UO study finds no disadvantages for kids raised by same-sex parents

UO sociology professor Ryan Light
UO sociology professor Ryan Light

Children raised by same-sex couples have similar outcomes to those raised by heterosexual parents, according to a new study co-authored by University of Oregon  sociology professor Ryan Light.

Light and his co-author, Jimi Adams, of the University of Colorado at Denver, examined 19,000 peer-reviewed articles looking for patterns and consistencies in research on same-sex parenting. They found that children raised by same-sex parents fared no differently than children raised in different parental configurations, such as heterosexual households.

According to their research, that consensus started in the 1990s and became pronounced in the 2000s.

The findings could have major legal implications. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering two related cases involving same-sex marriage. Consensus is a major part in how the Supreme Court evaluates scientific literature.

According to Light, until now there has been no systematic attempt to evaluate the state of scientific agreement on same-sex parenting outcomes. This research provides evidence that there is no negative social or behavioral impact to children of same-sex couples.

“We hope that these tools can help judges and lawyers weigh the state of agreement on scientific issues before the courts,” Light said.

The paper, titled “Scientific Consensus, the Law, and Same Sex Parenting Outcomes,” was published this month in Social Science Research.

—By Molly Blancett, Public Affairs Communications