Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sapphic Moms: The Lesbian Parenting Study

It's another media-friendly study designed to resolve a controversial social issue through advocacy science! This one says that children raised by lesbians are "better off" than children being raised by straight couples. It's the first study of its kind, was paid for by gay rights advocates and relies on 78 case studies; but, what the hell! Case closed! Study: Children of Lesbian Couples Better Off

The study, published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics, showed that "children raised by lesbian mothers -- whether the mother was partnered or single -- scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior," according to Time. But "...children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression."

"I would have anticipated the kids would be doing as well as the normative sample," study coauthor Dr. Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, told CNN. "I didn't expect better."

The researchers also discovered that 41 percent of children faced some teasing, ostracism or discrimination related to their same-sex parents.

Time for some Free Will nuance to resolve this. There's no doubt in my mind that a lesbian couple would be good parents to a kid, so long as the couple stayed together and could afford the expense of raising a child. And, there's no doubt that some kids would be "better off" being raised by lesbians, rather than their current situation. I'm thinking here of kids stuck in families beset with domestic violence issues, substance abuse problems, or simple grinding poverty. But, to simply say that lesbian-raised kids are flat-out "better off?" I don't think that reflects reality, and strikes me as little more than headline grabbing through special pleading.

Nonetheless, we all know what's next: every time a gay adoption controversy raises its head, gay rights advocates, liberal newspaper columnists, and the progressive-on-the-street will all say, "studies show that children in gay* homes are better off than in straight ones" We're going to be hearing about this for the next 10 years, at least, never mind the methodological problems.

I don't think lesbian adoptions should be that controversial. I honestly think that a kid can get by without a father, but does need a mother. But, what about the many male homosexual couples who are now raising adopted kids? Strangely, no one wants to study this, perhaps because they know they wouldn't like the answer. All I know is, I would not enjoy being raised by two gay men, but being raised by two gay women would be OK.

*oh, yes, they will elide over the lesbian focus of this study

1 comment:

  1. Validity of this research is questionable. I do not think kids raised by lesbian parents are better off than those by heterosexual parents. Who and what parents are matter, not sexual orientation.