07/26/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The results of a new University of Virginia study show that there should not be any barriers placed upon same-sex couples with regards to adopting children. In a study that sampled some 106 adoptive children living across the United States, the study found that youngsters were developing well without regards to whether they lived with lesbian, gay or heterosexual couples. This study only reinforces a recent study which showed that children conceived via artificial insemination by lesbian couples were as well adjusted, or slightly more so, than the children of heterosexual couples. This U.Va study showed that how adopted children did was not related to the sexual orientation of their adoptive parents.
U.Va. Psychology professor Charlotte J. Patterson said “We found that children adopted by lesbian and gay couples are thriving. Our results provide no justification for denying lesbian or gay prospective adoptive parents the opportunity to adopt children. With thousands of children in need of permanent homes in the United States alone, our findings suggest that ourtreach to lesbian and gay prospective adoptive parents might benefit children who are in need.”
The research assessed adjustment and development among preschool-aged children. It focused on children adopted at birth by lesbian, gay or heterosexual couples, and used a standardized assessment prodecure. What the researchers found is that parents and teachers agreed that the children were developing in a typical manner. The researchers also found that measures of the children’s adjustment, and the parents parental practices and stress levels were not associated with the parents’ sexual orientation. How well children adjusted was associated with how warmly the parents oriented to them.
Adoption rights for lesbian and gay parents has been a controversial topic, and denial of those rights has been pushed by people who often believe that children should have a mother and a father despite scientific evidence that this is not necessarily the reality. In fact, these measures are usually pushed by people who want to return to the days when homosexuality was illegal and punishable by prison. Some want to go further, as evidenced by one Texas lawyer who posited that prison was a hot bed of homosexual activity and, thus, it would be wrong to imprison gays. It would be better to execute them, he seemed to say.
Some states have tried to pass bans on unmarried couples adopting children, but those have been overturned in the courts. A number of states allow for same-sex co-adoptions.
Patterson is a faculty member at U.Va. and research scientist at the Fenway Institute’s Center for Population research in LGBT Health in Boston. The study was also authored by Rachel H. Farr, a U.Va. doctoral candidate and Stephenn L. Forssell, a George Washington University faculty member in psychology. Its funding came from the Williams Instituted at the UCLA School of Law.