According to an article on Vox Media,
The largest-ever study of same-sex parents found their children turn out healthier and happier than the general population.
I’ve thought for a very long time that this would turn out to be the case, and it’s nice to see that it worked out that way.
However, the writer of this article thinks that the difference is about having parents who aren’t pressured into gender roles and therefore adapt more freely into the needs of the particular family. I’m skeptical about that. I think it’s a lot more likely that the most important (but slightly hidden) factor at work here is that a same-sex couple has to go over a lot more hurdles to have children, whether through adoption or a surrogate or whatever, than an opposite-sex couple does. For an opposite-sex couple, having children is often the path of least resistance due to pressures from family and society; for a same-sex couple, it almost never is. Among opposite-sex couples, then, a lot of those people will have kids anyway even though they haven’t thought about what it’s going to entail or aren’t really committed to making the effort to care for them; among same-sex couples, nearly all those people are going to get filtered out.
Indeed, until fairly recently, being gay or lesbian and having children meant knowing that your children could very well be taken away from you by some homophobic judge for flimsy reasons that children would never be taken from a straight couple for. Seems to me you’ve got to really want a child in your life before you’d accept the possibility of facing that kind of pain.
Unless a family is so isolated from all other society that there are very few or no other adults of both sexes who play parts in the children’s lives, my guess is that the difference between having parents of the same sex or of opposite sexes is pretty trivial compared against other factors. Whereas whether the child is really loved and wanted by the principal adults in his or her life is always going to be a huge factor.
And my guess is that in another twenty years — maybe ten given how quickly society is changing now — it’ll be almost as easy for same-sex couples to have children as for opposite-sex couples, and the same sort of study will find no significant difference any more.