With the exception of studies at a few universities with very close connections with conservative Christian denominations (like the Brigham Young University in Provo, UT), essentially all research studies into same-sex parenting reveal that children of these families develop normally. There is some indication that boys are less sexually adventuresome, and that girls are more sexually daring. There are also anecdotal accounts of children having to endure ridicule, taunting and harassment from other youth because of their parents' sexual orientation.
Recent studies of same-sex parenting:
* 1997-APR: Three 3 recent studies from the US, Britain and the Netherlands were presented at the national meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development during 1997-APR .
Charlotte Patterson, a research psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of one of the new studies, said "When you look at kids with standard psychological assessments, you can't tell who has a lesbian parent and who has a heterosexual parent...That's really the main finding from these studies." She agreed that the studies to date are relatively few and open to criticism.
There may be indications that children benefit from having two lesbian parents. Fiona Tasker of Birkbeck College in the Netherlands, "...found that the non-biological lesbian parent was usually more involved with the children than are the fathers of heterosexual couples." There is also anecdotal evidence that children of gay or lesbian parents tend to be less prejudiced.
* 1999-APR: Researcher Fiona Tasker at Birkbeck College, UK, published an article in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. A summary reads: "There are an increasing number of children who are being brought up in lesbian-led families. Research on non-clinical samples of children raised in lesbian-led families formed after parental divorce, together with studies of children raised in families planned by a single lesbian mother or lesbian couple, suggest that growing up in a lesbian-led family does not have negative effects on key developmental outcomes. In many ways family life for children growing up in lesbian-led families is similar to that experienced by children in heterosexual families. In other respects there are important distinctions, such as different types of family forms and the impact of social stigma on the family, that may influence how clinicians approach therapeutic work with children in lesbian mother families." 14
* 2001-APR: Researchers Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz of the University of Southern California studied sexual orientation and parenting. They reported their findings in the American Sociological Review, a peer-reviewed journal. 1 They :
o Discussed "...limitations in the definitions, samples and analyses of the studies to date."
o Examined 21 studies which "almost uniformly reports findings of no notable differences between children reared by heterosexual parents and those reared by lesbian and gay parents..."
o Suggested a "less defensive, more sociologically informed analytic framework" for future studies in this area.