New report shows children do best when raised by biological parents
By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
ATLANTA - Young adults raised by their biological parents in a stable intact marriage fared better emotionally, socially and relationally, according to a University of Texas at Austin study.
The New Family Structures Study by Mark Regnerus of the university’s Population Research Center measured outcomes in 40 areas including social and economic well-being, psychological and physical health, sexual identity, sexual behavior and criminal behavior.
Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, cited the study in his report June 14 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spring meeting in Atlanta.
Regnerus surveyed 2,988 young adults from 18 to 39 years old in 2011. Those questioned came from different family or home environments including traditional families, late-divorced, single-parent and adoptive families, and homes with a stepparent or a parent in a same-sex relationship.
The findings were published in the July 2012 issue of Social Science Research.
Regnerus wrote that the study provides data and information that shows there are differences in outcomes between children raised by their married biological mothers and fathers and children raised by a parent who is in a same-sex relationship.
Quoting from Regnerus’ article, Bishop Cordileone said, “The differences in outcomes illustrates ... ‘that children appear most apt to succeed well as adults - on multiple counts and across a variety of domains - when they spent their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.’“
The study is significant to note, the bishop explained, because of the sample size, which is much larger than those of other studies that showed no difference in the outcome of children raised by traditional families or same-sex parents.
In other business, Bishop Cordileone explained that much of the subcommittee’s work stems from its initiative, “Marriage: Unique for a Reason,” www.marriageuniqueforareason.org. Its Spanish-language counterpart is “Por Tu Matrimonio,” www.portumatrimonio.org.
He said a Spanish-language video, “El matrimonio: Hecho para el amor y la vida” (“Marriage: Made for Love and Life”), is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
The 15-minute video will introduce the four themes of the subcommittee’s catechetical message on sexual difference, the good of children, the common good and religious liberty.
Next up is production of two English-language videos focusing on marriage and the common good, and marriage and religious liberty, Bishop Cordileone said.
The bishop also reported on legal efforts to protect marriage.
He recapped the outcome of the June initiative in North Carolina where voters approved a constitutional amendment protecting the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman by 61 percent to 39 percent.
In November voters in as many as four states will consider the same-sex marriage issue where active campaigns by supporters of traditional marriage are under way, Bishop Cordileone added.
In Washington, a referendum seeking to overturn that state’s same-sex marriage law is on the ballot. In Minnesota, voters will decide whether or not to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Activists in Maryland have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed to place the state’s new same-sex marriage law on the ballot. State officials were required to finish their review of petitions by June 18.
In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative on same-sex marriage, three years after a referendum overturned a law passed by the legislature.
“The redefinition of marriage in the law is not and never will be inevitable,” the bishop said.
Bishop Cordileone also said he expected that the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 to be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of recent appeals court decisions.
In May, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston overturned the provision of the 1996 federal law, known as DOMA, that defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco June 5 said it would not revisit a ruling by a three-member panel of the court that said Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
“The subcommittee continues to monitor all these areas and to seek opportunities to educate our people, advocate for the truth of marriage and collaborate with ecumenical and interreligious leaders,” Bishop Cordileone said.
Editor’s Note: Information about the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage’s initiative, “Marriage: Unique for a Reason,” can be found online at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and www.portumatrimonio.org. Findings of the New Family Structures Study, in English and Spanish, can be found online at www.familystructurestudies.com.
Copyright (c) 2012 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops