‘Overwhelming’ Evidence Shows Same-Sex Parenting Is Not Harmful

Happy boy and his two fathers with tennis gearFriday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges immediately legalized same-sex marriage across the country, forcing even the most conservative states to accept marriage equality. Opponents of gay marriage have long argued that heterosexual marriage is the only healthy way to raise children, but a new study published in Social Science Research says there is no evidence that same-sex parenting harms children in any way.

No Negative Effects of Same-Sex Parenting Found

Though the overwhelming majority of studies suggest that children of same-sex parents fare just as well as—or better than—children of heterosexual parents, opponents of gay marriage often argue that the research is biased.

Jimi Adams, an associate professor of health and behavioral studies at the University of Colorado-Denver, analyzed thousands of studies on same-sex parents. His team found no adverse effects associated with same-sex parenting. They argue instead that, by 1990, most researchers agreed that same-sex parenting was not harmful to children. By 2000, the consensus was overwhelming.

Previous Research on Same-Sex Parenting

Numerous other studies conclude that same-sex parenting has no negative effect on children, and some even point to beneficial effects. One study found that children of LGBT parents feel more “connected” at school, and another found that children of same-sex parents feel more comfortable discussing their emotions. Another survey found that, even when controlling for other factors that affect childhood well-being, children of same-sex parents were overall healthier and happier, scoring 6% higher on measures of health and family cohesion than children of heterosexual parents.

Children of same-sex parents may, however, face at least one challenge. Discrimination, bullying, and stigma all continue to be problems for members of the LGBT community and their children. One study found that the stigma of LGBT parenting could slightly reduce well-being, but another study found that children of LGBT parents are more resilient. This might explain why they score so highly on well-being measures, even in the face of discrimination and bullying.

Between 1 and 9 million children have at least one gay parent, and 27% of same-sex households have a child.


  1. Bever, L. (2014, July 7). Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/07/children-of-same-sex-couples-are-happier-and-healthier-than-peers-research-shows
  2. Linville, D., PhD, & O’Neill, M., MS. (n.d.). Same-sex parents and their children. Retrieved from http://www.aamft.org/imis15/aamft/Content/Consumer_Updates/Same-sex_Parents_and_Their_Children.aspx
  3. Preidt, R. (2015, June 26). ‘Overwhelming’ evidence that same-sex parenting won’t harm kids. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/06/26/overwhelming-evidence-that-same-sex-parenting-wont-harm-kids

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  • dolly k

    July 3rd, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Perhaps the better argument should be that kids thrive more in a two parent home.
    Now whether that is a home with same sex parents or heterosexual parents, that may not matter as much as it does to have a loving family life in the home for the children.

  • Noah

    July 6th, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    I do so hope that support for families of all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, can be something that more people can get on board with. I don’t care if the parents are gay, as long as they provide for their children and provide a safe environment for them, then who am I to say whether this is right or wrong? I would much rather see an stable home with two gay parents than one with heterosexual partners who are causing so many emotional problems for their kids when they trying to put on a sham marriage or relationship.

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