LGBT Parenting Policy in the United States
Recent datasets show that many lesbians and gay men are parenting and many more have a desire to parent at some point in their lives. An estimated 27% of same-sex couples identified in Census 2000, over 600,000 couples, have a child under 18 living in the home with them. Black, Hispanic and Latina female same-sex couples are parenting at nearly twothirds the rate of white female same-sex couples, while Black, Hispanic and Latino male same-sex couples are parenting at twice the rate of white male same-sex couples. Among individuals, more than 35% of lesbians aged 18-44 have given birth, while16% of gay men have had a biological or adopted child.
Social Science Research
Over 25 years of scientific research has shown that children of gay parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as other children. Studies have focused on a variety of topics, including psychological, emotional, social, and cognitive development, as well as quality of parenting and gender and sexual development of the children. All reputable studies have found that the sexual orientation of parents does not affect children's development, gender identity, or sexual orientation in any way, except for that in some cases children raised by lesbian parents may feel less constrained by gender stereotypes than children raised by heterosexual parents. The factors critical to a child's development-quality of parenting, quality of relationship between the parents (if there is more than one), and availability of adequate economic resources-are not impacted by a parent's sexual orientation.
Mainstream Experts' Support for Gay Parenting
Scientific evidence has prompted numerous mainstream health and child welfare organizations to adopt policies opposing restrictions on lesbian and gay parenting, including the following:
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (1999)
- American Academy of Family Physicians (2002)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2002)
- American Bar Association (1995, 1999, 2003)
- American Psychiatric Association (1997, 2002)
- American Psychoanalytic Association (2002)
- American Psychological Association (1976, 2004)
- American Medical Association (2004)
- Child Welfare League of America (1988)
- National Association of Social Workers (2002)
- North American Council on Adoptable Children (1998; amend.2002; amend.2005)
Reprinted with permission from Family Equality Council. © Family Equality Council.
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