New Study: No Scientific Reason to Discriminate against LGBT Parents
October 25, 2012 by Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program
A new UCLA study is just the latest piece of scientific evidence to reiterate the fact that gay and lesbian people make sound parents and provide healthy, nurturing homes for kids in need. The findings of the report stand in stark contrast to the empty rhetoric tossed about irresponsibly by many who oppose LGBT equality. Groups like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage love to directly tarnish the ability of gays and lesbians to rear children, but there is simply no reliable scientific evidence on their side.
The study, published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, is timely – National Adoption Month kicks off next week. During this time especially, we have an obligation to communicate clearly and effectively that not only do LGBT parents do a wonderful job raising children, but that there are resources available to help them navigate the often-complicated terrain of adoption.
This study looked particularly at high-risk kids – defined as those between the ages of four months to 8 years in age and possessing risk factors including premature birth, prenatal substance exposure, abuse or neglect, and multiple prior placements. The study showed that kids adopted by heterosexual parents and those adopted by gay or lesbian parents didn’t develop any differently. In fact, the report found that children raised by gay or lesbian parents “achieved significant gains in their cognitive development, and their levels of behavior problems remained stable. Their IQ scores increased by an average of 10 points, from about 85 to 95 — a large increase, from low-average to average functioning.”
The same-sex couples included in this study adopted from Los Angeles County, and it’s no surprise that with L.A. County as the first public agency in the U.S. to earn HRC’s All Children—All Families seal of recognition they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of highly motivated same-sex couples and LGBT individuals coming through their doors. Sixty other agencies currently participate in the All Children—All Families initiative and have made a public commitment to welcoming and supporting LGBT foster and adoptive parents.
There are currently more than 100,000 children in foster care who urgently need a home. This study is a reminder that we must build up all families, not lash out against LGBT people who want to open their hearts and their homes to children in need. If you are looking for information on adoption services or adoption law in your state, visit HRC’s resources on parenting and the list of adoption and foster care agencies participating in All Children—All Families.
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