One of the constant (fake) retorts given by “thoughtful” anti-gay conservatives about gay parenting is that there haven’t been enough long-term studies on gay parenting for us to know how kids do when raised by gay parents, and until then, we have to assume that all children raised in gay and lesbian families grow up to be addicted to marijuana, gangsta rap, and gay sex. Or something.
Well, a new study just came out in the journal Pediatrics, which followed 78 children raised by lesbian couples for 25 years, and here’s what they found:
The largest study of its kind to date finds that the adolescent children of lesbian mothers rate above their peers in areas like academic competence, social behavior, and psychological adjustment.
Uh oh. They do better.
“The NLLFS has been studying the same group of lesbian families since 1986; it is the only study to have followed the daughters and sons of lesbians from conception to adulthood,” said the news release. “The results released today are based on data gathered when the adolescents were 17 years old. The report also found no differences in the psychological adjustment of NLLFS adolescents who had been conceived by known and unknown donors, nor between those who reported homophobic stigmatization and those who did not.
“Although there are over 40 studies on young children with same-sex parents, data on adolescents reared by same-sex parents are very limited. The current NLLFS report shows that despite homophobic stigmatization, the adolescent daughters and sons of lesbians demonstrate more competencies and fewer behavioral problems than age-matched peers. These findings support the position statements of all major professional associations concerning the well-being of children growing up in lesbian and gay families.”
Now, this isn’t actually an argument that gays are uniquely qualified to raise children, moreso than straight people. Findings that show that our kids do better than their peers are a reflection of the fact that gays and lesbians don’t tend to “accidentally” have children. An interesting course of inquiry would be to follow the lives of children of gay and lesbian families and compare them to a group of children with straight parents who wanted them, planned for them, and had the resources required to raise children. My hypothesis is that the results would be damn near indistinguishable from each other.
The Religious Right can whine all they want (and Concerned Women for America already is) that “common sense” shows that all children need a mother and a father, and if you want to remain willfully uneducated on the subject, you’re free to believe that. But if you look at the mountain of data, the emerging scientific truth is that kids do better with two parents, of any gender combination, who have the time, desire, love, and resources to give those kids the best shot they can in life.
And really, that makes a lot more “common sense” than anything CWA has to say on the subject.