April 10, 2015
The American Sociological Association (ASA) filed a friend of the Court brief, or amicus brief, on the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. In this brief, the ASA states, “The clear and consistent social science consensus is that children raised by same sex-parents fare just as well as children raised by different-sex parents.” This consensus, however, is far from clear.
Paul Sullins, a Senior Fellow at the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) and Research Professor at The Catholic University of America, has recently published four research studies on this issue. When taken collectively, these studies pose, at a minimum, a challenge to the ASA’s research and have the potential to discredit the ASA’s amicus brief altogether.
Three of Sullins’ studies measure the outcome of children raised by same sex parents (single, cohabiting or married) found significant deficits among the children. The first study looks at those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while the second study looks at emotional problems in children. Sullins’ third study is a methodological critique of five major studies used by the ASA in its amicus brief. In his study, Sullins concluded that the ASA’s sampling method (opportunity non-random samples) resulted in false positive outcomes while random samples resulted in negative outcomes. This is bad news for the ASA.
The fourth study reanalyzes Wainright and Patterson’s three research publications, and found that almost half of the samples of homosexuals were incorrectly coded and included heterosexual participants, thus upending their work. Within the number of true homosexuals left in the sample his conclusions are the opposite of Wainright and Patterson’s and found that children raised by same sex parents suffer significant deficits.
The ASA amicus brief repeatedly uses biased sample research to reach their conclusion that there are no differences between children raised by homosexual parents and those raised by married heterosexual parents. The research of Paul Sullins’ (and other social scientists) discredits this position, making the final two sentences in ASA’s amicus brief ironic: “Claims by Marriage Opponents about the wellbeing of children are unsupported by any social science study published to date. Their claims neither undermine the social science consensus nor establish a basis for upholding the Marriage Bans.”