The only way to measure the effects of a nontraditional upbringing is to wait until a large enough cohort gets old enough, so only in the past few years has there been data on whether children raised by same-sex parents were measurably different from those raised by heterosexual parents.
That’s an excerpt from an excerpt of a recent (June 16) blog post on the “Motherlode” blog on the New York Times web site. The post deals with whether kids raised by same-sex couples turn out any better or worse (as opponents of same-sex marriage apparently claim) than those raised by heterosexual couples.
It’s also wrong–that is, it’s not the case that the “only way” to tell this is from a longitudinal study. That type of study is neither necessary nor sufficient.
I’m not so interested in the substance of this question–in fact proponents may be doing themselves a disservice by focusing on this, because it’s such a silly question. But I found the summary of the data interesting. All of it suggests there are either no effects or positive ones, perhaps because same-sex couples are more likely to plan having children. Most of it’s correlational except for this, which I liked.
And, also for the first time, a control group of heterosexual families was used. The University of Virginia and George Washington University researchers studied preschoolers who were adopted at birth by 27 lesbian couples, 29 gay male couples and 50 heterosexual couples. (Yet another groundbreaking aspect to this study was the number of gay men who were included. To date, most of the research has been on lesbian mothers.)
What did they find? That it’s the quality of the parenting that creates a psychologically healthy child, not the sexual orientation of the parents.