Same-sex parenting

The effect of same-sex parenting on child development is a highly politicized research topic. Various studies have come to different conclusions. Most studies suffer from sampling bias, too few participants, etc. (see “A Review and Critique of Research on Same-Sex Parenting and Adoption” for an analysis on every study related to same-sex parenting).

The most objective study to-date comes from the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the U.S. Center for Disease Control.  They collect a range of data on civilian households each year. Out of a sample of nearly 1.6 million people, they found a random and representative sampling of 512 children from same-sex parenting homes.  When compared to children raised by married parents of the opposite sex, they were found to have a significantly higher rate of emotional problems and developmental disabilities.  (more…)

An Australian girl who was raised by lesbians and supports both same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting is raising her voice for the children of same-sex couples. She believes the same-sex couple should not be able to deprive the child from knowing their other biological parent.  She describes her own longing to know her father and the deep sense of missing something in her life.

The needs of children should trump the desires of adults. Kids deeply long to be in relationship with both of their biological parents, and do best in that environment. They need the influence of both genders.


Katy FaustBack in February, Katy Faust penned an open letter to Justice Kennedy (whom everyone recognized would be the swing vote on the same-sex marriage case the U.S. Supreme Court decided recently), arguing that he should not make legal provision for same-sex marriage in the U.S.  What makes Katy’s letter so interesting and pertinent to the debate is the fact that her mother is a lesbian and she was raised in a same-sex household.  This gives her an interesting and important perspective on this debate.

Katy points out that the reason government involves itself in the institution of marriage is for the sake of children.  The welfare of children is the only reason for the government to be involved in anyone’s romantic relationships.  She further argues that children have the right to their natural parents and the influence of both genders: “Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right. When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence.”  Same-sex marriage is an injustice because it intentionally robs a child of their fundamental right to both of their parents.


A recent study published in Review of the Economics of the Household is one more study that calls into question the claims of the American Psychological Association and American Sociological Association that when it comes to the effects on children, there is no difference between being raised in a home headed up by male-female parents and a home headed up by same-sex parents.

What did the researchers find?  When looking at the rates of high school graduation, they found that the children of lesbian couples were the least likely to graduate (65% as likely as children of married, opposite-sex couples) – even more unlikely than children of single parents!  They even discovered that male children raised in a lesbian home are less likely to graduate than male children raised in a gay home, and female children raised in a gay home are less likely to graduate than female children raised in a lesbian home.  It appears that when it comes to parenting, moms and dads are not interchangeable.  The gender of one’s parent does have an effect on kids.

The findings are significant because Canada has long supported same-sex couples (marriage benefits since 1997, and marriage since 2005), and the data set is extremely large (a 20% sampling of the Canadian population based on the data contained in the Canadian Census).

For similar studies, see the following:

Studies purporting to show that children raised by same-sex parents fare just as well as children raised by opposite-sex couples are flawed, and new evidence that they fare worse

For a critique of Allen’s study, see Philip Cohen’s analysis.  Mark Regnerus also points out a few limitations of the study, even though he finds the overall study credible and valuable.

HT: Mark Regnerus

Opponents of same-sex marriage often argue that such relationships are detrimental to children.  Advocates of same-sex marriage point to a litany of studies showing that children raised by same-sex couples fare just as well, if not better, as other children. The American Psychological Association referred to 59 such studies when they announced in 2005 that children raised by same-sex couples fare just as well as children raised by opposite-sex couples.

Recently, Dr. Loren Marks from Louisiana State University examined those 59 studies (ranging from 1980 to 2005) the APA cited in support of their conclusion.  He concluded that they were all fraught with methodological problems that undermined their results.  According to the Science Daily report “more than three-quarters were based on small, non-representative, non-random samples that did not include any minority individuals or families; nearly half lacked a heterosexual comparison group; and few examined outcomes that extend beyond childhood such as intergenerational poverty, educational attainment, and criminality, which are a key focus of studies on children of divorce, remarriage, and cohabitation.”[1]  Dr. Marks is careful to point out that this does not mean children raised by same-sex couples do, in fact, fare worse than other children: “The jury is still out on whether being raised by same-sex parents disadvantages children, however, the available data on which the APA draws its conclusions, derived primarily from small convenience samples, are insufficient to support a strong generalized claim either way.”[2]