The Catholic Thing
Exposing the Zach Walls Myth Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 15 June 2012

The pampered poodles of war have been unleashed upon a social scientist who dared to mine the social science data to determine something we used to know as easily as falling out of bed: Children raised in irregular households, particularly those in sexually perverse households, do not do as well in life as children raised as nature intended.

Make no mistake, poodles can be vicious. They can tear flesh from bone. They can kill.

It has become a commonplace assertion in the recent years of the homosexual debate that children raised in homosexual households do just as well as children raised by married mothers and fathers. In fact, some have claimed that children raised by lesbians do better. This flies in the face of the wisdom of Woody Allen who said in the movie Manhattan, “Wow, raised by two mothers . . . most of us barely survive one.”

A few dozen studies purport to show that children raised by gay men or lesbians do just fine. And these studies are trotted out in op-eds, in legislative testimony, and by television pundits. And homosexual advocates never, ever question their credibility. Most of them are even “peer reviewed,” as if bad studies are made better by the approval of similarly ideologically driven peers.

The problem with most of the studies quoted these days is that they cannot be considered authoritative, for a whole host of reasons. The sample sizes are too small to project across an entire population. Some of these studies looked at only a handful of same-sex “families.” The studies tend only to look at a snapshot in time, that is, they do not look at the children under study across years. The sample of respondents under study is self-selected. For a study to be accurately projectable (i.e., really scientific), the pool of respondents must be randomly selected.

So, none of the studies or studies of studies can accurately be used to determine if the children of gay men or lesbians are “just fine” or even better than children raised naturally. This has not stopped homosexual advocates from quoting them endlessly in the debate over homosexual marriage.

Have any of these statistical doubts ever been raised by those advocating for such arrangements? This is an interesting question precisely because the new study questioning earlier assertions has been picked apart by homosexual advocates like a turkey at Thanksgiving. And all in a matter of the few days since it was released this past Monday.

The new study is quite remarkable because Dr. Mark Regnerus has managed to look at existing data in a new, hugely expensive way. This poor University of Texas social scientist was able to spend almost a million dollars, most of it from the Witherspoon Institute, in combing the data from Knowledge Networks national probability survey.

Prof. Mark Regnerus

As gay advocate Jim Burroway writes:

[T]here is one significant strength to this study, which makes it stand out. Unlike prior studies, the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is based on a national probability sampled population. This is the gold standard for all social science studies, and it’s extremely rare for a study to achieve that mark. As far as I am aware, all of the studies to date of gay and lesbian parenting use non-representative convenience samples. National probability samples, unlike convenience samples, are important because they alone can be generalized to the broader populations, to the extent that key characteristics in the design of the probability sample (demographics, etc.) match those of the general population. Convenience samples can’t do that.

Indeed, Regnerus’ study examined nearly 3,000 young adults from eight different family structures and evaluates them within forty social and emotional categories and concludes that children raised even part time in sexually irregular households fared poorly in education, mental and physical health, drug experimentation, criminal activity, and overall happiness.

Surprisingly, the greatest negative outcomes were found, pace Woody Allen, among children of lesbian mothers. Regnerus’ study showed negative outcomes for these adult children in 25 of 40 categories including far higher rates of sexual assault (23 percent of children with lesbian mothers were touched sexually by a parent or adult, compared to 2 percent raised by married parents), poorer physical health, increased depression, increased marijuana use and higher unemployment (69 percent of children from lesbian households were on welfare, compared to 17 percent from married parents).

The dogs were loosed upon the study within hours of its release. Some tootsie at the New Republic actually published a piece calling on the widely published Regnerus to be banned, yes banned, from public discourse. 

Will Saletan wrote in that the study was profoundly flawed in the categorization of the respondents. Since most of them came from broken homes, the study in fact demonstrated that all the children of homosexual couples need is long lasting, intact gay marriage to do well.

John Corvino of the New Republic suggested the definition of “gay” in the new study was so broad as to include prison inmates, heterosexual female prostitutes who sometimes service women, and sad-sack Evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, who occasionally had drugged-out sex with male prostitutes. But as Maggie Gallagher points out in National Review, none of these examples would qualify for inclusion in the study.

Have any of these critics ever gone after any of the methodologically flawed studies that purport to show that homosexual parenting is just fine or even better than natural parenting? Not that I am aware of.

What can be counted upon is that this new study, the most methodologically sound of its kind to date, will be attacked by the pelvic Left and its fellow travelers in the mainstream media. Gallagher calls it the Zach Walls Effect. He’s the Eagle Scout raised by lesbians who is being presented as the norm by Letterman, Leno, and DeGeneres. Zach Walls may be real, but the new study shows that presenting him as the norm is a myth.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (13)Add Comment
written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, June 15, 2012
The 2006 Pécresse Report on the Family, commissioned by the French National Assembly, was highly critical of the then existing studies. They noted, “Few countries allow adoption of a child by two persons of the same sex, and legislation allowing this type of adoption is very recent and has, in fact, led to very few adoptions. The lack of objectivity in this area is blatant. [Le manque de recul dans ce domaine est flagrant] The studies in question deal, rather, with children born of a heterosexual relationship and raised by a biological parent and his or her companion – a situation that is absolutely not comparable with the establishment of a dual same-sex filiation for a child from outside the couple.”

It is worth noting that, in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France, no one suggested that the conclusions of this commission of French parliamentarians were coloured by religious views. The suggestion would have been laughable.
written by Jon S., June 15, 2012
So the Left has been offering as the norm the representative (Zach Walls) of an organization (Scouts) it hates and strives to undermine. And apparently the Left has been successful with too many people who cannot recognize a Trojan Horse when they see one. We have a parallel in the Church. Dissident priests and nuns long ago learned they would be more successful if they would package their dissident in a form acceptable to and disarming of most bishops and laity, who end up tolerating or buying into the dissent because of the way the dissent was packaged. The dissenting priest is more effective when he wears his Roman collar. And see how pious dissenting women religious are acting now that the LCWR and Margaret Farley have been exposed. Then the problem is that the dissenters have control of the great majority of Catholic institutions so that anyone who dares to play the role of Cassandra also suffers her fate.
written by Tony Esolen, June 15, 2012
The inconsistencies on the sexual left are remarkable. If one were to say, "We are only just beginning to learn how a departure from an old 'peasant' or 'hunter' diet affects the body's health," that would not be controversial at all. People would assume that what the human body had developed on, over thousands and thousands of years, was important in ways that we can hardly enumerate now.

That's true of something fairly specific and measurable. It must be true on an entirely higher plane for such an elemental thing as having a father and a mother -- and I doubt that sociological studies will ever have tools subtle enough to capture the harm caused when children are deprived of one of their parents ...
written by Ben Finiti, June 15, 2012
Good article, but you overlooked the worst misuse of such "studies": that is, by radical judges determined to remake society according to "science".

When the Iowa Supreme Court decided that marriage is not an institution between man and woman and that society has no interest in the traditional family, it cited

"an abundance of evidence and research, confirmed by our independent research, supporting the proposition that the interests of children are served equally by same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. On the other hand, we acknowledge the existence of reasoned opinions that dual-gender parenting is the optimal environment for children. These opinions, while thoughtful and sincere, were largely unsupported by reliable scientific studies. The research appears to strongly support the conclusion that same-sex couples foster the same wholesome environment as opposite-sex couples and suggests that the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else.” (April 3, 2009, p.54).
written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., June 15, 2012
Thank you, Jon S., for having the courgae to identify the deafening silence concerning this issue on the part of our Church leaders with the Left. After all, it was Marx who accused the divinely created instituion of the family of being the root of all evil. The present state of affairs truly is the triumph of the parrael, counterfeit church. Yes, the smoke of Satan is in the Sanctuary. The promoters of the homosexual agenda have even adopted the Soviet practice of labeling dissenters from their diabolical scheme as mentally ill, calling us "homophobes" who must be isloatd and made to get our minds right. Thus far the disease; now to the cure: pray that more have the courage of Jon S. to name the demon, and get everyone else to say the Rosary daily.
written by Manfred, June 15, 2012
What has always fascinated me about the "dialogue" process is that when the day ends, the Catholic is sitting on the curb having lost his position on: first, divorce, then contraception, then abortion and now sodomy. The Church must return to the position that She alone speaks the Truth. If you are not on this ship,YOU ARE LOST-HELL-ETERNAL SUFFERING. We have NOTHING in common with American culture. It must be shunned. Example: in our FSSP chapel, a priest announced in a sermon that male congregants were confessing watching porn on their computers. The priest stated that anyone who has confessed this even once must immediately place a block/screen on his computer. If this is not done, then the person should not return to Confession as his resolution to "sin no more" is not sincere. As the priest explained that if this seemed harsh, what do we think Christ's response would be when each one is judged! One mortal sin, unrepented, is eternal damnation in Hell. If we do not believe this, then we are not Catholic. Now, we either learn this when we can correct our lives, or we learn this when there is no hope. It is up to us. Public sodomy would never have been accepted when the Jesuits were preaching Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell!
written by tom, June 15, 2012
Would the author kindly tell us more about the Witherspoon Institute. I've never heard of it. How is it funded? Who comprises the board of directors?
written by Sue, June 15, 2012
Why is it not painfully obvious that the real marriage bigots are the ones that would discriminate against one sex or the other in marriage and deny the child a mother or a father? This is not the sort of thing one needs sociological studies for, it should be seen as an inalienable right to have the mother and father who begat you or failing that, an adoptive married couple who can stand in for them - one man, one woman, committed for life.

We don't call for sociological studies to show the ill-effects a Negro experiences being denied a lunch counter seat. Giving a child two males or two females for parents is like giving them two left mittens or two right mittens. Simple justice calls for an "equal opportunity" marriage (m/f) EOE.
written by Brad Miner, June 16, 2012
@tom: I'll step in for the author . . . The Witherspoon Institute is located at Princeton University and is run by Prof. Robert George. For more information, Google it.
written by Manfred, June 16, 2012
Post Script: Friends have told me that large portions of the testimony of Penn State's Jerry Sandusky's trial have been broadcast on news radio and T.V. They complained it was too graphic. I think this testimony is beneficial because it raises this question: Where were the FATHERS who were assigned by GOD to protect and defend these boys and young men? Divorced? Never present due to births out of wedlock? Jerry Sandusky is not alone in this trial. Penn State,Joe Paterno and the entire American culture are on trial as well.
written by Graham, June 17, 2012
The Establishment response -- and they now are the Establishment -- was predictable. But distinction between fear and self righteous in that response is no longer possible. The infamous creators of SOUTH PARK say there is no line they won't cross, but of course there is. Several in fact. My personal observations would bolster the report's conclusions. Thankfully we have the "mere anecdote" defense.

But what are children for but to experiment with? Can't folks do the New Math? And the New Grammar and the New History and the New Science and the New Morality and the New Parenting and the New Theology... As for Jerry Sandusky, will his conduct be indicted in 2062? Think fifty years ago vs today. The Left and the Democratic Party are the Libertarians of Sex.
written by Zach Walls, July 12, 2012
This is barbaric. "Sexually perverse?" Quit being a caveman. This isn't 1950. "Homosexual debate?" You must be joking. There is no debate. It's over. We've progressed as a culture, it's your own fault if you're still living in the dark age. Please don't procreate until you've caught up with the rest of society; we don't need any more hate in the world.
written by Frank, October 17, 2012
Agree or disagree let's at least get his name right. His name is Zach Wahls. Odd that even Zach himself missed this in an earlier comment on this article.

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