Gay Parenting Research Paper

Pages: 6 (2767 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

¶ … articles on the topic of gay parenting. The research articles were selected based on the relevancy of the topic as well as addressing most critical aspects of gay parents such as legal rights of gay parents, Social Support and Gay Parenting, Parental Stress and Sexual Minority Stress. These are the most commonly debated and discussed issues when it comes to child adoption by homosexual couples.

Meezan, W., & Rauch, J. (2005). Gay marriage, same-sex parenting, and America's children. The Future of Children, 15(2), 97-115. doi: 10.1353/foc.2005.0018

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Meezan & Rauch conducted a study on gay parenting in 2005. Legal parenting rights for same-sex couples cannot be fully discussed without discussing marriage rights. According to the author, same-sex marriage would provide three types of benefits to children of same-sex couples. If couples were permitted to marry, their children would have more financial benefits including eligibility for insurance coverage through both parents, disability benefits if a parent becomes disabled, and survivor benefits and inheritance rights if a parent dies. Second, same-sex couples would likely experiences less psychological distress and increased well-being as married rather than co-habituating couples. Finally, children would benefit socially from their parents being able to marry. The authors explain that having the family legitimized would define the family unit in terms with which others could relate. This connects the children's grandparents on both sides of the family to the child, whether or not they are biologically related. The children's daycares, school, and other organizations would have clear dictates for who is responsible for the children. Without legal recognition of all family members, these children do not have basic supports that most children have.

Research Paper on Gay Parenting Assignment

The literature reviewed by Meezan and Rauch (2005) resulted in four conclusions regarding same-sex parenting: same-sex parents differ little when compared to heterosexual parents on measures of emotional involvement and providing healthy and supportive environments, and differences favor same-sex parents; children of same-sex parents do not tend to identify more often as LGB or to be confused about their gender identity more than other children; children of samesex parents are at least as healthy emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally as other children; and same-sex parents and children worry about harassment by their peers, though there is little evidence that these children have trouble with peers.

American Psychological Association (2004b). Resolution on sexual orientation, parents, and children. Retrieved from

Based on existing research, the American Psychological Association (2004b) put forth a resolution on same-sex parents; it stated that the APA as an organization opposes discrimination in adoption, foster care, and reproductive services based on sexual orientation, and supports legalization of joint adoptions and second-parent adoptions for same-sex parents.

State law determines who has parenting rights within a family in which both parents are not biologically related to the child. Most states do not permit two same-sex parents to have a legal connection to a child. States that do permit the entire family legal recognition do so through co-parent adoption or second-parent adoption. Co-parent adoption allows both parents to adopt a child simultaneously. Second-parent adoption allows a second parent to adopt a child that already has one legal parent. Six states and Washington D.C. have laws permitting both second-parent and joint adoption, four states have laws permitting only joint adoption, and two states have laws permitting only second-parent adoption for same-sex couples. In addition, 16 states have some counties that permit second-parent or joint adoption for same-sex couples. Florida, Mississippi, and Utah have state laws that explicitly prohibit same-sex couples from adopting. Kentucky, Ohio, Nebraska, and Wisconsin have court rulings that prohibit second-parent adoption by same-sex couples. Even when adoption is permitted, non-biological parents are not guaranteed rights because second-parent adoptions can be challenged by third parties.

Golombok, S., Perry, B., Burston, a., Murray, C., Mooney-Somers, J., Stevens, M., & Golding, J. (2003). Children with lesbian parents: A community study. Developmental Psychology, 39, 20-33. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.39.1.20

Although most states deny children of same-sex couples from having two legal parents, researchers have shown that co-parenting is an asset to families. When considering the best interests of the family, permitting two parents to raise a child has a positive effect. Researchers have found that parents who have a co-parent tend to report more positive parenting experiences than single parents, regardless of the parents' sexual orientation. Dual parents report less stress, less severe parent-child conflicts, more warmth, more enjoyment of parenting, and more imaginative play than single parents (Golombok., 2003).

Blake, P.A. (2005). Correlates of lesbian parented families. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Adelphi University, Garden City.

In spite of the data that suggests that same-sex parents are fit parents, both parents in the family may not perceive that they are recognized equally as parents. While the majority of parents in Blake's (2005) study perceived equal parenting status, one fourth of non-legal parents felt they were secondary to the legal parent. In contrast, only three legal parents in her study felt they were secondary parents.

Sexual Minority Stress

Brooks, V.R. (1981). Minority Stress and Lesbian Women. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

Brooks (1981) conceptualized the challenges of being a sexual minority through the lens of political constraints and institutional support for these restrictions. She explained that the stressors placed on sexual minorities begin with the mainstream culture's belief that LGB individuals are inferior. She related this to Pearlin's construct of structural stress, which explained how racial minority individuals may interpret stressful life experiences throughout their lifespan as they relate to the status of racial inferiority they are given by society.

Meyer, I.H. (1995). Minority stress and mental health in gay men. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 36(1), 38-56. doi: 10.2307/2137286

Meyer, I.H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.674

More recently, Meyer (1995, 2003) has explored the unique stressors of gay men, which he discussed as being socially based, chronic, and additive. Within a heterosexist society, LGB individuals are constantly exposed to messages of inferiority because of their sexual orientation. These pervasive messages originate from sources such as media, religion, politics, employers, healthcare providers, and families of origin. Heterosexist beliefs can affect how individuals, organizations, and governments interact with LGB people, such as whether LGB people are given benefits equal to their heterosexual counterparts. Heterosexist messages that result in sexual minority stress are most often expressed as rejection of, discrimination against, and violence toward LGB individuals

Rostosky, S.S., Riggle, E.D.B., Horne, S.G., & Miller, a.D. (2009). Marriage amendments and psychological distress in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 56-66. doi: 10.1037/a0013609

Similarly, minority stressors can impact same-sex families in multiple ways, but research in this area is limited. Same-sex parents may experience stressors related to limited parenting rights due to discriminatory laws. Researchers have found that even the process of having amendments voted on that aim to restrict legal rights increases distress for LGB individuals. Because many same-sex parents live in areas that do not provide parenting rights to both parents, non-legal parents can face daily challenges of not being treated as parents of their own children. (Rostosky, Riggle, Horne, & Miller, 2009)

Riggle, E.D.B., & Rostosky, S.S. (2005). For better or for worse: Psycholegal soft spots and advance planning for same-sex couples. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(1), 90-96. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.36.1.90

Another component of sexual minority stress is disclosure of one's sexual orientation. Both the need to disclose and the impact of disclosure on same-sex families are unique to LGB parents. Many LGB parents have said being out became more important when they became parents because disclosure legitimized their family structure the process of obtaining legal documents for family protection requires that both parents disclose that they are in a same-sex relationship. Though disclosing one's sexual orientation can put the family at risk for discrimination, this risk is necessary to obtain any legal protections that are available to the family. This may also cause stress within the relationship if the partners are at different levels of comfort with disclosure (Riggle & Rostosky, 2005).

Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Find an Issue [Fact sheet]. Retrieved June 27, 2009, from

The study by Bos and her colleagues found no differences between biological and non-biological mothers, but participants most likely had parenting rights equal to those of heterosexual parents because the study was conducted in the Netherlands. Their participants on average reported low levels of rejection, perceived stigma, and internalized homophobia. In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country to give same-sex couples the same rights to marriage and adoption as heterosexual couples (HRC, 2009). Perhaps having legal parenting rights contributed to reduced sexual minority stress to the extent that no significant differences were reported between parents. The degree of sexual minority stress may differ for same-sex parents in the United States when both parents do not have legal parenting rights.

Parental Stress

Lichtanski, K. (2004). A comparison of adoptive gay and adoptive heterosexual fathers: Differences in their perception of parenting abilities, level… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Gay Parenting" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Gay Parenting.  (2012, January 27).  Retrieved November 30, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Gay Parenting."  27 January 2012.  Web.  30 November 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Gay Parenting."  January 27, 2012.  Accessed November 30, 2020.