Lesbians Make Better Parents ?

That’s the lesson some people are drawing from a new study:

MONDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) — When compared to teens of the same age, adolescents raised by lesbian parents are doing just fine socially, psychologically and academically, new research finds.
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Not only that, they have fewer social problems, and less aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors than other teens.

The nearly 20-year study has followed 78 teens since their lesbian mothers were planning their pregnancies, and concluded that these children “demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment.” These findings stand in contrast to what some vocal opponents of gay or lesbian parents might have expected.

“One of the things that opponents of the equalities of gays and lesbians — in marriage, parenting, adoption and foster care — often bring up is the so-called gold standard of parenting, which defined by them is the traditional family where children are conceived in traditional ways and not through insemination or surrogates. But, when we compared the adolescents in our study to the so-called gold standard, we found the teens with lesbian mothers were actually doing better,” said study author Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the Williams Distinguished Scholar at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.

As to why these teens are doing better, Gartrell said, “Moms in the lesbian family are very committed, very involved parents.”

Gartrell said she expects that these findings would also translate to the children of gay male parents as well. “Gay male parents are another group of very committed parents, and really, [among gay male couples] only economically privileged gay men have access to the opportunity to become parents right now,” she said.

In the end, though, what this study really shows is that parenting has nothing to do with sexual orientation:

“Good parenting makes for healthier children, regardless of your sexual orientation. Whether you’re gay, straight or lesbian, good parenting is good parenting,”

Exactly, and there’s no reason to believe that gays and lesbians can’t make good parents just like a heterosexual couple can. It doesn’t mean that gays or lesbians are better parents, it means that they can be just as good, or bad, as the much-vaunted nuclear family.

Good parents make good parents, regardless of who they might be in a relationship with.

One wonders why it is taking so long for people to realize that.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    … less likely to be accidental parents

  2. floyd says:

    nothing more pathetic than iconoclasm for it’s own sake.

  3. Franklin says:

    nothing more pathetic than iconoclasm for it’s own sake.
    And what’s your justification for this pathetic comment?  If you even know the definition of iconoclasm, I fail to see how this is “for it’s own sake.”  Some people want children, so they have them.  Just because you don’t think they should have them, doesn’t mean they’re rebelling against you and whatever dogma you adhere to.
     

  4. Herb says:

    “One wonders why it is taking so long for people to realize that.”

    It couldn’t be decades of “family values” type propaganda, could it? Naaaaaaaahh…….

    For what it’s worth, my lesbian mother was a better parent than either my father or my step-mother, both of whom are straight, but the dysfunctional Brady Bunch always came out on top in the court-ordered custody arrangement thing…..

    I agree, parenting has nothing to do with sexual orientation. But the courts said I was wrong.

  5. john personna says:

    Can you imagine what it’s like having _two_ moms asking of your homework is done?

  6. Juneau: says:

    “It doesn’t mean that gays or lesbians are better parents, it means that they can be just as good, or bad, as the much-vaunted nuclear family.
    There are two different concepts here, and they are mistakenly both being melded into one.  The first concept is that common values and proper guidance can be given by anyone with the proper motivation – love.  This is absolutely true.  In this aspect two women can accomplish this just as well – and probably even better in some specific aspects – than a husband and wife parenting the children.
    The second concept is the one that is inaccurately put into the above category; the inescapable psychological differences between men and women and how children need both of those psychological perspectives to learn a balanced view of their place in the world, and how to interact with members of the opposite sex.   Ideally – as in the case of a loving, firm, and conscientious mother and father – there is absolutely no way that two women or two men can provide the balance and necessary exposure to both the male and female “worldview.”
    Although there are tragic outcomes due to indifferent or abusive heterosexual parent teams, percentage wise I believe there are just as many indifferent or abusive homosexual parenting teams.  Because our ability to handle stress and conflict is based on individual emotional health and has nothing to do with the make-up of the team.
    I don’t believe there is any equal substitute for a well-balance husband and wife team for raising children.

  7. sam says:

    “The second concept is the one that is inaccurately put into the above category; the inescapable psychological differences between men and women and how children need both of those psychological perspectives to learn a balanced view of their place in the world, and how to interact with members of the opposite sex..”

    You’re confusing a sufficient condition with a necessary condition. Your argument implies that anyone not raised in a two heterosexual parent family is perforce not able to relate in a balanced way to members of the opposite sex. That’s speculation at best. Do you have any empirical proof to offer? Oh, and you owe us an account of what it means to have a “balanced view of one’s place in the world.”

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Juneau:
    Um . . . what?

  9. TangoMan says:

    What a worthless study. They don’t even control for genetics. IVF in which donated sperm is used is a pretty strong form of positive eugenics.  These lesbians are choosing sperm with far more care than hetero women who end up using sperm that comes from a man that they’ve chosen for reasons that don’t align well with sperm donor selection criteria.
    The male genetic contribution will have a significant influence on the life outcomes of the children born to the lesbian birth mother and her parenting partner. When the two women are looking through a sperm donor catalog and they get to choose sperm from physicists, physicians, etc it’s quite likely that the genetic component to intelligence, which is significant, is going to have more effect on the kids academic standing than the fact that he has two mommies.

  10. Herb says:

    “I don’t believe there is any equal substitute for a well-balance husband and wife team for raising children.”

    Believe what you want. That’s what I do. In fact, I don’t believe that your views have any relevance to my family.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    TangoBrimelow:
     
    These lesbians are choosing sperm with far more care than hetero women …

    You make an excellent argument that the gay/lesbian path to parenthood provides serious advantages.   In fact, if we limited parenthood to lesbians only imagine the long-term benefits for the human race.

    Welcome to the struggle for gay rights!

  12. Juneau: says:

    You’re confusing a sufficient condition with a necessary condition. Your argument implies that anyone not raised in a two heterosexual parent family is perforce not able to relate in a balanced way to members of the opposite sex.


    No, you have turned my point into an argument of extremes, which it is not.  My statements don’t imply a homosexual team creates a complete deficiency in the ability of a child to appropriately interact with the opposite sex .   My point was to state that there are different levels of sufficiency.  A non-nuclear family will never be able to provide real life modeling of the interaction between the two sexes on an (hopefully)  intimate and  interpersonal level.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Juneau:
    A non-nuclear family will never be able to provide real life modeling of the interaction between the two sexes on an (hopefully)  intimate and  interpersonal level.

    Which of course is irrelevant in the real world where hetero couples very often divorce or are part of unsatisfactory or even abusive relationships.   You might just as easily argue that lesbian couples shelter the developing child from all the negative aspects common in so many hetero relationships.  Or you could argue convincingly that children should only be allowed to couples who have demonstrated a capacity to model your idealized male-female relationship.

    Or the short version:  you’re not saying anything.

  14. sam says:

    “No, you have turned my point into an argument of extremes, which it is not.”
     
    At least you didn’t say, “You’re twisting my words.” Which is what the logically challenged usually say when someone draws plain conclusions from what the challenged asserted.

  15. just me says:

    Which of course is irrelevant in the real world where hetero couples very often divorce or are part of unsatisfactory or even abusive relationships.
    You seem to be making the argument that lesbian/gay couples never divorce, never have unsatisfactory relationships or abusive relationships.
    I personally would like to see a realistic control that compares straight, two male parent and single parent homes-especially from similar income levels.  The absence of a control really does make any kind of generalization difficult to make.
    That said, I do think children of lesbian or gay couples do have one advantage over many children in straight homes.  There isn’t an “Oops honey, looks like we are going to have a baby” situations.  A child brought into a lesbian or gay home is a child that is wanted, planned, and generally to economically stable couples.  I think these three factors may play into stability for a child than necessarily what gender their parents happen to be.
    That said, I seriously doubt that you would see much difference between children of a stable gay home and children of a stable straight home.  I imagine gender of the parents plays little role in what kinds of choices a teenager makes, and it is the invovlement and stability that is important.

  16. john personna says:

    So I was on Pacific Coast Highway today, and an AC Cobra pulled up behind.  As it comes around to pass I look down and see it’s one of the Superperformance reproductions, a 427.  Then I look up and see that it’s two women (the driver with her hair hidden in a baseball cap).  I do kind of a startle and smile, the passenger smiles back.
     
    I don’t know if they were “parents” … but it was kind of hot.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    You seem to be making the argument that lesbian/gay couples never divorce, never have unsatisfactory relationships or abusive relationships.

    Nah, actually I’m just screwing with Juneau.  It’s fun to watch his head explode.

  18. Juneau: says:

    At least you didn’t say, “You’re twisting my words.” Which is what the logically challenged usually say when someone draws plain conclusions from what the challenged asserted.
    Well then, let’s just try this out instead.  Logically, parents who are of the opposite sex provide the best environment for propagating the species by raising children to grow up and marry someone of the opposite sex .    That’s about as emperically logical as it gets.

  19. sam says:

    “That’s about as emperically logical as it gets.”
     
    Heh. BTW, what do you teach when you teach college?

  20. Herb says:

    “Logically, parents who are of the opposite sex provide the best environment for propagating the species by raising children to grow up and marry someone of the opposite sex . That’s about as emperically logical as it gets.”

    No offense, but…. empirically, you have not demonstrated any understanding about gay people or gay families. Furthermore, you haven’t show any indication that you understand what you’re talking about.

    Did you forget where gay people come from??? Straight couples. Empirically.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    In fact, when you come down to it, virtually all gay people come from straight families. So there must clearly be something about straight couples that causes homosexuality.
     
    Tango made an excellent argument that gay couples are better for the gene pool, and now Juneau has cast very serious doubt on the actual effects of heterosexuality on children raised in heterosexual homes.
     
    You know it’s almost as if the two of them are kind of idiot bigots trying to justify a completely stupid assumption and just throwing in whatever crazy bullshit they can think of.
     
    Yes.  Almost.

  22. Trumwill says:

    Some of the issues I have with the study have been touched on here. One other thing that I would point out is that they are comparing apples to oranges. Lesbian parents that have IVF are substantively different than <i>all</i> straight parents. Not only because, as others have pointed out, they choose parenthood more deliberately, but because they have the time and resources for IVF treatment. I suspect that if you look at straight parents of IVF children and parents of God-born kids, you’d see substantial differences in outcomes.
    IVF treatment can cost anywhere from $300-2000 or more up-front. People that have that kind of money on treatment that insurance typically does not pay for are not a random sampling of the population. Having a kid is expensive in any event, but the up-front costs are important. Not just in having the money handy, but in seeing those dollar signs in one big group.
    Now, if you take this into account by making the statement “lesbian parents are better parents because they by necessity have more resources and/or financial discipline and have to make a more deliberate choice to have children,” that would remain quite true. But it’s not the same as saying “Lesbians make better parents.”
    (All of that being said, I believe that Lesbians should be allowed to be parents regardless and I am not worried that children of Lesbian parents are likely to end up screwed up in the head. Part of this emanates from an accepting of homosexuality as a morally neutral trait. If one views homosexuality as a sin, it doesn’t matter what this study says because the children are being born into an den of iniquity.)