U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is often quoted as saying, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

With that in mind, a lot of people are pushing the idea these days that moms and dads do not matter in the lives of children–that all that matters is having a “loving family” or even just simply “love” in your life. But do the facts support this opinion?

Here are the facts:

  • University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus published a study in 2012 indicating children who grew up in households where at least one parent had had a same-sex relationship reported more problems than children who did not.
  • Regnerus recently analyzed a study out of Canada showing “children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite sex couples.” As Family Policy Council of West Virginia points out, “This is important data because homosexuals have been legally allowed to marry in Canada since 2005. The study is also important because it uses a sampling size that is 20 percent of the Canadian census.”
  • Next, recently-published data out of Europe shows divorce among homosexual couples jumped by 20% in 2012. Numerous studies have shown that divorce and family instability put children at significant risk for problems later in life.
  • Studies published in 2010 by the Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University revealed only 45% of gay couples are monogamous, and 47% have “sex agreements” that permit infidelity. Again, this type of instability has been shown repeatedly to have negative impacts child development.

What do the facts say about child rearing in married, opposite-sex households?

  • Married couples enjoy stronger relationships with their children, participate more actively in their children’s education, and experience an overall enhanced ability to parent.
  • Children of intact, married families (with a married mom and a dad) are more engaged at school, have higher cognitive scores, and exhibit greater self-control.
  • Married families are less likely to live in poverty; less likely to experience violence or abuse; and couples are less likely to neglect their children than divorced or cohabiting couples.
  • Children, teenagers, and adults from married households have lower mortality rates.

These four facts are just some of many fromĀ 162 Reasons to Marry, which examined more than 100 studies and articles on marriage and family structures.

Opinions may vary, but facts are concrete. If you look at the impartial data, it’s plain to see the best place for children–the most stable environment that is going to contribute the most to child development–is with a married mother and father.

Do Moms and Dads matter? The Data says, “Yes, they do.”