Ashley L. Young
In this day and age children grow up in a variety of familial situations; single parents, grandparents, opposite sex parents, adoptive parents, interracial parents, and same-sex parents to name just a few. Societies “normal” family is evolving and family structure is becoming less about what society expects and more about what works for each individual family. Some parents work full-time and have a grandparent living in their home helping raise the children. Other parents have adopted later in life and have adult children who have become an important part of how their younger kids are raised. Many children are being raised by one parent because the other parent has passed away or has left the family. These family models may not fit the typical nuclear family norm, but for these families, it works. Though these examples are clearly not traditional family structures, no family structure has had the backlash that same-sex parenting has had. Opponents of same-sex parenting argue that children raised by two men or two women suffer emotionally and socially from this non-traditional upbringing, but studies show that these children score on par socially and emotionally with children in other familial structures, including children of opposite sex parents who are married.
As many as 6 million children and adults have an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Trans) parent. There are theories that children raised by same-sex parents have sub-optimal life outcomes (Regnerus, 2012), but as marriage equality becomes the norm, more and more children are being raised by same-sex parents. Studies show that these children are suffering no disadvantages due to their familial dynamic. The purpose of this paper is to disprove the saying “every child deserves a mom or a dad” and analyze the research as to why children with same-sex parents grow up to be just as successful, socially and emotionally, as those raised in other family structures. The following five sources are used to demonstrate and support the hypothesis.
In a newspaper article by Beaver (2014), it is suggested that children of same-sex couples fare better when it comes to physical health and social well-being than children in the general population. This article cites a survey of 315 same-sex parents with a total of 500 children, with 80% female parents and 18 percent male parents. Children from the same-sexed families scored 6 percent higher on general health and family cohesion. This study included the controlling of socio-demographic factors. This article suggests that the greater social cohesion among same-sex families comes from an equal distribution of work. Same-sex couples are more likely to share responsibilities than their heterosexual counterparts. This article also suggests that two-thirds of children with same-sex parents experience stigma because of their parent’s sexual orientation, but despite this stigma, the children still scored higher marks in the category of social well-being. This article supports the hypothesis that these children score just as well socially and emotionally as children raised by other familial structures.
In the book by Shanley (2001), both legislation and court decisions began rejecting that a traditional family is a man and a woman and their biological children in the decades after World War II. Single parent families, interracial families, families with adopted children, never married parents and same-sex parent families now make up more than 40% of family structures. These statistics shows that the norm is shifting and that courts and lawmakers are evolving to deal with non-traditional homes like same-sex parents.
In the book by Bos (2004), an in-depth study on the challenges faced by lesbian parents who plan their families. This study analyzed lesbian families with children born in a previous heterosexual relationship and lesbian families with