Just as Republicans are trying their hardest to permanently secure taxpayer funding for adoption agencies that reject LGBTQ couples, studies are showing that children of same-sex parents do just as well — or even slightly better — as kids raised by opposite-sex parents.
We wrote earlier this month about a GOP-backed amendment that would withhold funding to any state that requires taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to serve all clients regardless of religion or sexual orientation. Now, it seems, the amendment is getting new attention following studies from around the world about same-sex parenting.
Last week, a study found that from a mental health perspective, adult children with lesbian parents fared just as well as their peers with opposite-sex parents. This follows an Italian study released in May that found that children with same-sex parents were actually slightly better off psychologically than children with a mom and a dad.
This is interesting news, for sure, though it’s unlikely to persuade those predisposed against same-sex parents. It’s not like they’re persuaded by facts. They don’t care about the children’s mental health; they just care about their right to discriminate based on religion. If they truly cared about reality, this evidence might help convince them that opening up all taxpayer-funded adoption clinics to parents regardless of sexual orientation would be good for the kids. That’s not happening.
The more recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, couldn’t be more clearer in its findings. The researchers for this longitudinal study that began in 1986 looked at data relating to offspring of sexual-minority parents and found that there was “no significant between-group differences with respect to adaptive functioning” or even behavioral or emotional problems.
The second study, in Italy, went even further. It actually said children of gay fathers and lesbian mothers were reported as having “fewer psychological problems than children of heterosexual parents.”
With respect to parental dimensions, gay fathers described themselves as more competent and satisfied with their couple relationship than did heterosexual parents; they also reported higher levels of family cohesion and flexibility than did lesbian mothers and heterosexual parents. The effect of the family type was not predictive of child health outcomes once family process variables were taken into account.
Findings suggested that children with same-sex parents fare well both in terms of psychological adjustment and prosocial behavior. The present study warns policy makers against making assumptions on the basis of sexual orientation about people who are more suited than others to be parents or about people who should or should not be denied access to fertility treatments.
That’s not surprising either. When you’re coming from a non-traditional background, you tend to learn how to cope with your differences early on. These studies, as with all research, needs to be duplicated and is subject to complaints about methodology, but their findings seem fairly straightforward.
So why is it so unlikely that conservatives will ever take these studies seriously? Simple: when you disregard the science, you can make policies are bigoted as you’d like. Republicans have a much stronger desire to please the Religion Right than doing what’s best for those children. It’s not how our secular government should work at all.
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