Children Raised by Same-Sex Parents Have More Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Children Raised by Same-Sex Parents have more Problems than Children Raised by Different-Sex or Single Parents

As more and more states legalize same-sex marriages, there is growing concerning among many proponents and critics alike about the effect that these civil unions will have on children. Although many children of same-sex unions are from previous heterosexual unions, adoption is also being used by growing numbers of same-sex partners and new reproductive technologies are providing lesbian couples with the ability to "father" their own children and surrogate mothers are available to gay couples if they have the financial resources. Given the increasing numbers of children who are being raised in same-sex parent households, these are legitimate issues that require further examination to determine if popular thought that children raised by same-sex parents have more problems than children raised by different sex or even single parents. To this end, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature concerning same-sex unions to determine if children raised in these homes have more problems than their counterparts raised in traditional homes. A summary of the research and important findings are presented in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

The arguments for and against same-sex marriages differ from country to country, but proponents typically advocate legalization of same-sex marriages based on "constitutional definitions of equality, and interpretations of universal promises of civil rights for all citizens. Same-sex relations are the same as heterosexual relations, the argument goes, and therefore should be regulated in the same way" (Allen, 2006, p. 949). Opponents of same-sex unions generally cite religious and moral reasons as well as the need for society to reproduce itself through biological means (Allen, 2006). According to Somerville, for example, "Same-sex marriage changes the nature of marriage and, in doing so, the nature of parenthood and, with that, children's rights. Giving same-sex couples the right to found a family, as same-sex marriage automatically does, unlinks parenthood from biology" (2007, p. 180).

These arguments have important implications for how these relationships will affect the children of same-sex parents in ways that remain better described than understood in the scholarly literature. For example, Somerville adds that same-sex unions "change the primary basis of parenthood from natural or biological parenthood to legal (and social) parenthood. Same-sex marriage breaks, at the institutional level, the automatic link between biological and legal parenthood established by traditional marriage" (p. 180). Furthermore, it is difficult and perhaps even dangerous for researchers to make wholesale assumptions about same-sex marriages because of the potential for widely held beliefs to become self-fulfilling social prophecies. In this regard, Somerville also points out that same-sex marriages have had "a major impact on the societal norms, symbols and values associated with parenthood. The nature and extent of the resulting change might not be readily apparent at first glance, because some impacts will be more distant, less direct and outside the immediate context of same-sex marriage" (2007, p. 180).

Irrespective of the ideological position that is involved concerning the legitimacy of same-sex marriages, critics and proponents alike are faced with the fundamental issue concerning what effect, if any, that such unions have on children. Unfortunately, although the number of such unions continues to increase, there has not been a corresponding increase in the amount of research being devoted to this issue with respect to the effect of these relationships on the children who are involved. In this regard, Crowl, Ahn and Baker (2008) emphasize that, "While there has been a recent…

Sources Used in Documents:


Allen, D.W. (2006). An economic assessment of same-sex marriage laws. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, 29(3), 949-951.

Crowl, A., Ahn, S. & Baker, J. (2008). A meta-analysis of developmental outcomes for children of same-sex and heterosexual parents. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 4(3), 385-407.

Somerville, M. (2007). Children's human rights and unlinking child-parent biological bonds with adoption, same-sex marriage and new reproductive technologies. Journal of Family

Studies, 13(2), 179-180.

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