What Research Shows: Children of Same‐Sex Families

What Research Shows: Children of SameSex Families


COURAGE International, Inc.




  • As same‐sex families become both more accepted, researchers are asking if children raised in such families are more likely to adopt a same‐sex lifestyle or to have more social and emotional problems than children raised in traditional biological families.


  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered (LGBT) people become parents through current or former relationships, co‐parenting, adoption, donor insemination and surrogacy. In some countries, LGBT people can act as foster parents (Butler, Katy, “Many Couples Must Negotiate Terms of ‘Brokeback’ Marriages,” New York Times, March 7, 2006. Some children do not know that they have a LGBT parent (Dunne, E.J., “Helping Gay Fathers Come Out to their Children” (Journal of Homosexuality 14 (1‐2): 213‐22 (1987).


  • The Church considers the rights of children to include being naturally conceived and being raised by a mother and a father.




  • In 2010, there were 131,729 same‐sex married couple households and 514,735 unmarried same‐sex partner households in the United States. The 2010 American Community Survey estimated same‐sex married couples at 152,335 and unmarried same‐sex partners at 440,989. Researchers believe these statistics could be up to 15% lower than actual figures due to social stigma, discrimination or other concerns about confidentiality (US Census Bureau Public Information Office www.census.gov). Nearly one in five same‐sex couples are raising children at home (Associated Press 9/28/11). As of 2005, an estimated 270,313 children in the US were living in same‐sex households. 31% of the children were under five years of age (Williams Institute: Census Snapshot).


Behavior of children raised in same‐sex households:

  • Sociologists Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz: “children raised by same‐sex couples are more likely to depart from traditional gender roles. In two studies, a greater number of children raised by lesbians had participated in or considered a same‐sex relationship or had an attraction to the same sex” (Gilien Silsby, “Sociology: Study Examines Gender Roles of Children with Gay Parents,” University of Southern California, 2001).


  • Dr. Michelle Cretella, Pediatrician and board member of the American College of Pediatricians: “a meta‐study conducted by two pro‐homosexual researchers found that girls raised in homosexual households are more likely to be aggressive, boys are likely to be less masculine and [that] both girls and boys engage in sexual experimentation at earlier ages and are more sexually promiscuous” (Tom McFeely, “What About the Children?” National Catholic Register, June 8‐14, 2008)


  • “Multiple studies have found that homosexually behaving teens and young adults suffer increased rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions and suicidal thoughts” (McFeely, NCR).


  • Walter Schumm (2010) professor at Kansas State University, in studies published between 1978 and 2008 sampling 2847 children, 2197 of heterosexual parents and 650 of lesbian, gay or bisexual parents found that “Between 16% and 57% of children of gay and lesbian parents adopted non‐heterosexual identities; 20.3% of children with LGB parents were non‐heterosexual in identity or behavior compared with 4.3% of children with heterosexual parents. Five pathways of transmission appeared to be possible: ‘parental modeling of sexual orientation, parental preference for child’s sexual orientation, child’s greater questioning of their sexual orientation, parental desire for grandchildren, and non‐parental adult modeling of sexual orientation.’” (NARTH review by Christopher Rosik, PhD, “Study suggests greater likelihood of non‐heterosexual offspring for gay and lesbian parents than for heterosexual parents”)


  • A 2012 study by Mark Regenerus, “The New Family Structures Study (NFSS),” is a representative, population based sample regarding the outcomes of children of same-sex couples [Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752‐770]. Compared with children raised by Intact Biological Families (IBF), children of Lesbian Mothers (LM) and Gay Fathers (GF) are more likely to have received welfare (IBF 17%; LM 69%; GF 57%)


  • Children of LM are 10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver” (23% vs. 2% for children of IBF); are nearly 4 times more likely to have been “physically forced” to have sex against their will; are more likely to have “attachment” problems related to the ability to depend on others (Regenerus).


  • Children of LM are 75% more likely, and children of GF are 3 times more likely, to be currently in a same‐sex relationship. The daughters of LM have 4 times as many same-sex (female) partners than the children of IBF; the daughters of GF have 6 times as many (Regenerus).


  • The sons of both LM and GF have 7 times as many male (same‐sex) partners as children of IBF. Children raised by GF were 3 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other caregiver” (Regenerus).




  • The Center for Law and Social Policy states: “most researchers now agree that together [these] studies support the notion that, on average, children do better when raised by two married, biological parents . . .” (Policy Brief, May 2003, p. 1 [13].


  • “The American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age‐old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science (Tom McFeely, “What About the Children?” National Catholic Register, June 8‐14, 2008).


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