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Kids with same-sex parents are as happy and healthy as kids with heterosexual parents

Apr 18, 2016

Credit Elvert Barnes / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

About 210,000 kids under age 18 are being raised nationally by more than 122,000 same-sex couples.

And according to a new study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, these kids turn out just as well as kids with heterosexual parents.

Using the National Survey of Children's Health on emotional and physical well-being, researchers matched 95 same-sex female parent households to 95 different-sex parent based on eight characteristics, including parental age, education and children’s age.

Kids with same-sex parents were just as physically and emotionally healthy, and had coping and learning abilities similar to their counterparts with opposite-sex parents, according to study results.

Relationships between the parents, the parents and child, and parenting stress were found to be more indicative predictors of these behaviors.

The study did note that lesbian parents seem to exhibit higher levels of parenting stress, which Gartell attributed to perceived homophobia. Gartrell said:

Parents feel pressured to justify the quality of their parenting more than their heterosexual counterparts. We also suspect and feel that more study is warranted, but the cultural spotlight on same-sex parenting may be part of the stress.

Looking at the well-being of kids with same-sex parents is nothing new. Researchers have done studies before, and haven't always yielded positive results. This study tried to compensate for the shortcomings of previous studies, which recruited same-sex parent families and had a certain selection bias.

Authors of the new study say they are the first to do a real population-based, "apples to apples" comparison. It is the only study to compare same-sex and different-sex parent households with stable, continuously-coupled parents and their biological offspring, Dr. Nanette Gartrell told CNN.

If you follow State of Opportunity regularly, which we hope you do, you'll know we've talked about the barriers LGBTQ people face to becoming parents, and the importance of family structure.

Research has found that for a child to be well-developed, they need safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments.

People against same-sex parenting have used studies that have found gay parents to have a negative impact on childhood outcomes to support their argument.

But more than 400,000 kids in the U.S. – 13,000 in Michigan –  are in foster care at any given time waiting to be returned to their families or to be placed in a loving home.

So how can we afford to turn away any qualified parent, regardless of sex or sexual orientation?

You can read the full study here.