It’s been a long, hard battle, but same-sex couples in America are finally beginning to be granted the same family rights as heterosexual couples have enjoyed for years. As we talked about last month, same-sex adoption is now, for the most part, fully legal in all 50 states. Same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right.
Despite these bounds forward in equality, some people are still concerned for the outcome of children raised by two dads or two moms. Some of this fear is anecdotal or superstitious, arising from unfamiliarity – and the more gay and lesbian parents people start to meet, the more this fear will abate. But for some, their anxiety about same-sex parenting stems from scientific studies that seem to point to negative outcomes for kids raised by gay parents.
What Does the Data Actually Say?
A number of scientific studies have been published on the outcomes of same-sex parenting. In an overwhelming number of cases, the data is clear: When all other factors are equal, the gender of parents has no effect at all on the happiness, health, success or other outcomes of kids. The fact is that the gender of one’s parents is much less important than whether the kids are loved and raised in a stable household.
That’s not to say that all same-sex families are happy. Due to discrimination and differing opportunities, gay and lesbian parents have often faced problems that can cause issues at home and affect the well-being of children. But with the country becoming increasingly welcoming to families of all kinds, these problems should be on the decline – which is great news for the next generation!
To see the data for yourself and get an idea of just how much studying has been done, you can visit the research roundup of same-sex marriage and child welfare established by the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.