Scientists agree that children raised by same-sex couples are no worse off than children raised by parents of the opposite sex, according to a new study co-authored by a University of Oregon professor.
The new research, which looked at 19,000 studies and articles related to same-sex parenting from 1977 to 2013, was released last week, and comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule by the end of this month on whether same-sex marriage is legal.
“Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different- sex parents,” University of Oregon sociology professor Ryan Light said on Tuesday.
Light, who co-authored the study with Jimi Adams of the University of Colorado Denver, said the study may be too late to affect the court’s ruling this month but he hopes it will have an impact on future cases.
"I hope we’ll see acceptance of gay marriage of the courts and by the public at large," he said.
The studies, Light said, showed some disagreement among scientists on the outcome of same-sex parenting in the 1980s but it largely subsided in the 1990s, and a clear consensus had formed by 2000 that there is no difference between same-sex and different-sex parenting in the psychological, behavioral or educational outcomes of children.
“Across the board we find the iterative suggests there’s no significant differences,” Light said. "To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive analysis of this type on this issue.”
Gary Gates, Research Director at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, said although several review articles have made arguments that there is a consensus that the gender of the parents does not matter, he was not aware of any other in-depth study of this nature.
“That to me actually sounds like a fairly novel approach and I'm not sure that others have done it,” he said.
He said he believes the argument that same-sex parents are less adequate than heterosexual parents has largely been taken out of the legal debates. But he said it's always possible that it could come up.
"We’ll see what happens in the Supreme Court argumentation," he said.