The “no differences” paradigm

The expression no differences has been used in the last 20 years in a wide variety of academic studies in the social sciences to indicate that the children of parents of the same sex do not demonstrate notable disadvantages when compared to children who come from other kinds of families.

Nevertheless, empirical evidence has been appearing which shows the inconsistency of this paradigm. Children raised in a non-heterosexual environment can have more problems, like those who are brought up in a single-parent household, that is where one of the partners is missing. Lack of accuracy in the majority of the existent “egalitarian” studies of the subject and their biases have also been pointed out. This is the idea of the collection of studies compiled in No Differences?How Children in Same-Sex Households Fare (Witherspoon Institute 2014), in which the conclusion is drawn that the majority of the studies are deficient, inconclusive or done on a small scale. These methodological shortcomings, hastily forgiven by an academic community too concerned with being in style, creates problems as it ignores and obscures reality.


Is the performance of children raised in same-sex households different?

Loren Marks (Louisiana State Universtity) maintains that the lack of reliability of the studies rests, in part, in that the majority is based on small samples and on convenience. In spite of this, he says, this type of results has been used by associations like the American Psychological Association to validate aspirations that are more ideological than scientific.

Mark Regnerus (sociologist from the University of Texas) also presents new and extensive scientific evidence which suggests that differences exist in the performance of children raised in different kinds of homes. In the project New Family Structures Study (NESS), in which Regnerus was the main researcher, a large (2,988) random sample of American young adults (18-39 years old) coming from different family models was interviewed. The results obtained prove the thesis of the existence of numerous and consistent differences and agree with the idea that children achieve better results in distinct areas when they are raised in homes formed by stable heterosexual unions. It also concludes with a reminder of the social costs of family breakups.

A look at the educative results

The studies of Allen, Pakaluk and Price concentrate on progress in school and on the idea that an affective upbringing plays an important role in school performance. Children raised in a home where both parents are of the same sex are less prone to make normal progress in school compared with children from married heterosexual families. Not only that, but there are also statistically significant variations in the results of the child between families formed by unions of the same sex according to whether they are formed by two men or two women.

Allen, in an article about a secondary school, affirms that the studies are politicized and bases himself in the Canadian Census of 2006 to have a broad and random sample of almost two million children (17-22 years old) according to six different types of families. Measuring with two indexes the performance of the child, school attendance and the possibilities of graduation, he found that although couples of the same sex are likely to send their children to secondary school like the parents of different sexes, their children have a significantly lower probability of graduating.

Validity of the studies

The authors agree in proposing the necessity of facing the methodological shortcomings of the majority of existent studies on the subject, almost all of which are based on small samples that are not representative, not probabilistic and of convenience in which data is collected only from those who voluntarily offer themselves to participate in the studies. This information can introduce biases and it is therefore necessary to use methodological designs that are more rigorous Instead, the studies above mentioned employ large combinations of national data chosen at random, which give validity and exactitude to their studies. Special mention should be given to the NFSS, in which the design team of the survey was multidisciplinary in diverse areas of investigation and the process of collection of data was adequate and representative.  

In consequence, these studies show that it is necessary that the academic community should study the true consequences involved in the upbringing of children in homes formed by persons of the same sex, in the face of those voices which insist on saying the contrary basing themselves in samples of convenience and the absence of relevant data. This could prove an interesting challenge and open new paths of investigation in the interesting field of social organization and sociology of the family.



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