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Adoption: better choices for our children

Published: 29 Jun 2005
Part of:
Children and families, Communities and third sector
ISBN:
0 7559 4486 0

The report of the Adoption Policy Review Group makes 107 recommendations to improve the legal framework for adoption and permanence.

225 page PDF

2.3MB

225 page PDF

2.3MB

Contents
Adoption: better choices for our children
Page 14

225 page PDF

2.3MB

Annex B: Research on Same-Sex Parenting.

Peter Selman
Reader in Social Policy

Kathy Mason
Reader Associate in Social Policy
School of Geography, Politics & Sociology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Report to Adoption Law Review Group of Scottish Executive
June 2004

Contacts:
Peter Selman:
Work Phone: + 44 (0) 191 222 7538
E-mail: p.f.selman@ncl.ac.uk

Kathy Mason: Work Phone: + 44 (0) 191 222 8483
E-mail: kathy.mason@ncl.ac.uk

Contents

1 Introduction

2 The current position in Scotland
2.1 Responses in Scotland

3 Main issues for consideration

4 The legal position in other industrialised countries
EU Countries: Netherlands; Belgium; Denmark; Sweden
United States
Canada: New Zealand; Australia

5 Reviews of American/British Research on same sex parenting
5.1 Positive Reviews
5.2 Negative Reviews
5.3 Other Reviews

6 Reviews of Law and Policy

7 Individual Research Projects
7.1 Studies by Golombok and associates 1980 to date
7.2 Brief outlines of other cited studies

Conclusion

Bibliography
i) References
ii) Further Reading
iii) Useful Web-sites

ADOPTION POLICY REVIEW IN SCOTLAND

Review of research into Same-Sex Parenting

Peter Selman and Kathy Mason
University of Newcastle

1: Introduction

In our initial report (Selman & Mason 2003) we noted that "... a key question was who may adopt? The legalisation of adoption by unmarried couples was a big issue in debates in England - the question to be asked is whether the debate is evidence-based? Or was the issue really about gay/lesbian adoptions where there is mixed research evidence... Such issues are likely to need resolution in the Scottish debate and we can look beyond England to issues raised in other countries (including states of origin in intercountry adoption)"

We were subsequently asked to present this report on research into same-sex parenting for the meeting on Monday 24th May 2004. Due to the large number of studies it has been impossible to produce a detailed review of all of these. We have chosen rather to look at some of the earlier reviews and then concentrate on one or two studies for a more detailed analysis - with brief descriptions of others which seem to merit attention. We have included a section in the Bibliography which lists the web-sites of those reviews which can be accessed through the internet. The focus throughout has been on the research on lesbian and gay parenting, as there are no reliable studies of same-sex adoption. The research discussed has largely concerned a) gay and lesbian parents whose children were born in a heterosexual relationship which has broken down and b) lesbian mothers who have deliberately conceived using donor insemination.

The debates in Scotland - as in the England - have also been about unmarried heterosexual couples adopting and we have not at present included any research in this area - e.g. on the relative stability of married and cohabiting couples - although this could be done at a later stage if required.

2: The current position in Scotland

The position in Scotland is clearly presented in Plumtree A (2003) Choices for Children in Adoption and Fostering: a discussion paper on legal issues, Adoption Policy Review Group:

"At present - under the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978, sections 14-15 - only married couples or single individuals can adopt in Scotland. In practice, unmarried couples do apply and are assessed, although only one of them goes ahead and adopts, while the other one can seek a residence order under s.11 of the 1995 Act...

Consideration needs to be given to as to whether the law in Scotland should be changed or not"

As we understand the situation, a single gay man or lesbian woman can already adopt a child and such adoptions have been approved by the courts in cases where the individual concerned was living with a partner of the same sex.

In contrast, The Fostering of Children (Scotland) Regulations 1996 seem to preclude the possibility of a child being placed in a household where there are two unrelated adults of the same sex. Part III section 12 (4) states that:

"In making arrangements under this Part of the Regulations the local authority shall not foster a child with a person except where the household of the person comprises -

a man and a woman living and acting jointly together; or

a man or a woman living and acting alone,

provided that a person shall not be disqualified by virtue of this regulation where the household also comprises other relatives of the person who are not themselves concerned in the undertaking to care for the child."

This seems to allow an unmarried heterosexual couple to jointly undertake responsibility for fostering but not a gay or lesbian couple - nor a single man and woman who is living with an unrelated person of the same sex.

The BAAF Practice Note 44 (2004) notes that "... in Scotland regulations prohibit unrelated, unmarried adults of the same sex in a household from being foster carers ... and therefore exclude those living together in a gay or lesbian partnership."

This will need to be brought in line with any changes in Adoption legislation

Defining an "unmarried couple" for the purposes of adoption

Plumtree (2003) notes that "If it is proposed to allow unmarried couples to adopt, there needs to be consideration of what statutory definition should be used".

In England and Wales, unmarried couples, including same-sex ones, will be able to adopt jointly when the 2002 Act is implemented as expected in 2004.

The 2002 Act defines 'a couple' as:

(a) a married couple, or

(b) two people (whether of different sexes or the same sex) living as partners in an enduring family relationship - s.144(4).

Another way of defining a couple could be to refer to the length of time they have lived in a partnership.

2.1 Responses to Discussion Paper in Scotland

The initial synopsis of the responses to the paper on Choices for Children in Adoption and Fostering by Lexy Plumtree showed clearly that this was a major area of concern. There was an organised campaign of letter-writing in response to the issue, arguing that the law should not be changed and that unmarried couples should not be allowed to adopt. Over 300 letters and e-mails were received solely on this issue. The letters nearly all used very similar wording and examples and it was apparent that most respondents were using a prepared text to draw up their responses. These respondents appeared particularly opposed to the idea of same-sex couples adopting. Judging from the language used (and indeed the organisations named) this campaign has strong connections with some churches and religious organisations:

"It would be far better to leave the law as it is. It would greatly increase the vulnerability of children to have co-habiting couples as parents. Such couples make it plain by their conduct that they wish to evade the responsibilities of marriage. They therefore could not be trusted to provide security and stability for children whom they would adopt ... Research proves that children of secure married couples have much the better outcomes in life on a broad scale of social markers.

The very opposite is true of children adopted by homosexual parents. One such study - and there are others - of children of lesbian couples showed 60% suffering relationship problems. According to the author this was caused by deep anxiety and confusion in children."

Many responses followed a template which included reference to three studies: - Golombok & Tasker (1996); Stacey & Biblarz (2001) and Wyers (1987).

In contrast those responses which covered a wider range of issues were generally supportive of change:

"We would therefore strongly support changes to the law in Scotland similar to those introduced in the Adoption and Children Act 2002 for England and Wales [allowing unmarried couples to adopt]."

And this was seen as needed even by those feeling that adoption by a mother and father was best:

"It is surely better for a child to be brought up by a mother and a father than by a single person or a same-sex partnership. But better one of these latter relationships than for the child to be left in institutional care or a series of foster homes."

3: Main issues for consideration

In order to make this review manageable and relevant for readers we have tried to keep in mind throughout the key questions which we would all hope the research to resolve.

At the root of the discussion should be the question - What is in the best interests of the child?

  • Are children raised by same-sex couples predisposed to homosexuality?
  • Are such children more prone to develop psychiatric problems?
  • Will there be a lack of appropriate role models?
  • Are the children of same-sex couples subject to stigma and harassment by peers?

Other concerns raised by opponents (e.g. Morgan 2002) include:

  • Does a homosexual lifestyle lead to neglect or conflict?
  • Is the gender identity of children raised by same-sex couples problematic?
  • Are same-sex relationships less stable than heterosexual relationships?
  • Is the life expectancy of gay and/or lesbian parents shorter?

NB: In England & Wales the wider debate on allowing adoption by unmarried couples, whatever their sexual orientation, was dominated by assertion of the advantages of such adoptions in increasing the number of children who could be offered social, emotional, financial and legal security in the future; i.e. that such parents if carefully selected would be able to afford the child a greater level of permanency. The potential for finding additional adoptive families for special needs children has been demonstrated in the United States (Brodzinsky 2003).

3.1 Related Issues

A further question arising is whether birth parents should be informed that their children have been placed with homosexual parents? - and whether a final decision on adoption should take into account the views of the birth parents.

In the case of inter-country adoption, the decision would be made by the State of origin and it is clear that in most countries there would be a strong objection to placement with a gay or lesbian parent (whether single or partnered) - as indeed there would be to a single person or an unmarried couple by some countries (e.g. Korea), although for many (e.g. China, Guatemala) the former has been unproblematic.

The growing practice of assisted reproduction has increased the number of gay women who can bear a child with the aid of sperm donation. Should the female partner be allowed to adopt this child? In the case of married couples, the 1987 Act deems the parents of assisted donor children to be the legal parents of the children, even if one is not the genetic parent. Steps could be taken to extend this to include lesbian couples who conceive a child through assisted reproductive technology.

Should a same-sex partner be able to adopt the child as part of a couple as in step-parent adoptions or as a single adopters? This has become a major issue in the United States in debates about "co-parenting".

4: The legal position in other industrialised countries:

EU Countries:

Other European countries have debated both same sex marriages and the rights of gay and lesbian couples to adopt. In some (e.g. Sweden and the Netherlands) there have been reviews of research which have concluded that there is no reason to exclude such couples. But in most there are indications that public opinion is opposed to adoption by homosexuals. To date only two countries have allowed same-sex marriage and only one of these permits those entering such marriages to adopt.

The Netherlands

It has been possible since 1st January 1998 for one of the parents to share the authority with his or her partner, or with the person with whom he or she has signed a registered partnership, even if the partners are the same sex. However, on 1st April 2001, The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians and this Act also extended the rights of gay couples to adopt a child. This law only applies to children who are citizens of the Netherlands i.e. cannot adopt from overseas. The law also allows for one of the partners to adopt his or hers partner's child(ren), even if the child(ren) has been previously adopted.

In 2001 there were 1,075 Lesbian marriages; 1,339 Gay marriages; and 80,432 heterosexual marriages. (over 9 months from April)

In 2002:

903 Lesbian marriages; 935 Gay marriages; and 83,970 Heterosexual marriages

In 2003:

759 Lesbian marriages; 727 Gay marriages; and 81,135 Heterosexual marriages

Belgium

On 30th January 2003, Belgium opened up marriage to same-sex couples. The new law gives gay couples almost the same marital rights as heterosexuals - e.g. inheritance rights over goods and property and the same fiscal breaks - e.g. can have joint tax forms, will benefit from unemployment payouts and will have the same financial obligations in the case of divorce - but CANNOT adopt.

From February 6th 2004, the right to marry was extended to non-Belgian gay and lesbian couples if at least one partner was living in - or regularly visited - Belgium

Denmark

Denmark was the first country in 1989 to allow same-sex couples to form 'registered partnerships,' giving them a status and benefits similar to marriage. This allows the homosexual partner to adopt the child of their homosexual partner, but does not allow homosexual couples to adopt. Their law also limits access to reproductive technologies to women in heterosexual relationships.

Sweden

The 1994 Registered Partenership (Family Law) Act allowed the registration of same-sex partnerships, but did not allow such couples to adopt jointly.

Public opinion has been consistently against same-sex adoption, but this was endorsed in principle by an academic review of research commissioned by the government. However, a review of States of origin in inter-country adoption indicated that many would accept only married couples and that none would accept gay partners.

More recently the Partnership and Adoption Act , which came into force on 1st February 2003, gave homosexual couples living in a registered partnership the same chance as married couples to become adoptive parents. It provides for what is termed 'second parent adoptions', which means that one partner has the right to adopt the other's child. The Act also permits gay and lesbian couples to adopt from abroad. This latter provision caused much controversy but the law was passed by a parliamentary majority in defiance of a majority of bodies consulted (46 out of 570 including the Swedish National Board for Intercountry Adoption ( NIA) and the Association of Adopted Koreans. As a result Sweden has withdrawn from the 1967 EU Convention on Adoption, which stipulates that only married couples or a single person have the right to adopt. (Froman 2003).

The government had contacted 25 States of origin about the proposals and none of the 17 countries replying were prepared to accept gay or lesbian couples as adoptive parents, so that in practice it is unlikely that such couples will be able to adopt from countries such as China or Peru.

Other countries:

In France and Germany same-sex couples have extensive civil union rights but these do not extend a right to adopt. However, recently Germany has announced plans to introduce legislation to allow same-sex marriages.

Iceland allows same-sex couples to adopt and Norway and Finland allows gay and lesbian partners to adopt their partner's birth child.

United States

Adoption law is determined at the state level and there is a wide variation in law and practice. According to Appell (2001), Utah has the only statute that explicitly bans non-marital co-parent adoption - in other words for the vast majority of states adoption by unmarried heterosexual couples is permitted - as will be the case in England when the 2002 Act is implemented.

However, some states (e.g. Florida) prohibit adoption by gay and lesbian couples and individuals - "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual". A similar ban in New Hampshire was revoked in 1999. The Utah ban referred to above proscribes adoption (and foster care placements) by persons "cohabiting in a [sexual] relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the laws of the state".

Connecticut specifically permits non-marital co-parent adoption - "any parent of a minor child may agree [to the adoption of that child by] one other person who shares parental responsibility for the child with such parent" - (my italics). Other states (e.g. Massachusetts, New York and Vermont) also permit gays and lesbians to adopt their partner's (birth) child without termination of existing parental rights.

Same-sex couples can marry in San Francisco since February 2004, because of an action by their mayor, but the state of California refuses to register the marriages. Similar actions have been taken in New Mexico and New York. Massachusetts legalised gay and lesbian marriage from May 18th 2004. At the end of 2003, 37 states had enacted "Defence of Marriage Acts" ( DOMAs) that ban same-sex marriage. Other states have similar legislation pending. In some states adoption by lesbians and gay men is denied on the basis of the "best interests of the child", even if the only evidence cited is the sexual orientation of the applicants. In others the same standard is used to permit co-parent adoption where there is no explicit legislation against this and this has been extended to include the partners of lesbians (Appell 2001).

However a recent survey of adoption practice in the United States by David Brodzinsky (2003) for the Evan B. Donaldson Institute, suggests that " reality on the ground is outstripping the pace of the debate" and that "more and more lesbians and gay men are becoming parents via insemination, surrogacy and adoption".

Canada

The federal government's position, which bans same-sex couples from marrying, is currently being challenged in court where cases have stated that gay and lesbian couples can equally offer homes to children in need. However, leaving decisions up to the court has meant that there is wide variation from state to state. To give one or two examples: in Newfoundland and Labrador, gays and lesbians can adopt - as a couple; in Ontario, British Colombia and Quebec same-sex couples are permitted to both marry and then adopt as a married couple. National legislation is expected in 2005, but in the mean time courts continue to confirm that gay and lesbian couples can offer homes to children in need.

New Zealand

New Zealand has laws which forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of employment, education, housing etc but do not legally sanction gay marriages.

The current law does not permit adoption applications by de facto couples, although some judges have adopted a more flexible approach to this issue - e.g. where a couple may be living in a Maori customary marriage. Nor does it permit adoption by same-sex couples (or a male in respect of a female child, unless he is the father of the child).

However two major papers on reforming adoption law have supported same-sex couples being permitted to adopt a child.

Adoption: Options for Reform: A discussion paper (New Zealand Law Commission, October 1999) states (para 197) that "our preliminary view (based in the research discussed above in paragraphs 191-196) as to whether same-sex couples should be permitted to adopt a child is that, rather than create a blanket prohibition, such applicants should be assessed on their merits, alongside other potential options for the child. The way in which gay or lesbian people plan to take account of their sexual orientation when raising the child - for example, whether they plan to provide appropriate models - would be an extra element for a social worker to consider

Adoption and Its Alternatives: A Different Approach and a New Framework (New Zealand Law Commission, September 2000) concludes (para 358) that "there is not sufficient evidence to establish that adoption by same-sex adopters cannot be in the best interests of the child so as

to justify disqualifying same-sex couples from being eligible to apply"

A recently published Care of Children Bill 2004 would allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt and foster children

Australia

On 8th March 2004 Prime Minister John Howard condemned the ruling by the government of Australia Capital territory in support of a bill to offer same-sex couples the right to adopt. The state of Western Australia, where Perth is located, and the island state of Tasmania also allow gay couples to adopt. He subsequently introduced legislation banning same-sex marriage as well as preventing same-sex couples from adopting children abroad, but this would not impact on their ability to adopt within Australia, however, as adoption falls under state jurisdiction.

NB: In many countries which are predominantly States of origin for the purpose of intercountry adoption there are strong sanctions against homosexuality and same-sex parenting. We have not reviewed these, but they must clearly be a major factor in any decisions about approval of parents for overseas adoption - see earlier comments on new Swedish law.

5: Reviews of American and British Research into same-sex parenting

There are already a number of research reviews on the topic of same-sex parenting. Unfortunately these do not point to any consensus as they seem to divide into reviews which indicate a fairly positive message from the research and those which attack these reviews as misleading because they do not acknowledge the flawed nature of the individual research studies.

5.1 Positive Reviews

1) Issues in Gay and Lesbian Adoption: Proceedings of the Fourth Peirce-Warwick Adoption Symposium (1995)

The 1994 Peirce-Warwick Adoption Symposium provided an opportunity for issues and concerns to be identified and for a framework for policy development to be discussed. Presenters and participants addressed policy, legal, and research issues. The book includes papers that cover the major points of the presentations and provide an overview of the entire symposium and may be purchased from the Child Welfare League of America: http://www.cwla.org/pubs .

Conclusions on research issues include:

Limitations:

Most research examines lesbian-mother rather than gay-father families - and many have been about parents who had children in heterosexual relationships and then "came out" after divorce. Others have looked at "planned families" using donor insemination. Most samples are small, Caucasian and well-educated.

Findings:

A review of research concludes that "overall, the research on planned lesbian families, like the research on divorced lesbian mothers, has consistently failed to find any special difficulties among the children ... the research strongly suggests that homosexuality is not incompatible with effective parenting" (p20).

"Research using the Parent Awareness Skills Survey shows that lesbian couples are more aware of skills than heterosexual (p26) - but this seems to be related to gender rather than sexual orientation."

The review concludes that there is no evidence of confused gender identity amongst children but that more research is needed especially on adoptive families (p26).

Gay and Lesbian applicants applying to adopt should be considered alongside other applicants: no-one has a "right" to adopt.

2) A review of recent studies available from the web-site of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance - http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_pare2.htm concludes that:

"with the exception of studies at a few universities with very close connections with conservative Christian denominations (like the Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, UT), essentially all research studies into same-sex parenting reveal that children of these families develop normally. There is some indication that boys are less sexually adventuresome, and that girls are more sexually daring. There are also anecdotal accounts of children having to endure ridicule, taunting and harassment from other youth because of their parents' sexual orientation."

3) Patterson, C. Lesbian & Gay Parenting: - a summary of research findings, - http://www.france.qrd.org/assocs/apgl/documents/doc9.htm

Published by the French organisation APGL - (Association des Parents et futurs parents Gays et Lesbians: - Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and future parents), this review concludes that:

"Overall ... results of research to date suggest that children of lesbian and gay parents have normal relationships with peers and that their relationships with adults of both sexes are also satisfactory.

...Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by gay and lesbian parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth."

The review further argues that research suggests that children of lesbian mothers develop patterns of gender-role behaviour that are much like those of other children.

See also Patterson and Redding (1996)

4) Perrin, C. et al (2002) "Technical Report; Co-parent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents", Pediatrics, Vol 109 no 2.

Available at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org

This report from the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that "A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. Children's optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family unit than by the particular structural form it takes."

5) There are also many books which give accounts of gay and lesbian parenting from the perspective of such parents. Two recent examples are:

Hicks, S. and McDermott, J. (Eds.) (1999) Lesbian and Gay Fostering and Adoption: Extraordinary Yet Ordinary, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.

Strah D (2003) Gay Dads, New York: Putnam

5.2 Negative Reviews

1) Lerner, R. & Nagai, A. (2001) No Basis; What the Studies Don't Tell us About Same-Sex Parenting, Marriage Law Project, Washington D.C.

Analyses 49 empirical studies and conclude that they have numerous flaws and provide no basis for good science or good public policy. The main problems include:

  • Unclear hypotheses and research designs
  • Missing or inadequate comparison groups
  • Self-constructed, unreliable and invalid measurements
  • Non-random samples, including participants who recruit other participants
  • Samples too small to yield meaningful results
  • Missing or inadequate statistical analysis

As a result they conclude that no generalisations can reliably be based on any of the studies and "are no basis for good science or good public policy".

Appendix 2 lists quantitative studies in terms of three factors: - heterosexual control group: control for extraneous variables and reliability of measures. Ten studies are noted as fulfilling all 3 criteria and these are noted in our individual outlines below.

Many of these studies are ones used by Patterson ( 5.1.3. above) as evidence for positive outcomes of same-sex parenting. Criticisms about methodology by Lerner and Nagai could also be applied to many small scale social research projects that are not trying to test a hypothesis, know their sample is small, have no statistical analysis because this is not the nature of this type of small-scale, investigative and qualitative research.

N.B. This report - and the affidavit below (5.2.2.) by Nock - is available at http://www.marriagewatch.org/issues/parenting.htm , the web-site of MarriageWatch, an American organisation which aims to " inform attorneys, policymakers, and the general public about marriage in law and society" and sees their purpose as being "to strengthen the institution of marriage and to affirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

2) Nock, S. L. (2001) in an Affidavit filed with the Ontario Supreme court in Halpern v Attorney General, Court File no 684/00, makes a response to evidence cited by Professor Jerry Bigner on Nov 11 2000 and previously cited in the case of Baker v Vermont . The review includes summaries of many of the key studies in a series of appendices.

In a review of over 50 studies Professor Nock critiques a series of studies and concludes (p 39) that "All of the articles I reviewed contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution. Not a single one of these studies was conducted according to generally accepted standards of scientific research".

While accepting that the "weight of published evidence" suggests that there no differences between the children of gay parents and the children of heterosexual parents in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation, Nock argues that the methodological deficiencies indicate that further research is needed and that "the only acceptable conclusion at this points is that the literature does not constitute a solid body of scientific evidence"

3) Morgan, P. (2002) Children as Trophies? Examining the Evidence on Same-sex Parenting, The Christian Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne.

One of the most publicised critical reviews - and one that claims to be the "most comprehensive" - is that of Patricia Morgan (2002), published by the Christian Institute and available from 26 Jesmond Road, Newcastle upon Tyne (0191 281 5664). Credit card orders taken.

Morgan cites three review papers supporting her position: Lerner & Nagai (2001) cited above and two articles in academic journals: Belcastro et al (1993) and Stacey & Biblarz (2001) which is discussed below.

Her book is largely based on the earlier reviews cited and sets opposition in the context of a wider opposition to adoption by single parents and unmarried (heterosexual) couples.

The foreword (by Colin Hart, Director of the Institute) is available at http://www.facingthechallenge.org/trophies.htm

Morgan's review is also hostile towards single parents and heterosexual cohabitees as adopters, although much of her earlier work on adoption (e.g. Morgan 1998 and 1999) is concerned to argue the importance of adoption , arguing that this should be given priority as a response to the needs of children who cannot live with their birth parents - the first not the last option - with strong support for transracial adoptions and the curtailment of parental rights.

4) Dailey, T. J. (2002) Homosexual Parenting; Placing Children at Risk, Family Research Council
- available at http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/DaileyGayAdopt.htm

Dailey reviews critically a number of studies and argues that they are compromised by methodological flaws and driven by political agendas" (Dailey 2002 p1). He argues that there is no evidence to support the promotion of such adoptions and that "to entrust children to such arrangements is wholly beyond the pale" (ibid p14).

In addition to his methodological critique, he argues that there are many harmful aspects of the homosexual (gay) lifestyle - e.g. gay promiscuity; unsafe sexual practices - and that violence and substance abuse are common in lesbian relationships. He also notes a reduced life span and increased suicide risk for male homosexuals. Risks for children include confusion over sexual identity; a greater likelihood of sexual experimentation; and increased risk of sexual molestation or incest.

5) Wardle L (1997) The Potential Impact of Homosexual Parenting on Children, University of Illinois Law Review 833

This article was cited by opponents of same-sex adoption in New Zealand as challenging the research quoted by the Law Commission (see 5.3.2 below). The paper impugns the motives, methods and merits of social science research in the field, arguing that most studies show an ideological bias favouring "lesbigays". The Commission Report of September 2001 comments that "upon further examination, the article proved to be based upon a flawed analysis and misinterpretation of the relevant literature and an obvious bias against homosexuality (see e.g. Ball & Pea 1998).

5.3. Other Reviews

Three recent reviews which we have found particularly useful are written from a perspective that it is supportive of allowing Gay and Lesbian individuals to adopt but have a more balanced approach to the literature and have selected for discussion only the more robust studies.

1) Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T. J. (2001) "(How) does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter", American Sociological Review, 66, pp 159-183

Stacey, J. & Biblarz, T. J. (2001) review 21 studies, carried out between 1981 and 1988, and demonstrate - using a meta-analysis - that researchers frequently downplay findings indicating difference regarding children's gender and sexual preferences. The authors identify a number of "conceptual, methodological, and theoretical limitations in the psychological research on the effects of parental sexual orientation" and challenge the predominant claim "that the sexual orientation of parents does not matter at all". They suggest rather that there is "good reason to believe that contemporary children and young adults with lesbian or gay parents do differ in modest and interesting ways from children with heterosexual parents" (p159), but suggest that these differences are not causal but rather "the indirect effects of parental gender or selection effects associated with heterosexist social conditions under which lesbigay-parent families currently live" (p176).

However, they differ from Lerner & Nagai in concluding that "... social science research provides no grounds for taking sexual orientation into account in the political distribution of family rights and responsibilities." (p179)

2) New Zealand Law Commission, (1999) Adoption: Options for Reform: A discussion paper

Earlier in this paper we noted the New Zealand Law Commission (1999) had produced a discussion paper which included a useful summary of recent research. Key conclusions include:

  • ... research on children raised by lesbian mothers suggests that these children are no more inclined to become homosexual than children raised by heterosexual parents (para 191)
  • a parent's homosexuality alone does not predispose the child to psychosocial disorder (para 192)
  • ... children raised in such families generally have greater access to a male model than do children raised in single-mother families (para 193)
  • ... children raised by lesbian mothers ... on the whole experienced no more "teasing" (para 194)
  • ... the homosexuality of the parents makes little difference to the ultimate welfare of the child as long as parents exercise quality parenting skills (para 196)

3) BAAF (2004) Assessing Lesbian and Gay Foster Carers and Adopters, practice note 44

Following the passing of the 2002 Children Act BAAF published a practice note (no 44) on gay and lesbian adopters, which includes brief summaries of a number of studies and, while noting their limitations, conclude that there is no evidence supporting the use of a person's sexuality as precluding effective parenting and that "all available evidence confirms that lesbians and gay men can provide parenting and warm nurturing family environments, together with the security and safeguards that children need".

The report argues that "all studies of comparative parenting by lesbian or gay parents and heterosexual parents strongly endorse a 'no difference' message"; that heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual adults are just as likely to be good, poor or indifferent parents; and that sexuality is not a determining factor in the capacity to offer a good home to a child.

6: Reviews of Law and Policy

1) David Brodzinsky (2003) Adoption by Lesbians and Gays: A National Survey of Adoption Agency Policies, Practices, and Attitudes.

In this survey, carried out for the Evan B Donaldson Institute, Brodzinsky notes that more and more lesbians and gay men are becoming parents via insemination, surrogacy and adoption.

The survey (of over 300 agencies) did not attempt to evaluate same-sex parenting but rather to answer two related questions:

  • What are adoption agency policies and practices toward prospective adoptive parents who are gay or lesbian?
  • And to what extent are agencies placing children with homosexuals?

The main conclusion that comes out of the research is simply that adoption agencies are increasingly willing to place children with gay and lesbian adults and, consequently, a steadily escalating number of homosexuals are becoming adoptive parents.

Brodzinsky further argues that from a child-centered perspective, the willingness of adoption agencies to accept gay and lesbian adults as parents means more and more waiting children are moving into permanent, loving families.

The full report and the executive summary can be accessed on the internet at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/Gay%20and%20Lesbian%20Adoption1.html

It can also be requested by e-mail from info@adoptioninstitute.org

2) Appell, A. R. (2001) "Lesbian and Gay Adoption" Adoption Quarterly , 4-3 pp 73-86

The journal Adoption Quarterly has a section entitled Legal Intersections, which contains useful reviews of US legislation. Volume 6 number 1 focuses on lesbian and gay adoption and Appell (2002) reviews state legislation as it applies to lesbians and gays who adopt either as individuals or as co-parents and a number of recent court cases.

Appell points out that "although all states permit single persons or married couples to adopt children, out lesbians and gay men seeking to adopt may face explicit bans on homosexual adoption"

The author argues that such bans are largely motivated by ideology and preclude judgements relating to the needs of individual children.

"Judgements that arbitrarily limit legal protections and privileges for children or that erect needless barriers to the adoption of children who do not have fit or willing parents have no place in a society that purports to value children and families" (Appell 2002 p 84)

7: Individual Research Projects

In this section we look at some of the studies which are quoted in more than one review and which seem to have particular merits - e.g. longitudinal structure; or sound comparison groups; published in a respectable outlet etc.

7.1 Studies by Golombok and associates 1980 to date

This series of studies, initiated at the Department of Psychiatry, University of London is widely acknowledged to be one of the soundest in methodology terms and is frequently cited by those supporting adoption by gay and lesbian parents, but is criticised by Lerner & Nagai and Morgan. However, Stacey & Biblarz (2001) use them as one of their six "best designed" studies. In their meta-analysis. It is also one of the few studies carried out in the UK .

Golombok, S. & Spencer, A. et al. (1983). "Children in Lesbian and Single-Parent Households: Psychosexual and Psychiatric Appraisal." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 24(4): 551-572.

This important study compared 38 children aged 5-17 yrs raised by 27 single mothers and 37 children of similar age raised by lesbian mothers. Of the 27 lesbian mothers, 9 were single parents; 12 were cohabiting with a lesbian partner; 4 lived in shared households and 4 shared a home with their husband and a lesbian partner. All the children had been conceived in heterosexual relationship.

The study found no significant differences between children raised by lesbian mothers and children raised by single heterosexual mothers on measures of emotional behaviour, and relationships with peers. Also, no differences were found in terms of their gender identity or gender behaviour. However the lesbian mothers were more likely to have sought psychiatric help.The findings are cited by the New Zealand Law Commission and BAAF.

Tasker, F. & Golombok, S. (1995). "Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 65(2): 203-215.

This study followed up the authors' 1976-1977 study group (see 1993 publication above) and was able to do interviews with 25 lesbian mothers and 21 single mothers. The study found no significant difference between children raised by lesbian parents and those raised by heterosexual parents in the quality of the young adults' relationships with their mothers, in incidences of teasing or bullying in high school, or in their emotional well-being. No differences were found in proportion of each group that reported experiencing sexual attraction to someone of the same sex, though the children of lesbians were more likely to act or consider acting, on those attractions.

Stacey & Biblarz (2001) note that although the authors' conclusion is that overall there is no significant difference between the two groups, it deflects from some of the differences in sexual attitudes: - e.g. the finding not fully discussed that children (especially girls) raised by lesbians appear to depart from traditional gender-based norms - e.g. in being more sexually adventurous.

Golombok, S. Tasker, F. & Murray, C. (1997) "Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: family relationships and the socioemotional development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers". J Child Psychol Psychiatry; 38-7: 783-791, 1997

This study looked at three groups: 30 lesbian mother families and 42 families headed by a single heterosexual mother were compared with 41 two-parent heterosexual families using standardised interview and questionnaire measures of the quality of parenting and the socio-emotional development of the children. The results show that children raised in fatherless families from infancy experienced greater warmth and interaction with their mother and were more securely attached to her, although they saw themselves as less cognitively and physically competent than their peers from father-present families.

No differences were identified between families headed by lesbian and single heterosexual mothers, except for greater mother-child interaction in lesbian mother families.

See also

Golombok, S. & Tasker, F. (1996) "Do Parents Influence the sexual Orientation of their Children: findings from a longitudinal study of lesbian families", Developmental Psychology 32 (1)

Tasker, F. & Golombok, S. (1997) Growing up in a Lesbian family, New York: Guildford

Golombok, S. (2002), 'Adoption by Lesbian Couples: Is it in the Best Interests of the Child?', British Medical Journal, 234, 1407-1408.

7.2 Brief outlines of other cited studies

The following studies are widely cited and seem to have clear merits. Unless otherwise stated, the publications were cited in the critical study by Lerner & Nagai (appendix 2) as among the more sound methodological studies in that they were quantitative studies which were rated positively as having i) a heterosexual control group: ii) some control for extraneous variables and iii) reliability of measures.

Bigner, J. J. and Jacobsen, R. B. (1989), 'Parenting Behaviors of Homosexual and Heterosexual Fathers', Journal of Homosexuality, 18, 173-186.

Bigner, J. J. and Jacobsen, R. B. (1992), 'Adult Responses to Child Behavior and Attitudes Toward Fathering: Gay and Non-Gay Fathers', Journal of Homosexuality, 23, 99-112.

In both of these studies the researchers found that gay fathers did not differ significantly from heterosexual fathers in terms of overall parental involvement, intimacy, parenting skills and attitudes to parenthood. However, there were some differences between the two groups in approaches to parenting; for example, gay fathers tended to be more communicative with their children and to enforce rules more strictly. Limitations of research include - small, non-random sample; participants were studied based only on their self-reported answers to questions about parenting.

Brewaeys, A., Ponjaert, I. et al. (1997). "Donor Insemination: Child Development and Family Functioning in Lesbian Mother Families." Human Reproduction 12(6): 1349-1359.

Found children in lesbian mother homes were as positive and healthy as children in homes headed by a mother and a father. The research compared children of lesbian couples conceived via donor insemination, children of heterosexual couples conceived via donor inseminations, and children of heterosexual couples who conceived conventionally. Overall, less non-biological mothers were found to have better relationships with their children than the heterosexual fathers. No differences were found between the three groups of children. Sample: 30 lesbian two-mother families; 38 heterosexual families conceiving via IVF; and 30 heterosexual conceiving naturally.

Chan, R. W., Raboy, B. et al. (1998). "Psychosocial Adjustment among Children Conceived by Donor Insemination by Lesbian and Heterosexual Mothers." Child Development 69(2): 443-457.

Found that the sexual orientation and relationships status of parents had no significant impact on the psychological well-being of their children. Rather, children were impacted by other factors, such as parents' psychological well-being and parenting stress - neither of which had anything to do with sexual orientation.

Flaks, D. K., Fischer, I. et al. (1995). "Lesbian Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children." Developmental Psychology 31(1): 105-114.

This study found that children of lesbians and children of heterosexuals were equally healthy in terms of psychological well-being and social adjustment. Lesbian mothers were found to have more developed parenting awareness than the heterosexual parents. Limitations of the study include the small, non-random sample of 15 lesbian and 15 heterosexual couples and their children.

Hoeffer, B. (1981). "Children's Acquisition of Sex-role Behavior in Lesbian Mother Families." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 51(3): 536-544.

Found no significant differences between the gender behaviour of children of lesbian and heterosexual mothers. It also found that lesbian mothers were significantly more likely to prefer a more equal mix of masculine and feminine toys, while heterosexual mothers tended to prefer that girls played with stereotypically feminine toys etc.

Huggins, S. L. (1989). "A Comparative Study of Self-esteem of Adolescent Children of Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Divorced Heterosexual Mothers." Journal of Homosexuality 18(1/2): 123-135.

Examines the psychological construct of self-esteem using a comparative survey design with adolescent children. There were 18 children in both groups, also divided equally by sex and aged 12-19yrs. There was no significant difference in self-esteem scores. Findings consistent with other studies i.e. children not at greater risk for problems with '......sexual identity confusion, inappropriate gender role behaviour, psychopathology, or homosexual orientation in children' (p124). Stresses the need for further comparative research.

Kirkpatrick, M., Smith, C. et al. (1981). "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparative Survey." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 51: 545-551.

The study found no differences between the regularity of father's visits, involvement with the children, or financial support but did find that lesbian mothers were more likely to have only children. There were no differences between children on Human Figure Drawing Test, the Rutter Scale of emotional disturbance, and developmental history. However, an unexpectedly high number of children in both groups showed emotional symptoms which was attributed to the fact that the authors offered free psychological evaluations and thus this may have appealed to mothers who had some concern about their children. Sample: 10 girls and 10 boys between the ages of 5-12 who were living full time with self-identified lesbian mothers compared with 10 girls and 10 boys living full time with single, heterosexual mothers.

McNeill, K. F., Rienzi, B. M. et al. (1998). "Families and Parenting: A Comparison of Lesbian and Heterosexual Mothers." Psychological Reports, 82: 59-62.

Found that lesbian and heterosexual mothers groups did not differ significantly in relationship with their children, parenting practices, and overt family stress. The authors reviewed 21 studies and demonstrated that researchers frequently downplay findings that indicate differences regarding children's gender and sexual preferences and behaviour that could stimulate important theoretical questions and propose a "less defensive, more sociologically informed analytic framework" for investigating these issues.

Wyers, N. (1997) "Homosexuality in the family; lesbian and gay spouses" Social Work March/April pp 143-148.

The study receives a low rating from Lerner and Nagai but is widely quoted by both sides of the debate. It notes that same-sex couples share the same problems as heterosexual couples, but also have to face many additional problems; the lack of social approval and legal protection; isolation; fear of losing custody of their children; need for secrecy etc.

Conclusion:

We have presented above a review of the main reviews of research in this area. Some of these are clearly driven by an agenda reflecting the authors' position with regard to marriage and/or homosexuality; others start from a position committed to rights for gays and lesbians. We have indicated those which seem to us to have achieved greatest objectivity and agree with these that there is no strong evidence which suggests that gays and lesbians should be excluded from consideration for adoption if a decision is taken to extend the right to apply to adopt to non-married partners.

However, the studies do seem to indicate some differences in the behaviour and attitudes of children raised in families headed by gays and lesbians - as would be expected. The interpretation of the importance of these will depend on views about a more accepting approach to same-sex relationships. We would however stress that much of the research is very limited and that there is a need for more studies; and especially studies which look at same-sex partners adopting and fostering. Most of the evidence presented is about two groups; women who gave birth in a heterosexual relationship or as a single parent and who subsequently entered a lesbian relationship; and women who conceived by donor insemination while in a same-sex relationship.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Introduction;

We have divided the bibliography into three sections which bring together much of the available literature on same-sex parenting.

  • References: in this section we list any published books or articles mentioned in the main text of this report: - some reports available only on the internet are identified in the web references section, but also have the web-site listed in the text.
  • Further Reading: this section lists a number of other publications cited widely in reviews but not mentioned in the text and not consulted by the authors of this report.
  • Web References: Here we have listed some of the key web-sites where reviews and studies cited above may found and also some more general adoption-related web-sites.

1. References

Appell, A. R. (2001) "Lesbian and Gay Adoption" Adoption Quarterly, 4-3 pp 73-86.

Bailey, J. et al (1995) "Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers" Developmental Psychology 31, pp 124-129.

Ball, C. & Pea, J. (1998) "Warring with Wardle: Morality, Social Science, and Gay and Lesbian Parents" University of Illinois Law Review 253.

BAAF, Adoption & Fostering (2004) Assessing Lesbian and Gay Foster Carers and Adopters, Practice note 44, London: BAAF.

Bigner, J. J. and Jacobsen, R. B. (1989), 'Parenting Behaviors of Homosexual and Heterosexual Fathers', Journal of Homosexuality, 18, 173-186.

Bigner, J. J. and Jacobsen, R. B. (1992), 'Adult Responses to Child Behavior and Attitudes Toward Fathering: Gay and Non-Gay Fathers', Journal of Homosexuality, 23, 99-112.

Brewaeys, A., Ponjaert, I. et al. (1997). "Donor Insemination: Child Development and Family Functioning in Lesbian Mother Families." Human Reproduction 12(6): 1349-1359.

Brodzinsky, D. M. ( 2003), 'Adoption by Lesbian and Gay: A National Survey of Adoption Agency', Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York.

Chan, R. W., Raboy, B. et al. (1998). "Psychosocial Adjustment among Children Conceived by Donor Insemination by Lesbian and Heterosexual Mothers." Child Development 69(2): 443-457.

Dailey, T. J. (2002) Homosexual Parenting; Placing Children at Risk, Family Research Council.

Flaks, D. K., Fischer, I. et al. (1995). "Lesbian Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children." Developmental Psychology 31(1): 105-114.

Froman, I. (2003) Two Parents of the Same Sex, Stockholm: Swedish Institute - available at www.sweden.se

Golombok, S., Spencer, A. et al. (1983). "Children in Lesbian and Single-Parent Households: Psychosexual and Psychiatric Appraisal." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 24(4): 551-572.

Golombok, S. & Tasker, F. (1996) "Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children?" - Developmental Psychology 32 (1) 1996 p9.

Golombok, S., Tasker, F. & Murray, C. (1997) "Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: family relationships and the socioemotional development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers". J Child Psychol Psychiatry; 38-7: 783-791.

Golombok, S. & Tasker, F. (1996) "Do Parents Influence the Sexual Orientation of Their Children?" - Developmental Psychology 32 (1) 1996 p9.

Golombok, S. (2002), 'Adoption by Lesbian Couples: Is it in the Best Interests of the Child?', British Medical Journal, 234, 1407-1408.

Hicks, S. and McDermott, J. (Eds.) (1999) Lesbian and Gay Fostering and Adoption: Extraordinary Yet Ordinary, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London.

Hoeffer, B. (1981). "Children's Acquisition of Sex-role Behavior in Lesbian Mother Families." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 51(3): 536-544.

Huggins, S. L. (1989). "A Comparative Study of Self-esteem of Adolescent Children of Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Divorced Heterosexual Mothers." Jal of Homosexuality 18(1/2): 123-135.

Kirkpatrick, M. Smith, C. et al. (1981). "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparative Survey." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 51: 545-551.

Lerner, R. & Nagai, A. K. (2001) No Basis; What the Studies Don't Tell us About Same-Sex Parenting, Marriage Law Project, Washington D.C.

McNeill, K. F., Rienzi, B. M. et al. (1998). "Families and Parenting: A Comparison of Lesbian and Heterosexual Mothers." Psychological Reports, 82: 59-62.

Morgan, P. (2002) Children as Trophies; Examining the evidence on same-sex parenting, Newcastle upon Tyne: The Christian Institute.

New Zealand Law Commission (1999) Adoption: Options for Reform: a discussion paper, NZLC PP38, Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand Law Commission (2000) Adoption and Its Alternatives: A Different Approach and a New Framework, Report NZLC R65, Wellington, New Zealand.

Nock, S. L. (2001) Affidavit files with the Ontario Supreme court in Halpern v Attorney General, Court File no 684/00, Ontario.

Patterson, C. J. & Redding, E. (1996) "Lesbian and Gay Families with Children; Implications for Social Science Research and Policy" Journal of Social Issues 52 (3) p47.

Perrin, E. C. (2002), 'Technical Report: Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents', American Academy of Pediatrics, 109 (2), pp 341-344.

Plumtree, A. (2003), 'Choices for Children in Adoption and Fostering: a Discussion Paper on Legal Issues', Adoption Policy Review Group.

Selman, P. & Mason, K. (2003) Introductory Research Report for Scottish Executive Review of Adoption Law in Scotland, Newcastle University: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology.

Stacey, J. & Biblarz T. J. (2001) "(How) does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter", American Sociological Review, 66, pp 159-183.

Strah, D. (2003) Gay Dads, New York: Putnam.

Tasker, F. and Golombok, S. (1995). "Adults Raised as Children in Lesbian Families." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 65(2): 203-215.

Tasker, F. & Golombok, S. (1997) Growing up in a Lesbian Family, New York: Guildford.

Wardle, L. (1997) "The Potential Impact of Homosexual Parenting on Children" University of Illinois Law Review 833.

Wyers, N. L. (1987), 'Homosexuality in the Family: Lesbian and Gay Spouses', Social Work, 32, 146.

2. Further Reading

Ainslie, J. and Feltey, K. M. (1991), 'Definitions and Dynamics of Motherhood and Family in Lesbian Communities', Marriage and Family Review, 17, 63-85.

Baggett, C. (1992), 'Sexual Orientation: Should it Affect Child Custody Rulings', Law and Psychology Review, 16, 189-200.

Bailey, J. M., Bobrow, D., Wolfe, M. and Mikach, S. (1995), 'Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers', Developmental Psychology, 31, 124-129.

Barret, R. L. and Robinson, B. E. (1994), 'Gay Dads', In Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development, (Eds, Gottfried, A. E. and Gottfried, A. W.) Plenum Press, New York, pp. 157-170.

Belcastro, P. A. et al (1993) A Review of Data Bases Studies Addressing the Affects of Homosexual Parenting on Children's Sexual and Social Functioning, Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol 20 (1/2) p105-121.

Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2002), 'Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents', American Academy of Paediatrics, 109, 339-340.

Farnsworth, R. Y. (2002), 'Adoption by Same-Sex Parents', Pediatrics, 110, 419-419.

Flaks, D. K., Ficher, I., Masterpasqua, F. and Joseph, G. (1995), 'Lesbian Choosing Motherhood: A Comparative Study of Lesbian and Heterosexual Parents and Their Children', Developmental Psychology, 31, 105-114.

Gottfried, A. E. and Gottfried, A. W. (Eds.) (1994) Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development, Plenum Press, New York.

Green, R., Mandel, J. B., Hotvedt, M. E., Gray, J. and Smith, L. (1986), 'Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children', Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15, 167-184.

Harris, M. B. and Turner, P. H. (1985 or 1986?), 'Gay and Lesbian Parents', Journal of Homosexuality, 12, 101-113.

Hotvedt, M. E. and Mandel, J. B. (1982), 'Children of Lesbian Mothers', In Homosexuality, Social, Psychological, and Biological Issues, SAGE, Beverly Hills.

Javaid, G. A. (1993), 'The Children of Homosexual and Heterosexual Single Mothers', Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 23, 235-248.

Laird, J. (Ed.) (1999) Lesbians and Lesbians' Families, Columbia University Press, New York.

Lansford, J. E., Cebeallo, R., Abbey, A. and Stewart, A. J. (2001), 'Does Family Structure Matter? A Comparison of Adoptive, Two-parent Biological, Single-mother, Stepfather and Stepmother Households', Journal of Mariage and the Family, 63, 840-851.

Martin-Ancel, A. (2002), 'Adoption by Same-Sex Parents', Pediatrics, 110, 419-420.

McNeill, P. G. B. (1998) Adoption of Children in Scotland, 3rd Edition, Edinburgh: GREEB/Sweet & Maxwell.

Miller, J. A. Brook-Jacobsen, R. & Bigner, J. (1982) "The Child's home environment for lesbian and heterosexual mothers" Journal of Homosexuality, 7 (10 pp 49-56.

Morgan, P. (1998) Adoption and the Care of Children; the British and American Experience, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit.

Morgan, P. (1999) Adoption: The Continuing Debate, London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit.

O'Connell, A. (1999), 'Voices from the Heart: The Developmental Impact of a Mother's Lesbianism on her Adolescent Children', In Lesbians and Lesbian Families, (Ed, Laird, J.) Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 275, 270, 271.

Patterson, C. J. (1992) "Children of lesbian and gay parents", Child Development Journal, 63, October 1992, pp 1025-42.

Patterson, C. J. (1994), 'Children of the Lesbian Baby Boom: Behavioral Adjustment, Self-Concepts, and Sex Role Identity', In Lesbian & Gay Psychology: Theory, Research and Clinical Applications, (Eds, Green, B. and Herek, G. M.) SAGE, Thousand Oaks.

Pennington, S. B. (1987), 'Children of Lesbian Mothers', In Gay and Lesbian Parents, (Ed, Bozett, F. W.) Praeger, New York, 62-63.

Ricketts, W. and Achtenberg, R. (1987), 'The Adoptive and Foster Gay and Lesbian Parent', In Gay and Lesbian Parents, (Ed, Bozett, F. W.) Praeger, New York, 89-111.

Ricketts, W. and Achtenberg, R. (1989), 'Adoption and Foster Parenting for Lesbians and Gay Men: Creating New Traditions in Family', Marriage and Family Reviews, 14, 83-118.

Shelley-Sireci, L. and Ciano-Boyce, C. (2002), 'Becoming Lesbian Adoptive Parents: An Exploratory Study of Lesbian Adoptive, Lesbian Birth, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents', Adoption Quarterly, 6, 33-43.

Sullivan, A. (1995), 'Policy Issues in Gay and Lesbian Adoption', Adoption & Fostering, 19, 21-25.

3. Useful web-sites for information on gay and lesbian adoption:

Child Welfare League of America: http://www.cwla.org

Issues in Gay and Lesbian Adoption; Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Peirce-Warwick Adoption Symposium February 1994, published by the Child Welfare League of America

Evan B. Donaldson Institute: http://www.adoptioninstitute.org

David M Brodzinsky: Adoption by Lesbians and Gays: A National Survey of Adoption Agency Policies, Practices, and Attitudes - available from the above web-site by clicking on relevant bullet point on the home page.

The full report and the executive summary can be accessed on the internet at http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/whowe/Gay%20and%20Lesbian%20Adoption1.html

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse ( NAIC): http://naic.acf.hhs.gov

Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Resources for Professionals and Parents - AB-0030A

Explores the status of gay and lesbian parenting, issues, laws, and more.

Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Sources of Support and Information (Available online only)

Includes organizations and publications supporting gay and lesbian parenting

New Zealand Law Commission: http://www.lawcom.govt.nz

Adoption: Options for Reform: a discussion paper, NZLC PP38, October 1999

Adoption and Its Alternatives: A Different Approach and a New Framework, Report NZLC R65, September 2000

The sites below represent particular stances for and against gay and lesbian marriage amd parenting

American Civil Liberties Union has a site dealing with gay and lesbian issues;

http://www.aclu.org/LesbianGayRights/LesbianGayRightsMain.cfm

Association des Parents et futurs parents Gays et Lesbians: - Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents and future parents) http://www.france.qrd.org/assocs/apgl/documents/doc9.htm

Patterson, C. Lesbian & Gay Parenting: - a summary of research findings.

Equal Marriage for Same Sex Couples; Canadian web-site; http://www.samesexmarriage.ca/equality/world.html

Has mass of information and useful links on same-sex marriage around the world, including details of where this extends to a right to adopt.

Let him stay: produced by the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian & Gay Rights Project; http://www.lethimstay.com/index.html

Web-site focussed on opposition to Florida's ban on gay and lesbian adoption.

Marriage Watch: describes its purpose as being to strengthen the institution of marriage and to affirm the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. http://www.marriagewatch.org

Has access to Lerner, R. & Nagai, A. K. (2001) No Basis; What the Studies Don't Tell us About Same-Sex Parenting, and the affidavit by Professor Stephen Nock cited in this report.

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance http://www.religioustolerance.org

A "multi-faith" web-site discussing issues such as abortion and homosexuality - same-sex marriage is described as "our most popular topic".

Orthodoxy Today: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org - describes itself as an "online journal that examines social and moral problems that affect American society." featuring authors "who write on cultural issues within a Judeo/Christian moral framework and analyze social and moral issues with clarity and depth". The site is maintained by Fr. Johannes Jacobse, a priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. A key theme is that "American society needs moral renewal".

We have cited one article specific to the theme of this paper:

Timothy Dailey
Homosexual Parenting; Placing Children at Risk
Other related publications include:
Samuel Silver
Can America Survive Same Sex Marriage
Johannes L Jacobse
Gay Marriage far removed from Civil Rights Movement


Contact

Email: looked_after_children@gov.scot