What We Know—Really—About Lesbian and Gay Parenting

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By Nathaniel Frank
February 12, 2015

Last week a new study was published, concluding that Dutch adolescents with lesbian moms “showed no significant differences” from their peers with opposite-sex parents. This week, another new study was published, concluding the opposite: “Emotional problems were over twice as prevalent … for children with same-sex parents than for children with opposite-sex parents.”

The new research is timely, because the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage this spring, and last time it looked at this issue, in 2013, questions arose about the impact of gay marriage on children. In those hearings, Justice Antonin Scalia stated that there was “considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family [are], whether that is harmful to the child or not.” Justice Anthony Kennedy, however, opted to focus on the “immediate” injury to the 40,000 children in California with same-sex parents. “The voice of those children is important in this case,” he said, “don’t you think?”

So what—really—does the research say about how gay parenting affects kids? And what, if anything, is the link between gay parenting and whether gays and lesbians deserve the right to marry?

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