Are two Mommies as good as a Mom and a Dad?

Same-sex couples are just as good at raising well-adjusted, healthy kids as heterosexual couples according a new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

According to HealthDay on Yahoo:

” ‘There’s a deeply held and widespread view out there that children need both a mother and a father to do well,’ said study author Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology and of social and cultural analysis at New York University in New York City. ‘And it seems to be a bipartisan conviction — with a lot of public policy based on that premise — since literally both President Bush and President Obama have said exactly that.’ ”

“ ‘But the point is that this orthodoxy is supposedly supported not just by a belief, but by actual research,’ Stacey noted. ‘Yet we found that, in fact, there is no research that shows that children need both a mother and a father. And we looked everywhere.’ “

Stacey and study co-author Timothy J. Biblarz, chairman of the sociology department at the University of Southern California, reviewed 81 studies conducted since 1990 that fell into one of two categories: two-parent family studies comparing lesbian couples with heterosexual couples in terms of parenting skills and/or the psychological and social well-being of their children; and studies that compared single-mother parenting with that of single-fathers.

The researchers found that social class and educational background seemed to affect the manner in which someone parents as opposed to gender.

” ‘The bottom line is that it is the quality of parenting, not the gender of the parents, that matters for child outcomes,’ said Stacey.”

They predict the same would be true for gay men as well but there hasn’t been as much research in that area.

Norval D. Glenn, a professor in the department of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and an advisor to the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, a conservative think tank in New York City, says much more research much to be done to safely conclude same-sex parents are just as good.

What do you think: Are two Mommies as good as a Mom and Dad? Why or why not? Do you agree the quality of parenting outweighs the sex of the parent? What are your thoughts on the opposite scenario of two men?

321 comments Add your comment

No.

January 28th, 2010
6:16 am

No. Kids should have a mom and a dad. Regardless of whether the parents are “good” enough or not, it is not fair to the children to have to deal with the stigma. Anyone that says otherwise is probably a homosexual activist.

SJ

January 28th, 2010
6:26 am

Well, Theresa, you really love to stir the pot, huh?! I have to say that I have seen some really terrible parenting from “traditional” two-parent families. I think the study makes sense. People who are better at parenting make better parents, whether they are mom/dad or mom/mom. This obviously will not be a popular view where we live, However, if something happened to my husband and me, and our children had to be taken care of by someone else, I’d rather it be two loving, caring, educated women than a mom/dad who were selfish, uncaring, drug-using, etc.

iRun

January 28th, 2010
6:36 am

I think this is a no-brainer. 2 parents are always likely to be better than 1. That way there are 2 people to absorb the responsibilities and the stress (aka anxiety) of parenthood. And then if both of them are smart, loving, nurturing people then the kids are the ones that win.

As for “No.”’s supposition about stigma…well I guess that depends on where you live, right? I live near Little 5 Points. My household is me, my husband, and our son. But there are planty of same sex parents here and, according to my son because I’ve asked, it’s a non-issue with the kids here. In fact, when I ask him if the kids get teased he gives me this look that says, “Mom, you are sooooo lame. That’s SUCH a stoopid question.”

But I can imagine if you live out in Deliverance County then stigma is probably an issue. Then again, I can’t imagine same-sex couples CHOOSING to raise their kids where they know they’ll be stigmatized.

ATLnative

January 28th, 2010
6:36 am

If the kid is provided a loving home, regardless of what gender the parents are, then that child will have a good start to life. Being straight does not make you have better parenting skills than being gay does. If you took a poll of the people in jail, how many of them came from a heterosexual parent home and how many came from homosexual parent home? Same sex partners are just as capable of raising a child lovingly as opposite sex partners.

Nope

January 28th, 2010
6:42 am

I can’t believe that there is that much research to compare mom’s and dad’s with mom’s and mom’s or dad’s and dad’s. it hasn’t been going on long enough for any research to be conducted long enough.

Personally, be together, get the same rights as married hetero couples. Just don’t call it marriage.

Pretty soon our kids will be going to preschool and hear marriage is when a man loves a woman, or a woman loves a woman, or a man loves a a man. How confusing will that be for a kid to take in.

I’m for equal rights, but do not call it marriage. Adopt, do the sperm donation.

The question itself is simple. You are always going to have cases of some nice gays who are better at taking care of kids than some messed up heteros. Its the same vice versa.

EC

January 28th, 2010
6:51 am

Most of the same-sex couples that I have encountered have been well educated and are good parents. Unlike many heterosexual parents, they have put a lot of thought and energy into becoming parents, so they do their best in raising their children. I’m sure there are exceptions to this as with any family, but logically there will be less. If anything, I have more of a problem with the current generation who feels that it’s fine, even cool, to have unprotected sex outside of marriage and then get pregnant at a young age, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

We are in East Cobb (and we are a married, heterosexual couple with children), and several homosexual couples come here for the schools. This is as close to judgemental as you can get in suburban Atlanta (at least until you get further away from the city), and I have not noticed any stigma with my kids’ friends with same sex parents. My kids asked about it once, but their friends had an answer to why they didn’t have a dad, and that was it.

**”No.”** uses the same logic as they did back in the day when people were against integration. Really, there is no stigma unless you put it there. Go back to your Y2K bunker and wait for the world to end…

Jon Miranda

January 28th, 2010
7:12 am

Motherless or fatherless children will never be good for society. Society should not legitimize the deviancy of homosexuality.

Unimpressed

January 28th, 2010
7:23 am

Society should not legitimize the deviancy of ‘religiousness’.

ABC

January 28th, 2010
7:33 am

Absolutely yes. Two responsible, caring, loving adults who put their children first is the best scenario regardless of if it’s 2 moms, 2 dads or 1 mom and 1 dad. It’s all about the kids, and those who are raised in loving households where there needs are the priority and are nurtured and cared for will come out ahead no matter how many moms or dads they have.

ABC

January 28th, 2010
7:35 am

Absolutely yes. It doesn’t matter if a child has 1 mom and 1 dad, 2 moms or 2 dads or even a single parent with a network of friends and family who help out. As long as that child or children are the #1 priority in a household and are raised with love and respect from their caregivers, they will go far in live. I have lesbian friends who raised 2 children, and both turned out wonderfully. Kids don’t really care if they have 2 mommies; it’s the stigma from society as a whole that causes problems where there shouldn’t be any.

A

January 28th, 2010
7:36 am

Absolutely yes. It doesn’t matter if a child has 1 mom and 1 dad, 2 moms or 2 dads or even a single parent with a network of friends and family who help out. As long as that child or children are the #1 priority in a household and are raised with love and respect from their caregivers, they will go far in live. I have lesbian friends who raised 2 children, and both turned out wonderfully. Kids don’t really care if they have 2 mommies; it’s the stigma from society as a whole that causes problems where there shouldn’t be any.

cld

January 28th, 2010
7:54 am

A child needs to loving parents who are willing and able to meet their physical, emotional, developmental needs. IMO, in the ideal scenario, those two people would be their mother and father. But we don’t live in a fantasy world, and that scenario is the reality for very few people these days. The next-best thing is for two loving parents who truly care for that child – whether those parents are biological, adoptive, same-sex, hetero, whatever. Two good parents are better than two lousy parents, regardless of gender.

NotAMom

January 28th, 2010
7:58 am

Two mommies, two daddies, whatever works. I think the most screwed up kids that I see come from single parent homes. Single parents are stretched too thin and have too much burden on them. I don’t care what kind of partner you have, as long as they are kind and good. I do think two-adult homes are best for kids though.

Rod

January 28th, 2010
8:15 am

I think there are things that I can help me son with that my wife can’t do. From how to hold a football to wrestling with him on the floor to having the “sex” talk. My wife could try those things, but I think they’d be more effective and meaningful to him if it was me – his dad.

You do what you’ve got to do. However, to say that it’s not better for a child to have a mom and a dad is just wrong.

BlondeHoney

January 28th, 2010
8:22 am

My boss (who is an AWESOME boss) had a baby with her partner last year and they are raising a beautiful, healthy baby boy together and they are TERRIFIC parents. As another poster pointed out, they are way better prepared than many dysfunctional heterosexual couples because it was a choice they made. I’m all for a child growing up in a two-parent home and don’t give a flip whether it’s 2 mommies or 2 daddies

A

January 28th, 2010
8:37 am

@Rod–sure there are probably things where a boy would be more comfortable talking to man, and if he’s being raised in a household with 2 moms, if there are close family friends, uncles, grandfathers or other male role models, I think the kid would still turn out alright. Same for girls being raised by 2 gay men. They could ask female friends or relatives to step in when it’s time for “girl” issues, etc.

Dan

January 28th, 2010
8:42 am

Can a same sex couple be good parents ? Sure
But all things being equal a man and woman together make better parents
Natures law not mans

Rod

January 28th, 2010
8:42 am

@A – I understand your point. However, I think for the boy to be able to be with and talk to dad (a man) at any time is different from making an appointment with a male family friend or seeing an uncle at Christmas. Also, I consider myself a role model for my son. Just him being around me and watching me and interacting with me hopefully teaches him some things about being a man and how I treat his mother.

Andrea

January 28th, 2010
8:42 am

I believe in the value of a traditional two-parent family. I think there are benefits that are gained from being raised in the home with both of your parents in a traditional home. Sure, my views are not politically correct – but I do strongly believe they have merit. It wasn’t too long ago that there was a study about the children of two parent (man & woman) households that were performing better in schools than their classmates that were in other living arrangements. Sure we can cite bad examples of heterosexual parents. But, bad examples do not give us the green light to just chuck the tradition out of the window. I still believe in traditional families.

Sometimes children have circumstances put upon them that are not within their control. If the child has to be the product of a single parent home because one of the parents leaves, it is not the child’s fault. If the children are brought into a homosexual home, it is not the child’s fault. Sure the children of both situations can overcome the obstacles and any possible stigmas and be productive members of society but that doesn’t make the circumstances right. That means the child’s success could be “in spite of” and not necessesarily (sp?) “because of”.

Jan

January 28th, 2010
8:54 am

You can’t compare a “loving, educated…..” same-sex couple with “dysfunctional, drug using…” heterosexual couple. Bad parents and bad relationships exist in same sex and opposite sex couples. The question is: is it better for a child to have a male parent and a female parent. And yes, it is better. My gay friends across the street – 2 men with an adopted son – agree. And we all agree that growing up in their family is better for the baby than growing up in an orphanage.

Probably. I’m not 100% convinced as this particular baby has some issues that may make him a prime bullying target when he gets older. But my guess is that having been raised in a loving, stable family will get him through those issues and perhaps growing up without parents would create another set of issues that will be harder to overcome.

Richard Swingin

January 28th, 2010
8:58 am

slow news day? first off; every kid has a (biological) mom and a dad. just because mom (or dad) decided to leave the relationship (doesn’t have to be a marriage) doesn’t remove mom or dad from the picture. so, rule 1: parents who divorce or leave a relationship with their child’s other parent don’t care about what is “best” for their child. best casre scenario is to have a child raised by a mom and a dad who love each other. again, do you really have to ask? a child raised by a homosexual couple couple who love and respect each other is certainly preferable to a heterosexual OR homosexual couple who do not (or “divorce”). neither group (homosexuals or heterosexuals) have a monopoly on effective parenting, love, fidelity or respect for one’s parter. as the saying goes, there are a**holes and angels on every street corner.

...

January 28th, 2010
9:03 am

Its logical that same sex couples would per capita raise healthier more well adjusted children. Think about it for a minute. A same-sex couple has to jump through quuite a few hoops to have a child. It can’t happen by accident. So, these people have thought through their decision more carefully than a lot of heterosexual couples. Obviously, some heterosexual couples don’t make the decision lightly either.

Its similar to another experience in my life. My friend is from Kenya. He has introduced me to many people from East Africa over the years. I commented to my wife one night that it seems that everyone from East Africa is hard working and dedicated. She retorted that its not likely that is true of any population, rather that I was only meeting East Africans who had taken the initiative to make it to America which puts them in an elite group.

Same thing here. Same sex couples with children are in an elite group of parents because the very existence of their child took initiative.

RJ

January 28th, 2010
9:03 am

I firmly believe that a child should see two parents of the opposite sex. There are issues that my daughter has that she doesn’t feel comfortable with speaking to my husband about. It’s a girl thing. Surely as my son gets older the same will be true. I’ve helped my husband understand the behavior of young girls when he’s completely lost because that was once me. I cannot imagine trying to raise my son without his presence. I truly believe that his male influence is necessary for my son’s development into manhood. Does it mean I don’t think that a woman can raise a man? Absolutely not! But a woman no more understands what it’s like being a man than a man understands what it’s like being a woman. In my home, I’m the nurturer. I’ll admit that I will let a lot of things slide. My husband tends to be a lot more strict, particularly with my son. In his words, “he’ll try me one day. All boys do.” With him already being taller than me at 12, I’m glad to have a 6′5″ male in the home to handle him when that day comes.

I have witnessed same sex couples raising a kid. He was well adjusted and a very bright little boy. They’re great people and great mommies. But I can’t help but wonder what his teen years will be like without that male influence in the home. As far as the stigma is concerned, I agree that it will exist, but parents can help their child overcome it. What I don’t like seeing is the parent that decided to marry and have kids, then one day decides that they really want to live their life as a homosexual and expect the kids to understand. Sorry, but that’s not fair to the kids. It’s a selfish act that I find despicable.

RJ

January 28th, 2010
9:05 am

I firmly believe that a child should see two parents of the opposite sex. There are issues that my daughter has that she doesn’t feel comfortable with speaking to my husband about. It’s a girl thing. Surely as my son gets older the same will be true. I’ve helped my husband understand the behavior of young girls when he’s completely lost because that was once me. I cannot imagine trying to raise my son without his presence. I truly believe that his male influence is necessary for my son’s development into manhood. Does it mean I don’t think that a woman can raise a man? Absolutely not! But a woman no more understands what it’s like being a man than a man understands what it’s like being a woman. In my home, I’m the nurturer. I’ll admit that I will let a lot of things slide. My husband tends to be a lot more strict, particularly with my son. In his words, “he’ll try me one day. All boys do.” With him already being taller than me at 12, I’m glad to have a 6′5″ male in the home to handle him when that day comes.

I have witnessed same sex couples raising a kid. He was well adjusted and a very bright little boy. They’re great people and great mommies. But I can’t help but wonder what his teen years will be like without that male influence in the home. As far as the stigma is concerned, I agree that it will exist, but parents can help their child overcome it. What I don’t like seeing is the parent that decided to marry and have kids, then one day decides that they really want to live their life as a homosexual and expect the kids to understand. Sorry, but that’s not fair to the kids. It’s a selfish act that I find despicable. Those are the parents that don’t deserve to be parents.

Single MOM

January 28th, 2010
9:05 am

What fantasy world are many of these people living in? Many married hetro couples are unhappy, abusive, unloving, unfulfilled, poor, uneducated, narrow-minded, elitest, ….. the list goes on. You are assuming that every married hetro couple is good for a child. That is just not so.

I live in an area where most of my kid’s friends have married hetro parents who are miserable in their marriage and lives. The kids pay for it in the long run. All most of us have to do is look back at our own family tree to see that life isn’t great for a kid just because a woman and man are married. My kid is doing better than most of her friends because her parents were smart enough to divorce but work together for the good of the child. Get real people and don’t use the mom & dad argument.

The kids I know with same sex parents are some of the best adjusted well rounded kids I’ve met.

RJ

January 28th, 2010
9:06 am

Theresa please pull me out of the blog hole…I don’t know why this happens so much.

DB

January 28th, 2010
9:07 am

I do not fault a lesbian couple’s parenting skills at all, and I don’t even think that the parenting skills of a lesbian couple should be compared to the parenting skills of a heterosexual couple — only because there are SOOOO many different styles. Heck, I had two kids, and I had to raise them differently, because they are two different kids, so there were two different styles just within our same family!

I don’t care about a person’s sexual orientation. Doesn’t matter to me in the slightest who they decide to snuggle up with at night.

You can evaluate parenting skills, but I think it would be difficult to evaluate the elusive role of providing gender identification that a heterosexual couple provides. A father lives and provides a daily example of what it means to be a man. A woman can do her very best and still do a bang-up job, but she will never be a man. A son growing up in a lesbian household may have a small influence by adult male friends, but he does not see the day-to-day interactions that form the basis of how a boy grows up to be a man and a partner in a relationship. Most of the studies involving the effect of no fathers on kids seem to focus on the withdrawal of a father from the family unit, and the psychological effects on children at that point (which are well documented to show anxiety, depression, reduced effectiveness in school, and, for girls, sometimes a search to “replace” the male in her life with another male. Obviously, if there was no male in the first place, there’s no “withdrawal” — but neither is there anyone for a boy to identify with, or for a girl to learn how to be a girl.

This is a little muddled, I’m sorry. I’m in a hurry to get out the door today. While I think that ANYONE can be a good “parent” — i.e., love, care for, discipline and educate — given the proper example, desire and dedication, I think we need to look at long term gender identification issues before we say that they are “just as good as” heterosexual problems.

There’s a reason there are fathers — and it’s not just for going out and hunting and foraging. Fathers teach their children how to be adults in ways that a mother simply cannot. Children can and do grow up withouts fathers (and mothers, too), but I can’t help but think that a child who has the advantage of a loving, caring, stable home with a mom and a dad who provide a loving example of partnership have the VERY best start.

DB

January 28th, 2010
9:08 am

(Theresa — my comments on yesterdays topic of teen sex are being held hostage!)

A

January 28th, 2010
9:11 am

@Rod–and I can appreciate your feelings. I’m glad that this discussion hasn’t degenerated into bigotry and hatred toward same sex couples, which is refreshing. I do see your point, though. If my son didn’t have his father around on a daily basis, it certainly would be a bit more challenging for him to have that interaction with a strong male role model, but I know lesbian couples, and they just do the best they can. If anything, they may overcompensate by making more effort for their sons to be around men who can talk to them and just generally be there for them.

boots

January 28th, 2010
9:14 am

Studies say whatever you want them to say. Not hard to get data out of subjective pretexts. There is no question that a normal (and, yes, I said normal) is more stable than a single parent household or one with a gay couple.

Chris

January 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Helll no. That is sick. A kid should not have to suffer having two moms or two dads only. Just wrong.

Brian in Athens

January 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Are we going to ignore the other studies that tell us that having dads that are involved with their daughters cause them to be less likely to get pregnant as teenagers, be involved with drugs and alcohol etc.? My wife and I bring different things to the table, there is no way a man could be for my two boys what my wife is. There is also no way another woman could replace me either and bring the counter-balancing strengths that is uniquely “daddy”. I think every Husband/wife couple know this but our politically-correct society will not allow them to say it.

Jane

January 28th, 2010
9:21 am

Single MOM – you’re missing the point and are taking it to the other extreme. Don’t compare happy lesbian couples to unhappy hetero couples. That’s not fair.

Compare unhappy gay and hetero couples or happy gay and hetero couples. The question is: assuming a stable home life, are two moms as good as a mom and a dad for a child. In other words (I obviously have to spell it out for you), does it help a child’s development to have both a mom and a dad to raise them?

Get a clue and stop just trying to antagonize people.

...

January 28th, 2010
9:25 am

Brian in Athens, Do you extend the view that a man brings a different set of strengths to other aspects of life as well as child rearing?

For example, is a man able to perform “uniquely” at work in a way that a woman could not. Or could a woman bring strengths to her job that a man could not?

Specifically, do women make better nurses, teachers, and secretaries?

Are men better managers, businesss people, and engineers?

3 or 4?

January 28th, 2010
9:26 am

Why stop there? Why not ask about a kid raised by 3 dads? Or 2 moms, a dad and a rotating group of hook-ups?

Regardless, this study does not follow the scientific method so it’s useless as anything more than a hypothetical question. It is not possible to control all of the variables that would go into being “as good” as parents.

Dave

January 28th, 2010
9:26 am

Think how horrible it will be for the child with lesbian parents once he/she is out dating and trying to find a spouse. NOBODY is going to want TWO MOTHER-IN-LAWS!!!

Leave

January 28th, 2010
9:27 am

@ 3 or 4?, if you’re not interested in the topic, you have our permission to leave this blog.

In 2010?!

January 28th, 2010
9:29 am

It’s 2010 and we’re still hearing the argument about “stigma”?! That’s the same argument used against integration and interracial marriage. Gues what? If people didn’t “sitgmatize” others, it wouldn’t be an issue, so get over it people. Gay couples can be great parents, or crappy parents. Straight couples can be great parents or crappy parents. Sexual preference has nothing to do with it.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 28th, 2010
9:31 am

db — i’ll find them

iRun

January 28th, 2010
9:31 am

@Rod, then how do you explain how my husband who was raised by a single mother and his grandmother and never had a direct male role model turned out to not only be pretty darn manly (a little alpha but not annoyingly so) but also treats me with the respect that I think I deserve?

Maybe it’s because he was raised by two very smart women who taught him how to be responsible, hard working, value education and hard work, and to treat all people with respect.

And with having essentiall two moms (mom and grandma), he turned out to be a really great dad.

sigma6

January 28th, 2010
9:33 am

What a slippery slope this will become. I agree with 3 or 4.
Marriage is between a man and a woman – nothing else. While kids can be raised by two moms or two dads, it has to be confusing in the early years and embarassing in the later years. Why are so few so hell bent on changing the basic fabric of our society in order to justify their differences? I prefer to leave it alone; if you want to be different, keep it to yourself and not in everyone’s face.

just saying

January 28th, 2010
9:37 am

My opinion is that children need a mom and a dad. A traditional family. I think to each his own, if same sex couples are happy together than so be it, but let’s be honest. There is a REASON that two women or two men cannot BIOLOGICALLY have children.

Mark

January 28th, 2010
9:42 am

Dave you make a great point and while I have a fantastic Mother-in-law, two of them would be just a wee bit over the top!

In all seriousness, how can anyone say that a child will be as well-adjusted being raised in a homosexual home as they would in a heterosexual home. It is simply not true. This study is just another example of society trying to legitimize sin.

Reality Check

January 28th, 2010
9:42 am

1. Too many people today don’t take marriage seriously. We require people to take a test and pass in order to get a drivers license, but we don’t require anything to get married. Marriage is a committment and should not be based on how you “feel” today. My bride and I often have disagreements and don’t see eye to eye. But we made the committment before we said “I do” that divorce and taking the easy way out would not be an option. (I do understand there are times when a divorce is in order in cases of abuse/infidelity/etc).
2. Forget “religion” and step back from the emotional points of the argument for just a moment and UNDERSTAND that same sex parenting is AGAINST THE LAWS OF NATURE. Think about it folks. Nature did not design for reproduction between same sex individuals for a reason. Do we really need to interfere here?

Denise

January 28th, 2010
9:44 am

I’m not being smart; I just want to understand. How do you quantify parenting skills? Can no one be successful if they did not grow up in a happy, encouraging, educating, loving, etc. home?

Rod

January 28th, 2010
9:44 am

@iRun – you’re missing the point here. There are exceptions EVERYWHERE, and it’s good that your husband turned out well. Here, we’re talking about generalities. However, even if his case, you and he will never really know what he may have missed out on without a dad. Sorry but for a boy, going with your dad to a baseball game is a special time that only a father/son can understand.

Good for your husband, but again, we’re talking about generalities, not the exceptions.

iRun

January 28th, 2010
9:46 am

“bride”? Really?

Libraryjim

January 28th, 2010
9:47 am

Studies also show that the child still needs a role model in their life from the opposite sex, to have a healthy outlook and good self-esteem. So two ‘mommies’ leaves a deficit in the male-role modeling area, just as two ‘daddies’ would leave a deficit in the female role model.

iRun

January 28th, 2010
9:47 am

@Rod, we will just have to disagree. Like I said, I live in a community with many same-sex couples and I really can’t identify any children who appear to be suffering from it. The dysfucntional children I do know about have dysfunctional parents (or parent).

No proof...

January 28th, 2010
9:47 am

@3 or 4 and @Brian in Athens. The point of the commentary is, after searching hi and lo…. “Yet we found that, in fact, there is no research that shows that children need both a mother and a father”. Hence, the basis for the argument of marriage = 1 man / 1woman hold no merit!