Ignoring Facts, Right-Wing Media Attack Same-Sex Parenting

››› ››› MELODY JOHNSON

In the wake of President Obama's endorsement of marriage equality, right-wing media have criticized same-sex marriage by arguing that the children of heterosexual marriages fare better "economically, educationally, and emotionally" than children of same-sex partnerships. However, studies have shown that the "adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation."

Right-Wing Media Claim "Children Do Best With A Mom And A Dad ... Economically, Educationally, And Emotionally"

FRC's Perkins: "The Evidence Is Overwhelming" That "Children Do Best With A Mom And A Dad." During the May 10 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins claimed, "We make policy based on what's best for society as a whole. The evidence is overwhelming. Children do best with a mom and a dad. They do best economically, educationally, and emotionally." [MSNBC, Hardball, 5/10/12, via Media Matters]

Wash. Times' Kuhner: Same-Sex Couples Lack "The Balance And Harmony Necessary For The Healthy Development Of Children. In his May 10 Washington Times column, Jeffrey Kuhner wrote:

This is nonsense. Most Americans are neither intolerant nor bigoted. Rather, they understand that marriage is the basic institution of society. For thousands of years in the West, it has had a privileged role. Marriage solidifies the bonds between a man and a woman, laying the foundation for raising children in stable families. It is the glue that binds a functioning, viable social order. Marriage is the natural unit that enables society to perpetuate itself from one generation to the next. This is not hate; it's common sense.

[...]

Secular liberals are engaged in social engineering. They are fostering the myth that women and men are the same and interchangeable. According to Mr. Obama, a child needs two committed and loving parents - regardless of their gender. This is fantasy. A child needs a committed mother and father. Women and men are profoundly different; they have distinct natures, with unique biological, emotional and psychological characteristics. It is the fusion of these two divergent genders that provides the balance and harmony necessary for the healthy development of children. Hence, same-sex "marriage" is an oxymoron. It is akin to redefining gravity: an act of hubris destined to fail. [The Washington Times, 5/10/12]

But Studies Show That Children's Well-Being Is "Unrelated To Parental Sexual Orientation" ...

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Study: "Children Raised By Gay And Lesbian Parents Fare Comparably To Those Raised By Heterosexuals." A March 2006 study conducted by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute found:

Against a backdrop of increasing public acceptance, social science research concludes that children reared by gay and lesbian parents fare comparably to those of children raised by heterosexuals on a range of measures of social and psychological adjustment.

The report further found that "Studies on gay and lesbian parenting support the position that children are not disadvantaged" by being raised by gay and lesbian parents. [Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 3/1/06]

APA: "There Is No Scientific Evidence That Parenting Effectiveness Is Related To Parental Sexual Orientation." A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in July 2004 concluded that "there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation: lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children." [APA, 7/30/04]

APA: "Psychological Well-Being Of Children Is Unrelated To Parental Sexual Orientation." From the same 2004 APA study: "[R]esearch has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish." [APA, 7/30/04]

... And In Some Cases Children Of Same-Sex Couples Fare Better

American Academy Of Pediatrics: Children Of Same-Sex Couples Are "More Tolerant Of Diversity And More Nurturing Toward Younger Children" Than Those Of Heterosexual Couples. From a February 1, 2002, American Academy of Pediatrics report:

[G]rowing up with parents who are lesbian or gay may confer some advantages to children. They have been described as more tolerant of diversity and more nurturing toward younger children than children whose parents are heterosexual. [American Academy of Pediatrics, 2/1/02]

Author Of Parenting Study: Children Raised In Lesbian Families Have "Higher Levels Of [Psychological] Competency And Lower Levels Of Behavioral Problems." According to Dr. Nanette Gartrell, co-author of the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study:

The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers -- whether the mother was partnered or single -- scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.

"We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls," says Gartrell. "I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn't something I anticipated." [Time Magazine, 6/7/10]

Psychologist Abbie Goldberg: Gay Parents "Tend To Be More Motivated, More Committed Than Heterosexual Parents." According to Clark University psychologist Abbie Goldberg, who studies LGBT parenting, gay couples "tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents." From a January 15 Live Science article:

Gay parents "tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents," said Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting. Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals, Goldberg said. "That translates to greater commitment on average and more involvement."

The Life Sciences article went on to say that "while research indicates that kids of gay parents show few differences in achievement, mental health, social functioning and other measures, these kids may have the advantage of open-mindedness, tolerance and role models for equitable relationships, according to some research. Not only that, but gays and lesbians are likely to provide homes for difficult-to-place children in the foster system, studies show. "[Life Science, 1/15/12]

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