A study has put an anti-gay myth to bed – by proving there is no difference between kids raised by same-sex couples and kids raised by straight couples.
The findings, published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that children of lesbian couples conceived through sperm donation were no more likely to have physical or emotional problems than the children of straight couples.
Researchers compared a group of twenty-five year-olds who had all been raised by same-sex couples to a sample of typical US twenty-five year-olds matched on sex, class, gender and ethnic background.
They found that the cohort raised by same-sex couples were just as happy in their relationships with their friends and family as those raised by straight couples.
The study’s lead author, Nanette Gartrell began recruiting prospective parents in 1987 to deal with a lack of research on the topic, which was needed by judges deciding on child adoption cases, reports the LA Times.
Many of the study’s participants were initially reluctant to take part in the study, Gartrell added, because ” they were worried about having their kids taken away.”
However, because of more relaxed social norms, the study could now begin to answer questions about the offspring of same-sex couples that previously had to be assumed said Gartrell.
The study had previously assessed the children of same-sex couples at ages 10 and 17, and again found no difference between them and children of straight parents.
Ryan Light, a sociologist at the University of Oregon, said the study corresponded with the “overwhelming scientific consensus that children of LGBTQ families experience no differences relative to children raised in heterosexual families on outcomes related to mental and emotional well-being and education, among others.”
Despite the scientific consensus, the well-being of children raised by same-sex couples has remained controversial in the US legal system.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in a 2013 court case on same-sex marriage that “if you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, you must permit adoption by same-sex couples, and there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a in a single-sex family.”
However, in the landmark same-sex marriage ruling in 2015, Justice Kennedy wrote that if children of same-sex couples suffered psychologically, it was because they were being relegated to an unequal status, as their parents were not allowed to marry.
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