Same-Sex "Marriage" and Children

New Study Points Outs Problems

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At a time when many states in America have legalized same-sex marriage a new study has provided evidence that the best results for children is that if they are raised in a heterosexual marriage.

A paper published by Donald Paul Simmons, a professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America, looked at a sample of children of over two hundred thousand, including 512 with same-sex parents.

The article, “”Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition,” was published in the February 2015 edition of the British Journal of Education, Society, and Behavioural Science.

The summary of the findings concluded that emotional problems were over twice as prevalent for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.

“Joint biological parents are associated with the lowest rate of child emotional problems by a factor of 4 relative to same-sex parents,” the study concluded.

“Intact opposite-sex marriage ensures children of the persistent presence of their joint biological parents; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite,” the article observed.

The introduction to the study mentioned that in recent years various studies have concluded that children of same-sex parents are not disadvantaged compare to those from opposite-sex parents.

“So consistent and well-publicized has been this finding of ‘no differences’ that it has been presented as a settled conclusion in judicial proceedings and public policy and professional settings,” the article commented.

In more recent time, however, reviews of these studies have revealed deficiencies in them and newer investigations have pointed to negative results for children in same-sex families.

Many of the studies that alleged there were no differences between children from different types of families were based on very small samples or were also selected from non-representative sources and had methodological limitations.

Family instability

One factor that impacts children from same-sex environments is that the relationships between the adults have a higher rate of instability and dissolution compared to opposite-sex families.

“Research on divorce has suggested that family dissolution and re-coupling may affect child emotional health due to increased parental conflict prior to dissolution, as an indicator of genetic traits toward lower mental health common to parent and child, or by introducing increased relational transitions that children encounter as they mature,” the article observed.

“Evidence is robust that the possession of mentally or affectively ill parents is a potent risk factor for child mental or emotional distress and that same-sex attraction is associated with elevated risk for mental disorders or psychological distress,” Simmons added.

The lack of biological ties to the children of same-sex couples and the increased incidence of adoption is another factor that can cause problems for children. Same-sex couples are ten times more likely to adopt than opposite-sex couples the study noted.

“No children were reported living with both biological parents in a same-sex family, while in opposite-sex families almost two-thirds (64%) of children lived with both biological parents,” the article noted.

“Almost all studies that have examined the question, by contrast, have found that child well-being is highest, all other things equal, among children who live with both of their biological parents,” Simmons observed.

“At minimum, it is no longer accurate to claim that no study has found children in same-sex families to be disadvantaged relative to those in opposite-sex families,” the article commented.


One argument used to defend the disadvantages of children in same-sex families is that they are more subject to bullying. Yet Simmons found that: “the interaction term between bullying and same-sex/ parents is not significant. In sum, while the experience of peer rejection, abuse or stigmatization is strongly associated with child emotional problems, it appears that the rate of abuse and susceptibility to emotional distress due to stigmatization does not differentiate sharply between children in same-sex and opposite-sex families.”

“Therefore, the hypothesis that restrictions on parentage or married status explain the higher risk of emotional problems in same-sex families must be rejected,” he noted.

“In every analysis in this paper, the lowest risk of emotional problems was observed among children living with both biological parents who were married,” Simmons observed.

“The importance of common biological parentage for optimum child well-being found in this study raises the difficult prospect that higher child emotional problems may be a persistent feature of same-sex parent families, since they are distinguished from opposite-sex parents on just this capacity,” the conclusion of the study commented.

Moreover, Simmons noted that: “it is hard to conceive how same-sex parents could ever replicate the level of benefit for child well-being that is the case in opposite-sex relationships involving two biological parents.”

“Functionally, opposite-sex marriage is a social practice that, as much as possible, ensures to children the joint care of both biological parents, with the attendant benefits that brings; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite.”Simmons concluded.

In the rush to legalize same-sex marriage it might well be time to pause and consider the effects upon children.

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Fr. John Flynn

Australia Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales. Licence in Philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the Queen of the Apostles.

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