Last updated on: 10/5/2007 | Author:

Should Gays and Lesbians Be Restricted from Adopting Children?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Child Welfare Information Gateway, formerly the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, of the Administration for Children & Families within the US Department of Health & Human Services, in 2004 provided the following summary about Gay and Lesbian Adoption laws:

“The statutory laws in most States are largely silent on the issue of adoption by gay and lesbian persons. At this time, only two States, Florida and Mississippi, explicitly prohibit adoption by homosexuals in their statutes. Utah bars adoption by persons who are cohabiting but not legally married; this language could be interpreted to encompass gay and lesbian adoptions. In Connecticut, the sexual orientation of the prospective adoptive parent may be considered, notwithstanding provisions in the State’s laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.”


PRO (yes)


Timothy J. Dailey, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Marriage and Family Studies of the Family Research Council wrote in an article titled “Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk,” posted in the Family Research Council’s online publication Insight (accessed July 8, 2005):

“The evidence demonstrates incontrovertibly that the homosexual lifestyle is inconsistent with the proper raising of children. Homosexual relationships are characteristically unstable and are fundamentally incapable of providing children the security they need… Studies indicate that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime, a lifestyle that–is difficult for even ‘committed’ homosexuals to break free of and which is not conducive to a healthy and wholesome atmosphere for the raising of children… Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of ‘committed’ typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage…

A national survey of lesbians published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 75 percent of the nearly two-thousand respondents had pursued psychological counseling of some kind, many for treatment of long-term depression or sadness… Another study published simultaneously in Archives of General Psychiatry followed 1007 individuals from birth. Those classified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual were significantly more likely to have had mental health problems. Significantly, in his comments in the same issue of the journal, D. Bailey cautioned against various speculative explanations of the results, such as the view that ‘widespread prejudice against homosexual people causes them to be unhappy or worse, mentally ill.’…

A study in Adolescence found: a disproportionate percentage–29 percent–of the adult children of homosexual parents had been specifically subjected to sexual molestation by that homosexual parent, compared to only 0.6 percent of adult children of heterosexual parents having reported sexual relations with their parent… Having a homosexual parent(s) appears to increase the risk of incest with a parent by a factor of about 50.

Attempts to redefine the very nature of the family ignore the accumulated wisdom of cultures and societies from time immemorial, which testifies that the best way for children to be raised is by a mother and father who are married to each other. The importance of the traditional family has been increasingly verified by research showing that children from married two-parent households do better academically, financially, emotionally, and behaviorally.”

July 8, 2005


The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) stated in an article dated Jan. 22, 2004 and titled “Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time For Change,” in the Parenting Issues section of its website:

“Are children reared by two individuals of the same gender as well adjusted as children reared in families with a mother and a father? Until recently the unequivocal answer to this question was ‘no.’ Policymakers, social scientists, the media, and even physician organizations, however, are now asserting that prohibitions on parenting by homosexual couples should be lifted. In making such far-reaching, generation-changing assertions, any responsible advocate would rely upon supporting evidence that is comprehensive and conclusive. Not only is this not the situation, but also there is sound evidence that children exposed to the homosexual lifestyle may be at increased risk for emotional, mental, and even physical harm.”

Jan. 22, 2004


A. Dean Byrd, PhD, Vice President of The National Association Of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), wrote in “Pediatrics Group Endorses Homosexual Adoption …But New Policy Places Children at Risk,” posted on the NARTH website (accessed Apr. 20, 2006):

“Studies demonstrate that there is, in fact, a difference between non-heterosexual and heterosexual parenting. Children raised by non-heterosexual parents are placed at risk. They are more apt to experience gender and sexual confusion; they are more apt to become promiscuous; they are at greater risk of losing a parent to AIDS, substance abuse or suicide. They suffer more depression and other emotional difficulties. They are also more likely to engage in same-sex behavior.

Furthermore, non-heterosexual couples are less stable than heterosexual couples in their relationships and they are more likely to separate. Research reveals that promiscuity is virtually the norm among male non-heterosexuals. Violence is substantially higher in non-heterosexual relationships. The list of risk factors continues.

Nature created male and female to be complementary to each other in myriad ways that enhance not only the couple’s relationship, but the healthy and stable development of the children they produce. It is well known that fatherlessness is responsible for many of the ills of children in our society. There are few bodies of research where the evidence is so clear: children need both a mother and a father. Homes with a married mother and father are, all things considered, far better for raising emotionally stable children.”

Apr. 20, 2006


Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director of the Traditional Values Coalition, was quoted in a Mar. 22, 2006 article, “New Report: ‘No Homosexual Adoption’ Now Online” as having said:

“We have had a national discussion over the past decade about welfare mothers without a husband and the impact this has on children. Why is it damaging for poor kids not to have a father, but it’s okay for kids in a wealthy lesbian home to not have a dad? Studies show kids invariably suffer without a father regardless of family structure.”

Mar. 22, 2006

CON (no)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Lesbian & Gay Rights Project wrote in the chapter “Arguments Against Gay Families, and Why They’re Wrong” in Too High A Price, the Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting, published in 2005:

Social scientists tend to agree that problems with child development are often attributable not to marriage status, but instead to a variety of other factors such as parents’ income and education level. More importantly: none of the studies focusing on the effects of marriage have looked at gay parents. The only studies that compare same-sex parents to heterosexual parents … [had not] found that children in homes with a married mother and father do better than those in homes with gay parents…

Research that compares children raised by heterosexual couples with children raised by same-sex couples simply does not say that a heterosexual family is best for a child. It does say, however, that gay men and lesbians can raise children just as well as their heterosexual counterparts… Some anti-gay activists will misuse the studies on gay parenting to attack the children of gay parents. They do so by turning what is merely a difference into a defect. One study, for example, found that daughters of lesbians are more likely to want to be doctors or astronauts than daughters of heterosexuals. In the mouths of anti-gay activists, this gets called a gender disorder. Another study found that daughters of lesbians are more likely to wear pants and jeans than daughters of heterosexuals. When the activists describe it, this becomes deviant cross-dressing.

It is just not true. Not one credible study has ever found that somebody’s sexual orientation alone makes him or her more likely to provide an unstable home… Time and again mainstream groups have said that gay and lesbian parents are as likely to provide supportive, healthy homes as heterosexual parents…

Those who would restrict gay parenting say that gay parents have higher rates of depression, suicide, and domestic violence. This is a deliberate attempt to trick the public and neglects to mention that their information comes from studies of unmarried parents, which don’t tell us anything about the stability of gay families. Studies of gay parents find that gay and heterosexual parents have equal levels of mental health…

There is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. All of the legitimate scientific evidence shows that. Only one sham study has reported that there is a connection. It was written by Paul Cameron – a figure much beloved by antigay activists… Cameron has been discredited by, thrown out of, and publicly chastised by numerous professional organizations…

Those who would ban gay people from being parents are quick to reference the gay parenting studies when attacking gay parents and their children… but then these same people turn around to say the studies are completely worthless. In the past 20 years, respected researchers have looked at over 1,000 children and over 500 lesbian and gay parents. All of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed, respected journals, whose standards represent expert consensus on accepted social scientific methods… [I]f we were to accept what these activists say, we would have to dismiss virtually the entire discipline.”



The Child Welfare Information Gateway, formerly the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, of the Administration for Children & Families within the US Department of Health & Human Services,wrote in their “Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Resources for Professionals and Parents,” published in 2000:

“There is no legitimate scientific research connecting homosexuality and pedophilia… In a study of 269 cases of child sex abuse, only two offenders where found to be gay or lesbian… The conclusion was found that ‘a child’s risk of being molested by his or her relative’s heterosexual partner is over one hundred times greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual.’

The bulk of evidence to date indicates that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are no more likely to become homosexual than children raised by heterosexuals…

The studies conclude that children of gay or lesbian parents are no different than their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents. In ‘Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents,’ a 1992 article in Child Development, Charlotte Patterson states, ‘Despite dire predictions about children based on well-known theories of psychosocial development, and despite the accumulation of a substantial body of research investigating these issues, not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.'”



The American Psychological Association (APA) policy statement “Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children,” adopted July 28, 2004 and posted on its website, stated:

“The picture that emerges from research is one of general engagement in social life with peers, parents, family members, and friends. Fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by adults, ostracized by peers, or isolated in single-sex lesbian or gay communities have received no scientific support. 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…

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the APA opposes any discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care, and reproductive health services.”

July 28, 2004