Gay Parents Do Not Warp Their Kids, Research Shows
Abbie Goldberg, an assistant professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., looked at gay parenting from the 1970s to the present in her book, "Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle."
"The sexual orientation of a parent has really little to do with their parenting," Goldberg tells USA Today.
Her research involved interviewing adoptive parents in 30 states. Interviewees included 30 to 35 male couples, 40 female couples and 50 to 60 straight couples. She talked with them three months before the adoption and three months after. Beginning her research in 2005, she has done two annual follow-ups so far.
Goldberg tells USA Today she found no appreciable difference between children from gay and straight parents in terms of their mental health, self esteem, life satisfaction, social skills or number of friends. She added children with gay parents are teased about their parents but don't experience more teasing overall.
And having gay parents doesn't make children gay themselves, she tells the newspaper. There is no indication in her research, she says, that suggests children's sexual preferences are determined by their parents.
Some don't agree. Sociologist Tim Biblarz of the University of Southern California tells USA Today that there have not been enough long-term, large-scale research projects to definitively say what effect the sexual orientation of parents has on children.
One thing is certain: More gay couples are having children. One of five male couples and one in three female couples have children, according to the U.S. Census. Only one in 20 male couples and one in five female couples had children in 1990.
The desire to raise and care for children seems to be an almost universal yearning among human beings.
"Gay men are just as likely to want to parent as straight men, but are less likely to parent because of the barriers in their way," she says.
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