While the theories have existed for some time, finding corroborating evidence is problematic as the research suggests a different path.
Pawelski et al. suggests that children raised in gay homes may experience isolation, peer ridicule, harassment, and depression. They also posit that these children have a higher propensity to consider suicide and attempt suicide. This internal confusion may be exacerbated by the absence of support groups and structures to assist in reducing the impact of this psychological upheaval. As there are sustained efforts to limit the establishment of groups considered "gay- straight alliances" (Pawelski et al.). This seems to suggest that there are serious psychological problems for children living in these arrangements.
This position is however countered by the work of Golombok et al. cited in (Patterson 1032) where they demonstrate that children from lesbian homes do not score lower than children from different sex homes on psychological tests. Daughters from same sex families scored higher on a well-being test than daughters from different sex families (1032). In total, the research suggests that at present children from same sex unions do not experience any significant psychological problems. Any problems observed are similar in both qualitative and quantitative terms to different sex families.
While individual homes may not be specifically affected. It is important to note that the nationwide political and religious debate over same-gender marriage has intensified. The result is the exacerbation of an already unstable climate for gay men and lesbians in our society. The lack of societal tolerance, acceptance, and support that gay and lesbian individuals, couples, and their children experience can and does affect their psychosocial and physical health and safety.
Meezan and Rauch in examining the research on gay and lesbian marriages posit that children who are raised by gay and lesbian parents are doing as well as so called normal children (97). It should be noted however, that much of the research involves very small sample sizes and it is uncertain that they represent the wider population of married gay persons with children. The challenge is that "we do not know how the normative child in a same sex family compares to other children" (Meezan and Rauch 104). This impediment is not sufficient to inviolate the substantive elements of the research.
A dominant view is that gay parents will raise gay children. This harmonizes with the thought that sexual orientation is a greater function of environmental than biological factors. This view is challenged by Miller, who through a series of qualitative interviews with gay fathers and their children. Miller determined that children living with a gay father are not, more likely, to become gay or demonstrate gay tendencies, than children in a heterosexual marriage (547). The implications are that the genesis of homosexuality is more complex than simply being in a particular environment. Children in gay marriages will have the same opportunity for identity formation as in heterosexual marriages.
The chasm that exists between opponents and proponents of gay marriage will not be bridged in the immediate future. The arguments raised by the opponents of gay marriage, center on the possibility of psychosocial harm to children resulting from gay marriages. This harm has not been demonstrated empirically. The weight of existing research suggests that the children are normal. The children make have experiences that parallel their peers in heterosexual marriages and they are not disadvantaged in observable ways. Since gay marriage is a permanent feature of life in the postmodern world, this is good news.
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Meezan, William and Rauch, Jonathan. "Gay Marriage, Same-Sex Parenting, and America's
Children." The Future of Children 15.2 (2005): 97-115.
Miller, Brian. "Gay Fathers and Their Children." The Family Coordinator 28.4 (1979): 544-552.
Patterson, Charlotte J. "Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents." Child Development 63.5 (1992):
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Pawelski, James G. et al. "The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership…