Really, what does 'Gay parenting' even mean? Parenthood is parenthood.
For many couples, parenting is the most rewarding experience in the world. Gay couples especially value the ability to have children through the miracle of adoption. Unfortunately, some people doubt gay couples ability to parent children and the adoption process is not always an easy one for them.
However a groundbreaking study from the University of Oregon is making it easier than ever before for gay and lesbian couples to expand their families. Their research, synthesizing 19,000 previous studies and articles on same-sex parenting, with dates ranging from 1977 to 2013, found that children raised by gay couples are no worse off (or better) than those raised under the care of heterosexual parents.
Helen Donohe, Director of Public Policy at Action for Children, previously stated,"We know how important it is to find the best possible placement for each and every child in care — and we know that LGBT people often come to adoption or fostering as the first choice for expanding their family, bringing love, real enthusiasm and resourcefulness."
In a similar study the British Association for Adoption and Fostering found that children brought up by homosexual couples are thriving. The study details experiences of 130 families, 49 of which were heterosexual couples, 41 were gay couples, and 40 were lesbian couples.
"Overall we found markedly more similarities than differences, in experiences between family types," said Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Centre for Family Research and co-author of the report. She went on to say that anxieties about the negative effects of being raised by gay couples were, according to her research, "unfounded."
The study not only concluded that children of same sex parents are doing remarkably well, but that gay men, in particular, handle the challenge of raising a child who began life under poor circumstances particularly well.
Following the release of this information, Sir Martin Narey, a UK government adoption advisor, has been encouraging LGBT people to consider adoption. "I have seen how LGBT people, who tend to come to adoption or fostering as their first choice for becoming parents, bring a particular determination and enthusiasm to it," he said. "They find themselves parenting some of our most damaged children, do so with overwhelming success, and many more gay adopters need to be encouraged to come forward."
What does this mean for the fight for equality? Hopefully a lot. These studies are especially significant given that in the past gay couples had a very difficult time adopting — and being socially accepted as parents. Even gay marriage supporters are oddly opposed to gay couples adopting. Ahem, Karl Lagerfeld. Let's hope this information will be instrumental in bringing about full equality for LGBT couples.