APA: Gay Parents are A-Okay

The American Psychological Association counters a new study doubting same-sex parents

Photo by Think Stock

As LGBT rights opponents continue to try and discredit same-sex parents (a recent “study” questions gay and lesbian parenting skills, saying that kids of gay and lesbian parents fare worse than those raised in heterosexual families), major scientific and medical associations have spoken up.

The report has already been widely discredited. To start, it was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, groups that are well-known for their support of conservative causes. As a result, even the American Psychological Association (APA) released a statement this week defending its belief that sexual orientation has no bearing on being a good parent:

“On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association (APA) and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”

As early as 2004, the APA Council of Representatives adopted a policy resolution that reiterated that there is no scientific evidence that same-sex parents are somehow less able to care for children. “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,” says the APA.

The association has continued to monitor the research since 2004 and continues to oppose any discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.

“These include concerns that lesbians and gay men are mentally ill, that lesbians are less maternal than heterosexual women, and that lesbians’ and gay men’s relationships with their sexual partners leave little time for their relationships with their children,” says the association. “In general, research has failed to provide a basis for any of these concerns.”

The association also reports that even though exposure to prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation may cause acute distress, there is no reliable evidence that being gay or lesbian impairs psychological functioning.

“Homosexuality is not a psychological disorder,” says APA. “Second, beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation. Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly in their approaches to child rearing. Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners. The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers’ and gay fathers’ parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents. On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.”

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • John Smith

    Can you be any more biased?
    Clearly there are some studies that raise questions, such as the recent US census data showing same sex couple chidren did worse. The attempt was meant to discredit the effect due to income levels, but it did not convince…

    The fundamental idea is children deserve to role model from both a mother and a father…Ask the black community how those fatherless families are working out.

    Indoctrinating a child in a life-style, to borrow Richard Dawson’s logic, is a form of child abuse…Yup LGBT, child abusers, and proud of it.

  • Alison

    Actually John if you read the studies the reason that same-sex parents are just as good as heterosexual parents is largely because there are two parents raising a child instead of one. It’s not because African American’s are being raised without a father that’s necessarily the problem, it’s that they are being raised in a single-parent household where there all of the stress and responsibility is on the one parent to work and provide child care.

    Also, it’s interesting that you say that same-sex parents indoctrinate their kids to a lifestyle for a couple of reasons. One, being gay isn’t a lifestyle, living a healthy life is, but being with someone of the same-sex doesn’t suddenly transform how someone would live their life. Secondly, if same-sex parents were “indoctrinating” their kids, you would expect all their kids to be in same-sex relationships, which isn’t the case. What is the case is they are likely more tolerant of same-sex relationships because they are able to see that same-sex relationships really aren’t that different from heterosexual relationships.

    • John Smith

      Alison,

      You are not paying attention, which of course is expected.

      The recent US census data showed that children of same sex parents did worse in school…What is needed are longitudinal studies to study this further, which we really don’t have…

      Sexual orientation is set early in life, but NOT at birth. It is understood there is a large genetic component, but also an environmental component. Unless you are willing to state the enviroment of two same sex parents is the same as a traditional mother and father, it is clear there is going to be an effect on the child.

      Going further…We now know that most traits are not strictly Mendelian…that is gene expession depends dynamically on environment. Once again, the environment provided by the same sex parents is going to be different than the tradional parents…so once again, we expect an effect.

      Being gay isn’t a lifestyle? Being gay implies a set of beliefs that are not necessarily shared by the rest of society, which LGBT are imposing on the child by their lifestyle example…and that is exactly what Richard Dawkins was talking about— let the child make those decisions when it is older, do not indoctrinate…unless of course you LIKE child abuse.

  • Amber

    Isn’t being heterosexual a lifestyle you’re imposing on your child also? Or Christian?

  • http://www.freecsstemplates.org/ Jim Kretz

    Dreary Day… It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found…

  • http://jaerwygbzuuucl.fr Candyce Moallankamp

    I booked flights myself to Krakow & now I’m just looking sites to book transfers to Zakopane. I’m also looking accommodation & ski passes if anyone has recomendations.