Gay and lesbian parenting is debated every day by people on both sides of the coin. Some experts claim there are significant developmental risks associated with having two parents of the same sex. Other experts strongly oppose these beliefs, claiming there is no scientific evidence that gay and lesbian parenting impacts a child in a different manner than heterosexual parenting. The latter experts are supported with various scientific and research publications.
The American Psychological Association published a report in 2006 as part of a partnership with the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association. Authors noted in the publication that children raised by same sex couples were no more likely to present with developmental problems than those raised by male / female parents. In addition, researchers went on to state that any child raised by two parents, no matter the gender or sexual orientation, fared better than a child raised by only one parent.
G.M. Herek, a professor at the University of California, has completed extensive study on the effects of gay and lesbian stereotypes and legislature on adults and children. According to Herek, same sex couples have the same developmental issues as heterosexual couples. There is no known impact of gay and lesbian parents on child development.
The Australian Psychological Society prepared a literary review covering 29 pages on the effects of gay and lesbian parents on children. The review compiled various literary and research studies. According to the review, the determining factor in successful child development is not the sexual orientation of either parent, but the methods and practices used in the parenting process. Ultimately, parenting successfully requires successful parenting techniques in every type of family makeup.
Research studies supporting gay and lesbian parents may even err on the side of positive child development outcome resulting from the same sex union.
“[S]ome new research suggests that lesbian and gay families are in some respects better for children than heterosexual families… Research on the division of parenting and household labour among lesbian co-parents and gay-co-parents has shown a distinct pattern of equality and sharing compared to heterosexual parents, with corresponding positive well-being for the partner’s relationship with each other, and the child’s adjustment.” Jenni Millbank (2003)
“[Despite prejudice and discrimination, lesbians and gay men have often succeeded in creating and sustaining family relationships… the picture of lesbian and gay relationships emerging from this body of work is one of positive adjustment, even in the face of stressful conditions.” Charlotte Patterson (2000)
Taking a scientific perspective, child development issues related to gay and lesbian parenting are not supported by the majority of social science research studies and reviews. Good parenting seems to be more important for successful child development than sexual orientation.
Pawelski, James G., Ellen C. Perrin, Jane M. Foy, Carole E. Allen, James E. Crawford, Mark Del Monte, Mirian Kaufman, Jonathon D. Klein, Karen Smithi, Sarah Springer, Lane Tanner, and Dennis L. Vickers. “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children — Pawelski Et Al. 118 (1): 349 — Pediatrics.” Pediatrics. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 3 July 2006. Web. 09 July 2010.
Herek, Gregory M. “Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships in the United States: A Social Science Perspective.” 2006. Web. 9 July 2010.
Short, Elizabeth, Damien W. Riggs, Amaryll Perlesz, Rhonda Brown, and Graeme Kane. “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).” Review. The Australian Psychological Society, Aug. 2007. Web. 9 July 2010.
Millbank, J. (2003). From here to maternity: A review of the research on lesbian and gay families. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 38, 541-600.
Patterson, C.J. (2000). Family relationships of lesbians and gay men. Journal of Marriage and Family, 62, 1052-1069.