Lesbians Make Better Parents: Times Online

This will not surprise many  of my readers, or others in the reality-based community (borrowing Pam Spaulding’s phrase), but lesbians make better parents.  The evidence from research has shown this for years, and is now accepted wisdom among professionals in the field.  Here in the UK, the authoritative social attitudes survey has found that a third of British adults now agree that same sex couples  make “at least” as good parents as other couples – to say noting of the comparison with single parents, or with no parents at all.

This all makes intuitive sense: lesbian couples by the very nature of things are most unlikely to have unplanned pregnancies and unwanted children.  Lesbian parenting is generally a carefully thought through, deliberate decision.  The parents themselves will have had to negotiate the difficult process of coming out, which is often a psychological growth experience, and will have had to deal with prejudice, possible discrimination and sometimes outright hostility in their own lives – and have learnt to deal with it. It is to be expected, as research confirms, that

“children brought up by female couples are more aspirational and more confident in championing social justice. They show no more tendencies towards homosexuality than the offspring of heterosexual parents.”

All of this by now should be old hat, hardly worth a second glance. So why do I repeat and promote the story below, from Times Online?

Because too many of the power elite in the Catholic Church and their unthinking claque of supporters, have yet to join the reality based community.  They consistently ignore their own teaching that theology must pay attention to the findings of science and scholarship, and instead condemn even their own experts who state what is widely accepted by professionals, and would rather blackmail civic authorities than countenance the possibility of placing an adoptive child with same sex parents, no matter how sparkling their personal qualities or potential as parents.


Protesting child outside LDS Temple after Prop 8, 2008


As long as the bishops insist on placing church ideology (it does not even qualify as sound theology) over the welfare of children, we must continue to publicise the findings of research and experts, aiming to build the sound theology, based on science together with faith and reason, that the establishment is singularly failing to do.

Here is the Times news story:

Lesbians make better parents than conventional couples, according to a director of the government’s parenting academy.

Stephen Scott, director of research at the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners, told a meeting last week that the latest research showed that children of such couples did better in life.

Speaking at the launch at the think tank Demos of a report on the influence of character on life, Scott said: “Lesbians make better parents than a man and a woman.”

His arguments are supported by experts who have found, over years of research, that children brought up by female couples are more aspirational and more confident in championing social justice. They show no more tendencies towards homosexuality than the offspring of heterosexual parents.

Such strong endorsement from the government’s main agency for parenting will give a boost to gay parents. The speech from the academy, set up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007, will alarm traditional family supporters and those who raise concerns about the lack of a father figure in a child’s life.

Parenting groups have recently been accused of turning into vocal advocates for the tiny minority of parents who are gay couples. There was a row this year when the British Association for Adoption and Fostering described opponents of gay adoption as “retarded homophobes”. It had to pulp copies of a guide using the phrase.

However, more than a third of people now believe a lesbian couple can be at least as good parents as a man and a woman, according to the annual British Social Attitudes report.

Research at Birkbeck college, part of London University, and at Clark University in Massachusetts, says there is no evidence to show children of lesbian parents are disadvantaged in any way.

By the nature of their relationship, lesbian couples cannot have children by accident. They use a sperm donor, often a gay man, or adopt. The child then has two “mothers”.

Daughters of lesbians are more likely to aspire to professions that were traditionally considered male, such as doctors or lawyers.

Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Dick Cheney, the former American vice-president, who is expecting her second baby later this month, said in a recent interview: “Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents. What matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment.”

11 Responses to “Lesbians Make Better Parents: Times Online”

  1. Lesbians Make Better Parents: Times Online « Queering the Church QV China Says:

    […] original post here: Lesbians Make Better Parents: Times Online « Queering the Church By admin | category: lesbian sex | tags: always-been, argentina, argentine-congress, […]

  2. anon Says:

    This post is pretty dumb.

    There is no specific research mentioned in the article. No links to pdfs or to journals. If you visit Stephen Scott’s home institution, the National Academy for Parenting Practitioners, you’ll find nothing there about this research. It’s unpublished and vaguely described.

    You have no idea if the research exists, if it was peer reviewed, what the findings were, what the methodology was, what was actually studied, how it was studied, how strong were the findings, how significant were the findings, how this research is considered by other researchers.

    But you leap to letting this vague nothing report buttress your preconceived notions.

    Which makes you ignorant at best.

    If you looked further into Dr. Scott, you’d find his home institution pedals a class based, government based problem/solution/treatment/therapy, and that he’s made basically class arguments against parenting in the past.

    Given that he would seem to have a clear financial conflict, it’s very important to examine his research, and how it was conducted, to make sure it is scientifically sound.

    You do none of this, you just suck off the teat of the Internet, making you lazy or incompetent or corrupt.

    Best wishes

    • queeringthechurch Says:

      Sure, the article does not give links or reference specific research, but it does not need to: it is not reporting on the research itself, but on the views of two (not one) experts it considers reputable, as well as one highly visible public figure speaking from personal experience. I have no knowledge of Mr Scott, but I do know of both the Times (of London), which makes it clear that it is “the (UK) government’s main agency for parenting … The academy (was) set up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007”. The report also refers to research fro the university of London, again a reputable institution, and Mary Cheney.

      I did not on this occasion conduct further checks to look for the particular research, because I do not see the need to fact check a newspaper with the standing of the Times, and because I know the observation to be true: from numerous more specific reports I have seen (some of which I have reported previously on this blog), from personal discussion with experts I know (one of them being Dr Jackie Loffell, a personal friend and on the leading experts on child welfare in South Africa, and another a professional child psychologist), and from personal experience. However, here are some links to collaborative research reports:

      In the NYT Magazine (Nov 8th), Lisa Belkin summarizes research on same-sex couples parenting from two new books, Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children, by Abbie Goldberg; and When Gay People Get Married, by M. V. Lee Badgett.

      Belkin summarizes:

      In most ways, the accumulated research shows, children of same-sex parents are not markedly different from those of heterosexual parents. They show no increased incidence of psychiatric disorders, are just as popular at school and have just as many friends. While girls raised by lesbian mothers seem slightly more likely to have more sexual partners, and boys slightly more likely to have fewer, than those raised by heterosexual mothers, neither sex is more likely to suffer from gender confusion nor to identify themselves as gay.

      More enlightening than the similarities, however, are the differences, the most striking of which is that these children tend to be less conventional and more flexible when it comes to gender roles and assumptions than those raised in more traditional families.

      Since you have referred to the Demos homepage, I have had a look at it. As you note, there is no reference to the specific research on lesbian parents – there is no need, as it is not his own research, but research he was quoting from in a speech. The home page does include an abstract of a longer paper on responsible parenting, which I found inoffensive, and may well include more detailed commentary on lesbian parenting in particular. you warn that Mr Scott has a “vested interest”. Certainly he does, but that interest is not in promoting lesbian parenting, but in promoting impartial and independent advice on social policy.

      I am not sure how my commenting on an article, quoted in full, from a newspaper with the international reputation and standing of the Times, makes me “lazy or incompetent or corrupt.”

      I do note however, that from an apparently cursory inspection of the home page for one of the speakers quoted by a newspaper, you have simplyn dismissed teh article as well amy commentary, with no attempt at all to engage with the content, and have done so with complete anonymity – not even taking the trouble to adopt a pen name, and using an email address that is built up from totally anonymous words. In doing so, you simply confirm one of the observations of the original report:

      Such strong endorsement from the government’s main agency for parenting will give a boost to gay parents. The speech from the academy, set up by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007, will alarm traditional family supporters and those who raise concerns about the lack of a father figure in a child’s life.

      • anon Says:

        Let me clarify this. If you don’t understand why not looking for the original research is important, if you don’t understand that newspapers frequently misreport on science, if you don’t understand that not examining the various issues I pointed out, if you are okay with generalizing from Scott’s one factor “aspiration” to Lesbians make better parents than you really have no clue about science.

        So that makes you incompetent, but neither lazy nor corrupt. On the other hand, you drop a few names and claim to understand how science works, so I guess maybe you’re just lazy after all.

        You are cherry picking dubious research that buttresses your pre-conceived notions. The research, as reported, is no better or worse, than any similarly reported research that might purport to show that lesbians are terrible parents. And I doubt you would run with those reports. That you would run with this report indicates you are corrupt.

        Best wishes,

      • queeringthechurch Says:

        I was not “cherry-picking”, but just quoting some examples. I do not need to quote extensively to support what is well-known and accepted by professionals, any more than I need to qoute extensively from scientific research to state that the world is not flat.

        You, on the other hand, refer glibly to reports that lesbians make terrible parents. I have not run them, because they simply do not exist. Have you seen any? The many reports I have seen and reported on exist and come from credible sources. The ones you refer to are fantasy.
        You have still not provided a shred of evidence to support your dissenting view. Until you do, forgive me if I no longer accept your anonymous name-calling.


  3. James Hipps Says:

    Anon is obviously against gay parenting, but doesn’t have the guts to come out and admit his or her bigotry, which we all know is based upon ignorance…”those in glass houses” anon!

    Anon, if you know so much, why aren’t you citing any references that contradict Scott’s conclusions? Who’s lazy…or simply are you that happy being a bigot? Try education…Universities offer a great means to broaden your knowledge. It’s never too late to put your ignorance down and pick up a book.

    You’re comments are stupidly written, baseless and backed by nothing other that right wing rhetoric. You should be embarrassed, but I suppose it’s true…ignorance is bliss.

  4. colkoch Says:

    Terence here’s some more support. It doesn’t appear to me that anon has read the studies either. Anon is just engaging in an attack on your supposed lazy methods, not the studies themselves. It’s purely diversionary, especially since anon cites no studies, much less link to them, which would dispute the studies he hasn’t apparently read.

    Anon also demands a greater accountability on your part than has ever been practiced by the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy. I for one have never seen the Church link to studies which dispute any of their pet sexual theories.

    • queeringthechurch Says:

      Thanks to you too Colleen. I agree with you here too, of course. This vitriolic attack was purely diversionary and unfounded. Once again, we see an example of people who are calling us out using two totally different standards. We are expected to back up every single assertion with scientific research, but they never feel the need, treating their own unfounded bias as the default truth position, which (in their view) will prevail until conclusively disproven – and beyond. Just see some of the other observations in the America comments thread for more illustrations.

      Things are changing though, and this discussion is a dramatic instance of how much. Ignorance cannot prevail indefinitely.


  5. Jayden Cameron Says:

    I am presently a donor for a wonderful lesbian couple in London who are trying to have a child. We have yet to succeed, but keep trying. The couple already have children of their own (18, 19 & 22 years old) and the decision to have another child was discussed among the whole family during their weekly ‘prayer’ sessions around the kitchen table Sunday evenings. A candle is lit and any member of the family can say anything, including any resentments or hurts with other members of the family. It is one of the most spiritual, close-knit families I have every known, which is why I agreed to become a part of it. All three children sent me wonderful letters explaining why they wanted another child in their family. Interestingly enough, the oldest girl is married to a young gay man. We all thought he was gay, though nothing had been said before the marriage. But three months after the birth of their first child, he came out to his wife and they agreed to a trial separation so he could explore his own sexuality and discern the direction of his own life journey. When the three months were over, he returned to his wife, saying he loved her too much to be separated from her and family was more important to him than anything. That was two years ago and they’ve just had their second child. Life is a mystery. No evidence, no sources, no citations – just a single, simple anecdote that witnesses to the power of the Spirit of love at work everywhere, healing, uniting, and slowly, gently wearing down the walls of ignorance and bigotry.

    • queeringthechurch Says:

      Thank you, Jayden for this wonderful witness – for that is what it is. We are sometimes so obsessed with this idea of “authority” that we forget that all of truth ultimately depends on reflection on single real stories of real lives – including the stories in Scripture. It is by accumulating and shared reflecting on these stories that lessons can be extracted, and appropriate theology developed for the changing world. Without this ongoing witness, we become stuck in ideas developed for very different conditions two or three thousand years ago.

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