Children of Same-Sex Couples Flourish
In previous decades, some argued that children of same-sex couples might suffer from psychological or developmental problems. The results of a new long-term study now confirm that this is not the case. In fact, children of same-sex couples appear to have greater social and academic skills and are less likely to be aggressive or to engage in rule-breaking behavior than children of heterosexual couples.
For more than 20 years, researchers followed the children of 77 same-sex couples from conception to adolescence. The study asked lesbian mothers who had conceived their children through donor insemination to rate their teenage children based on a standardized assessment. The teenagers also completed a psychological questionnaire. The results showed that children of same-sex couples had fewer social problems, were more competent in school, broke fewer rules, and were less aggressive. The children also appeared to do well in life regardless of whether or not they knew the identity of their biological father.
Teenagers who were subject to bullying or homophobia, however, were more likely to be anxious and to experience depression than their peers who were raised by heterosexual couples. Researchers suggest that this finding supports the notion that stigmatization is the root of problems for children of same-sex couples rather than any differences in parenting style. Previous studies have yet to uncover any significant negative differences between children raised by same-sex couples and those raised by heterosexual couples.
Approximately 25 million children in the United States are currently living with same-sex parents. In addition, the rate of homophobia is now on the decline. The results of this study are important for reducing stigma and opening doors for same-sex parents in America. However, additional studies will undoubtedly be needed in order to examine this issue more closely and from a wider range of perspectives.