Here is what the NFSS (along with the National Health Information Survey) can and does still tell us. These conclusions hold true, whether you read my original study, its follow-up, Simon Cheng and Brian Powell’s new analyses, or crunch the numbers yourself:
- The parental same-sex relationships reported by adult children are not, on average, long-term ones.
- The longer those parental relationships lasted, the better—on average—were the outcomes for adult children.
- Very few same-sex relationships lasted the entirety of the respondents’ childhood. Critics cried foul. I cried, “Reality!”
- The stability afforded by continuously intact mom-and-dad families pays benefits, on average, well into adulthood. They remain the standard against which all other forms ought to be compared.
...empirical truth emerges over time and in multiple datasets, is suppressed and undermined because it’s politically unhelpful, then becomes owned by insiders, and is, finally, slowly introduced with an “of course that’s true” narrative. It’s happened with the robust association between LGBT households and nonheterosexual development in children (a conclusion that is also obvious in the NFSS). I even remember the National Council on Family Relations conference room in which attendees debated each other about just how free they were to admit the association. They left the room committed to owning it.
The same has happened with the association between gay relationships and outside sexual partners—so much so that even the New York Times labeled the story “Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret.” Once denied, then admitted, then—slowly—it’s become conventional wisdom. Now we say “of course.” The same is happening with the malleability of sexual orientation, first among women, and next—in the near future—among men.
Mark Regnerus is associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, research associate at its Population Research Center, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.
He's also very bright and comes across as open, honest, direct, and not puffed up with himself.