Study: Kids raised by same-sex parents show no difference from those raise by different-sex couples
A new study from the University of Kentucky shows no differences in kids raised by same-sex parents versus different-sex parents. Rachel H. Farr has focused her academic career on the effects and outcomes of children adopted by same-sex couples and this paper expands on that work.
Farr, a University of KT Assistant Professor of Psychology, has studied different aspects of family life among heterosexual, gay and lesbian parents and their adopted children. Her new findings were published online last week by the Developmental Psychology journal.
What sets Farr’s study apart from others is that it is focused on a longitudinal follow-up of nearly 100 adoptive families with school-age children as they matured from early to middle childhood.
While there has been continuous controversy surrounding same-sex parents in regards to comparative parenting skills and the impact on the children, Farr’s study shows no differences among heterosexual and same-sex parent family types.
Over the years, public opinion on gay marriage and gay parenting has changed. According to a Gallop Poll from 2003, when Americans were asked, “Do you think homosexual couples should or should not have the legal right to adopt a child,” 49% of Americans said they should, and 48% said they shouldn’t.
But those numbers have since changed dramatically with a 2014 Gallop poll showing support for same-sex parenting at 63%.
Support for same-sex parents continues to grow thanks to studies like Farr’s.
Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting as well as adoptive parenthood among same-sex couples, also found that children of same-sex parents turn out just fine. Research similar to Farr and Golberg may help to move public debate forward about parenting and child outcomes across a diversity of family forms.
Studies show that it is not the sexual orientation that determines the suitability of parents, but rather their willingness to work as a unit to parent the child. Goldberg’s research stated that same-sex parents may, in fact be better parents than some traditional parents.
“Gay parents tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents,” Goldberg said.
Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared the 2.8 million unintended pregnancies which make up almost 50% of births in the US. That can translate to greater commitment on average as well as more involvement.
“These results, which support many positive outcomes among adoptive families headed by lesbian, gay or heterosexual parents over time, may be informative to legal, policy and practice realms,” said Farr.
But criticism of the practice continues, even from within the community. Last year, fashion duo Dolce & Gabbana told Panorama magazine that gays shouldn’t be parents.
“The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed,” Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana told the influential Italian news magazine.
But folks like Farr, and the research they do, proves otherwise. At least 65,500 adopted children, over 4 percent of all adopted children in the United States, have sexual minority parents and Farr is hopeful that research like hers can help rid the negative ideas that surround diverse families.
“We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience “no differences” compared to children from other parental configurations.”June 30, 2015
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