A mobile billboard declaring “Fact: Children do best with married birth parents” will travel through London today and tomorrow ahead of the final House of Lords debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Anti-equal marriage group GayMarriageNoThanks launched the billboard in response to arguments heard in the House of Lords from Baroness Stowell and Professor Lord Winston.
Both cited research which suggests children of same-sex couples can “do better” than those of opposite-sex couples.
In response, the group have created the mobile billboard, which asks “But what about Sophie, Mr Cameron?” and promotes the GayMarriageNoThanks website, where research purporting to show harmful effects of same-sex parenting can be read.
The group’s chair, Alan Craig, said: “Children are at the heart of marriage yet the debate has been about only the interests of adults.”
The group also delivered a letter to Mr Cameron this afternoon, the full text of which is below.
The letter cites a study by Professor Mark Regnerus, which is widely used by same-sex marriage opponents as evidence that children raised by same-sex parents are harmed.
Professor Regnerus’ study has been criticised for failing to receive “ethical and appropriate professional peer review”, and for showing bias by focussing on children whose gay or bisexual parents had separated.
The letter in full:-
Dear Mr Cameron,
In recent years, several studies have shown that children brought up by same-sex parents do at least as well as those with heterosexual parents, and possibly even better! These studies were referred to by Baroness Stowell in the Report stage of the House of Lords debate of the Same Sex (Couples) Bill. She said, “Research shows that they do better than children of opposite-sex couples.” Recent evidence, however, has turned this conclusion upside down.
I am writing on behalf of the Working Party on the Impact of SSM [Same-Sex Marriage], Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group to put a copy of this study into your hands. This research is in a different league from all previous studies for three distinct reasons. Firstly, with nearly 3000 respondents, it is very much larger than others (cf. Prof Golombok’s recent study of just 130 families). Secondly, it has been conducted on a randomly selected population. Thirdly, instead of interviewing the parents, it lets the children speak for themselves.
Previous studies have been too small to identify significant differences. By using non-random populations, they have failed to recognise biases in the groups they studied (due to education levels, economic circumstances, gay ideology etc). Furthermore, they have invariably enquired about the children only through the statements of their parents.
Prof Mark Regnerus, however, has surveyed young adults themselves, aged 18-39yrs, about their upbringing and current lives. He examined eight different types of family arrangement and measured 40 different social, emotional and relational outcome variables.
This important study clearly reveals that the children who flourish best (measured in 25 categories such as education, employment status, depression, crime, welfare benefits and drug use) are those who have spent their entire childhood with their biological mother and father. All the other family arrangements did significantly less well.
Published in July 2012, these findings met a very hostile reception. Sampling issues, publication process, funding agencies and data collection were all called into question. As a result, the University of Texas withdrew the paper for thorough examination. An audit review panel was then satisfied that the accusations were without merit and they recommended publication. The author’s detailed response to the criticisms was subsequently published.
I enclose a copy of the original paper in full. You may like to see the Abstract (p.752), the Introduction which explains the great care that was taken in setting up this unique study, the tables 2-4 (p.761) which show key findings at a glance using bold type to highlight statistically significant differences, and the Conclusion (p.766) for the main results. I hope you will brief Baroness Stowell about the significance of this research, as in her ignorance of it she has seriously misled the House of Lords.
Dr. Peter May MRCGP
Gay Marriage No Thanks