Is having same-sex parents a disadvantage for a child? The conventional wisdom says that there is no difference from having heterosexual parents. Politicians, journalists, academics, governments, and courts seem to have reached a consensus on the issue. Questioning this orthodoxy results in accusations of irrational bias and homophobia.However, Walter R. Schumm, of Kansas State University, insists that the “no differences” issue is far from settled. As he documents in his 120-page article, “A Review and Critique of Research on Same-Sex Parenting and Adoption” in the on-line first section of the journal Psychological Reports, most studies are flawed, inconclusive, or small-scale. And many troubling issues surface which never reach the media or the courts. Highlights of the study include the following findings:
same-sex relationships are less stable.Everyone agrees that children thrive in a stable home and suffer if their parents separate and re-partner. “Research to date indicates that gay and lesbian parents have less stable relationships than heterosexual parents,” Schumm concludes.
Outcomes of same-sex parenting. It is often argued that children of LGBT parents suffer no harm whatsoever. A closer examination of the evidence, even by LGBT academics, shows that there is “some empirical evidence that children of gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents may experience life problems suggestive of difficulties in psychological adjustment (lower self-esteem, difficulties with secure attachments, substance abuse, precocious sexuality, sexually transmitted infections, criminal activity, difficulties in educational progress, need for psychotherapy, eating disorders, depression, etc.), as well as differences in gender role attitudes or behaviors”.
children adopted by same-sex parents? Most of the studies are very small and nearly all of them were conducted amongst well-educated, wealthy couples.“The results of most available studies can tell us little about sexual orientation and adoption for low to moderate socioeconomic status families or for families who have adopted several children,” Schumm writes. “In addition, few of the studies involved adoptions of older (e.g., teenage) children, limiting our insight into how sexual orientation might interact with age.”
“All of these concerns with the limitations of research concerning LGBT issues should raise red flags about any attempt to achieve scientific consensus prematurely, even if for a good or noble cause. If anyone is motivated to avoid a rush to judgment or a rush to consensus, it should be scientists including social scientists.”
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