Having a Gay Parent Doesn’t Affect a Child’s Development

A report suggests that the almost two million children being raised by gay couples and single gay parents in the US show as positive outcomes for wellbeing as children raised in straight households.

The report has been co-authored by Benjamin Siegel, a professor of paediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, and Ellen Perrin, professor of paediatrics and director of development and behavioural paediatrics at Tufts University.

Their study was published in the American Academy of Paediatrics a week before a Supreme Court judge, Justice Antonin Scalia, suggested that sociologists and psychologists were divided over whether safe-sex parents are good for children. However, the paediatrics expert believes the evidence contained in his report shows that there is solid scientific evidence to show that gay parents make no difference to the social and health outcomes of their children.

The report explored and analysed several longitudinal studies of gay and lesbian parents, concluding that a child’s wellbeing is affected more by relationships with their parents and how secure family life is than by either parental gender or sexual orientation.

One study included in the report is the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study that has been following 154 lesbian mothers since 1986. Recently it questioned 78 adolescents to compare how both mothers and children compared in their self-reported status against national samples.

Mothers said their children were highly socialised, had fewer social problems and showed less aggressive and bad behaviour than other children of their age. For their part, the adolescents’ reported a similar quality of life to children who lived with heterosexual parents.

Other studies analysed for Siegel and Perrin’s report included three in the US and Europe that covered lesbian mothers and adult children with parents in a same-sex relationship. Again there was no difference in outcomes for children of gay people compared to those of children with heterosexual parents.

The report appears to provide hard evidence that children fare no worse being raised in a gay household.

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