25 February 2014
Gay Parents As Good As Straight Ones
âMany studies have demonstrated that childrenâs well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parentsâ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents,â Siegel writes with coauthor Ellen Perrin, a Tufts University professor of pediatrics and director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics.
In an interview with BU Today, Siegel acknowledges the limits of all this research: none of the studies has been a randomized, controlled trialâthe Holy Grail of scientific investigationâand all studies of gay parenting are necessarily small, since there arenât many gay parents. The report cites estimates that gay couples and single parents are raising almost two million American children.
Those caveats notwithstanding, âthe preponderance of evidenceâ says Scaliaâs fears are groundless, Siegel says. Does he expect the report to influence either the high court or state legislatures debating gay marriage and adoption? âThatâs my hope,â he says, âand I must say, itâs not a political hope. Itâs a scientific hope.â¦That it will put an end to questioning that people who are homosexual cannot raise children or be foster or adoptive parents.â
Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian
Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma. Many studies have demonstrated that children's well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents' sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. Lack of opportunity for same-gender couples to marry adds to familiesâ stress, which affects the health and welfare of all household members. Because marriage strengthens families and, in so doing, benefits childrenâs development, children should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married. Paths to parenthood that include assisted reproductive techniques, adoption, and foster parenting should focus on competency of the parents rather than their sexual orientation.