I previously looked at a study conducted by the University of Virginia that found that children of gay parents thrive and succeed just as well as those raised in heterosexual headed families. The story I quoted was from a newspaper in Staunton, Virginia, a mere 30 miles from Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.
I welcome the study results because it will be one more piece of objective proof that the Christianist lament that children need a mother and a father to develop is, well, bullshit - like just about all of the other Christianist religious based bigotry directed at gays. The Washington Post story has more details on the study and here are some highlights:
A groundbreaking study by researchers at the University of Virginia and George Washington University finds that children adopted by lesbian and gay male couples develop just as well as those adopted by heterosexual parents.
Same-sex couples are barred from adopting children in Florida, Mississippi and Utah. A similar case is in the Arkansas courts. All this is rooted in "the deeply entrenched belief that children need one male and one female parent for optimal development," the authors write. Numerous studies have affirmed the parenting skills of lesbian parents -- less is known about the capabilities of gay male parents -- but the studies have been criticized for using self-reported data or for lacking comparison groups of heterosexual couples.
There are no such deficiencies in the current study, titled "Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?" It was penned by U-Va. researchers Rachel Farr and Charlotte Patterson and GWU scholar Stephen Forssell.
The researchers gathered data on child development from parents, teachers and care-givers. Their hypothesis: The development of both child and adult would hinge more on each couple's parenting abilities -- stress, cooperation, laundry skills -- than on their sexual orientation.
And that is what they found. Same-sex parents, and their adoptive children, fared just as well as heterosexual families. It's worth noting that this study apparently represents the first time that independent reports from teachers on children's development and behavior have been considered alongside the self-reported data from the parents themselves.
Even the gender development of children adopted by same-sex couples -- perhaps the greatest concern of some critics -- mirrored that of children adopted by heterosexual couples. "Regardless of whether their parents were lesbian, gay or heterosexual, most boys exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged boys, and most girls exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged girls," the authors write.
The implication: From a public policy stance, the study suggests there is "no justification for denying lesbian and gay prospective adoptive parents the opportunity to adopt children," Patterson, the lead researcher, said.
I'm sure this study will not be welcomed by Christianists who increasingly have no credible experts to back up their claims against gay parenting and who are now haunted by the specter of George "Rent Boy" Rekers. I am pleased that my Alma mater produced this significant report.
Hope is still alive in Virginia - and I hope Virginia AG Ken "Kookinelli" Cucinelli doesn't decide to investigate Ms. Patterson since she has burst one of his anti-gay bubbles.