Kenneth Faried

Kids With Gay Parents Just As Happy And Healthy As Other Kids, Not-Surprising Survey Confirms

Researchers compared partner relationships, children’s physical and emotional health, and other key factors.

According to a new study from the Williams Institute, households with same-sex parents show no differences from those with opposite-sex parents in regards to partner relationships, parent-child relationships, children’s physical and emotional health, the children’s coping skills and learning behavior, and more.

While studies have been done on LGBT families before, this is the first to focus on ones with parents that have continuously been in a relationship. Using data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, 95 lesbian-headed families were matched to 95 heterosexual clans with similarities in age, education, ethnicity, location and other factors.

Researchers said they found no statistical differences when it came to family relationships and child outcomes, but same-sex parents reported more parenting stress.

April DeBoer, Jayne Rowse
Paul Sancya

“Future investigations might explore whether the cultural spotlight on child outcomes in same-sex parent families is associated with increased parenting stress,” said co-author Nanette Gartrell. “Some of our earlier studies have shown that lesbian mothers feel pressured to justify the quality of their parenting because of their sexual orientation.”

Gartrell’s study puts the final coffin nail in the 2012 report by sociologist Mark Regnerus that claimed children of same-sex parents were more likely to be depressed, financially unstable and battling substance abuse, among other negative outcomes.

Mark Regnerus

Regnerus’ methodology was quickly challenged by mainstream researchers and, as New York magazine wrote, he “made extremely questionable assumptions and committed elementary ’data-cleaning’ mistakes” that pretty much invalidated his results.

“If he were one of my students I’d make him redo the paper,” said Simon Cheng, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut who revisited Regnerus’ analytics.

Of course that hasn’t stopped anti-equality forces from trotting out the Regnerus study in their attacks on marriage equality. Somehow we don’t think they’ll be emailing each other copies of Gartrell’s report.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.