Press Room

January 28, 2005

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Contrary to President’s Claim, Studies Show Sexual Orientation Has No Effect on Parenting Ability

'Every credible study shows that sexual orientation has no effect on parenting ability,' said HRC's Winnie Stachelberg.

WASHINGTON - Challenging comments made by President Bush in an interview with The New York Times, the Human Rights Campaign stressed today that all major research studies show sexual orientation is irrelevant to parenting ability.

"Every credible study has shown that sexual orientation has no effect on parenting ability," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "Adoption should be about what's best for the child, not appealing to a political base. The nation's leading child welfare, psychological and children's health organizations agree that gay parents make just as good parents as straight ones. With so many children in foster care in need of permanently nurturing homes, it's critically important that we put science before ideology when making family policy decisions."

According to the Times, President Bush avoided answering a question on Florida's ban denying gay and lesbian individuals the right to adopt, saying he was unaware of it. The president said that while "children can receive love from gay couples οΎƒ studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."

However, a 2001 meta-analysis of two decades of studies on the topic shows that the sexual orientation of a parent is irrelevant to the development of a child&aposs mental health and social development and to the quality of a parent-child relationship. (See "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" by Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz in the American Sociological Review, April 2001.)

Further, the consensus among leading professional organizations - as stated through policy and position statements - is that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to his or her ability to raise a child. These groups include the: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Anthropological Association, American Medical Association, American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers and North American Council on Adoptable Children. Read their policies and others.

Many organizations also have condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation in adoption, custody and other parenting situations and called for equal rights for all parents and children. Further, several of these organizations also have issued statements declaring that a parent's gender identity and/or physical appearance is irrelevant to his or her abilities as a parent.

"Lawmakers need to look at the evidence when they're making policy," added Stachelberg. "Myths should not dominate discussions about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families."

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