October 17, 2006

Research Shows Kids of Gay Parents Do Just Fine

To anyone with an open mind or who knows of any children raised by same-sex parents, this is a true DUH headline, but the fact that is was published in the mainstream press will hopefully make some people reconsider their position on adoption by gay parents.

The story in the Madison, Wisconsin State Journal, a state with gay marriage prohibition on the ballot this November, quotes NYU sociology professor Judith Stacey, who claims that anti-gay marriage groups have been dishonest in the way they used data from a study she conducted five years.

I'll give you a moment to get over the shock of that statement.

Moving forward, Stacey has updated her study with new research over the last five years.

"I have been surprised that the differences so far seem to be smaller than I would have guessed," Stacey said.

Stacey, who has always supported gay marriage, is co-authoring an update to the first article that looks at some 80 studies of gay and lesbian parents, single mothers and fathers and their children from several countries.

In the first article, Stacey's study examined potential limitations in the studies' samples of human subjects and methods. Today, there are still holes in what we know, she said, noting that many studies of same-sex parents have focused on well-to-do whites and have neglected minorities and the poor.

But she said a new wave of research is "much solider now," addressing more of those issues as well as children such as Hill, who were born into families of same-sex parents rather than to opposite-sex parents who later split up and took same-sex partners.

"The kids are fine. There's no evidence whatsoever that children of gay and lesbian parents have noticeably different outcomes on mental health," Stacey said of the findings. "They turn out at least as well.

These children may turn out somewhat better, she added. "It's not because of the sexuality but because of selection factors. It's because these are wanted children," Stacey said, noting that same-sex couples have to deliberately set out to conceive or adopt children. "When you're looking at heterosexual parenting, you have a lot of accidental" pregnancies.

There is a lot of interesting detail in the State Journal article, along with the obligatory dissenting opinion by a tool of Focus on the Family, that is worth reading.

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