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Children Flourish in LGBTQ Families

LGBTQ Family

“My moms have shown me and the world what a lasting, loving relationship can look like. And when I think of my own wedding, I can’t imagine two better role models to base a family around than my moms.” ~Brian Arsenault, Children’s Voices Amicus Brief: Proposition 8 & DOMA Cases

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation, and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.” A recent study by family experts at the University of Cambridge confirms this conclusion by the APA. In addition, the Williams Institute completed a study showing that as many as 6 million American children and adults have an LGBTQ parent.

Discrimination against LGBTQ families, like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, deprives children of the benefits, rights, and privileges enjoyed with heterosexual married couples. This is one of the key points in the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court by Proposition 8 litigators David Boies and Theodore Olson:

Proposition 8 thus places the full force of California’s constitution behind the stigma that gays and lesbians, and their relationships, are not “okay,” that their life commitments “are not as highly valued as opposite-sex relationships,” Pet. App. 262a, and that gay and lesbian individuals are different, less worthy, and not equal under the law. That “generates a feeling of inferiority” among gay men and lesbians – especially their children – “that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” Brown v. Bd. Of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 494 (1954).

The Williams Institute study, “LGBT Parenting in the United States,” concludes that “an estimated 3 million LGBT Americans have had a child and as many as 6 million American children and adults have an LGBT parent.

Other study results include:

  • More than 125,000 same-sex couple households (19%) include nearly 220,000 children under age 18.
  • More than 111,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 170,000 biological, step, or adopted children.
  • Same-sex couples raising children are four times more likely than their different-sex counterparts to be raising an adopted child. An estimated 16,000 same-sex couples are raising more than 22,000 adopted children in the US.
  • Same-sex couples are six times more likely than their different-sex counterparts to be raising foster children. Approximately 2,600 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 3,400 foster children in the US.
  • More than a quarter of same-sex couples raising children (25.6%) include children identified as grandchildren, siblings, or other children who are related or unrelated to one of the spouses or partners. Approximately 32,000 same-sex couple households include more than 48,000 such children.
  • Same-sex couple parents and their children are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities.

The University of Cambridge study concludes, “It appears that children with same-sex adoptive parents are no more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than children with heterosexual adoptive parents.”

Centre for Family Research director Susan Golombok comments:

“The anxieties about the potentially negative effects for children of being placed with gay fathers seem to be, from our study, unfounded.”

She added: “Overall we found markedly more similarities than differences in experiences between family types.

The differences that did emerge relate to levels of depressive symptoms in parents, which are especially low for gay fathers, and the contrasting pathways to adoption which was second choice for many of the heterosexual and some lesbian parents – but first choice for all but one of the gay parents.”

“Their relationship, which started when I was 7 years old, was such an important example of what a loving, committed relationship should look like that I never thought to question it.” ~Ella Robinson, daughter of Bishop Gene Robinson, Children’s Voices Amicus Brief: Proposition 8 & DOMA Cases (pdf)

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