ACL cites study of 20 rainbow families in argument against marriage

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The Australian Christian Lobby has highlighted a recently published study into the psychological and physiological health of children raised by same sex parents as something to ponder as we head towards a decision on allowing same sex couples to wed in Australia.

The study however has already been widely dismissed as unreliable as it is based on an analysis of just 20 families.

The report authored by Donald Paul Sullins at the Catholic University of Washington took a look at the health and well being of children who had same sex parents.

The sample for the study was taken from a larger longitudinal study that was conducted over several years. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health checked in with 20,745 households and re-visited them over several years between 1996 and 2008.

Drilling down to the look into how many of the households had same sex parents, only a small number of cases were identified, but the majority of these included families where the child may have spent some time living with a biological parent of both sexes.

Leaving only twenty cases where the child was raised only by parents of the same gender. The children of seventeen lesbian couples and three families where both parents were male.

In the conclusion of the study the author says; “the very small size of the sample of children raised by lesbians imposes important limits and prompts great caution regarding the conclusions of this study.”

Sullins also asked people reading the study not to exaggerate or dismiss its findings along ideological grounds.

On its website the Australian Christian Lobby described the study as one that ‘challenges the rainbow lobby’s too frequently heard narrative’.

The ACL says the study shows that the children of same sex couples have greater mental health challenges and are more likely to be obese.

“Children raised by same-sex couples had a higher depression rate in early adulthood. Coupled with a more frequent history of abuse victimisation, parental distance, and obesity, the study casts serious doubt over the frequent claim that children are unaffected by the type of relationship their parents have,” the group claimed in the article posted to their website this week.

The ACL acknowledges that the study has a small sample size and it’s results should be read with caution and balance, but also suggests the results cast doubt over previous studies that have shown children raised by same sex parents are no worse off than their counterparts who have parents of opposite gender.

The author of the new report has previously been heavily criticised for some of the studies he’s published that argue against marriage on the basis of children being raised by same sex couples are worse off.

Donald Paul Sullins is a Catholic Priest and Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America. He’s also a fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, a project of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council. He does however state that this new report received no funding from outside bodies.

The journal that has published the study is based in Egypt and requires authors to pay to have their articles included. Nathaniel Frank from Columbia University’s ‘What We Know‘ project wrote an article for Slate back in July debunking the study.

In an interview with the website Christian News Headlines, Sullins said there was nothing in his research that suggests that homosexuals are less wise or loving parents than heterosexuals. Rather, he believes the problems could stem from children lacking access to one or both of their biological parents.

“As loving and caring as two mothers are, neither of them is a man.” Sullins said.

OIP Staff

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