In a recent commentary published in the journal Demography, Allen alleges to have re-analyzed a study by Michael Rosenfeld showing that children of gay parents do as well in school as children of heterosexual parents.
Whereas Rosenfeld — using data from the 2000 Census — took pains to compare “apples with apples” — Allen pulls a Regnerus, lumping children of gay parents into one group and comparing them to children of married heterosexual parents, to say that: “Compared with traditional married households, we find that children being raised by same-sex couples are 35% less likely to make normal progress through school.”
“One challenge with both of these papers is that, according to Census Bureau estimates, 40% of the reported same-sex couples in the 2000 Census were likely different-sex married couples who miscoded the sex of one of the spouses and appeared to be same-sex couples.” (See here for the Census’s own report on the errors). Gates continues: “Given that the bulk of these errors are among different-sex married couples who are substantially more likely to have children than same-sex couples, we now can assume that a substantial majority of the reported same-sex couples with children in the Census 2000 Public Use Microdata samples are likely different-sex couples with children. Official acknowledgement of this problem came after the Rosenfeld paper was published. There is a way to adjust the data to minimize this substantial error and Rosenfeld does report that the adjustment does not substantially change his conclusions. However, he ultimately reports on findings from unadjusted data (remember, the Census Bureau had not confirmed the extent of the problem when Rosenfeld published his paper). This new commentary does not address the issue at all. Without adjusting the data for this now well-documented measurement error, it is very difficult to determine how much this problem might impact the new analysis.” [Bolding added]
Asked via e-mail why his commentary did not address these issues, Allen refused to provide a direct explanation. “My guess is that over the past 2 years you never sent an e-mail like this to Rosenfeld asking why he would publish a paper using the 2000 census,” he said. Allen also said that I “miss the point entirely,” as though it were of no meaningful consequence to his commentary that in the data he used, the majority of students said to have gay parents actually had heterosexual parents.
Buried in his dense commentary, Allen confesses this: “we are unable to reject the hypothesis that there is no difference.”
Despite that fact, Allen told gay-bashing lies about his commentary in a pre-publication podcast with the Ruth Institute’s Jennifer Roback Morse. At the 14:15 mark of the podcast, Morse asks Allen if the “35% increase likelihood” of failing a year in school is “due to just the gayness,” with other variables — such as poverty — coming on top of “just the gayness.”
Allen tells her that is correct.
However, that is not what his commentary says. Allen’s commentary does not at all demonstrate causation between having gay parents and dropping out, so the phrase “due to just the gayness” is plain wrong. Allen’s commentary also does not find that gay parents’ children have a likelihood of higher than 35% of being held back a year, so Morse’s statement that other variables, such as poverty, come on top of “just the gayness” creates a false impression, a false impression which Allen irresponsibly reinforces to the Ruth Institute listenership.
Besides the Ruth Institute podcast, Allen’s commentary was first reported to the public by NOM’s William Duncan in the notorious National Review, with Duncan’s report immediately cross-posted to the NOM blog.
Rosenfeld’s response to Allen — published in the same issue of Demography — contains a point-by-point take-down of this latest NOM-linked anti-gay pseudoscience junk.
New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.
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