It’s a touchy issue for some – the matter of adoption by homosexual couples. Some argue against this type of adoption, while others claim that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Now, a new study conducted by University of Colorado Denver research found that children of same-sex parents experience ‘no difference’ in terms of social and behavioral outcomes to children of heterosexual couples.
Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 21 countries and in some territories, but opponents of LGBT adoption question whether same-sex couples have the ability to be adequate parents. In terms of scientific studies, there’s not much to say – the existing body of research on outcomes for children with LGBT parents includes limited studies that consider the specific case of adoption.
However, a 2013 study addressed the question directly, evaluating the outcomes of adoptees less than 3-years old who had been placed in one of 56 lesbian and gay households since infancy. It was a fairly small sample size, but the study found no significant associations between parental sexual orientation and child adjustment. In other words, no downside related to same-sex adoption was reported. The same can be said about this new study.
The study examined thousands of peer-reviewed articles referencing same-sex parenting for patterns in citation of work by other researchers. Jimi Adams, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies at CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences wanted to review all existing literature on the issue, and see if a consensus was reached. By the time he reached the 1990s, a consensus was already starting to develop, and by the time he reached 2000, he discovered that researchers had reached ‘overwhelming’ consensus on the issue. Basically, virtually all researchers reported that same-sex parenting is just as fine as opposite sex parenting, but they just weren’t aware of each other’s results.
‘As same-sex marriage has been debated in courts across the country, there has been the lingering question about the effects of same-sex parenting on children,’ explained Adams. ‘I wanted to analyze the research from the past decades to determine if there was consensus amongst researchers about that effect. I found overwhelming evidence that scientists agree that there is not a negative impact to children of same-sex couples.’
This study comes in at a very important time, when the U.S. Supreme Court is determining whether the Constitution requires marriage equality. Adams’ study might prove instrumental for the case.