The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
15 Points

The No Difference Theory is Correct

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,125 times Debate No: 25262
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)




Thank you, 16kadams, for agreeing to debate this topic with me. In this debate, we are going to discuss the no difference theory; namely, the theory that there is no difference between children raised by same-sex couples as opposed to traditional parenting.


The scope of this debate is only whether or not their is noteably difference between LGTB parenting and traidtional parenting. I have the entire burden of proof in this debate.


No semantics. These are the definitions used for this debate.

No difference theory: The no difference theory states ON BALANCE children of gay parents—married or not—have little differences then those raised by married heterosexual couples. "The widely circulated claim that parents engaged in same-sex relationships do just as well as other parents at raising children—a claim widely known today as the "no differences" thesis." (Samuel, 2012)

On balance: On average or usually

So CON argues homosexuals are usually not parents that leave no difference, and they actually have many differences to those raised by heterosexual couples. Pro argues homosexuals raise children that have "no difference" to those raised by heterosexuals.



1. Ana Samuel, The Kids Aren’t All Right: New Family Structures and the “No Differences” Claim.;

Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, 16kadams, for accepting my debate challenge. It is certainly a pleasure to debate you on this topic.

I. Self esteem

Dr. Ellen Perrin noted that, “The vast consensus of all the studies show that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way – in some ways, children of same-sex parenting actually may have an advantage over other family structures – they did better in discipline, self-esteem, and had less psychological difficulties at home and at school.” (Emphasis mine) (Chang) It should also be noted that other studies have shown that same-sex parents also had contact with extended family, social support, and had more equitable division of labour in the home. Consequently, this led to better up-bringing for the child (ibid).

In conclusion, there is no difference in regards to children in regards to their self-esteem. In some ways, LGBT parenting may be an advantage to some children.

II. Commitment

Abbie Pappas, a senior writer from Live Science, reported (Pappas)…:

Gay parents "tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents," said Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting. Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals, Goldberg said. "That translates to greater commitment on average and more involvement."

Research has shown that the kids of same-sex couples — both adopted and biological kids — fare no worse than the kids of straight couples on mental health, social functioning, school performance and a variety of other life-success measures.

In a 2010 review of virtually every study on gay parenting, New York University sociologist Judith Stacey and University of Southern California sociologist Tim Biblarz found no differences between children raised in homes with two heterosexual parents and children raised with lesbian parents.

"There's no doubt whatsoever from the research that children with two lesbian parents are growing up to be just as well-adjusted and successful" as children with a male and a female parent," Stacey told LiveScience.

III. Social behvaiour

Another study done by LiveScience also reports the following (Moskowitz):

"The bottom line is that the science shows that children raised by two same-gender parents do as well on average as children raised by two different-gender parents," said Timothy Biblarz, a sociologist at the University of Southern California. "This is obviously inconsistent with the widespread claim that children must be raised by a mother and a father to do well."

Another study found that kids with two moms or two dads were no more likely than their counterparts in "traditional" homes to engage in delinquent activities, such as damaging others' property, shoplifting and getting into fights.

With regards to the consequence of social behavior, there is no difference.

IV. Final notes: Gay vs. Straight

A. Testimonials from Children

I think it would be important to show what children who have been raised by LGBT parents have thought of their up-bringing.

Jessey Levey notes, “I am well-adjusted to heterosexual whose upbringing proves that love, not gender, makes a family…My family had strong family values. I was raised in a loving, caring household that let me be a free thinker…I’m tired of hearing that their family isn’t legitimate.” (Blake)

In fact, the overwhelming testimonial have been positive. Abigail Garner wrote an entire book, Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell it Like it Is, with multiple cases of times where children of LGBT parents have had literally “no difference.”

Resolution affirmed.


Chang, Louise. Researchers Say Children Who Grow Up in Households With Gay Parents Have Normal Self-Esteem. 12 August 2005. Document. 23 August 2012. < >.

Moskowitz, Clara. 5 Myths About Gay People Debunked. 25 March 2011. Document. August 23 2012. < >.

Pappas, Stephanie. Why Gay Parents May Be the Best Parents. 15 January 2012. Document. 23 August 2012. < >.



Seems the two biggest gay supporters/traditionalists clash on an important social issue.

I. Self Esteem

This point brought up to my opponent brings up strong evidence to one who merely looks at the studies and calls a quits. However, the studies my opponent cited are from 1989 – the late 90’s. Now this is not criticizing the age as in social science age matters little. However, the date is important due to the age of my source. In 2001, two sociologists decided to research the idea of homosexuals being “equal”. Instead of its own data, it merely looked into the accuracy of the previous studies. And, the results where not surprising to say the least, and extremely interesting to say the most. The study found profound systemic and methodological problems in these studies and much of them time extreme bias from the authors. The study concluded:

“We conclude that the methods used in these studies are so flawed that these studies prove nothing. Therefore, they should not be used in legal cases to make any argument about ‘homosexual vs. hetero- sexual’ parenting. Their claims have no basis.”[1]

Now to get specific, these studies found errors have been replicated by many other reports. One was published in 2004, when the famous APA brief decided to take these same studies as “fact”, and two others in 2012. All of these will be cited today. For example, the 2004 results published in a law review found all preexisting studies where flawed and all had problems. My opponent likely agrees: sample size is important, yes? Well sorry to say it: all studies that say no difference have too small of a sample size (except Cameron 1996). Other problems where non-random samples in these studies. Many of them would take wealthy homosexuals and compare to single, middle class, divorced heterosexuals obviously slanting the results in favor to the homosexuals. Many social scientists that have been called by gay activists in the courts actually say they cannot make any valid conclusions, as the evidence is so weak [2].

To conclude, the point my opponent seemed so certain about had no basis [1].

II. Commitment

One must look into the merits of the study my opponent has posted. Using a mere statistic (the only source I could find the sample size on the study) was not surprising. Like all of its ancestors, it has little sample size. It only had 35 lesbian participants [3].

Studies using sample sizes from credible organizations—like knowledge networks, which calculate samples the right size, to be representative of a certain group—reach opposite conclusions. These studies have actually found, on average, children raised in homosexual households do worse then those in heterosexual ones. This study also had the largest sample size in the industry. They have been found more likely to have been molested by parents, and be involved in drugs, crime, and other negative social outcomes then their heterosexual brethren [4].

Also, this 2010 social study was criticized by the one recently cited as it showed the studies in that 2010 brief are flawed (discussed earlier as well) [4].

III. Social Behavior

This study was criticized also, yes the exact one you have cited. The study itself has noted the overall gay parenting has more negatives then positives. The study notes, “Their daunting routes to parenthood seem likely to select more for strengths than limitations.” What does this mean? It means much of the time these homosexuals are previously married and them coming out of the closet leads to much turmoil. It has also been shown the absence of a mother or father (even if it is temporary) harms the children’s development [4].

Lets explain my studies results further. After controlling for marriage laws (he has a weighted system controlling for “possible” marriage “discrimination”). He found even after controlling for marriage those families where much less stable. And as he noted “children like stability”. These homosexuals have more affairs, fights, higher parent molestation rates (sadly), and more of them had gender problems. Most of the population is straight, only 3% is gay, and the study found much higher homosexual rates coming from these homes. This means, likely, these parents can affect these children’s outcomes. Whether this is good or bad is irrelevant—it is still a difference—and I would prefer not get into a debate on whether being gay is ok. Further, he has found based on his interviews a statistically significant difference amongst the groups of their perceived negative impacts. Family of origin negative impacts when comparing heterosexuals and homosexuals had a significance of (P < 0.05) which is significant in this study. Overall academic achievement was also lower in homosexual groups [4].

IV. Personal stories

Many personal stories of different homosexuals have found the opposite effect. These testimonials focus mainly on their grades and such, however many of them feel “confused” on the inside. The study I have been continually using had about 250 kids; all of them have stories of the negative to tell. His is the only study with this very large sample size to say the least. All of these stories are dissenting opinion to my opponent’s case [5].

V. Can Fathers be mothers, and vice versa?

This is, essentially, the heart of the debate. If these two cannot be interchanged, then how will be the same? Luckily for me, they are different. It has been found fathers have “something unique to fathers that provides children with different opportunities to regulate their emotions”. Mothers have also been seen to be very important in early development as well as being able to care for the child in later life. The fathers act as teachers in many ways, and the mothers more as caretakers (even if that is not their goal the child perceives this that way). It has also been found fathers are more strict even then lesbian women, and mothers are calmer and will negotiate more. Both of these are different and a child needs both. Nearly all evidence, (not counted in these evidence reports as it is not directly related to parenting) notes both parents are essential, and missing one of the other is not beneficial. Two men might be good fathers, two women good mothers; neither can be both [6].

This short case above negates the resolution.

VI: Conclusion

In Summary to my opponents “evidence” will be the quote I have already brought up, “Therefore, they [current gay studies] should not be used in legal cases to make any argument about ‘homosexual vs. hetero- sexual’ parenting. Their claims have no basis.”[1]

Resolution clearly negated.

[1] Robert Lerner and Althea K. Nagai, “No Basis: What the Studies Don’t Tell Us About Same Sex Parenting” Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center, (2001)

[2] Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker “Do Moms And Dads Matter? Evidence From The Social Sciences On Family structure And The Best Interests Of The Child” Margins Law Journal, (2004)


[4] Mark Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012)


[6] A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D. “Gender Complimentary and Child-rearing: Where Tradition and Science agree” QUINNEY COLLEGE OF LAW, Vol. 6, (2005)

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your speedy reply. We couldn't be further apart on the social issues so it is a pleasure to be getting to debate you on this topic.

I. Self Esteem

My opponent's source of Robert Lerner and Althea K. Nagai's book is not a reliabls source. They are not serious baout the standards they used to reject gay-parenting studies. This is evidence in the fact that they have not taken these standards serious in their own works. [1]

Second, my opponent cites the issues of the dates. This does not refute the argument. The APA reported in June of 2012 (this year) that "there are no scientific evidnece that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation." (Emphasis mine) [2]. Moreover, this is from "a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children."

Another study by the Louisiana State University stated that "[N]ot a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents." (Emphasis mine) [3]

II. Commitment

My opponent misses the point entirely. My point is to show that there are cases in which same-sex parents are just as committed if not more committed than parents of traditional relationships. Perhaps the reason for the small sampling size is the small number of same-sex parents.

"There's no doubt whatsoever from the research that children with two lesbian parents are growing up to be just as well-adjusted and successful" as children with a male and a female parent," [4]

III. Social Behaviour

The APA reports

"Results of social science research have failed to confirm any of these concerns about children of lesbian and gay parents (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002; Tasker, 1999). Research suggests that sexual identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same ways among children of lesbian mothers as they do among children of heterosexual parents (Patterson, 2004a). Studies of other aspects of personal development (including personality, self-concept, and conduct) similarly reveal few differences between children of lesbian mothers and children of heterosexual parents (Perrin, 2002; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001; Tasker, 1999). However, few data regarding these concerns are available for children of gay fathers (Patterson, 2004b). Evidence also suggests that children of lesbian and gay parents have normal social relationships with peers and adults (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002; Stacey & Biblarz, 2001; Tasker, 1999; Tasker & Golombok, 1997). The picture that emerges from research is one of general engagement in social life with peers, parents, family members, and friends. Fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by adults, ostracized by peers, or isolated in single-sex lesbian or gay communities have received no scientific support. Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents." [5]

The study that my opponent cited is also seriously flawed.

The trouble is, this is not what Regnerus' study shows. Not by a long shot. And the claims he makes play into a long-standing pattern of conservative scholars and activists misinterpreting the data on LGBT families.

While Regnerus critiques "same-sex couples" raising kids, his study does not actually compare children raised by same-sex couples with those raised by different-sex couples. The criterion it uses is whether a parent "ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex." In fact, only a small proportion of its sample spent more than a few years living in a household headed by a same-sex couple. Indeed, the study acknowledges that what it's really comparing with heterosexual families is not families headed by a same-sex couple but households in which parents broke up. "A failed heterosexual union," Regnerus writes in the study, "is clearly the modal method" — the most common characteristic for the group that he lumps in with same-sex-headed households. For example, most of the respondents who said their mothers had a lesbian relationship also endured the searing experience of having their mothers leave the household as the family collapsed. [6]

In other words, the person my opponent cited concluded that when families endure a shattering separation, it is likely to shatter the lives of those in them. How does this study show that there is any difference between same-sex parenting and traditional parenting?

Apologies, but I'm out of time. I've been super busy these past few days. Sorry my bibliographies are not as formal as they should be. I look forward to the final round.


1. For more information on these standards, see;
3. Ibid
5. Paige, R. U. (2005). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from the World Wide Web;. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)



Don’t now what to say in this top part…

I. Self Esteem

Tempted to re-name this to overall as it is really addressing everything in the debate and the rest are sub-categories.

My opponent makes a case against my argument, which seems convincing (against Lerner Nagai 2001). However, before refuting this point, lets assume my opponent is right. Ok, mindset pro is right. Does this refute something? Yes, does it invalidate the point? No. Other reports published in the same year agree with the Lerner report.

1. In 2001, Sociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy Blartz looked into the no difference claim and actually found the “no differences” conclusion to be highly flawed and proper analysis of the data shows significant differences among those raised by heterosexual and homosexual parents. Their study claims to challenge the no difference claims after their results where gathered. They find a higher rate of children raised by gay parents end up homosexual (meaning the environmental factors hijack other sexuality factors), children of lesbians specifically are more sexually active then heterosexuals, men raised by lesbians are more feminine as they are often taught not to abide by the “social norms”. It notes many of the study make correct claims but false conclusions—for example, its true most children raised by homosexuals are gay, however they have higher rates of homosexuality, meaning being raised by homosexuals makes it more likely you are different. Although it is clear they are different based on this, they make their conclusions no difference—however they turn their conclusions to fit the numbers incorrectly. They are not good at jigsaw puzzles [1].

2. Still on the point above, another study done in 1997 looks into the similar studies (+/- a few based on age) that reach similar conclusions. Lynn D. Wardle writes in the Illinois Law Review, “Thus, collectively, the social sciences studies purporting to show that children raised by parents who engage in homosexual behavior are not subject to any significantly enhanced risks are flawed methodologically and analytically, and fall short of the standards of reliability needed to sustain such conclusions.”[2]

3. Now Lets Defend Lerner (out of the pro is right mindset). My opponent’s source really does not attack the study rather the messenger. Its methodology it argues against is hypothetical. It argues their biased, and therefore their standards are wrong. It does not cite specific examples, though it cites the ACLU many times, which we all know is balanced (lol). But lets examine the Lerner findings, as many of their standards are universal. They cite missing or weak comparison group. In their book (can be found online) they show many of the comparison groups simply do not exist. If they do not exist then they are non-existent, good standard yes? Weak control groups is like comparing rich homosexuals to poor single parent heterosexuals. Basic poverty line and data the other studies gather is strong. It is an obvious standard universally accepted. Too small of a sample size. Regenerous in his study I cited last round used knowledge networks (copyright) which generate proper sample sizes for certain groups and is used in many modern studies requiring sample sizes. His sample size was 256 I believe. Lerner and Nagai look into the sample sizes in all of these studies and find weak sample sizes in all of them except 1 study in 1996. If you read their book, you actually see the “biassed” standards are logical and they cite many social science resources to prove their standards are strong. Instead of trusting a biased blog, read the source [3].

My opponent cites the APA. I will refute their analysis in the III.

3. My opponent cites a 2012 analysis looking into the studies. As argues, these studies have many flaws and just because the brief mentions them do not mean they are perfect [2][3]. And, anyway, I have already cited two dissenting studies on the matter. I will likely cite a third this round. Also note all of the studies I have cited where deemed “credible” by a recent study (Marks 2012).

II. Commitment

I missed the point of the rebuttal? I looked at your livescience link and googled the studies methodology. I showed the studies sample size was miniscule and likely not representative of the gay and straight community. Showing the source of the sources (odd…) claim is not valid, rearguing the point does not make the study any more credible. If the study is false, we cannot claim the argument is correct. Unless another is brought up, of course.

III. Social behavior

1. My opponent cites the famous APA brief which claims the no difference claim is a fact. However, a comprehensive look at the data shows the APA conclusion does not hold together. As Loren Marks notes in the social science research journal, “Differences have recurred in connection with myriad issues of societal-level [in children raised by homosexuals] concern including: (a) health, mortality, and suicide risks, (b) drug and alcohol abuse, (c) criminality and incarceration, (d) intergenerational poverty, (e) education and/or labor force contribution, (f) early sexual activity and early childbearing, and (g) divorce rates as adults. … Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.”[4]

Citing the APA was not a good choice as the scientific attacks on it have been strong [4].

2. My opponent claims he does not directly compare the groups, then uses a faulty definition of homosexual. First, if he does not compare them why does he have a section titled “Comparisons with still-intact, biological families”? And his definition was actually quite strong. He notes that most homosexual parents actually come out and affect the child for a few years. This, he shows, is a homosexual behavior meaning less stable households. He says children like stability. And as homosexuals cannot provide this, they give the worse outcomes. If you actually look at the definition, and the behavior of [some] homosexuals, we see it is logical their children have different outcomes [5]. And a 1996 study finds differences in the homosexual and heterosexual raised children also. They find: Language Achievement Married 7.7, Cohabiting 6.8, Homosexual 5.5 Mathematics Achievement Married 7.9, Cohabiting 7.0, Homosexual 5.5 Social Studies Achievement Married 7.3, Cohabiting 7.0, Homosexual 7.6 Sport Interest/Involvement Married 8.9, Cohabiting 8.3, Homosexual 5.9 Sociability/Popularity Married 7.5, Cohabiting 6.5, Homosexual 5.0 School/Learning Attitude Married 7.5, Cohabiting 6.8, Homosexual 6.5 Parent-School Relationships Married 7.5, Cohabiting 6.0, Homosexual 5.0 Support with Homework Married 7.0, Cohabiting 6.5, Homosexual 5.5 Parental Aspirations Married 8.1, Cohabiting 7.4, Homosexual 6.5 [6]Homosexuals are the WORST group in all of these categories

IV. My case



All of pros studies are flawed, all of my studies have been defended, and my case was dropped by my opponent. As we can see, the balance of evidence is in my favor. Vote CON.

[1] Judith Stacy and Timothy J. Biblarz, “(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?” American Sociological Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, (April 2006).
[2] Lynn D. Wardle, “The Potential Impact of Homosexual Parenting on Children.” University of Illinois Law Review, (1997)
[3] To see if it was online I found this link, I request my opponent reads:
[4] Loren Marks. "Same-sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting." Social Science Research 41.4 (2012)
*source 5 & 6 in comments*
Debate Round No. 3


I have been super busy with school and am unable to post. Vote con. (My opinions have far from changed)

Here is a picture:

This is how 16kadams and contradiction sound at times

One of the many reasons why I dislike conservatives.



My opponent has conceded and, therefore, I win.

I could rebut the pictures, but this isn't an SSM debate so it has no effect.

These link refutes most of that anyway:

Vote con
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 4 years ago
Continued RFD: studies that remained the bastion of his entire arguments.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
[5] Mark Regnerus, "How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study," Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012)

[6] S. Sarantakos, "Children in three contexts: Family, education, and social development." Children Australia, (1996)
Posted by MouthWash 4 years ago
Well, this looks much better than that mess Danielle made of our debate...
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
I would like to see that too
Posted by Microsuck 4 years ago
Sorry my rebuttals were not as strong as they should be. My next round will hopefully be better. I'd love to see a debate between you and Danielle on this topic!
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Great arguments by both sides. Following.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
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Reasons for voting decision: 16kadams obviously refuted Microsuck sources and earned a concession and in addition completely blew him out of the water.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro has conceded to Con due to preexisting pressures that would have completely undermined his performance in the debate, though his decision to do so a least merits a point for conduct for deciding to end the debate with a sense of courtesy (i.e. without forfeits instead). Update: As far as the course of the debate shows, Pro narrowed himself into a corner by not only failing to respond to Con's case but providing weaknesses that stand in sharp contrast to those provided, in respect to his...