File 502 from the No-Duh Department: Walter Schumm, professor of family studies at Kansas State University, has written an article in the November issue of Journal of Biosocial Science. His thesis: Children of same-sex couples are more likely to be homosexuals than children of opposite-sex couples. Sounds reasonable enough. Nothing much to see here. Let’s move along, shall we?
Hold on a minute. Homosexuality is one of the most explosive issues of the day, and the polarization it causes at times exceeds even that of abortion. It has become the proverbial electric third rail of academic research: Those who dare touch it often end up scorched, their careers in a pile of ashes (see, for example, our New Oxford Notes “Another Victim of Institutional Coddling” and “The Marketplace of Ideas — Command-Economy Style,” Sept.).
Although Dr. Schumm’s article presents fairly dry analytical evidence in support of a commonsense thesis, you just know it couldn’t slide by without triggering charged reactions. And sure enough, before it even appeared in print (it has been available on the Journal’s website since this summer), the article had ignited a firestorm of controversy, and Schumm stood accused by homosexual activists of “ideological bias” and “shoddy research.”
Funny thing, the article’s findings aren’t all that controversial to begin with. According to a report by the Catholic News Agency (Oct. 25), after analyzing data from twenty-six different studies, Schumm found that twenty-seven percent of children reared by lesbian parents identify as homosexual, and nineteen percent of children reared by gay men identify as homosexual — compared to five to ten percent of children of heterosexual couples who identify as homosexual. Hardly the staggering figures one would expect. Schumm doesn’t attempt to pinpoint the origin of homosexual behavior; by his own admission he has merely shed light on the possible “pathways” through which homosexual parents may influence their children’s development.
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