Children Less Likely to Be Medicated For Emotional Issues When Raised by Biological Mother & Father Than Same-Sex Households

Children Need Their Mother AND Father Series, Part 2

In my last post, I discussed the increased challenges children face when raised without their father being actively present in their lives.

Picture courtesy of

Since roughly the 1980s, when sperm banks opened their doors, and adoption was legalized for same-sex partners, there has been an increase in same-sex partners raising children. After enough time had passed, studies were conducted to determine if there were differences in outcomes for children raised in same-sex households ~ initially most often by two females, one who may have been the biological mother ~ or opposite-sex biological parents. The original verdict: not much.  A difference was noted in the female couples having higher stress, with no significant effect on the children.(1)

The problem with some of the early studies was in the methodology. Couples chosen tended to have greater financial stability, and were not a good cross sectional representation. There may have also been biases from self-reporting, knowing that the answers needed to be a positive representation of same-sex parenting, and biases from those conducting and reporting the studies which sought a particular outcome.  Selecting subjects versus using random selection also produced vastly different results, which Katy Faust writes in her article, Study the Studies, What We Know About Same-Sex Parenting, published May 22, 2017 on

Faust shares details of A Review and Critique of Research on Same-Sex Parenting and Adoption, a 120 page report which considered three main areas:

  • stability of same-sex parental relationships
  • child outcomes
  • child outcomes in same-sex adoption

According to the above abstract from Psychol Rep, Dec. 2016, available  here on Pub Med

Relationship instability appears to be higher among gay and lesbian parent couples and may be a key mediating factor influencing outcomes for children....While some researchers have tended to conclude that there are no differences whatsoever in terms of child outcomes as a function of parental sexual orientation, such conclusions appear premature in the light of more recent data in which some different outcomes have been observed in a few studies. Studies conducted within the past 10 years that compared child outcomes for children of same-sex and heterosexual adoptive parents were reviewed. Because of sampling limitations we still know very little about family functioning among same-sex adoptive families with low or moderate incomes, those with several children, or those with older children, including adolescents or how family functioning may change over time. There remains a need for high-quality research...especially families with gay fathers and with lower income.

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health) conducted a massive longitudinal study following over 20,000 adolescents in the U.S. for fifteen years. "ADD Health was developed in response to a mandate from the United States Congress to fund a study of adolescent health and was designed by a nationwide team of multidisciplinary investigators from the social, behavioral, and health sciences. The original purpose of ADD Health was to understand the causes of adolescent health and health behavior with special emphasis on the forces that reside in the multiple contexts of adolescent life."(2

In The Unexpected Harm of Same-sex Marriage: A Critical Appraisal, Replication and Re-analysis of Wainright and Patterson's Studies of Adolescents with Same-sex Parents, by D. Paul Sullins, published in the British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, data from the ADD Health study above was used to replicate three previous studies by Wainright and Patterson that concluded that children of same-sex parents experienced no significant disadvantages.(3)

Using Wave 1, (n = 20,745), "re-examination of the same-sex sample finds that 27 of the 44 cases are misidentified heterosexual parents; they did not adjust for survey design and clustering; and ignored 99 percent of the baseline by using a small matched sample for comparison. Outcomes are re-analyzed after correcting these problems, using OLS, logistic regression and Firth (bias-adjusted) regression models.
They found depressive symptoms rises from 50% to 88%; daily fearfulness or crying rises from 5% to 32%; grade point average declines from 3.6 to 3.4; and child sex abuse by parent rises from zero to 38% among adolescents of same-sex parents. "The longer a child has been with same-sex parents, the greater the harm."

The study conclusion:

"Children with same-sex parents experience significant disadvantages, but also some advantages, compared to those with man-woman parents. Although opposite-sex marriage is associated with improved outcomes on a wide range of child well-being measures, same-sex marriage is associated with lower outcomes."

As Faust writes in her article,

The largest study to date – the National Health Interview Study which began with 1.6 million cases and yielded 512 same-sex parent families – destroys any fantasy that children with same-sex parents fare “no different” than children raised in the home of their married mother and father.
Her charts show clearly the magnitude of difference in child emotional issues, showing a marked increase in the following categories:

  • children with clinical emotional problems
  • children with learning disabilities
  • children who received medical treatment for emotional problems
  • children who received medication for emotional problems ~ the greatest difference between children of same-sex versus opposite-sex biological parents of the above four categories 

Sulins, who analyzed the data of the studies further summarizes:

The higher risk of emotional problems for children in same-sex parent families has little or nothing to do with the quality of parenting, care, or other relational characteristics of those families.

If the greatest benefits for child well-being are conferred only on the biological offspring of both parents; and since same-sex relationships cannot, at least at present, conceive a child that is the biological offspring of both partners, in the way that every child conceived by opposite-sex partners is such; then same-sex partners, no matter how loving and committed, can never replicate the level of benefit for child well-being that is possible for opposite-sex partners.

This defect, moreover, is an essential and permanent feature of same-sex relationships; it is part of their definition, an irreducible difference that cannot be amended or abrogated by improving the circumstances, stability, legal status or social acceptance of same-sex couples.

Finally, Sullins emphasizes:

The primary benefit of marriage for children may not be that it tends to present them with improved parents (more stable, financially affluent, etc., although it does do this), but that it presents them with their own parents. 
Whether or not same-sex families attain the legal right, as opposite-sex couples now have, to solemnize their relationship in civil marriage, the two family forms will continue to have fundamentally different, even contrasting, effects on the biological component of child well-being, to the relative detriment of children in same-sex families. Functionally, opposite-sex marriage is a social practice that, as much as possible, ensure to children the joint care of both biological parents, with the attendant benefits that brings; same-sex marriage ensures the opposite.
As I wrote, children need their father. Their biological father ~ not just their mother ~ for them to have all that they most need to become successful, healthy, productive adults.

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