New research bolsters the case for same-sex parenting

Is there a negative impact of growing up in a home with gay parents? Luckily, this is an area of psychology in which the research is truly conclusive: children have just as much chance to thrive with gay parents as with straight parents. A new study published this fall in the journal Developmental Psychology reaffirms this conclusion, and should serve as reassuring evidence that validates the experience of tens of thousands of gay and lesbian parents raising children in America.

The study followed more than 100 families, all of whom adopted children in infancy from the same set of private agencies in the U.S. All of the families were two-parent families at the time of the adoption. Approximately half of the families were headed by opposite-sex parents and half were headed by same-sex parents (including both lesbian couples and gay male couples). The groups of straight and gay parents were well-matched to one another on demographic variables including parental age, race, employment status, and highest level of education obtained. All of the couples adopted infants who were not biologically related to either member of the couple.

None of the outcome measures showed any difference between families headed by gay versus straight parents. Children’s behavior problems were no different between these groups, whether behavior was rated by parents or teachers. Parental stress and family functioning were no different between these groups. In sum, there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that children generally fared better or worse depending on the sexual orientation of their parents.

The evidence finding no effect of parental sexual orientation on children’s outcomes is so conclusive that more than a decade ago, the American Psychological Association put forth a public policy statement “that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation… children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.” The APA further resolved that it “opposes any discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care, and reproductive health services.” Similar position statements have been articulated by other major professional organizations including the American Medical Association, American Bar Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Child Welfare League of America. Given the accumulation of evidence, it is long past time to fully accept all loving families as appropriate places for raising children.

via Psychology Today