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Not All Marriages Are Created Equal

2:06 PM, Oct 9, 2013 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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So what did Allen find? Three big effects:

* children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others;

* children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others;

* the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes

How much worse off were children of same-sex parents? Quite a bit. Here’s Regnerus again:

[T]he children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates. . . .

Employing regression models and series of control variables, Allen concludes that the substandard performance cannot be attributed to lower school attendance or the more modest education of gay or lesbian parents. Indeed, same-sex parents were characterized by higher levels of education, and their children were more likely to be enrolled in school than even those of married, opposite-sex couples. And yet their children are notably more likely to lag in finishing their own schooling.

The same is true of the young-adult children of common law parents, as well as single mothers and single fathers, highlighting how little—when you lean on large, high-quality samples—the data have actually changed over the past few decades. The intact, married mother-and-father household remains the gold standard for children’s progress through school.

It will be interesting to see if anyone cares about Allen’s findings. In America, I suspect they won’t. For better or worse, the fight over same-sex marriage in the states has turned on questions of fairness, federalism, natural law, and religious freedom. If our elites do bother to engage with Allen’s research, it will probably be only to tag him as History’s Greatest Monster for a day or so.

But I’m particularly interested in what they might do with this data in France. In France, same-sex marriage has been principally opposed by arguments in favor of the rights of children. Douglas Allen’s inconvenient study should give a great deal of support to the opposition movement.

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