Lesbian & Gay Parenting – Let’s Be Rational
January 23, 2012 by Alison Delpercio, Associate Director, HRC Children, Youth & Families Program
There’s been a “buzz” around gay and lesbian parenting recently. You may have heard that Rick Santorum made some comments in New Hampshire that gay parents are “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to. You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true.”) Shall we rationalize? Yes, let’s.
What seems rational is looking at actual evidence of how children with gay and lesbian parents are faring. Lucky enough there’s a study in this month’s Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics that reports on this exact topic. The study, “Quality of Life of Adolescents Raised From Birth by Lesbian Mothers,” found that adolescents with lesbian parents have a quality of life matching those with straight parents. (Read more in a Washington Post article from last week.)
This is not the first study to reflect positively on families headed by gay and lesbian parents. In fact, over 20 years of social science research shows that lesbian and gay parents can be good parents. Another article last week from LiveScience discussed this research and the many strengths that same-sex couples and gay and lesbian individuals bring to the table when it comes to parenting. The article mentions that research has not only shown that kids with gay parents are just as okay as kids with straight parents, research has also shown that kids with gay parents feel “more open-minded and empathetic” than kids with straight parents. (What exactly are these kids being robbed of again??)
The article highlights gay and lesbian adoptive parents. We know that nearly 2 million LGB people in the US are interested in adoption and over 100,000 children and youth are in need of permanent families. Currently, about 65,000 adoptive parents in the US are same-sex couples or LGB individuals. Let’s do the math and imagine all the children and youth who would experience the joy of a permanent family if LGBT people interested in adoption were given the same chance as non-LGBT people to do so. Here at HRC we work to make this a reality through our All Children – All Families initiative. After all, failing to link these children and youth with qualified and loving parents is “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.” Where’s the rationality in that?
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