If you haven’t yet, go get and read Jonathan Rauch’s new article, “Gay Marriage, Same-Sex Parenting, and America’s Children.” (Rauch is the author of Gay Marriage : Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, one of the best books I’ve read yet on same-sex marriage.) It pulls together and summarizes some of the best research on gay families with children. It also makes some great points about how our children will benefit from same-sex marriage.
First, marriage may increase children’s material well-being through such benefits as family leave from work and spousal health insurance eligibility. It may also help ensure financial continuity, should a spouse die or be disabled. Second, same-sex marriage may benefit children by increasing the durability and stability of their parents’ relationship. Finally, marriage may bring increased social acceptance of and support for same-sex families, although those benefits might not materialize in communities that meet same-sex marriage with rejection or hostility.
It also repeats the basic findings about children in families with same-sex parents.
There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. . . . On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. . . . Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.
All in all, it’s a pretty balanced article, taking into account the difficulties inherent in studying gay families with children (the size of the sample being the biggest obstacle).
The PDF format includes an inset that summarizes the strongest studies available, including one done in 2004, which finds that our kids are doing about as well as kids in general, and certainly not any worse.