Dozens of studies over the past 30 years have analyzed the social and psychological development of children raised by same sex parents. While the studies differed—both in who was studied and how children’s development was measured—the overwhelming consensus was there is no difference in the general well being of children raised in same-sex and opposite-sex parent households. Overall, the research concluded it’s the quality of the parenting—rather than parents’ genders—that matters most when it comes to childhood development.
Approximately 75 studies have compared the development of children raised by same sex parents to children raised by opposite sex parents, including children with parents that first identified as gay while the child was growing up. The studies generally focused on three areas: whether children raised by same sex parents have more emotional problems, whether they have trouble relating to their peers and whether they are more confused about their own gender identity.
Studies could find no evidence that children raised by same sex parents are more likely to have emotional problems. They are not more likely to suffer from depression or drug abuse than the general population.
Studies confirm there is no significant difference in social engagement between children raised in same-sex or opposite-sex parented households. While some children reported homophobic bullying, it was also seen as simply bullying, a problem encountered by many children.
Gender identity issues
The absence of traditional role models has not been shown to promote gender confusion. Studies show no increase in gender confusion among children parented by homosexual parents, although the children did tend to be more open minded toward gender differences.
A study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, published in 2016, reaffirmed the findings of previous studies. Children of same-sex parents are just as healthy emotionally as the children of different-sex parents.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.”