Thursday, February 12, 2015

Conservatives Praise Severely Flawed Study About Same-Sex Parents

Dishonest "researcher" Donald Sullins
This blog has noted a number of times the hugely flawed gay parenting "study" issued by Mark Regnerus.  Indeed, the study was so flawed that Regnerus' own department trashed both Regnerus and his anti-gay report that was funded by right wing anti-gay groups,  Now, Donald Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and sociology professor at Catholic University of America who is also a fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, a project of Family Research Council, a certified hate group, has authored a similar study that seeming decided the anti-gay findings it wanted to derive and then manipulated data and facts to purportedly support the preordained conclusions. As I have said many, many times, no one lies more often or more deliberately than the "godly folk."   Both Regnerus and now Sullins need to be expelled from the faculties of their respective universities.   Think Progress looks at this latest religious extremist propaganda smear piece.  Here are highlights:
Conservatives are excitedly promoting a new study that supposedly reveals negative outcomes for the children of same-sex parents. Like the infamously flawed Mark Regnerus study rushed out two years ago, the new study seems timed to impact the Supreme Court’s upcoming consideration of marriage equality for same-sex couples. It suffers, however, from some of the same flaws and biases as Regnerus’ study, and doesn’t actually support the argument against marriage equality that it tries to make.

The new study comes from Donald Paul Sullins, a Catholic priest and sociology professor at Catholic University of America. Sullins is a fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, a project of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, and a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, which has funneled millions of dollars into fighting marriage equality over the past decade. In 2010, he co-wrote a study suggesting that female homosexuality was somehow connected to growing up in a broken home, and when he has written about same-sex marriage, he uses scare quotes around the word “marriage.”

Sullins conducted an analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) that had been collected from 1997-2013. He concluded that information about the 512 same-sex parents identified in the study demonstrates that their children have more emotional problems compared to couples raised by their biological different-sex couples.

One of the first major flaws, however, is the fact that Sullins has no information about whether the same-sex couples were actually married. As he notes, “Almost all opposite-sex parents who are raising joint biological offspring are in intact marriages, but very few, if any, same-sex parents were married during the period under observation.”

No conclusions can actually be drawn about the impacts of legalizing same-sex marriage because the study, by its own admission, collected no data about same-sex marriage or its effect on children. 

Regnerus himself provides an overview of the research. In his attempt to defend it, however, he in turn reveals that it also has the very same flaws as his own study.

As a vehicle for opposing same-sex marriage, the study severely lacks integrity, as its political positions don’t jibe with its data.  

Conservatives praise these studies for their large samples, eagerly highlighting their negative results while ignore the distortions required to arrive at them. A recent large study from Australia with a similarly-sized pool of same-sex parents who had actually raised children together as couples found that the children have quite positive outcomes. Indeed, there are ample studies that consistently justify the medical community’s support for same-sex couples to have equal access to marriage and joint adoption for their families. As Regnerus himself pointed out, when researchers don’t conflate same-sex families with unstable homes, the results are positive.
It is also noteworthy that Sullins is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, an organization that has consistently supported bishops and cardinals who covered up for and abetted predator priests and threatened and intimidated abuse victims and their families.   The K of C was founded to protect widows and children but over the years its main focus has been to support the corrupt Church hierarchy and throw children under the bus. 

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