This Study Confirms Everything You Thought About Lesbian Parents

The kids are just fine, thank you very much. Actually, they're better than your kids.

The Williams Institute found pre-teen Dutch children raised by female same-sex parents to have more democratic attitudes about society than their peers from heterosexual households, according to a report released last week. 32 children from female couple parents were matched with 32 heterosexual parent families on age, gender, parental education level, and parental ethnicity. Children from lesbian households scored "significantly higher" on attitudes regarding "acting democratically, dealing with conflicts, and dealing with differences."

Some critics of same-sex parenting, including Rick Santorum and Justice Antonin Scalia, have claimed it is bad for children and that they are "better off with a father in jail than being raised by lesbian parents." But as Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches homosexual parenting, told LiveScience, gay parents "tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents." Accidental pregnancies rarely happen in homosexual couples compared to almost 50% of the time for heterosexual couples. Choosing to be parents makes a significant difference in whether you will take your parenting responsibilities seriously or not.

Another study found teen boys in same-sex households had grade point averages of about 2.9, compared to 2.65 for teenage boys in heterosexual homes. Researchers at Melbourne University collected data from 500 Australian children and found that those who were growing up in gay versus straight households were equal across the board in terms of self-esteem, emotional well-being, and the amount of time they spent with parents. But when it came to overall health and family cohesion, "the children of gay parents did even better than the national average." 

So while Scalia argues "There's considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences are of raising a child in a … single-sex family," many more studies have concluded that the "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." That's according to Benjamin Siegel, a School of Medicine professor of pediatrics who coauthored a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report goes on to stress the importance of marriage (in general) to advance the healthy and vitality of families, and the children of same-sex couples "should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married." 

The problem is not about whether gay and lesbian couples are good parents. The problem is that gay and lesbian couples do not have the universal right to be married and thus create a sustainable family structure for the benefit of their children's development. And what exactly is wrong with breaking down traditional stereotypes of what a "family" is supposed to look like? What's wrong with being exposed to a nontraditional family structure and thus developing a greater appreciation for diversity?

We constantly hear the need for a stable home environment for our children. Well, why don't we give it to them by legalizing gay marriage across the United States? Do that and then conduct another survey in about 10 years and tell me how more and more kids are doing. My guess is, they'll be more than all right.

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Melanie Breault

Melanie Breault just returned from teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. She now works for a women's nonprofit in Downtown NYC. She earned her bachelor's degree in economic and political journalism from Ithaca College in upstate New York. She likes to tackle issues facing marginalized workers and struggling students in her free time.

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