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Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
26 Points

Gay Parenting

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2015 Category: Sports
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,188 times Debate No: 68005
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (84)
Votes (7)




My last few attempts to debate this subject were taken on by non-serious debaters, so I'd like to try this again with a minimum 15 debate requirement. If you would like to debate this and do not meet the requirement, please let me know.

Many arguments against the legality of gay marriage include the sanctity of the family. According to social conservatives, gay people are deranged, perverted or otherwise unfit to provide a safe, functional and/or loving family environment in which kids can be raised successfully. At the very least, they argue that a proper home is strictly defined by having both a mother and a father. As such, despite the fact that lesbians can still get pregnant and gay couples can adopt, many people are opposed to same-sex headed families and think they should be discouraged if not outright illegal.

In this debate, I will be arguing that gay and lesbian couples do on balance raise children just as well as straight couples. For all intents and purposes, just as well will essentially be defined as according to the same standards of wellness and success under similar circumstances. For example, if Con argues that kids with straight parents are likely to attend college, Pro will have the burden of proving kids with gay parents are also likely to attend college (or provide an otherwise equal measure of success). This is not meant to turn into a debate about semantics or trivialities, but discuss legitimate concerns regarding same-sex parenting.

My opponent is free to make opening notes in R1, as I intend to start the debate and make my affirmative case in R2. However if he or she would like to post first, they may do so.Thanks and good luck.


I thank Danielle for starting this debate. We debated once when I was a noob ( about 3 years ago where I was absolutely slaughtered. Hopefully she will see that I have improved! ;)

1. Children do best when raised by a mother and a father

This is not to say that homosexuals cannot raise a child well, nor that it can’t be the ‘best option’ when the alternative is the foster care system. However, I am arguing that *on balance* children do best when raised in dual-gender households.

According to the American College of Pediatricians, a vast preponderance of evidence suggests children fare the best when raised by “their two biological parents”. They argue, at least in part, that biological relationships are important for child bonding. Adoption, single parenting, and other issues which affect the ‘natural’ family pose different challenges for the child. Children in stepfamilies often have issues bonding with their non-natural parent. These factors can lead to issues in child development. Same-sex parenting leads to similar issues [1].

Indeed, there are innate differences between mothers and fathers. These differences go beyond anatomical distinctions. Both mothers and fathers make differing contributions. It is undisputed that mothers are important for child development, all of the research suggests this. Recent research has proven the importance of the father. Children without fathers tend to have higher rates of delinquency, aggression, and violence. Mothers generally are more soothing by nature, and the father more demanding. The burgeoning evidence suggests, “biological ties and dual gender parenting are protective for children” [2].

To paraphrase a quote sociologist David Popenoe, mommies do not make good daddies and daddies to not make good mommies. The notion that gender is irrelevant to child rearing should be removed from our mind. The best evidence suggests gender does matter [3].

2. Homosexual lifestyles may pose a risk to children

Again, this is not to say that homosexuals always engage in risky behavior. Many homosexuals are upstanding individuals and are extremely productive human beings. However, on balance, they tend to engage in more deleterious behavior than the average heterosexual.

Research published in the Journal of Social Service Research found domestic violence in lesbian households was at least as common as it was in heterosexual households, and may actually be higher than abuse rates in heterosexual households [4]. A newer study, although claiming overall abuse rates were similar, argues that it is possible homosexual abuse rates may be underreported due to the fact that they may not consider verbal abuse as abuse, and men tend to be ‘scared’ to report rape. The authors note, “domestic abuse may not be recognized as such by large numbers of those in same sex relationships” [5]. This means domestic abuse rates are probably higher in homosexual households.

A literature review by sociologist Walter Schumm has concluded that lesbian relationships on average tend to dissolve more often than heterosexual relationships [6]. Research on gay men has found that gay men tend to be promiscuous, even though AIDS is an issue. Although AIDS awareness has increased—meaning gay men who are diagnosed tend to become less promiscuous—AIDS/HIV negative gay men have remained very promiscuous. 37.7% of HIV negative gay men have had sex with 10 or more partners, and the rate has been increasing since 1980 [7]. This may, in part, explain why homosexual unions tend to be short-lived (on average).

A large study using a representative sample in the Netherlands has affirmed the idea that homosexuals tend to have higher levels of psychiatric disorders. The study was also able to control for demographic factors. Overall, homosexual men had higher rates of mood-disorders, substance-abuse disorders, and the amount of homosexual women diagnosed with 1 psychological disorder outnumbered that of heterosexual women, and the amount of homosexual persons with 2 or more diagnoses was also much higher [8].

Stable dual gender households offer the *best* environment for children. Not only to same-sex households deprive children of this dual gender parenting environment, but also are generally less stable.

3. Research on same-sex parenting

This is the most important part of this debate. My first two contentions merely give theoretical reasons as to why same-sex parenting would be less effective, on balance, than heterosexual parenting. It explains *why* homosexuals will generally not produce children as well-adjusted as heterosexuals. I argue a discrepancy does exist. If a discrepancy does not exist at all, homosexuals may have some unknown benefit which outweighs those negatives. Therefore, establishing whether or not children fare worse-off in homosexual households at all is paramount in this debate. If either of us fail to do so, we lose.

I will begin by citing a recent paper by Mark Regnerus. The study surveyed 2,988 young adults, which is an unusually large sample size in this field of research—most other research relies upon small, non-random sampling. This makes it one of the most rigorously researched papers published on the issue. The research compared women in a relationship with another women and men in a relationship with another man to intact biological families. Most other studies claiming “no difference” compare homosexuals to single parents. This improved methodology really makes its results compelling. Indeed, other studies were “inadequate for drawing conclusions about the population at large”. Children raised by lesbians were more likely to be on public assistance, and 3.5 times more likely to be unemployed. Children raised by homosexual men tended to be the most likely to become criminals. Children raised by lesbians were the second highest crime-risk group. The study—somewhat surprisingly—even found that children raised by homosexuals tended to have been sexually abused more often than those raised by heterosexuals. If you were raised by gay men, the study found you were 3 times more likely to report obtaining an STI in your lifetime, and children raised by lesbians were twice as likely to have obtained an STI as those raised by heterosexuals. Those raised by homosexuals also had higher rates of anxiety and fear of harm in their households, and children raised by heterosexuals tended to have the least amount of anxiety. People raised by homosexual men also had higher propensity to have suicidal thoughts. Children raised by homosexuals report higher levels of homosexuality [9].

The following graphs are results from Regnerus’ study, and can be verified here [10].

The study definitively concludes that children raised by homosexuals are worse off than children raised in dual-gender scenarios. The intact heterosexual family does the best. And the majority of the time children raised by those other than homosexuals—even adopted or single parent—still tend to do better. The fact is, there is a discrepancy between children raised by heterosexual and homosexual parents—and unfortunately, the discrepancy tells us children fare worse with homosexuals than with heterosexuals.

I will continue by citing another paper by sociologist Loren Marks, published in the same edition of Social Science Research as Regnerus’ paper was. The study, reviewing the APA statement on gay parenting, found of the 59 papers cited in support of the APA statement, none of them met the scientific standards which the APA would require of research when they made a statement such as they did. Only 26/59 had a heterosexual comparison group. Of those, almost all of them used single-parents as their comparison group, not married heterosexuals. And none of the comparison studies had enough statistical power in order to claim ‘no difference’ in their extremely small sample sizes. The study’s abstract tells us, “[the] strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted.” [11]

Psychologist Tray Hansen reviewed all of the research on gay parenting. She only had two criteria. First, the authors had to be PRO-gay. Second, she had to utilize data from children over 18. However, as there was a lack of research with that age criteria, she lowered it to 14. Hansen also notes how the pro-gay studies suffer from “methodological flaws . . . including small, non-representative samples, lack of control groups, and non-longitudinal designs”. Hansen found how in these pro-gay studies, they did uncover many differences. Namely, that children raised by homosexuals were much more likely to identify as homosexuals. The best study in her sample found 8% of children raised by lesbians were homosexual, much higher than estimates for the total population. Hansen concludes her review arguing “the research studies we have to date suggest that non-heterosexuals are far more likely to raise non-heterosexual children than heterosexuals” [12].

There is no good evidence that the ‘no differences’ claim—which Danielle will argue—is true. In fact, there is now evidence from the NFSS that the ‘no difference’ theory is actually incorrect. Hansen finds how children raised by homosexuals tend to have more homosexual tendencies, and Marks’ review notes how the APA and other organizations utilizing the same research are rushing to say that homosexuals raise children the ‘same’. The fact is, they aren’t. Gender matters, and children raised by homosexuals are *on balance* worse off.

To you, Pro. :)


2. Ibid.

3. David Popenoe. Life without Father: Compelling New Evidence that Fatherhood and Marriage are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society (Free Press: 1996): 197.










Debate Round No. 1


Thanks, Con.

Re: Children do best when raised by a mother and a father.

Children may innately respond better to their biological parents due to evolutionary pair bonding, but this debate is essentially about whether or not gay parents can effectively and successfully raise children. I'm arguing that a heterosexual couple are not superior parents on the basis of their sexuality alone. I will address the mother/father roles later in the debate outside the scope of biology.

However to address the biology argument, studies show a split of nature and nurture that influence our personality and decisions. There are other and more important things to consider in the parenting process outside of biological ties. For instance, if twins were separated at birth and one lived with the biological parents who argued a lot, while the other lived with relatives who were far wealthier in a more supportive home, the latter might have a better lifestyle, more opportunities and overall happiness and success based on outside factors other than biology. So while it's true that humans have an instinctual biological bond with their immediate family, it is not paramount or highly relevant to the scope of this debate.

We are judging parenting ability based on one's sexuality in general.

Re: Homosexual lifestyles may pose a risk to children.

Con suggests that domestic and sexual violence may be higher in same-sex households. There are several ways to address this argument. First, let's consider that men are on balance more physically aggressive and violent than women. It would therefore follow that kids with lesbian parents are less exposed to aggression than kids with straight parents or men. In addition men are far more likely to commit acts of (opposite sex) sexual aggression than women including rape or molestation [1]. Should that mean kids with lesbian parents are inherently safer than kids with straight parents? Let's be careful of the conclusions we draw from various statistics for the sake of discussion.

Having LMs (lesbian mothers) and GFs (gay fathers) each present unique strengths and challenges, so criticisms vs. one group are not universal against gay parenting in general. As such noting something like "gay men tend to have more STDs" is not relevant in terms of judging lesbian headed households.

However in terms of illness, it is an interesting argument to suggest that because one group might be more prone to a certain type of illness, that the group is inherently more unfit to parent. Consider the fact that 0% of households with gay fathers have had a parent die from uteran, breast or ovarian cancer. Does that mean gay men are inherently more fit to parent than straight couples because they have less risk? No, that's a silly argument. Moreover most STDs are preventable, treatable and usually not life threatening. They tend to affect the younger gay (male) community without children.

In regard to Con's proposition that lesbian relationships tend to "dissolve," lesbians are known to crave physical and emotional intimacy (women do more than men, on balance) and maintain long-lasting, monogamous and committed relationships. Regardless, research shows that the legitimization of marriage is the primary factor in considering the dissolutions of all relationships. Social sanctioning of the relationship promotes longevity, indicating that the legalization and social acceptance of gay marriage will strengthen gay relationships and contribute to their success [2].

Further, let's say it's true that domestic violence were observed more in gay couples. Similarly let's say that violence was observed more in black couples than white couples. Does that mean that behavior is linked to innate biological factors (such as sexuality or race), or rather is behavior more relevant to one's culture and individual circumstance? If the latter, Con has to prove why gay culture or biology in particular advocates or supports violence and abuse, rather than the particular circumstance that may apply to large demographics.

Consider this: a disproportionate number of homeless teenagers are gay [3]. Many of them are rejected by their families and forced on the street, thus inherently burdened. Research shows that people who are homeless and poor have a tendency to be more violent, angry, anxious and depressed for obvious reasons [4]. It makes sense that gay people would have a tendency to be depressed in a society where they are likely turned away from their friends and family, told they are mentally ill or plagued by the devil, inherent sinners, unfit parents, poor, have their legal rights and protections inhibited, etc.

As such we must consider the social impact outside factors have played on the gay community as a whole. We KNOW this can be changed and is changing for the better, considering gays are immeasurably more protected by both legal safeguards and social outlets than they were in generations past. This is making a positive impact on the gay community, and improving perceptions and relations with different communities and their ability to parent with support rather than judgment and abuse.

Re: Research on Same-Sex Parenting

It is not difficult to discredit the research findings of Mark Regnerus that my opponent relies on for his case. In fact the research and more importantly its conclusions are overwhelmingly flawed.

Regnerus' study bases its sample on children who identify themselves as having a parent who has had a romantic relationship with a member of the same sex, then compares them with children of opposite-sex couples who raised the child together. There is ZERO consideration given to the length of time the romantic relationships lasted, whether or not the child was raised by a same-sex couple or by a single parent, and most notably, no consideration of other factors in the child's life -- such as family drug abuse, stability of structure, step-parents, class or divorce [5]. This study compares apples to oranges and focuses on ONE differential while ignoring other, arguably far more important variables! It is completely irresponsible and falsifiable science in which no reasonable comparisons can be made.

Moreover, in order to qualify as good science with valid data, the research must exist as free of bias and presumed assumptions as much as possible. On the contrary, Regnerus has a long history of anti-gay preachings, writings, attacks and public speaking ventures all showing this man's overwhelmingly anti-gay leanings [6]. This immediately reveals that his so-called "study" shows nothing more than what he had predetermined it would show through confirmation bias. Not surprisingly, Regnerus is backed by religious and conservative groups who have contributed a ton of money to funding his research, and had a vested interest in particular outcomes [7].

But we cannot discredit the findings based on his incredible bias alone. Indeed his methodology is detrimentally flawed for aforementioned reasons. His sample is incredibly problematic, and there have been innumerable criticisms from the science community regarding how irresponsibly the conclusions were formed. To reiterate, identifying a same-sex relationship tells us absolutely nothing about the nature of the relationship. Further, arbitrary decisions in dealing with overlaps between the observed categories make the LM and GF categories heterogeneous, while the other categories remain relatively homogeneous -- something Regnerus could not effectively account for [8].

In conclusion of this point, the Regnerus study is undoubtedly flawed, and has been ripped apart by researchers - including his own colleagues - as irresponsible and unreliable. In addition, Con cites another study published in the same journal by Loren Marks. Afterwards, "Both the publishing journal and independent parties launched investigations. Two hundred social scientists signed a letter citing 'serious concerns about the scholarly merit of this paper.' The journal that published the paper commissioned an audit assessing problems with the peer-review process. The audit found 'serious flaws and distortions that were not simply ignored, but lauded' in the review process. It found blatant conflicts of interest in that 'all three of the respondents to these papers... Referring to the Regnerus study and a companion piece, the audit concluded that 'neither paper should have been published.' In a separate interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Darren E. Sherkat, the designated reviewer, dismissed the entire study as 'bullsh!t' [9].

Con concludes with a psychologist's findings that gay couples are more likely to raise gay children (or rather children who are open to exploring or expressing gay tendencies). However, even if that were true because 1 - sexuality is influenced through biology, or 2 - kids with gay parents felt more comfortable exploring non-traditional sexuality and admitting to it, doesn't automatically mean they are "worse off" making this a moot point. There is nothing inherently wrong with being gay -- but that is the subject for another debate.

:::::::: Pro's Arguments ::::::::

Unfortunately I have run out of character space, thus I will make my arguments in the next round.

To give Con a heads up, I will be arguing:

- The things that most affect parenting are not relevant to sexuality
- Sexuality is fluid
- Kids can be exposed to both gender/gender roles even with gay parents
- The traditional family is evolving and has changed throughout history
- Many of the issues with gay rights and social reactions are changing for the better
- There is empirical research and data supporting my position



1. Children do best when raised by mothers and fathers

Pro seems to be arguing the biological benefits behind fatherhood may be due to nurture, not biological differences. But it would be irrelevant, for if fathers are, on balance, important to a child—regardless of the reason—they would still be a good. Gay parenthood deprives them of the good.

Over the past 50 years there has been extensive research supporting the idea that being raised by both your biological mother and father are beneficial to the child. The vast majority of the published research suggested “children needed mothers and fathers for healthy well-rounded development” [1].

2. Homosexual lifestyle

Pro argues men are more likely to be abusers, both sexually and physically. Therefore, children in lesbian homes should see less violence between their mothers. Lesbians actually have higher rates of abuse than gay men. 47.5% of lesbians compared to 29.7% of homosexuals have experienced abuse by their partner according to one study. Incidence of violence amongst gay men is about twice as high as it is in heterosexual households [2]. Homosexuals have higher domestic abuse rates than heterosexuals.

Pro then says criticism of one demographic—say gay men—does not apply for lesbians. I would agree with this. However, if gay men have high incidence of abuse, for example, the resolution is negated, as one large group of the homosexual community is not fit to raise a child as effectively as heterosexuals. If I only prove that either lesbians or gay men are ‘bad’, then the resolution is negated. I presented evidence for both genders having significant issues.

The cancer argument is a silly one! The orientation of one’s parents is an important factor in development. I noted how homosexuals have higher instability rates, psychological disorder rates, and abuse rates. Instability is terrible for the child. A perfect example of this would be the foster care system, where your adoptive parents change all the time. This environment of instability harms children significantly. Children raised in the foster care system have many developmental problems [3]. Domestic abuse causes an environment where the child lives in fear. Higher domestic abuse rates are an excellent risk factor to gauge whether or not homosexuals pose a risk to children [4]. Those who have a past of domestic abuse are inherently unfit to raise a child.

Pro cites evidence of lesbian relationships lasting longer. The study claims that the reason lesbian relationships may dissolve is their limited access to marriage. The study also seems to claim lesbians are less prone to separations. In order to control for those issues let’s look at Scandinavia, where there are many pro-gay laws and gay marriage is legal. Even then, both lesbian marriages and gay male marriages tend to have higher dissolution and divorce rates than heterosexual unions. The research of Scandinavian marriages found “divorce risks are higher in same sex partnerships than in opposite-sex marriages, and that unions of lesbians are considerably less stable, or more dynamic, than unions of gay men” [5]. Gay men seem to be more stable than lesbians! Homosexuals overall have higher dissolution rates than heterosexuals! The reason for this, the authors claim, is the lack of “normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions” [6]. Homosexuality does not encourage lifelong commitment as the heterosexual norm does.

It must be noted my argument about mental disorders stemmed from a large study in the Netherlands, and the divorce statistics above from Scandinavia. If homosexuals were less stable due to societal discrimination, we should see little difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals in both of those countries, where gay marriage is legal and the countries are extremely progressive. The Netherlands was the first country ever to legalize gay marriage [7]. Sweden was the first country in the world to allow reassignment surgery. Discrimination laws against homosexuals was passed in the 1980s, and Sweden “has been recognized as one of the most socially liberal countries . . . in the world” [8]. The fact Sweden and the Netherlands are two of the most progressive countries in the world and both have high rates of homosexual relationship dissolution and mental health issues is telling. Homosexuals must have some proclivity those behaviors.

3. Research on homosexuals

This really is the most important argument in the debate. It directly proves or disproves the resolution. Pro as of yet has failed to produce counter-evidence.

Let’s proceed under the assumption that Regnerus’ study is bunk. This would not weaken the case that homosexuals raise children who develop differently than heterosexual children. In Canada, another progressive nation, economist Doug Allen recently published a study using Census data. He found children raised by homosexuals tend to have lower graduation rates than those raised by heterosexuals [9]. Another study published by sociologist Daniel Potter corroborates both Allen’s and Regnerus’ conclusions on gay parenting. Children reared by homosexual couples scored worse on educational scores than children raised by intact heterosexual marriages. Although the abstract seems to try to downplay the results, the study argues that the results are in conflict “with those of earlier studies that found no evidence of worse performance by children in same-sex parent families” [10]. The study did find negative differences. Nontraditional family forms preform worse than heterosexual families. And homosexual families are no different: they preform worse on academic scores. Even assuming Regnerus’ study is total baloney is immaterial. Other research studies prove that homosexuals are, as a group, worse parents. Studies claiming ‘no difference’ rely upon small convenience samples and often never compare to two-parent heterosexual homes, but rather compare to poor single parent households [11]. The strongest evidence suggests children fare best when raised by two heterosexual parents.

An article written by 27 social scientists concede Regnerus’ study has some limitations, but the study is “one of the first to rely on a large, random, and representative sample” [12].

An independent sociologist, Walter Schumm, reviewed the study after its publication. He discusses every single methodological decision Regnerus made and explains why it was either good or bad. Size of the sample is likely the most important aspect of the study, and other than Rosenfeld 2012 it was the only study to use a large, representative sample. A criticism Pro notes is how Regnerus used non-stable homosexual homes and did not label LGBT homes correctly. Schumm disagrees, noting how Regnerus was one of the studies which best represented the LGBT community, and most other studies rely upon sample sizes much smaller. Some used only 32 children raised by homosexuals, and the results were a convenience sample not representative of the population. Schumm also discusses the funding of the study. Regnerus announced his funding sources and explained how the money did NOT affect the results. One high profile study claiming ‘no differences’ was funded by the liberal Gill Foundation, Lesbian Health Fund, Gay Lesbian Medical Association, etc. Those studies never were criticized for funding. The funding for pro-gay studies is predominantly biased. Schumm writes although Regnerus accepted funding from the Witherspoon Institute “it is not readily apparent how that differs from situations where other scholars have accepted funding from progressive agencies” [13]. To criticize Regnerus is hypocritical as many other studies are funded by liberal organizations.

The argument that Regnerus compared stable couples to instable homosexual couples is flawed. Comparing to only stable homosexual couples would not be representative of the population. A huge amount of research indicates homosexual unions are less stable—as noted above. Even homosexual scholars Biblarz and Stacey admitted how gay and lesbian couples may be less stable than heterosexual couples [14]. A non-biased sample would have many unstable homosexual households. Comparing only to stable gay couples would be a biased result, as it would not be representative of the truth: homosexuals are prone to instability.

Regnerus responded to his critics and dismantled their arguments. Regnerus sorted through his data, separating the categories further in order to reduce flaws in the data. This does not change his results. Children who were raised by their homosexual parents for longer periods of time were put into separate categories, which helps control for ‘stability’. The conclusions remained the same. Matthew Franck, emeritus professor, notes, “family instability is the characteristic experience of those whose parents have same-sex relationships” [15]. Controlling for a variable which is common in homosexual households is absurd. Instability is an inherent part of many same-sex relationships.

Schumm, reviewing the study, notes “his [Regnerus’] decisions are within the ball park of what other credible and distinguished researchers have been doing within the past decade” [16].

Pro argues Regnerus should be discounted as he is against gay marriage. Trey Hansen reviewed the literature, and the authors are often pro-gay [17]. If Regnerus’ work should be discredited due to his political opinions, Biblarz and Stacey’s 2010 review which claimed ‘no difference’ should be discounted, as they are lesbians. The argument that Regnerus should be ignored due to his political opinions is not only an ad hominem attack and does not disprove the methodology of the study, but means we must throw out essentially all of the research. In fact, there is evidence of publication bias in the research against perceived ‘anti’ gay conclusions [18]. The science is tainted by pro-homosexual bias, not right wingers.

Back to you, Pro :);

Debate Round No. 2


Thanks, Con.

I will make my arguments and include my rebuttal in a conversational context due to character limits.

While evolution creates biological ties to our immediate family, biology is not anywhere near the most important factor in good parenting. In the last round, I gave an example of identical twins being raised in different households. I noted that if one lived with their parents, but the other lived in a household that was better off (with more support and resources), the latter would have greater success and more happiness despite not being raised by their biological parents. This went uncontested by Con.

Psychologists and anthropologists have studied the most significant factors in good parenting. Their findings note married households are more financially stable and create security for children [1]. Innumerable studies confirm that financial security not only affords opportunity, but decreases stress and anxiety. It is more likely to keep a marital relationship healthy, and this creates less problems and more positive experiences for children [2].

Science also suggests that raising happy kids requires relaying empathy, teaching kindness, encouraging laughter and fostering compassion [3]. In addition, securing your own mental health, mandating discipline and nurturing your marriage are key [4]. Absolutely none of these things are limited to opposite sex relationships.

While 16,000 books have been published on parenting, psychologists from the University of San Diego have empirically identified the essential qualities in order of importance for effective parenting. This capacity is reflected in the ability to attend, respond, identify or empathize with a child; manage day to day stress and personal emotion; and to do so sufficiently and enduringly in adult relationships within the family [5].

Once again, none of these things are pertinent to sexuality. In fact my opponent has failed to cite a single factor (quality or trait) that is limited to heterosexuality, and/or that a gay parent could not provide their child. Con must explain why gay parents are either incapable or more unlikely to provide things like financial security, empathy and other factors that are actually relevant to parenting. In reality, the factors that most determine a good parent have nothing to do with sexuality.

My opponent has argued that limited exposure to both genders could inhibit development. While having ties, support and relationships with both sexes is very important, kids with gay parents can have access to these relationships by developing bonds with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other role models to provide similar guidance, support and nurturing pertinent to gender affiliation. Research shows that having a "father figure" in lieu of a biological father for example can provide similar benefits [6].

The biological factor is NOT as significant as having a positive role model. For instance, if one's biological father or mother was an abusive alcoholic, having them around and part of the family is not necessarily a positive thing and in fact could be a negative thing. This proves that biology nor one's sex is important in determining a good parent, but rather the nurturing support a parent provides is what's important. According to a study by Oxygen Media, 82% of people define mother as the woman who raised them vs. the 53% who define it as the woman who birthed them [7].

Sure, lack of divorce or step-parents decreases resentment and familial tension. However in tact mother-father households without divorce and step-parents are increasingly rare. This debate is about same sex vs. opposite sex parenting, without considering factors like divorce and other social repercussions involving the dissolution of the family unit. Such things could only be compared if they were measured on an equal basis, i.e. same sex divorced parents vs. opposite sex divorced parents. Con's studies all fail to compare similar same sex vs. opposite sex relationships. Again, this significantly affects and skews the outcome of the studies.

In fact virtually all studies done on this subject fail to take into account and measure equally comparable households. Ignored are the most important factors in parenting and child development, with emphasis instead being placed solely on the sex of the parents involved. However there are many other things to take into consideration regarding a family's circumstance and the effects it has on child development. The level of nurturing a parent provides, the amount of involvement in their child's life, and the type of attention they give the child are all incredibly significant factors to child development [8], yet these things are not highlighted, measured, accounted for or appropriately compared in any of Con's presented studies.

There are NO reliable studies indicating that a mother-father headed household is paramount to one's happiness or success, let alone highly relevant. After obliterating the merit of the Regnerus study, Con tried presenting a Canadian study which notes kids with gay parents have lower graduation rates. But a quick look at the data shows this is wrong: the author includes children who are still in high school awaiting graduation in his faulty statistics. After accounting for the real numbers, Con's study actually shows the graduation rate for kids with gay parents aligns perfectly with their peers [9]. Con is relying on horribly flawed research to present a very misguided argument.

In the largest study ever done on gay parenting, research found that children from same-sex families scored on average 6% better on two key measures - general health and family cohesion - even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income [10]. This is just one reason my research is superior to Con's. His source adds that the Regnerus study is useful because of the large sample size: 200 random kids. The sample size of my study was over 2x larger with 500 kids. Likewise, the other study Con cites (Lerner & Nagai) observe an even smaller sample size of just 49, and his own source notes the futility of questionable methodology.

Other research stands entirely contrary to Con's presentations. "A five-year review of 81% of parenting studies reported that children raised by same sex parents are 'statistically indistinguishable' from those raised by straight parents in terms of self-esteem, academics and social adjustment. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association all agree that same-sex couples are just as fit to parent as their heterosexual counterparts" [11].

I'm hoping this doesn't turn into a debate about the credibility of sources and stats, but I'm prepared to provide a lot more in my favor and dismantle Con's further in the next round when character space allows. Instead this debate should focus on what makes a good or bad parent rather than assumptions about "gay lifestyles."

It's important to note that there is no such thing as the "homosexual lifestyle" any more than a normative "heterosexual lifestyle" exists. Individuals and their lifestyles are completely different outside the broad scope of sexuality. Some straight people are drug addicts; some gay people are hyper-charitable. One's sexuality is not a great way to judge their character or personality let alone make assumptions about their parenting habits.

For the sake of debate, I would like to address some of Con's concerns. Regarding sexual abuse, in the longest running study of lesbian families to date, zero percent of children reported physical or sexual abuse - not a single one [12]. Compare this to the general population in which 26% of children report physical abuse, and 8.3% report sexual abuse. Con's entire argument relies on a lot of "what ifs" based on questionable and/or irrelevant data. For example, blacks have higher rates of child abuse than non-whites [13]. Does this mean that blacks are inherently inferior parents? Con dropped this question/argument regarding fluid cultural trends.

16K notes that gay relationships dissolve at higher rates. Staying in bad marriages makes people unhappy, and people in bad marriages are much happier after divorce [14]. This means separation can have positive effects for people and their children in some cases. The fact is the "traditional family" is evolving as separation rates in western culture increase overall. We also know the majority of Americans no longer feel traditional gender roles are necessary or even desirable. With these changes, the nature of the "traditional" family continues to evolve according to 87% of the American population [15].

Con cites a source admitting it is the "lack of normative pressure about the necessity of life-long unions” as one possible explanation for the dissolution of gay relationships. This confirms my point about gay relationships and families being impacted by social perception and support, contrary to Con's claims about Switzerland (where gay marriage was legalized far too recently to gauge long term marital results). Extend my arguments about the recognition and embrace of gay marriage/families promoting their likelihood of success.

In conclusion, the greatest threats to the married family unit are economic instability, unemployment, lack of emotional support and residential instability [16]. Once again, none of these things are pertinent to sexuality. Opposite sex households are just as likely to experience these threats as same sex households. Likewise same sex households are just as capable as providing aspects of good parenting as straight couples: financial security, empathy, kindness, laughter, compassion, consistency and discipline.



1. Other important factors

Pro claims love is the most important thing for parenting. I agree. But mother and father love, although both important, are qualitatively different. Throughout developmental changes, children either need the nurture of the mother or the more laid back position which fathers tend to have. As infants and young children, having a mother is extremely important. But later in development, the existence of a biological father becomes extremely important. Even in societies—like ancient Greece—where homosexuality was widely supported, child rearing tasks were still left to stable heterosexual couples because even they recognized the differences in which both sexes brought to the table [1].

I am not disparaging love, but I am arguing other factors are also extremely important for child development.

Pro notes how many children see their mother as the person who raised them. This makes sense, as mothers are the most important in infancy, before these people can remember. Babies actually do best when nurtured by their biological mother and not any other mother figure. This may lead to subtle, but long term, emotional bonding issues. Those in the survey will not recognize this, as they are far too old to remember and cannot link any issues they may have due to the lack of a biological mother. The literature strongly supports the relationship between a biological mother and her child’s development [2].

To claim the studies I am citing do not account for love is false. They merely highlight other important variables.

2. Other households

Pro claims I must prove other households—such as step-families—do better than homosexuals. As noted in R1, step families, adopted families, single parents, and divorced families almost always do better than homosexual households. Both Allen and Potter include other family types in their datasets. I have negated the resolution based upon Pro’s criteria. A strong study by Sarantakos (1996) observed the educational proficiency levels of children raised in same sex, married, and cohabiting relationships. In all subjects tested—math, history, and language—children raised by heterosexual married couples and heterosexual cohabiting couples scored significantly better than children raised in homosexual relationships. No matter the type of relationship, children do best when raised in an environment by heterosexuals [3]. This refutes the father figure argument, as step-families and single parent families do worse than biologically intact ones.

I have presented strong evidence to support my case.

3. Marriage would help homosexuals

I do not doubt that homosexual marriage would likely increase homosexual stability slightly. As noted, gay marriage divorce risks are about twice as high as straight marriages in Scandinavia, which is the most progressive region in the world [4]. This argument goes ignored, and is merely countered with how marriage benefits people—something I obviously agree with, since I argue intact biological married homes are the best environment for children. The argument continues to have less merit in this debate when you recall that I cited a study from Canada, and it concluded that children in married same-sex households were less likely to graduate [5]. If you recall, many of the studies regarding homosexual mental disorders are published in the Netherlands.

This argument was preempted, arguably my strongest evidence comes from countries where gay marriage is legal.

4. Research on homosexual parenting

Pro begins by claiming she has a study with a larger sample size than the Regnerus study. What must first be noted is my study from Canada reviewed 20% of Canada’s census, and is arguably the *most* representative study. Second, I followed Pro’s sources. The study’s sample was 500 kids but it was a convenience sample [6]. Convenience samples are less representative than random sample studies like the NFSS, Doug, or Potter’s research. Most convenience samples recruit 'elitist' gay parents which is not representative of their demographic as a whole [7].

Pro claims the Canada study misrepresents data. I actually contacted the author about this claim. The responses presented existed due to a bloggers misinterpretation of the study. Keeping the sample size to 17 – 22 year olds was actually suggested by one of the reviewers. He had to use that age group as most of them had graduated high school. The blogger Pro cites must have not read the study, as different age groups were actually tested, and age didn’t affect the reslts. He also uses a different definition of graduation rate—which he explicitly states and warns about in the study. He was looking at the *fraction* of children who graduated highschool—so the critique is semantical. The study’s conclusion still stands [8].

Pro cites a the Biblarz review. I preempted it. The authors are lesbian. The authors ignored the strongest research. They ignored the 1996 study cited above. The review also ignored research by Sirota 2007. Sirota found daughters of gay men had more attachment issues than daughters of straight men. The difference was not due stability differences. The results showed how children of homosexuals had attachment issues. It is striking that the study ignores Sirota’s research, as it is one of the only studies focusing on gay fathers. The research also found higher drug usage rate in homosexual households. The ‘review’ by Stacey and Biblarz ignores huge amounts of research which contradicts their opinion, at least 8 studies are missed [22][23]. A second review concluded Pro's position is “scientifically incorrect… there is evidence, which has largely been overlooked … that lesbian mothers … may harm the interests of their children relative to comparable heterosexual parents” [9].

Pro claims a long run study claims no abuse occurred in lesbian relationships. Her link does not specify author, journal, or date of publication--I question its existence. Studies using the US census have found children raised by homosexuals are worse off. Children raised in homosexual homes fared worse in most measurable categories [10].

Divorce in *some* cases may be the preferable option, on balance, divorce is detrimental for children. Divorce lowers children’s educational attainment, increases crime, harms a child’s health and increases suicide risks as well as other emotional and behavioral problems, and reduces household income [11]. Divorce in limited situations *can* help children, but research overwhelmingly demonstrates how divorce *harms* children. The major reasons for divorce include infidelity (55%), arguing (56%), and lack of commitment (76%). Most married couples “wished they or their ex-spouse had tried harder to work through their differences” [12]. Divorce harms the child.

Most scientific bodies according to Pro support same sex parenting. A review of the research notes that these conclusions are not valid, as all of these organizations cite studies which fail to meet basic sociological research standards [13]. Another review trumpets the same findings [7]. The research Pro relies upon is not strong enough to make conclusions. I have cited 4 different studies which use nationally representative and random sampling supporting my position. I also cited three studies using smaller samples which find many negative aspects related to same-sex parenting [9][13]. I cite 7 methodologically rigorous studies proving my case. Many other studies conceal their harmful differences due to libera; bias, and often prove children raised by heterosexuals are superior when re-analyzed [9]. Pro cites blogs which refer to weak studies. I cite the studies directly, and you can read them yourself.

A recent meta-analysis sums it up perfectly, “studies conclude that children raised by gay parents perform as well, if not better, than their counterparts in heterosexual families … This conclusion … is not scientifically warranted due to the limitations of the studies” (emphasis mine) [7].

5. Reasons for instability

The social norms tend to be from the gay community and not bigots like me [14]. The lack of pressure for stability comes from within. My data from progressive countries would have less discrimination.

6. Homosexual lifestyle

Pro claims no homosexual lifestyle exists. This is why the NFSS asked about sexual behavior, not orientation. This essentially controls for Pro’s criticisms, meaning this doesn’t really harm my case [15]. As noted, homosexuals have much higher tendencies than heterosexuals to do drugs, be violent, etc [14]. This is pretty much a cop out by Pro. Minorities having higher abuse rates does not contradict my assertion. Minorities have higher domestic abuse rates due to higher poverty and unemployment rates [19]. Homosexuals tend to do this—in part—due to their nature. Research concludes, “[discrimination] in the United States did not result in a higher level of psychiatric problems [in homosexuals]” [20], indicating their lifestyle is due to their nature, not social pressures. Homosexuals are slightly wealthier than heterosexuals, and should be less violent [21].

Children raised by heterosexuals have been found to have lower rates of ‘emotional disturbance’ (4%) whereas about children raised by homosexuals had disturbance rates of 20-25% [22][23].


I have provided 7 studies directly--NFSS, Allen et al., Allen, Potter, Sirota, Schumm, Sarantakos, and Sullins which prove my case. All of them use more rigorous methodologies than any study claiming 'no difference'. I have indirectly refered to at least 15 studies [22] which support my position. Pro has cited research, too, but all of her research has fatal methodological errors. 30 years of sociological research concludes the same thing: Children do best when raised by a biological mother and father [16][17][18].

I thank Danielle for one of the best debates I have had. Vote Con. :D;

Debate Round No. 3


Thanks, Con.

Re: Important Parenting Factors

Con says love is the most important variable in parenting. While I agree, love is an indescribable and subjective term. Parents have different values and dissimilar methods of raising kids and expressing love. There's no absolute way to define love, so I did not say love was the most important factor in parenting. Instead I outlined very specific attributes and circumstances that are the most significant variables to good parenting.

Con has not contested any of this research. Con has not argued that sexuality is more relevant to parenting than ANY of these factors, nor has he negated any of the research claims or methodology on the studies relevant to good parenting. As such, extend all of my arguments backed by scientific data that prove these things and not sexuality are the most important factors to raising children effectively: financial security, marriage stability, community support, empathy, affection, discipline, boundaries, kindness, laughter, compassion and consistency.

Con argues that a mother and father are important because men and women offer different types of nurturing. In other words, Con is saying two specific gender roles are paramount to parenting. But the majority of Americans no longer feel gender roles are relevant or necessary [1]. In addition, studies show married couples and parents who forgo traditional gender roles are happier then their conventional cohorts. It also shows same-sex couples share responsibilities more equitably, and have more parental satisfaction [2]. Gender is related but not identical to sex. While there are observed differences between males and females, not all people abide by the norm. Fluid and ambiguous terms like love and gender are not consistent or reliable indicators of good parenting.

In this entire debte, noting the importance of gender is Con's only attempt at proving how sexuality remotely affects parenting. However not only is it irrelevant because gender is fluid and on a spectrum for both gay and straight people [3], but many same-sex relationships do in fact adopt traditional gender roles [4]. I've already explained that kids with gay parents can still be exposed to male and female role models, making this entire point irrelevant and already addressed anyhow.

Re: Other Households

Con says that in R1 he proved "adopted families, single parents and divorced families almost always do better than homosexual households." That is patently and unequivocally false. I've discounted all of Con's research as biased, flawed and considered intellectually irresponsible by the science and academic community at large. I've also provided more reliable research stating the opposite. Here is another study proving two gay parents are better than single and divorced parents [5]. In previous rounds, I've explained why two parents are happier, healthier and better off than one and how that's true regardless of sexuality. Con never challenged or discredited my reasoning.

The Williams Institute measured aspects of the pre- and post-adoptive contexts in relation to child adjustment. It included 120 two-parent adoptive families: 40 female same-sex, 35 male same-sex, and 45 different-sex couples who adopted their children. The key findings include what I have emphasized in previous rounds - that parental success and child happiness were NOT relevant to the sex of the parents, but instead what was relevant were factors like stability, preparation and happiness [6].

Re: Marriage Benefits

Con agrees that gay marriage would benefit families, but repeats that gay couples are more likely to divorce. Once again, gay marriage has not been legal long enough in Scandanavia to have remotely reliable measures of long-term marriage rates for a comparable study. The very first country to legalize gay marriage, Switzerland, didn't do so until 2000. Sweden didn't even legalize gay marriage until 2009. Not enough time and other cultural factors negate this premise along with previous arguments.

Re: Gay Lifestyles

I've argued that even if certain demographics were observed to have particular tendencies, it doesn't mean those people should be forbid or discouraged from marriage on the basis of innate characteristics like sexuality or race. Black people are more likely to engage in domestic abuse [7], child abuse [8] and have significantly less money than white people [9]. However we can't assume black people are worse people or parents than whites just because of innate factors like race and extension sexuality; we must consider outside influential factors.

My opponent says racial disparity exists due to cultural issues like poverty. I've argued that similarly, cultural implications in response to gay relationships and parenting will cultivate and affect a gay family's well being. While Con suggests discrimination, hatred, violence, homelessness and being outcast (all common amongst gays - which Con did not dispute) do not affect a person's mental state, all legitimate scientific research disagrees. In fact all of these things are extremely significant and directly relevant to rates of depression, suicide, drug abuse and violence among the gay commuity [10, 11, 12].

Con's supposition that gay people are wealthier than their peers is another myth; indeed gays face specific obstacles that contribute to increasing rates of poverty [13]. This makes sense given their lack of federal protection against discrimination and other challenges. It is outright asinine to suggest that a population which is observably and demonstrably ostracized, marginalized, discriminated against, bullied and harassed would not be more depressed and engage in risky behaviors than their peers. Extend all of my arguments about sexuality itself being irrelevant to one's health and happiness outside of environment.

Re: Research on Gay Parenting

In attempting to prove my research uses a "convenience sample," Con presents an article which actually supports my side of the argument and does not prove that. It says that while questions have been raised about the sample size of research in support of gay families, a cross-sectional survey was done to compensate and concludes exactly the same findings [14]. It does note the stigma of gay parenting is what causes harm for kids with gay parents, and NOT anything that has to do with the sexuality of the parents itself. Ergo, extend my argument that increasing support and acceptance of gay parenting from the community is eradicating the stigma of gay parenting. Gay parents themselves are not the problem. Only the hate and ignorance of gay parenting causes problems for gay families - backed by Con's very own resource.

16K suggests my research is flawed because it looks at "elitest" gay parents, and apparently gays with money have kids who are better off and therefore do not represent the demographic as a whole. In other words, Con admits that if you account for financial security, parents - including gay parents - rate a whole lot better! Nevertheless none of the sources Con used to support this claim of a "convenience" sample (his #6 and #7) actually said this was true.

Con presents research by Professor Doug Allen, however Allen has a known anti-gay bias [15]. If Con says suggests lesbian authors cannot write truthful articles about gay parenting, then we must also discount Allen's authorship based on my arguments about bias skewing research outcomes. Apparently Allen has another study Con mentions that discredits gay parents, but there is no internet link to read his specific claims. The audience must ignore them since we cannot read/challenge them.

More to discredit the Canadian study bunk:

"Allen et al."s finding... is due to their conflating the initial disadvantage of children who come into same-sex couple families (a disadvantage that appears to be substantial) with the progress children experience during the time when they are actually being raised by same-sex couples (progress that is excellent). There is no statistically significant difference in making normal progress through school between children raised by same-sex couples and children raised by heterosexual married couples after family socioeconomic status is taken into account (see Table 1, column E). Allen et al. noted that even if the difference is not significant, the children of heterosexual married couples appear to be faring better. By the same logic, the children raised by unmarried heterosexual couples appear to be faring worse (with higher rates of grade retention) than children raised by same-sex couples (all of whom were unmarried according to U.S. law), though the difference in grade retention is not significant after socioeconomic controls are applied" [16]. Innumerable academics rip Allen's studies apart further, for failing to account for basic consideraitons like how long the children in his research lived with the parents in question [17, 18]. All of his conclusions are all outright irresponsible.


I have discredited each study Con presented with explanations detailing their invalidity. The studies he presented fail to measure equally comparable households. They did not take into account factors like equal economic circumstance and parental relationship longevity. On the contrary, I've presented larger, random (non convenience) sample sized studies accounting for these and other variables, that have concluded practically no difference in gay vs. straight parenting in similar households; they've even noted some benefits to gay parenting. Con has failed to justify why gay parents cannot provide love, support, nurturing and care taking to raise happy and healthy kids. I've proven sexuality has no bearing on one's ability to be a good parent.

That said, I'd like to again thank my esteemed opponent for a solid and respectful debate, and of course the judges for reading.





I ask the voters to vote fairly--do not vote for me or my opponent merely due to ideological reasons. I will not rebut, as I began the debate with my argument. I will only summarize my case extremely briefly and not address Pro's final points, though most of them were dealt with elsewhere. I must note an X-factor: I only had one round of rebuttals because of the way Pro posted her arguments (rebutted instead of writing a case R2), which made it extremely hard for me to have an equal amount of rebutting argumentation. This should be factored in (also note Pro had less case-building, but more rebuttals, do whatever). Here is my short summary:

1. 30 years of sociological research supports the notion that both fathers and mothers are unique and both are essential for child development.
2. The homosexual lifestyle harms children, and in countries (e.g. Netherlands and Scandinavia) which are extremely progressive, the harmful lifestyle persists, indicating social pressures are not the cause of homosexuals' lifestyle choices which harm child development
3. A huge amount of research supports the idea that children are adversely affected by homosexual parenting. The NFSS, Potter, Allen, Allen et al., Sarantakos 1996, Sirota 2007, and Sullins 2014 all support my case. They all (except Sarantakos and Sirota) use randomized datasets which are nationally representative--and Sarantakos and Sirota both use better methodology than their other non-random counterparts which claim no difference (Lerner and Nagai 2001 say Sarantakos is the best in their survey, for example). Pro offers some counter research, but as noted, those studies are not strong enough to scientifically prove her assertion.

I will not say anything else, except...

Vote Con :D
Debate Round No. 4
84 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago

You've basically agreed with me -- you're just saying the other studies are just as bad. Sure. But the burden is on the person saying there's a difference, because there's so little gender-based behavioral difference.
Posted by 16kadams 5 months ago
(1) ... Duh? None of the research in this area is conclusive and everything at this point is based on correlations.
(2) lol. That was addressed in the debate. Broken homes and instability are common in same sex households--that is one of the big reasons why there are differences in the first place. By not looking at those homes, the study would be even worse. A representative sample (which is hard to do with this type of research) would include a large number of those. A lot of the research in this debate looked into the instability same sex households had. Also, why run a character attack against Regnerus and claim bias when citing ThinkProgress? lol.

And, as also noted in the debate, even if you wish to ignore the Regnerus study, the evidence against the no difference claim is fairly strong.

Also, one thing we have to give Regnerus a plus for, even if we assume his study is broken (and it is flawed for sure. The sample was still too small to make any strong conclusions. There are only two or three studies that really have a large enough sample size), he is one of the only scholars who has released his data to the public. The data is open for all to see and criticize That right there makes the study more respectable, even if it is wrong, in and of itself; most other authors in this realm are reluctant to give out their data.

Schumm also reviews the study, and while he finds many faults with it, notes how the vast majority of the methodological decisions are similar to past research finding 'no difference' that ThinkProgress loves to cite (

But yeah, I haven't even looked at the literature since I have done this debate, so my knowledge onthis topic has kinda faded.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
lol, 16k, the Regnerus study is just as much cr*p. I've written about it before:

(1) His study never established a causal link between the same-sex parents and harms to children (merely establishing a correlation) and (2) his study wasn't even about same-sex parenting--it was about children witnessing their parents in same-gender relationships, which were often broken apart. Only two of Regnerus's subjects were actually *raised* from young childhood or infancy by same-gender parents--and both of those subjects had positive outcomes. [] Mark Oppenheimer explains about Regnerus's University of Notre Dame profile: "'Mark alluded to the fact that his academic interest in family formation trends and processes had arisen while still an evangelical, and his recent entrance into the Catholic Church has shaped his own thinking about fertility and family life,' the profile says. Dr. Regnerus 'also hinted at future contributions that his academic research could potentially make to the larger Catholic Church.'" []
Posted by 16kadams 5 months ago
The research on this topic is totally crap. The Regnerus study is superior to the vast majority of its predecessors, but it by no means proves anything. I still believe the "best" research shows differences--indeed, different family structures should show differences--but I've never believed that justified restricting the rights of homosexuals to adopt/raise children. The alternative is far worse, and if "differences" justified a gay parenting ban, we would ban poor people from raising children, which is obviously absurd.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
16K, you don't actually believe in the results of Regnerus's study, do you?
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
I agree with bsh's vote btw.
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
I don't object haha
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
I will try to vote on this debate as well today, unless anyone objects.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
RFD (Pt. 1):

I think it's pretty needless to say, but this was a high caliber debate between two highly talented debaters, and it shows through clearly. To see a topic like this debated so effectively by both sides is truly a pleasure, as debates on this topic tend to devolve into a mess of bigotry, religious dogmatism, and appeals to emotion. So the efforts of both debaters are much appreciated.

However, "there can only be one!" so, let's get on with it.

First, a bit of criticism. I think the terms of the debate, and the burdens of the debaters, could have been made clearer. Whether this required directly expanding on the resolution in the first round, or spelling out burdens in a substantive way, I would have appreciated that from the outset. Maybe as a symptom of that initial issue, I felt the final rounds did little to focus on what was most important to the debate " pointing out what arguments matter from both sides, and explaining why your arguments are better. In a debate like this, where there were a lot of points and a lot of data presented, it behooved both debaters to take some time out to do this. While both debaters do a good job evaluating each individual argument, the larger context seems to get lost in the details.

Onto the arguments.

1. Other important families

There are really two separate pieces to this: a) that lacking two biological parents harms child development, and b) that the presence of a mother and father in a family is similarly important. The former case really isn't contested by Pro, as she really just mitigates it by pointing out a number of other factors that are more important to rearing a child. I don't doubt that all of those issues are more important, but these really only become important if I end up seeing reasons why any of these 11 issues is improved by having homosexual parents. Otherwise, all they tell me is that lacking biological parents isn't a big problem.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by bsh1 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I am not assigning argument points or other points since I cannot set aside my personal bias sufficiently to, IMO, cast a valid RFD. However, I will say that I found Con's summarizing the arguments in the final round to be inappropriate, as it effectively gives him an extra round to emphasize his points to the judges. So, I am awarding conduct to Pro, though this won't have any impact on the debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Con. He showed that studies which disagreed with him did not meet scientific standards, often relied on convenience samples, and were frequently bought out. The studies he cited relied on large representative samples and controlling for certain variables at times. As such, I find his information more trustworthy. Sources also go to Con, because, well.. holy sources, Batman.
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Reasons for voting decision: A debate of tremendous quality. A lot of this debate comes from the evidence provided and the arguments. With the sources used, both sides used a great deal, but Con actually attacked the credibility and data from the studies with good efficiency in order to spend more time on his own arguments. He was able to put in numerous studies to back his arguments that in the end of the debate, were more credible than Pro's because of his critiques. Pro's attempts to attack Con's arguments weren't as effective and actually felt did take up debate space for her own arguments. Con's arguments and rebuttals seemed more sharp and to the point, but also focused on specific variables that are highly necessary in this debate about gay parenting. Con's arguments on sexual orientation and rape were right on, as were the arguments regarding the benefits of children having a mother and father. Pro was unable to adequately rebut these points, which were critical to the debate.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
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Reasons for voting decision: This was an excellent debate, although I think Con wins by a very close margin due to his uncontested proof that both fathers and mothers must be present to ensure the best environment do children. Pro also attacks Con's sources for being penned by anti-gay authors, but this would also invalidate her own sources as they're were penned by pro-gay authors. I would also state that the general liberal bias within academic circles means that more research would be done to try and prove that gays are good parents and not to try and disprove it. This would also account for the way that non-liberal study conclusions are disproportionately attacked.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and Grammar: Tied. Conduct: Pro relied strongly on fallacies and straw-manning Con's arguments. Arguments: Read above + Sources gave Con a great deal of credit. Con's arguments maintained strong relevance to the resolution, and help against Pro's criticisms. Pro stuck manly to discrediting Con's arguments, barely little room to put in her own. She didn't make any independent arguments until late in the game. Sources: Con had an empirical array of studies, and when one came into question, he threw out an array of separate studies undoing the criticism. Con also better understood his sources. RFD in Comments. Additions not mentioned in RFD: Pro waited last minute to put forth arguments, giving Con one round to rebut. Pro also criticized a few sources, but mostly dropped the majority of Con's sources. Pro seemed more focused on corrupt tactic-debating and less argument-debating.