Science Direct.com July 2012
Loren Marks, Louisiana State University
In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued an official brief on lesbian and gay parenting. This brief included the assertion: “Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents” (p. 15). The present article closely examines this assertion and the 59 published studies cited by the APA to support it. Seven central questions address: (1) homogeneous sampling, (2) absence of comparison groups, (3) comparison group characteristics, (4) contradictory data, (5) the limited scope of children’s outcomes studied, (6) paucity of long-term outcome data, and (7) lack of APA-urged statistical power. The conclusion is that strong assertions, including those made by the APA, were not empirically warranted. Recommendations for future research are offered.
► A 26 of 59 APA studies on same-sex parenting had no heterosexual comparison groups. ► In comparison studies, single mothers were often used as the hetero comparison group. ► No comparison study had the statistical power required to detect a small effect size. ► Definitive claims were not substantiated by the 59 published studies.