It has been apparent for a while now that we live in child-centric times. We approach parenting with a single-mindedness that baffles our own parents, and certainly their parents, who thought children should be seen and not heard. We think it’s just fine to put our kids ahead of our careers, our relationships, our social lives, and even if we aren’t doing so, everyone around us seems to be.We demand that public policy — on health care, or education, or stimulus money — consider the needs of children as surely as it does the needs of doctors, teachers and businesses. (I am not saying that public policy makers always respond, mind you, but “what about the children?” is certainly a rallying cry.) We devour research on how to build our children’s self-esteem, to keep them from being bullied and to expand their intellects.It is striking, then, how comparatively rarely children are mentioned as an argument in favor of gay marriage. The issue is framed as a debate over equality and justice, of personal freedom and the relation of church and state, not about what is good for kids.That’s partly because, until relatively recently, we didn’t know much about the children of same-sex couples. The earliest studies, dating to the 1970s, were based on small samples and could include only families who stepped forward to be counted. But about 20 years ago, the Census Bureau added a category for unwed partners, which included many gay partners, providing more demographic data. Not every gay couple that is married, or aspiring to marry, has children, but an increasing number do: approximately 1 in 5 male same-sex couples and 1 in 3 female same-sex couples are raising children, up from 1 in 20 male couples and 1 in 5 female couples in 1990.This growth, coupled with the passage of time, means there is a large cohort of children who are now old enough to yield solid data. And the portrait emerging tells us something about the effects of gay parenting. It also contains lessons for all parents.“These children do just fine,” says Abbie E. Goldberg, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Clark University, who concedes there are some who will continue to believe that gay parents are a danger to their children, in spite of a growing web of psychological and sociological evidence to the contrary. Her new book, “Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children,” is an analysis of more than 100 academic studies, most looking at groups of 30 to 150 subjects, and primarily on lesbian mothers, though of late there is a spike in research about gay fathers........
Sunday, November 8, 2009
By LISA BELKIN
Published: November 5, 2009
Posted by De Sube at 11/08/2009 05:54:00 PM