Son of 'two moms' defends Regnerus study on same-sex parenting

A professor raised by two women has defended sociologist Mark Regnerus, who is under investigation for academic "misconduct" following an activist's complaint about his work on same-sex parenting.

"The children of same-sex couples have a tough road ahead of them – I know, because I have been there," wrote Robert Oscar Lopez, who teaches English at California State University--Northridge, in his Aug. 6 Public Discourse essay "Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children's View."

The essay was published by the Witherspoon Institute, which was involved in funding the Regnerus study. In it, Lopez describes his "very difficult" upbringing, and thanks Regnerus for highlighting the experiences of others like himself.

Published in the Social Science Research journal, Regnerus' June 2012 findings showed that adult children of same-sex households tend to have lower incomes, more physical and mental problems, less stable relationships and higher crime rates.

Blogger Scott Rose, who advocates homosexual "marriage" on the New Civil Rights Movement site, wrote a complaint to Regnerus' university which resulted in the professor being investigated for alleged scholarly "misconduct."

Lopez, a married man with a complex personal history, said in his essay that Regnerus is under attack for highlighting "what the gay activist movement has sought laboriously to erase, or at least ignore."

"Whether homosexuality is chosen or inbred, whether gay marriage gets legalized or not, being strange is hard," wrote Lopez, who identifies as bisexual "because it would take several novels to explain how I ended up 'straight' after almost thirty years as a gay man."

"When your home life is so drastically different from everyone around you, in a fundamental way striking at basic physical relations, you grow up weird," the California State University professor reflected.

"I have no mental health disorders or biological conditions. I just grew up in a house so unusual that I was destined to exist as a social outcast."

The effect of such an upbringing "takes a mental toll, makes it harder to find friends, interferes with professional growth, and sometimes leads one down a sodden path to self-medication in the form of alcoholism, drugs, gambling, antisocial behavior, and irresponsible sex," he attested.

Raised by his mother and her "female romantic partner" between 1973 and 1990, Lopez was his mother's youngest child and the only member of the family whose childhood did not include his father.

"In other words, I was the only child who experienced life under 'gay parenting' as that term is understood today," he noted.

Lopez expressed love for his mother, but said that "growing up with gay parents was very difficult, and not because of prejudice from neighbors." He had "no male figure at all to follow," while his mother and her partner "were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers."

"As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others," he observed. "Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily."

The English professor pointed out that most adults who identify as homosexuals had the advantage of being "reared in a traditional home." Lopez, lacking traditional role models of either sex, "suffered because of it, in ways that are difficult for sociologists to index."

Lopez came to identify as bisexual in college, before dropping out of school and becoming involved "in with what can only be called the gay underworld. Terrible things happened to me there," he said.

Later, he was surprised to become romantically involved with a woman. He married and became a father, choosing to "put aside my own homosexual past" and vowing "never to divorce my wife or take up with another person, male or female, before I died."

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"I chose that commitment in order to protect my children from dealing with harmful drama, even as they grow up to be adults," he wrote. "When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest – forever."

Lopez did not participate in Regnerus' study on the children of same-sex couples, but began corresponding with him after the work was published. In his essay, he thanked the sociologist for highlighting life experiences he believes some homosexual activists might prefer to overlook.

Part of the controversy surrounding the Regnerus study stems from its funding by the Witherspoon Institute, known for its social conservatism. Lopez also describes himself as a conservative, and anticipated activists' response to his defense of the University of Texas at Austin professor.

"Many have dismissed my story with four simple words: 'But you are conservative.' Yes, I am. How did I get that way? I moved to the right wing because I lived in precisely the kind of anti-normative, marginalized, and oppressed identity environment that the left celebrates," he wrote.

"I am a bisexual Latino intellectual, raised by a lesbian, who experienced poverty in the Bronx as a young adult. I'm perceptive enough to notice that liberal social policies don't actually help people in those conditions. Especially damning is the liberal attitude that we shouldn't be judgmental about sex."

"So yes, I am conservative and support Regnerus's findings," Lopez wrote. "Or is it that Regnerus's findings revisit the things that made me conservative in the first place?"

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