The Science on Same-Sex Marriage

A round up of studies on same-sex marriage, divorce, children, and monogamy.

(Page 2 of 2)

 A 2010 study in the periodical Demography by Stanford University sociologist Michael Rosenfeld parsed Census data to compare the school progress of children reared in same-sex, heterosexual, and single parent families. He reported that “children raised by same-sex couples have no fundamental deficits in making normal progress through school.”

Adoption Outcomes

A 2012 study by UCLA researchers involving 82 families (60 heterosexual, 15 gay, and 7 lesbian) who adopted high-risk children from foster care found that on average, children in both same-sex and different-sex households “showed significant gains of approximately 10 IQ points in their cognitive development and maintained stable levels of behavior problems that were not clinically significant.”

The researchers noted that these findings were especially remarkable because the children adopted by same-sex couples were generally higher risk and often of a different ethnicity than those adopted by heterosexual couples. The bottom line is that research on the effects of being reared by same-sex parents on children is certainly not perfect, but the AAP seems right when it concluded that despite research “imperfections, it is likely that the extensive research efforts that have been carried out would have documented serious and significant damages if they existed.”

Monogamy

Research suggests one salient difference between same-sex, especially gay male couples, and different-sex couples relates to the acceptability of sex with people outside of the relationship. A 2010 study by University of Toronto sociologist Adam Isaiah Green in the Canadian Journal of Sociology involving 30 same-sex married couples around Toronto found that two-thirds of same-sex spouses (40 percent female, 60 percent male) did not believe marriage needed always to be monogamous. In fact, nearly half of male same-sex spouses (47 percent) had an explicit agreement that allowed for non-monogamy. In comparison, the General Social Survey reported in 2010 that 19 percent of men and 14 percent of women they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages.

My reading of the scientific literature as it currently stands is that the legalization of same sex marriage does not have major effects on marriage trends in the wider society. As ever greater numbers of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans have exited the closet, more straight Americans have come to know and accept their homosexual family members, friends, and colleagues. It is this personal data, not the dueling studies published in obscure social science journals, that have now persuaded a majority of Americans in recent polls to support same sex marriage.

A slightly different version of this article originally appeared at the Wall Street Journal's Ideas Market.

Disclosure: My wife and I have supported Equality Virginia for a number of years.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Way to take all the romance out of marriage, Bailey.

  • Adam.||

    From my perspective I am intellectually interested in the effects of same sex parents on children, I could imagine there might be some measurable differences but I can also imagine that for foster children any caring parents would be better than being a ward of the state. From the monogamy\divorce perspective, I really don't see it as any of the public's business. But then again that's why I frequent this site.

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  • Tony||

    I can barely stand to be in the same room as a significantly less intelligent adult, let alone a child. Of course I was against cats until my boyfriend brought one home. Do children scratch furniture? I didn't have to train my cats to use their litter boxes, will I have to train a child to use his?

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    what made you change your mind on the cat?

  • Tony||

    She was so bitchy and diva-esque you couldn't help but love her.

  • ||

    I didn't have to train my cats to use their litter boxes, will I have to train a child to use his?

    You don't have to...but I think wearing a diaper their entire life will outlast any "problems" from having gay parents.

  • ||

    Tony:

    I can barely stand to be in the same room as a significantly less intelligent adult, let alone a child...I didn't have to train my cats to use their litter boxes, will I have to train a child to use his?

    I assume, then, that if you met yourself as a child, you wouldn't be able to stand yourself. And, yes, you don't remember, but you pooped and wet yourself constantly.

  • ||

    I can barely stand to be in the same room as a significantly less intelligent adult

    That must severely limit your social life.

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    PM| 4.6.13 @ 4:48AM |#

    I can barely stand to be in the same room as a significantly less intelligent adult

    That must severely limit your social life.


    are you saying he's really smart?

  • SumpTump||

    I like the direction that is going ion. WOw.

    www.GoPrivacy.tk

  • ZackTheHypochondriac||

    R. Bailey, just out of curiosity have you heard of David Pearce? What do you think of him and/or the use of genetic engineering and biotechnology to end all suffering?

  • cavalier973||

    *A 2004 study of registered partnerships in Sweden reported that gay male couples were 50 percent more likely to divorce than were heterosexual couples. Lesbian couples were nearly three times more likely to divorce than were heterosexual couples.*

    This is very interesting. My inferences concerning the same-sex lifestyle is that the lesbians tend to be more relationship-oriented, while the homosexuals tend to be more focused on sexual intercourse. Hence, I would have thought male couples would be more likely to split up than female couples.

  • ||

    Gross generalization, but watching my hetero friends' relationships, women were the ones pushing to take the relationshis "to the next level" so on aggregate perhaps lesbian relationships ratchet up to marriage more quickly and with less of a trial period.

    Again, that's totally conjecture, and I have have straight friends who got married obscenely quickly, gay friends who are serial monogamists (monogandrists?) and lesbian friends who are absolute players, but with large enough numbers, those small tendencies might quickly add up.

  • Warren Norred||

    It seems to me that the practice of comparing all LGBT married people to all hetero people is flawed, IF the goal is to determine the impact of "LGBTness" to marriage. It seems that practicing homosexuals tend to be more sophisticated and far more educated than the norm.

    To elaborate, I'd assert that homosexuality is a "first-world problem", so to speak, as it doesn't show up much in lands where people are less comfortable and a strong safety net for old people has eroded the connection between generations.

    So if we are going to try to compare stats on marriage for heteros v. all non-heteros, it seems that we'd want to start to control for the other demographic factors that have a significant impact. The probable easy place to start is to filter for college degrees. One could even just start by filtering for graduate degrees, and get a very tight control group fairly easily.

  • triclops||

    Since we know being poor and dark lead to poorer outcomes for the kids,and have poorer marriage outcomes, shouldn't we disallow them from getting married too?

  • susandaved||

    until I looked at the paycheck ov $6863, I did not believe ...that...my brother truly making money in their spare time from there pretty old laptop.. there best friend has done this for only eleven months and by now paid the loans on their mini mansion and bought themselves a Lotus Carlton. this is where I went and go to home tab for more detail .. http://www.big76.com

  • SIV||

    National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study

    Turkey basters are better role models than men.

  • ||

    While this can be debated from a multitude of angles, I choose to look at it from a separation of church and state angle: IF marriage is is God's realm, why is the church groveling before Caesar to define marriage? Why not instead get Caesar out of it and have everyone form corporations. Incorporate for Caesar and Marry for God. Yeah places like VA will have to wake up to the fact that SCOTUS shot down anti-sodomy laws in 2003 under Lawrence v. Texas, but separating the 2 ensures that Caesar can't tell the church who can marry and the church can't tell Caesar who can join/have sex/mate/?. Well, unless you are trying to control people and restrict freedoms.

    Unfortunately, the next argument will be that we are destroying traditional marriage in favor of getting tax write-offs on the family vehicle.

  • DarrenM||

    Marriage is not "God's realm". This is the mistake (possibly willful) that many appear to make. In general, marriage has existed in every location and culture regardless of local beliefs because the fundamental relationship between man and woman are pretty much the same all over.

  • DarrenM||

    In fact, nearly half of male same-sex spouses (47 percent) had an explicit agreement that allowed for non-monogamy. In comparison, the General Social Survey reported in 2010 that 19 percent of men and 14 percent of women they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages.

    What does one have to do with the other? In the first case, the parties were perfectly happy with the partner having extra-relationship affairs with no indication of actually how often this occurred. And this was only with "explicit agreement". How many had no need of an "explicit" agreement? In the second case, it's just the opposite. There is no indication men or women were accepting of the affairs or not, only that they had them, which is nothing new.

  • mayajan67||

    uptil I saw the draft ov $7576, I have faith that...my... brother woz like really making money part-time on their apple laptop.. there great aunt haz done this 4 only eleven months and by now cleard the dept on their cottage and bourt a gorgeous BMW. we looked here,
    HTTP://BIG76.COM

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