Book review: Same-sex Parenting Research – A Critical Assessment by Walter Schumm

Jan 31, 2019 by

Wilberforce Publications, London 2018 [230 pp].

Reviewed by Dermot O’Callaghan, Church of England Newspaper:

Walter Schumm speaks with conviction: “My assessment is that the research presented in this book has shredded any pretence that the dogma of ‘no difference’ is factually correct.”

The dogma he is criticising is the claim that there is ‘no difference’ between the life experiences of multi-configured modern families and those of the traditional family of father, mother and biological children.

The main structure of the book consists of a series of chapters covering specific factors for which ‘no difference’ is claimed.  These include family stability, sexual abuse of children by parents, sexual orientation of children of same-sex parents, mental health, and consequences of same-sex marriage.

Each chapter follows broadly the same pattern, along the lines of

What has been claimed? / What do we know? /Limitations of our knowledge /Future research and conclusions

The chapter on Family Stability will illustrate the pattern.

What has been claimed?  Most scholars agree that parental stability is good for children and instability (eg from divorce) is bad.  Some argue that two mothers should be more stable for children than heterosexual parents.  Others claim that gay and lesbian relationships are equally stable as heterosexual ones.   One leading researcher testified in court that opposite-sex and same-sex couples were indistinguishable in terms of relationship stability.

A step of questionable logic was taken when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that same-sex marriage would afford “the permanency and stability important to children’s best interests.”

A further issue is the question of domestic violence.  In one court case it was contended that the idea of greater domestic violence in same-sex relationships was, “utterly baseless”.

What do we know? Domestic violence is in fact higher among LGBT persons, which is likely to have an impact on children.

Breakups between parents of adopted children show lesbian mothers to be less stable than heterosexuals or gay men.

Schumm’s review of the literature also suggests that, while heterosexual couples with children have higher stability rates than those without children, for homosexual couples it is the opposite – in other words, for opposite-sex couples, children make a relationship more stable, while for same-sex couples they make it less stable. This will clearly have implications for public policy regarding adoptions by same-sex parents.

A Norwegian population-based study showed breakup rates of 37% for lesbian couples, 30% for gays and 20% for heterosexual couples over 10 years.  It has been suggested that the higher breakup rates for same-sex couples are because their relationships are based on freedom as opposed to the commitment expected in traditional marriage.

After the breakdown of a lesbian relationship, children may be exposed to as many as 6 new partners over 10 years and children of such unstable parental relationships are more likely to become same-sex attracted themselves

Radical societal changes such as same-sex marriage should not be ushered in on the basis of such insubstantial and misleading evidence.  Schumm’s book should be put centre stage as a unique reference work in this controversial field.

See also: New book that supports claim children do best with a mother and father launches in London, from Christian Concern



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