The Research Against Mississippi's Ban on Gay Adoption - Pacific Standard

The Research Against Mississippi's Ban on Gay Adoption

A reading list on the differences—or lack thereof—between gay and straight parents.
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The Mississippi State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson. (Photo: Katherine Welles/Shutterstock)

The Mississippi State Capitol Building in downtown Jackson. (Photo: Katherine Welles/Shutterstock)

Four same-sex couples are taking the Mississippi Department of Human Services to court for the right to adopt children. One couple involved in the case has been parenting a 15-year-old boy his entire life, though he was legally adopted by only one of his mothers. Mississippi is the final piece to the gay adoption puzzle in the United States; it's the last state to ban same-sex couples from adopting.

Lifting such a ban would be consistent with extensive medical and social science research that demonstrates children do as well (or as poorly), no matter the genders of their parents—research that has been settled and publicly available for years:

  • Consensus statements from various medical and research societies have long found that "whether a child is raised by same-sex or opposite-sex parents has no bearing on a child's wellbeing," as the American Sociological Association puts it.
  • A team of social science professors did previously file an amicus brief in support of California's Proposition 8, but the science the brief cites is flawed.
  • Research has found that a number of other factors, such as two parents' relationship with one another and the resources a family have, make a much greater difference to children's lives than the genders of their parents. Pacific Standard documented that research in our stories, "What Makes a Healthy Family" and "The Kids Will Be All Right, Even Without the Nuclear Family."
  • The children of same-sex parents may even have one advantage over their peers raised by heterosexual genders: As a couple, their parents may spend more time with them.

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