Media Promote Gay-Funded Study of Lesbian Parents

Several media outlets including CNN, Time magazine, Reuters and US News and World Report, have promoted the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which claims children raised by lesbian parents are “psychologically well-adjusted” and have “fewer behavioral problems” than children raised by heterosexual parents.

Of those four outlets, however, only Reuters reported that the author of the study, Dr. Nanette Gartrell, is herself a lesbian. According to the New York Times Gartrell wed her partner, Dee Mosbacher, in 2005.

Seven out of nine groups that provided funding for the study are gay advocacy groups, including the Gill Foundation and the Gay Lesbian Medical Association. Reuters, Time and U.S. News and World Report did not include the sources of funding for the study.

The study, published June 7, 2010 in the journal Pediatrics, followed the children of lesbian couples since 1986. It concluded that, “The NLLFS adolescents are well-adjusted, demonstrating more competencies and fewer behavioral problems than their peers in the normative American population.” The study found that teens with lesbian parents rated significantly lower when it came to social problems, rule-breaking and aggressive behavior than teens raised in more traditional families.”

"They are very involved in their children's lives," Gartrell told Time of lesbian parents. "And that is a great recipe for healthy outcomes for children. Being present, having good communication, being there in their schools, finding out what is going on in their schools and various aspects of the children's lives is very, very important,” Gartrell told Time.

“This is a straightforward statistical analysis,” Gartrell told CNN contributor Madison Park.

Media organizations leapt at the story, but left out key information that exposed potential conflict-of-interest. With a lesbian as the author and chief researcher of the study and a donor base comprised of supporters of the homosexual community, the aims of the study and the results are questionable.

A study founded by a lesbian and funded by gay rights organizations is hardly a "straightforward statistical analysis."

CNN, which didn't clarify Gartrell's sexual orientation, did interview Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright. “This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome—to attempt to sway people that children are not detrimentally affected in a homosexual household,” Wright said.

The problem with many studies regarding children of gay parents, according to the late Steven Nock in a 2004 National Public Radio interview, is that they rely on “self-recruited” subjects. The question, Nock said, is “whether or not people who volunteer to participate in studies resemble the sort who do not.”

Gartrell's study reportedly recruited its 78 subject couples “through announcements in bookstores, lesbian events and newspapers” in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, according to CNN.

The media have attempted to normalize alternative parenting structures in the past. When the “pregnant man” story broke in 2008, journalists including Barbara Walters rushed to portray the “man,” a biological woman living as “Thomas Beatie,” as ordinary.

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