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J Homosex. 1996;32(2):19-35.

Comparing the impact of homosexual and heterosexual parents on children: meta-analysis of existing research.

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Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 53201, USA.


Courts determine custody and visitation on the basis of the "best interests of the child." Current judicial rulings in some jurisdictions reflect a bias against awarding custody or granting visitation rights to homosexual parents, favoring the heterosexual parent or heterosexual relative of the child(ren). Should the sexual orientation of the parent play a part in the determination of custody or visitation in order to protect the child? This meta-analysis summarizes the available quantitative literature comparing the impact of heterosexual and homosexual parents, using a variety of measures, on the child(ren). The analyses examine parenting practices, the emotional well-being of the child, and the sexual orientation of the child. The results demonstrate no differences on any measures between the heterosexual and homosexual parents regarding parenting styles, emotional adjustment, and sexual orientation of the child(ren). In other words, the data fail to support the continuation of a bias against homosexual parents by any court.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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