According to a new Italian study, children raised by gay and lesbian parents develop as well psychologically as those raised by straight parents.
The research, published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, included 125 lesbian women who gave birth using donor sperm, 70 gay men who had a child via a surrogate, and 195 heterosexual couples.
It is the conclusion of researchers that, “children with same-sex parents fare well both in terms of psychological adjustment and prosocial behavior.”
The parents were each given a questionnaire about the family, focusing on the ability to parent their children, and how they adjusted to the task. Their child’s ability to function both psychologically and social was also studied.
The gay and lesbian couples reported fewer difficulties than the heterosexual ones, but both fell well within normal ranges. The only key finding about the parents is that those who felt less competent also felt less satisfied overall with their relationships.
Overall, children of gay and lesbian couples showed fewer psychological problems than those of heterosexuals, and girls tended to be more sociable than boys regardless of the makeup of their families.
“Contrary to our expectations that no differences would be found in the parental dimensions between the family types, gay fathers generally reported themselves as more competent and satisfied in their couple relationship and living in the most cohesive and flexible family environment,” said researchers.
“Overall, it would seem that they tend to have associated better outcomes and actually are not the ones who need additional support in terms of improving children’s outcomes; yet, they are wrongly identified as possibly being worse at parenting.”
The results compare to a 2016 study that included nearly 100 lesbian couples and an equal number of heterosexual couples. In that study, no marked difference between the children of these couples were found.
“The data indicate that same-sex and heterosexual relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent’s sexual orientation is unrelated to her or his ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment,” reads a portion of the abstract for the 2016 study.
For decades, policymakers painted a very different picture, saying that children need to be in a mixed gender household to thrive. These two studies say otherwise.
The new study goes so far as to warn policy makers, “against making assumptions on the basis of sexual orientation about people who are more suited than others to be parents or about people who should or should not be denied access to fertility treatments.”