Lesbian Mothers’ Children

I have no objection at all to the collection of snowball-sample data, only to its popular use as a source of information about all children of lesbian parents. If the NLLFS were simply used to understand the world of lesbian parents and their children among the elites in those three cities, then that would be just fine. But it’s not. In this case, the practical result and conventional use of its findings — and that is key — is to generalize to the population of lesbian parents across America. While researchers themselves commonly note this limitation, it is entirely lost in the translation and transmission of findings by the media to the public.

So for nearly 20 years the scholarly community has been treated to studies of this unique small cluster of kids, and the general public has been left with the impression that they represent the whole population of children of American lesbian mothers. They do not. The NLLFS’s sample doesn’t even share the population characteristics of same-sex-couple households that its sponsor — the Williams Institute of UCLA — describes in its own publication. In social reality — the one described in the U.S. Census — such households are less well-off economically, less white, and with less-educated parents than the households in the NLLFS. Everything about the NLLFS suggests a sample of highly privileged children being raised by parents with significant resources living in communities that offer notable social support.

via Lesbian Mothers’ Children – Mark Regnerus – National Review Online.

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