Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Psychology, Law, and Policy

Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, PO Box 400400, Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 11/2009; 64(8):727-36. DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.64.8.727
Source: PubMed


Legal and policy questions relevant to the lives of lesbian and gay parents and their children have recently been subjects of vigorous debate. Among the issues for which psychological research has been seen as particularly relevant are questions regarding child custody after divorce, same-sex marriage, adoption, and foster care. This article provides an overview of the current legal terrain for lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States today, an overview of relevant social science research, and some commentary on the interface between the two. It is concluded that research findings on lesbian and gay parents and their children provide no warrant for legal discrimination against these families.

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    • "Regardless of whether participants are the children of divorced gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents, and regardless of whether children or adolescents were studied, studies examining sexual identity, self-esteem, adjustment, or quality of social relationships have been consistent. In study after study, the offspring of gay, lesbian, and bisexual parents have been found to be at least as well-adjusted overall as those of other parents (Patterson, 2009), clearly indicating positive coping despite additional adversity, threat, and/or challenge. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual parents experience stress, as heterocentricism and/or homonegativity permeate the Australian context. Despite challenges faced by these parents and their families, research consistently shows children raised by same-sex parents to be as psychologically healthy, and as socially and academically well-adjusted, as their peers raised in traditional heterosexual-parented families. The ability of these children to flourish despite the challenges they face highlights the resilience of this minority group. Contrary to comparative research, the current study is framed by a phenomenological approach, and utilized narrative methodology to qualitatively explore the lived experiences of the adult children of same-sex parents. Participants (N = 8) were over 18, lived in Australia, and had at least one parent who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Thematic analysis indicated that the dissolution of their biological parents’ marriage and subsequent blending of two families were the most salient issues for participants. Participants did indicate fear and/or experience of homophobic reactions, parental modelling, controlling disclosure, social support, an outward perspective, and time to adjust were important in coping with challenges. Participants also indicated that their nontraditional family structure gave them unique advantages and emphasized the importance of secure, loving relationships within their family.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 11/2013; 10(4). DOI:10.1080/1550428X.2013.833065
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    • "Riskind and Patterson (2010), however , did not observe this discrepancy among women. This discrepancy may be attributable to the intersections of gender and sexual orientation, as men in same-sex couples may face greater reproductive barriers and/or encounter more structural difficulties when seeking to adopt as the sole caregiver or in a same-sex couple (Berkowitz and Marsiglio 2007; Drumright et al. 2006; Gurmankin et al. 2005; Mallon 2004; Patterson 2009; Riskind et al. 2013). In light of these developmental and gender differences, in this study, we sought to describe sexual minority young men's fatherhood aspirations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers have noted increasingly the public health importance of addressing discriminatory policies towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations. At present, however, we know little about the mechanisms through which policies affect LGB populations' psychological well-being; in other words, how do policies get under our skin? Using data from a study of sexual minority young men (N = 1,487; M = 20.80 (SD = 1.93); 65 % White; 92 % gay), we examined whether statewide bans (e.g., same-sex marriage, adoption) moderated the relationship between fatherhood aspirations and psychological well-being. Fatherhood aspirations were associated with lower depressive symptoms and higher self-esteem scores among participants living in states without discriminatory policies. In states with marriage equality bans, fatherhood aspirations were associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem scores, respectively. Fatherhood aspirations were associated negatively with self-esteem in states banning same-sex and second parent adoptions, respectively. Our findings underscore the importance of recognizing how anti-equality LGB policies may influence the psychosocial development of sexual minority men.
    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2013; 43(8). DOI:10.1007/s10964-013-0059-6 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    • "In Italy there are different religious and cultural traditions that encourage homophobic opinions and sentiments. These homonegative attitudes remain, despite the evidence that gay and lesbian parents have similar parenting skills to heterosexual parents (Goldberg, Kinkler, & Hines, 2011; Patterson, 2009) and that their children are comparable with children with heterosexual parents on key psychosocial developmental outcomes (Stacey & Biblarz, 2010; Tasker, 2010). The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2011) found that attitudes toward gay and lesbian persons are not homogeneous across Europe or within the European Union member states. "
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    ABSTRACT: This is the first study in Italy to evaluate parenting desires and intentions, the value of parenthood and individual perception of competence as a parent in an Italian sample of lesbian women (N = 201), gay men (N = 199) and heterosexual participants (female = 314 and male = 216) 18-35 years of age. Childless lesbian and gay individuals were less likely than their heterosexual peers to report parenting desires and intentions. Data suggested that lesbians and gay male participants reported a lower level of enrichment and less confidence in receiving social support as parents than their heterosexual counterparts. Regression analysis indicated that sexual orientation is the best predictor of desires and intentions for women and men participants. Our findings suggest that, while some Italian lesbian and gay people want to become parents, their intentions probably founder due to the difficulty to access to adoption, donor insemination or surrogate maternity. © eContent Management Pty Ltd.
    Journal of Family Studies 09/2013; 19(1):90-98. DOI:10.5172/jfs.2013.19.1.90 · 0.25 Impact Factor
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