Only this demonstrates StraightGrandmother’s extreme bias.
    If you read the survey you’ll find that the Catholics are 515.

    Also remember that in the 620 people there are also women.
    According famous Kinsey’s report “92% of men and 62% of women have masturbated during their lifespan”. No survey on masturbation report 100%. So the 620 people who said NO are perfectly consistent with all the known surveys on the matter.

  47. StraightGrandmother

    andom, This is good, I am really enjoying the conversation. andom – True about the Rosenfelt study but his study was about gays and lesbains raising children who had been together 5 years or more. Regnerus we know did not study exclusively those people. Regnerus’ repondents must be compared against the census data because he does NOT study people in a same sex relationship raising children together for 5 years or more, the 2010 census data shows he is over representing the gay and lesbian population with African Americans and Hispanics.

  48. StraightGrandmother

    Andom. I was being sarcastic when saying about the good Catholics. Looking back I probably should not have been sarcastic, in fact I should not have been, let me just say that. Sometimes I get so frustrated on how this deeply flawed and defective research is being used to harm sexual minorities that I get sarcastic. I am more mature than that, I shouldn’t have done it.

    Good find on the Kinsey data. I wonder if there is other research on sexual behavior (and remember Regnerus was supposedly studying family structure, not sexual behavior, which makes the sexual behavior questions suspect)other research on sexual behavior that aligns with Regnerus or doesn’t align. Something newer than Kinsey reports in 1948 and 1953. Sexual mores have changed a lot since then, wouldn’t you agree? My God look at the prevalence of internet porn, that did not exist in 1948 and 1953.I personally do not know anything about internet porn, have never seen internet porn, but there are a lot of news articles about it so I know it is out there. Here is one article I read which shocked the heck out of me when it said, “Perhaps even more shocking, 50 percent of pastors said they visited adult web sites at least once a week”

    To be honest I doubt Regnerus’ numbers on masturbation my gut is telling me that the numbers are bad but I have no stomach for researching masturbation.

  49. StraightGrandmother

    Briggs- “Fact is, Regnerus’s study, while imperfect, is better than the others which have come before it.”

    StraightGrandmother- NO! Regnerus set out to study mommy+mommy and daddy+daddy and he failed. I know the reason he failed is because he insisted only only studying adults over the age of 18. It would have been a lot harder to survey people under the age of 18, need to get parental permission etc. By limiting himself to people over the age of 18 to age 39 his pool is people born between 1972 and 1993. I know this era I lived this era. Two women or two men raising children was unheard of. I am not saying that no sexual minorities existed in this era, it is just that they were not partnered raising children. So he was looking for a needle in a haystack. And because he couldn’t find them he expanded the parameters of people to study to include people who had answered “yes” to the question of “Did your mother or father ever have a same sex romance”. Basically he went to Plan B. Which was a study of failed heterosexual relationships which = instability. His data is scientifically insufficient to use the scientific designation of Lesbian or Gay. Yet he does it anyway.

    Then he goes out on the stump and claims his research proves Mommy+Daddy is the Gold Standard but he never found, nor did he study Mommy+Mommy, or Daddy+Daddy so his research did NOT establish a GOLD Standard, but he is claiming otherwise.

    I would still object but probably less so, IF Regnerus would have consistently said, “My research shows that adult children who were born to couples in Mixed-Sexual-Orientation-Marriages or Mixed-Sexual-Orientation-relationships fared worse than children born in heterosexual relationships. IF he would have made one big pool of people whose adult child reported that their mother or father had never had a same sex romance, and this pool included step families, adopted children, divorced parents, single parents, one big pool of every heterosexual family structure and compared it to one big pool of people who were conceived in a Mixed-Sexual-Orientation Marriage or relationship, I would object far less. I still object that the one romance question is sufficient to slap a sexual orientation label on the parents but I would probably object less if he would have stuck to the truth about the Mixed-Sexual-Orientation-Marriages and relationships.

    I strongly object to his claim of a Gold Standard. No Briggs this study is NOT better than anything that came before it that studied Mommy+Mommy and Daddy+Daddy because the Regnerus research never found nor did he study them.

  50. StraightGrandmother

    andon thank you for bringing up the Rosenfelt research, of course I read it. The results shwot that there is no difference in children raised by mommy+mommy or daddy+daddy compared to children raised by mommy+daddy.

    Also the recent Potter research which amazed me why the Religonists who supported on that Baylor Religious Studies website cites, the Potter study also verifies no difference. So you have two very large random samples Rosenfelt and Potter showing no differences yet Regnerus finds opposite? He is not scientifically truthfully reporting of the data when he is making his Gold Standards claims.

  51. Tom

    Briggs, you totally missed SGrandmother’s point. I find your response to her a bit rude.

    SGrandmother, this is an anti-academic and conservative blog. You won’t be able to convince anyone here.

  52. andom

    do not change argument.
    You claimed that Regnerus’study was flawed because over presented hispanics and blacks; but the same did Rosenfeld because this is the right demography of same-sex couples. But because you like Rosenfeld’s findind you do not criticize him!
    This is bias.

    You show your bias also criticizing NFSS questions about sex.
    Do you know the NSFG?
    Well in the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) you’ll find the same questions about sex (!

    So go and ask the CDC why they questioned about sex in a survey about family or I have to think that you are very biased.

  53. Andy

    Oh now we have an audit proclaiming that the peer reviewers were biased! Shock horror. Do you mean peer review has failed?

    But wait, it turns out that evil people who are against same sex marriage reviewed it, the solution is obviously to have reviewers who are in favour of it. That means non-biased!

    Now I know American academia is full of halfwits living in the sewer but really……I mean really?

  54. andom

    “True about the Rosenfelt study but his study was about gays and lesbains raising children who had been together 5 years or more.”

    Do you know how representative of the same-sex couples are those who had been togehter 5 years or more? and do you know the other 600,000 families compared how long had been together?
    If you do let me know. Or is it your habit questioning only the papers you disagree?

  55. M E Emberson

    From all blindness of heart;
    from pride, vain-glory, and hypocrisy;
    from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness,

    good Lord, deliver us.

    Litany- Book of Common Prayer Church of England

    Can we not have a religious faith even if we are scintifically inclined.. From another Grandma in New Zealand

  56. Jacob

    Adom you say: “Do you know how representative of the same-sex couples are those who had been togehter 5 years or more? and do you know the other 600,000 families compared how long had been together?” Regneurs study was hardly representative:
    Also Briggs, you don’t attack Str8Grandmother’s critique directly but engaged in ad hominem, saying she is trying to believe what she wants. Useful if you can’t show why the data is right.

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