The Coming-Out of Rainbow Families: A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes for Parents and Offspring
I-Ching Lee(Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University)
Same-sex families were once considered an anomaly, but they have now become a force which challenges norms and demands legal protections for alternative families. After the passage of marriage equality legalization in various countries, same-sex couples have gained the rights to artificial impregnation and adoption, thus diversifying same-sex families. According to previous meta-analyses, overwhelming similarities between same-sex and different-sex families were observed; however, the lack of evaluation of the variation in the effect sizes has limited the contributions of these studies. In addition, even though legal protections for same-sex families have been offered in various societies, stereotypes (e.g., could men be good caretakers?) and concerns (e.g., perhaps the advantages of different-sex families would be apparent when toddlers grow up) still exist. This article utilizes a quantitative meta-analysis to compare same-sex and different-sex families in terms of family functions, and outcomes for parents and offspring. This research replicates the findings in previous meta-analyses. There is virtually no difference between these two types of families. Extending previous findings, same-sex fathers are as good as same-sex mothers and different-sex parents. Examining children born via insemination or adoption also demonstrates similarities in same-sex and different-sex families. Children’s racial composition does not moderate family functions or outcomes for the parents and their offspring. The age of the offspring matters only in the case of a couple of indicators. When the children grow older, children in same-sex families perform better in cognitive evaluations and self-evaluations than children in different-sex families. The above findings are consistent with the previous research consensus that parental sexual identity has little effect on family functions, or on outcomes for parents and children. I will further discuss potential facilitating and risk factors for family functions and outcomes for parents and their offspring.
same-sex fathers, same-sex mothers, artificial impregnation or insemination, adoption