APA: Gay Parents are A-Okay

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

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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.”

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