The Myth That Same-Sex Parenting Makes No Difference

It’s often claimed there’s no difference in the lives of children raised by same-sex couples when compared to the lives of children raised by heterosexual couples. Recent research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, drawing on the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, suggests there is a difference. The children raised by lesbian couples were compared with a sample of children from the 2013–2015 National Survey of Family Growth, which is a nationally representative database of families.

It turns out—not surprisingly in my opinion—that same-sex parenting does affect children. Of adult female children not raised by lesbian couples, 87.8% identified as “heterosexual or straight” while only 70.3% of children raised by lesbian couples identified as “heterosexual or straight.” Of adult male children not raised by lesbian couples, 97.6% identified as “heterosexual or straight” while only 89.7% of children raised by lesbian couples identified as “heterosexual or straight.” The researchers concluded that “25-year-old offspring of lesbian parents were significantly more likely to report same-sex attraction, sexual minority identity, and same-sex sexual experiences.”

It’s probably no longer a major concern in people’s minds whether same-sex parenting has any effect (whatever that effect might be) on children. The “no difference” myth was believed long enough. Same-sex marriage is now legal and, consequently, so is same-sex parenting. Since demonstrating that same-sex parenting affects children won’t likely jeopardize same-sex marriage laws or policy very much, it won’t surprise me if additional research continues to dispel the “no difference” myth. It does make me wonder, however, what other “conventional wisdom” our culture believes about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, and fluidity in sexual attractions will go out the door if it’s fairly researched.

blog post |
Alan Shlemon

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