Responses to the most frequent objections

Parenting & Family: responses to the most frequent objections

Does lesbian and gay parenting harm children?

No. There is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the claim that LGBT parenting harms children. Psychologist Charlotte Patterson reports that "not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. To the contrary, social science research indicates that LGBT individuals and same-sex couples can parent as well as their heterosexual counterparts and, in fact, may be better at managing disagreements than heterosexual parents. Children of gay and lesbian parents are as happy, healthy and emotionally well-adjusted as other children, have good relationships with their peers (although sometimes they are subject to anti-gay harassment), and are less inclined to hold stereotypical understandings of gender roles and more likely to be tolerant of differences in others. Research on transgender parents has made similar findings.

Are married heterosexual parents better than lesbian and gay parents?

No. Studies show that lesbians and gay men make just as good parents as their heterosexual counterparts, and that the presence of a married father and mother is not a prerequisite to good outcomes for children.

Are lesbian and gay individuals more likely to sexually abuse children?

No. The link between pedophilia and homosexuality is completely unfounded. A 1998 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes one study that determined that 90 percent of pedophiles are men, and that 98 percent of these individuals are heterosexual. Michael Stevenson, Ph.D., a psychologist at Ball State University, explains this statistic by noting that "gay men desire consensual sexual relations with other adult men. Pedophiles are usually adult men who are sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children. They are rarely sexually attracted to other adults." Stevenson observes that cases of pedophilia by adult lesbians are "almost non-existent." Two other major studies that examined the sexual orientation of convicted child molesters found that less than 1 percent in one study and 0 percent in the other were lesbian or gay. These studies were published in Pediatrics and Archives of Sexual Behavior, respectively, two peer-reviewed, widely respected academic journals. Preventing gay men and lesbians from becoming adoptive parents or foster parents does not protect children from sexual abuse. It simply perpetuates anti-gay prejudice.

Don't children need a mother and a father to have proper male and female role models?

No. Children get their role models from many places besides their parents. These include grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, friends and neighbors. In a case-by-case evaluation, trained professionals can, and should be free to, ensure that the child being adopted or placed in foster care is transitioning into an environment with adequate role models.

Won't we actually be protecting children if we pass anti-gay legislation?

No. Categorically excluding gay men and lesbians from consideration as adoptive and/or foster parents denies children access to potential loving and safe families, and it prevents some children from being placed with the family that can best meet their needs. For example, a blanket ban would dictate that a child be placed with a stranger over a lesbian aunt with whom child has a close relationship, or that a medically needy child could not be placed with gay nurse even if the nurse is the only person available with the necessary skills to care properly for the child. In addition, anti-gay parenting policies stigmatize the thousands of gay and lesbian-led families already raising children.