Yet another study finds kids with same-sex parents do just as well as those with straight parents

More than a third of Americans think LGB people should not be able to adopt kids

Kids with same-sex parents are doing just fine, according to a new study.

In news shocking no one but homophobes, the study analyzed data from the American National Health Interview Survey from 2013 to 2015 and proved kids with same-sex parents do just as well as kids with straight parents.

The researchers looked at data for around 21,000 children between the ages of 4 and 17. The survey analyzed the emotional, mental and psychological health of both children and parents.

It’s the latest research in a flood of previous studies proving same-sex parents are just as qualified in raising kids. In fact, some studies suggest they’re even better.

This study found there is no increased difficulties for kids with homosexual partners. It did, however, find kids with bisexual parents had slightly poorer scores.

Researchers then took into account the psychological stress suffered by the parents and the difference vanished.

They theorize this is probably a result of the hardships parents face in a society that stigmatize their sexual orientation.

The authors suggest a ‘more inclusive society might help reduce that stress, and improve the mental wellbeing of kids with bisexual parents.’

Lead author Dr Jerel Calzo, from the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health said: ‘As lesbian, gay, and bisexual parented families become more visible, the findings bolster previous studies revealing that children raised in these families have comparable psychological well-being compared with children raised by heterosexual parents.

‘In addition, the results indicate the need for continued investment in strategies to prevent sexual orientation–based discrimination. And to support sexual minority parents who may experience minority stress,’ he said.

gaystarnews.com, November 10, 2017 by James Besanvalle

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Coming Out in the Trump Era

National Coming Out Day. More important than ever.

Our country feels very different than it did a year ago on the last National Coming Out Day, when the prospect of an LGBTQ-friendly president was still possible. Now, however, the day feels even more like a time for activism and resistance.adoption and surroagcy

As Harvey Milk said, “Coming out is the most political thing you can do.” It is also, of course, one of the most personal. And while some of us may be out to a degree that lets us feel comfortable joining resistance marches, calling our elected officials, or writing op-eds to our local papers, others of us may not. As parents, we may fear the loss of a job that feeds our kids or worry that our kids will be bullied or harassed because of their parents. We may worry about being turned away by child service agencies. Personal and family safety and security is vital, and I cannot tell anyone to ignore that.

Mombian.com, by Dana Rudolph – October 11, 2017

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The evolution of LGBT parenting in the UK: Celebrating a decade of change

Insights in LGBT Parenting in the UK

In the UK, we’re fortunate to live in an open-minded inclusive society, but the law has not always reflected that – as recently as the 1990s, UK legislation actively discriminated against non-traditional families seeking fertility treatment to become parents. But the past 15 years spans a legal and social revolution for same-sex parents, and it is now easier than ever before for LGBT parents to start a family in the UK.lgbt parenting in the UK

As the UK marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality (following the Sexual Offences Act 1967), here is an overview of some of the key milestones in the journey to increase access to family-building options for same-sex couples:

1990: the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act introduced regulation for UK fertility clinics. Under the new law, fertility clinics had to consider a child’s ‘need for a father’ before offering treatment, aiming to restrict fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples.

2004: the Civil Partnership Act created – in all but name – marriage for same-sex couples, giving property, pension, inheritance and other benefits to couples who registered as civil partners.

2005: same-sex partners were allowed to adopt their partner’s children, and couples were allowed to adopt unrelated children together. For the first time, children in the UK could have legal parents of the same sex.

2008: following a review of 1990 laws, fertility clinics no longer had to consider the child’s “need for a father”, and it was made clear they should not discriminate against same-sex couples. New parenthood laws also enabled female same-sex couples to be recorded on their children’s birth certificates together if they conceived through sperm donation, and enabled male same-sex couples to apply for a parental order (giving them a birth certificate recording them both as their child’s legal parents) if they conceived through surrogacy.

2015: same-sex parents with a child born through surrogacy were given the right to adoption leave (so that one parent could claim the equivalent to maternity leave and pay, and the other paternity leave and pay).

2016: a key High Court decision ruled that the law discriminated unfairly against single parents who conceived through surrogacy. In response, the government announced plans to change the law to allow single parents – as well as couples – to become the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy.

What does the future hold?

We have come a long way over the past 15 years, but we are not quite there yet. There remains problems with the law on surrogacy, and for birth certificates for transgender and multiple-parent families.

by Natalie Gamble – gaystarnews.com, September 29, 2017

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Judge Analyzes Tax Deduction for Gay Parenthood in His First Opinion

“This is a tax case. Fear not, keep reading.”

So began the first published opinion of Judge Kevin Newsom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last month. As Newsom viewed it, the dispute over Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code required a detailed analysis of the birds and the bees.

At issue was an appeal by a gay man who maintained the Internal Revenue Service should have granted a $9,539 tax refund for $36,000 in medical services he funded in 2011 trying to conceive a baby through in vitro fertilization and a surrogate mother. Joseph F. Morrissey claimed the tax code allowed the deduction and the IRS violated his equal protection rights by denying it.tax deduction

The IRS rejected the claim on the grounds Morrissey’s medical expenses didn’t meet the definitions of Section 213, which allows deductions for medical care of a “taxpayer, his spouse, or a dependent.”

Morrissey sued, but U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara in Tampa ruled for the IRS. The Eleventh Circuit held oral argument on Aug. 24. Newsom, Circuit Judge Charles Wilson and visiting U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno of Miami affirmed a month later.

In the 25-page ruling, Newsom dissected the tax code as it applied to human reproduction. He noted the code defined “medical care” as “amounts paid … for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.”

Morrissey’s brief argued, “Because reproduction is a bodily function, the medical procedures employing Morrissey’s sperm to assist his biological conception of a child affected a function of his body. Morrissey therefore satisfies the statutory standard, as do the heterosexuals for whom the IRS allows the deduction of the very expenses denied here.”

But in the opinion, Newsom used Webster’s dictionary definitions of “affect” and “function” to rephrase Morrissey’s claim to show its failings: that his expenses for egg donation and surrogacy were incurred “for the purpose of materially influencing or altering (i.e., “affecting”) an action for which Mr. Morrissey’s own body is specifically fitted, used, or responsible (i.e., his body’s “function.”)

That position “mistakes the entire reproductive process for his own body’s specific function within that process,” Newsom added.

He offered “a primer on the science of human reproduction,” starting with asexual organisms and leading in humans to “the bottom line: the male body’s distinctive function in the reproductive process is limited and discrete” to providing healthy sperm.

If the $1,500 Morrissey spent on providing that sperm for the in vitro process had been a sufficient percentage of his adjusted gross income, those expenses could have been deducted, Newsom wrote. But the rest of the $36,000 spent on conception and surrogacy in 2011 didn’t affect Morrissey’s own reproductive function, so they couldn’t be deducted from his income.

On Morrissey’s equal protection claim, Newsom held that, although procreation is generally considered a fundamental right, procreating through in vitro fertilization of eggs from an unrelated third-party donor and the use of a surrogate is not.

How gay dads manage without paid paternity leave

When his first daughter was born in 2009, Brent Wright, like many parents, did not have paid paternity leave.

Unlike many parents, he and his spouse faced some unique challenges. Because both are men, neither parent had access to a paid maternity leave policy. Because they adopted, their time away from the office began with travel to a nearby city to meet the birth mother.gay parents adoption

To make time for bonding at home with their new daughter, they cobbled together vacation and sick days while Wright, 51, negotiated a leave of absence to stay home with newborn Olivia. Scrambling to finagle time with their daughter complicated their entry into parenthood.

“That was very stressful,” Wright said.

Wright is not alone. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave. But when it comes to paid paternity leave, just 14 percent of civilian workers had access to paid family leave in 2016, according to Pew Research Center.

In contrast, nearly every member of the European Union provides at least 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and 84 countries offer some paid leave to fathers.

Limited leave policies disproportionately impact gay dads and adoptive parents, argues Paid Leave for the United States, an organization pushing for expanded paid leave. A June report examined policies at 44 of the country’s largest employers and found the majority gave little or no paid parental leave to dads and adoptive parents. This makes the first weeks of parenthood for gay dads difficult — scrambling to find time to settle in a new son or daughter, securing and paying for child care.

By Allison Bowen, Contact reporter, September 26, 2017

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What Parents Can Do to Nurture Good Writers – Guide for School Age Parents

Nurture good writers – Steve Graham, a professor at Arizona State University’s Teachers College, has been researching how young people learn to write for more than 30 years. He is a co-author of numerous books on writing instruction, including “Powerful Writing Strategies for All Students.”

How does reading at home help children become better writers?

Reading is really critical, but it’s not enough. We don’t have much evidence that if you just read more, you’ll be a better writer. But analyzing text does make a difference to nurture good writers. So when we read to kids, we can also have conversations with them about the author’s craft. How did this author make this place seem real in terms of description? What words did they use? How did they present this idea or this argument?nurture good writers

Should a parent correct a child’s writing, or just be encouraging?

Sometimes when kids come to you to share what they’re writing, they’re not coming for feedback. They are coming for affirmation. It’s really important we emphasize first and foremost what we really like about it. And if you’re going to give feedback, just pick one or two things. English teachers — and parents are guilty of this, too — sometimes overwhelm kids with more feedback than they can absorb all at once. The other thing that’s really important, particularly for parents, is to remember that they don’t own this piece. It’s their child’s. Asking questions, instead of saying “Do this,” can be a more effective approach. It gives the child the opportunity to make decisions about the text.  This will help to nurture good writers.

Is social media hurting children’s writing at school?

I don’t think so. Kids are constantly creating text when they are at home. They tweet, they text, they Facebook. Each of those has its own rules, and one of the advantages is that students learn that you write in different registers in different situations. We can use that to our advantage, working with kids on how we’d put that writing in a more formal situation. Changing register is a skill kids need to learn.

What should parents look for to assess the writing instruction at their child’s school?

After about third grade, very little time is devoted to explicit writing instruction. It’s like we’ve imagined that kids have acquired what they need to know to be good writers by then! In middle and high school, the most common activities are fill-in-the-blanks on worksheets, writing single sentences, making lists or writing a paragraph summary. When you start talking about persuasive essays or an informative paper, those things occur infrequently in English class and even less so in social studies and science.

New York Times, August 2, 2017 Interview by Dana Goldstein

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The Weirdest Reactions Same-Sex Parents Get from Straight People

Being a same-sex parent means dealing with a barrage of unexpected questions and remarks from straight people. We collected gems from couples across the country.

When I was pregnant with our son, my wife Sam and I often imagined our lives post-delivery: the unbearable cuteness of bath time, the inevitable onset of exhaustion, the middle of the night blowouts. We knew everything about our relationship was about to change, and that it would be close to impossible to prepare for what was to come.  Straight people and their questions.straight people

As same-sex parents, however, we knew we might have to steel ourselves for something else: a shift in how the world sees us. Though it would be years before he would understand that having two moms made him different, we had decisions to make about our son early on: what language we would use to describe our family, how we would answer questions from loved ones and strangers, how we would respond to inquiring minds.

The hospital staff where I delivered had experience with same-sex couples, and they made us feel welcome and celebrated. But in the world we’ve encountered since, reactions have often felt more complicated. In restaurants and grocery stores, men and women have wanted to stop and ask about our beautiful baby. Often their congratulations landed on whichever one of us was holding him; if anyone was confused when we both responded, they never let on. When people ask, “Who’s his mom?” We say, “We both are.” Often, when people learn we’re same-sex parents, they feel comfortable asking us who carried, whether he’s breastfed, how we chose a donor. We’re incredibly open when we reply, but I often wonder whether they’d ask the same kinds of questions of a hetero couple.

Those subtle displays of obliviousness are often frustrating (when they’re not humorous), and we’re far from alone in our experiences. Below, we collected stories from a handful of same-sex parents around the country about reactions they’ve encountered from the world, and how they’ve chosen to respond in turn.

Vice.com, by Laura Leigh Abbey, July 27, 2017

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Same Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications

At gay pride marches around the country this month, there will be celebrations of marriage, a national right that, at just two years old, feels freshly exuberant to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

But while questions of marriage are largely settled, same sex parents still face a patchwork of laws around the country that define who is and who can be a parent. This introduces a rash of complications about where L.G.B.T.Q. couples may want to live and how they form their families, an array of uncertainties straight couples do not have to think about.

“There are very different laws from state to state in terms of how parents are protected, especially if they’re unmarried,” said Cathy Sakimura, deputy director and family law director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “You can be completely respected and protected as a family in one state and be a complete legal stranger to your children in another. To know that you could drive into another state and not be considered a parent anymore, that’s a pretty terrifying situation.”gay parents adoption

Adoption laws, for example, can be extremely contradictory. In some states, like Maryland and Massachusetts, adoption agencies are expressly prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation. At the same time, other states, like South Dakota, have laws that create religious exemptions for adoption providers, allowing agencies to refuse to place children in circumstances that violate the groups’ religious beliefs.

Alan Solano, a state senator in South Dakota, sponsored his state’s adoption legislation. He said he was concerned that if those groups were forced to let certain families adopt, they might get out of the adoption business entirely, shrinking the number of placement agencies in the state.

“I wanted to ensure that we have the greatest number of providers that are working on placing children,” Mr. Solano said. “I’m not coming out and saying that somebody in the L.G.B.T. community should not be eligible for getting a child placed with them. What I hope is that we have organizations out there that are ready and willing to assist them in doing these adoptions.”

But as a practical matter, lawyers who specialize in L.G.B.T.Q. family law say that in some areas, religiously affiliated adoption organizations are the only ones within a reasonable distance. Moreover, they say, such laws harm children who need homes by narrowing the pool of people who can adopt them, and they are discriminatory.

“There is a very serious hurt caused when you’re told, ‘No, we don’t serve your kind here,’ and I think that gets lost in the public discourse a lot,” said Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal. “There’s just this narrative that absolutely ignores, and almost dehumanizes, L.G.B.T. people. They’re missing from the equation here.”

There are a number of laws that can affect L.G.B.T.Q. families, from restrictions on surrogacy to custody, and the landscape is constantly shifting.

by Elizabeth A. Harris, New York Times – June 20, 2017

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10 Things You Shouldn’t Ask Lesbian Moms

You may think your question is innocent enough, but here’s why these inquiries are insensitive toward lesbian moms.

When my partner and I started telling our friends and families that we were going to have a baby, everyone was happy and excited for us. We were the only same-sex couple in our extended family and in our immediate circle of friends, as is often the case with gay people, so everyone had a lot of questions. Although people asked really insightful and thoughtful questions about our future family, we also heard some that left us scratching our heads. Here are the 10 questions, on behalf of all lesbian moms, I hope I never have to answer again, and the reasons why.

1. Which one of you is the mother?

We both are! Lesbain moms are both parents and we’re both women, so we’re both mothers; more than that, we’re both equally responsible for our child’s well-being, safety, and education.gay parents adoption, lesbian moms

In our case, my partner and I were together for four years before we had our son. We wanted to have a baby together. Together we dreamed about what our baby would look like, how we wanted to raise him, and what we hoped to teach him. We were both in the room the day he was born, we both signed his birth certificate, and we’re both committed to him for the rest of our lives.

2. Who’s the biological mother?

This is a slightly different question and, in a way, it’s correct and clinical. But don’t ask about a biological mother because she may not be in the family. The child may have been adopted, or one of the mothers may have carried the baby while the other contributed the egg.

The question is also off-limits because it can imply some quality of mothering: that the mother who gave birth is more of a mother. When our son was 6 months old, I went to a new physician for my annual exam. At the time, my partner was staying home with our son while I worked full-time. I did the night shift to give her a break, which meant I’d wake up with the baby every few hours. I told the doctor I’d been very tired and I felt like the exhaustion was affecting the quality of the time I was spending with my son. She asked me if I’d given birth to him and when I said no, she nodded knowingly. She implied that I just felt disengaged because I wasn’t bonding with my son as much as my partner. I mentally tore up her entire exam room, Godzilla-style. You may have the best intentions asking this question, but please understand why a nonbiological mother might feel a little bit defensive about answering it.

3. Where did you get the sperm?

Obviously, no lesbian couple is delusional enough to think that people assume they made a baby together. If there was a pregnancy in the family, most certainly sperm was involved and it didn’t come from one of the mothers. But even if you know the couple very well, this question is still a touchy subject. Maybe the sperm is from someone you also know or maybe it just feels too weird to name the sperm bank, but mostly, it’s nobody’s business.

4. Is the dad in your child’s life?

Well, simply put, there is no dad. A dad is a parent, someone who’s as worn out as us from pretending to be Team Umizoomi characters for hours on end (at the moment, my partner and I are under strict instructions to refer to each other as Bot and Geo). If a male friend used a sperm donor because he couldn’t have children biologically, we wouldn’t ask him or his wife if “the dad” were involved. We’d be clear on who the dad is. I think it’s the same for lesbian couples: We make a strict distinction between a parent and a donor.

5. What do you know about the sperm donor?

Unless the parents initiate telling you details about the donor, don’t ask this question. Nothing matters about the donor. You have to trust that the parents have checked his health history and whatever else is important to them. The answer to this question will never be, “Well, he’s of average intelligence, he said his biggest hobby is napping, and he donates sperm for pocket money.” Choosing a sperm donor was the most nerve-racking, weird, incongruous, depressing, exhilarating, and hope-filled decision we ever made. Sperm donors are tested for diseases and genetic conditions, and because he won’t be a parent, his hobbies, weight, and employment status don’t matter. We’ve chosen not to share details about the donor with anyone until our son knows those details himself. It’s his private information.

More Off-Limits Questions

6. Isn’t your child confused about what to call you?

This is actually a good question, but there’s a better way to ask it. How about, “What does he call each mom?” When our son was born, we couldn’t decide what we wanted to be called. We really didn’t know if it was feasible to wait until he was old enough to pick his own names for us. But one day he started calling me “Meme” and my partner “Mama.” These were his names for us, and he chose them with no input (believe me, I would’ve picked something hipper than Meme.) He’s never confused because the concept of having two moms hasn’t even entered his mind yet. He sees us as two different parents: one Mama and one Meme.

7. Doesn’t your child miss out on doing “dad” things, like playing ball and using tools?

We try to expose our son to as many things as we can, which includes activities that are stereotypically male, but our son sets the direction of his interests. We don’t make him play with the toys we loved as kids (and I don’t open the back door and tell him to “come back when the streetlights come on,” like my mother did). He asks to watch construction site videos on YouTube. He loves trains, so we’ve all learned the names of every train on the Island of Sodor — every single one.

By L.A. Pintea – Parents.com

Gay dads may be more involved in their children’s lives

Kentucky family court judge W. Mitchell Nance says he refuses to hold hearings on same-sex couples’ adoptions “as a matter of conscience.”

He’s not the only authority defying the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made marriage equality the law of the land. So-called “religious freedom” bills in Texas, South Dakota and Alabama could let private adoption agencies discriminate against same-sex couples. When pressed on the question, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently refused to tell lawmakers whether she believes the federal government should deny government funds to schools that discriminate against the children of LGBT parents – or LGBT students.more gay couples are embracing surrogacy

Maybe these officials, judges and lawmakers should check out the research on how gay parents differ from straight parents. So far, most of this scholarship has focused on the social, emotional and cognitive outcomes of children they raise. (Spoiler alert: These kids turn out fine.)

As a former teacher who now researches gay dads and their families while pursuing a doctorate in education, I am studying how the growing number of men married to other men are raising their children. So far, I’m finding few differences between them and their straight peers of similar socioeconomic status – especially regarding their children’s schooling.

A growing population

Since the Census Bureau estimates but does not count the number of households headed by two fathers, it’s hard to track them.

Plans were taking shape for the Census Bureau to begin counting same-sex-parented households in 2020. They seem unlikely to move forward due to recent budget cuts, the census director’s recent resignation and the political climate.

Nevertheless, The American Community Survey, the Census Bureau’s ongoing demographic survey of approximately three million households, already follows same-sex parenting. It estimates that in 2015, almost 40,000 two-dad households were raising children, compared to about 30,000 in 2010.

Parenting roles

How do parents in these families settle into specific roles? In short, just like heterosexual parents do.

Research suggests that affluent, white, two-father households adhere to traditional parenting roles. One is the primary breadwinner, while the other earns either less income or none at all and handles most of the caregiving and chores.

However, two-dad households can challenge the 1940s Norman Rockwell image of gendered parenting – just like heterosexual couples can.

Households with two fathers working full-time rely on daycare facilities, babysitters, housekeepers and nearby relatives for support. Some of these men even take on responsibilities based on skills and strengths, rather than who fits the socially and culturally constructed mold of being more “motherly” or “fatherly.”

Community and school engagement

And that’s where the parenting of gay dads may differ from a traditional heterosexual household, as my research and the work of other scholars suggests.

While interviewing and spending time with 20 two-dad families living in the Northeast for my current study, I have learned that they’re apt to step up. Many become involved as classroom parents, voluntarily assisting teachers, reading books or leading singalongs. Some take leadership roles by becoming active PTA members or organizing events that go beyond their children’s classes. In some cases, gay fathers become PTA presidents or serve on school boards.

Like all civically engaged parents, gay fathers support their local museums and libraries and enroll their kids in camps and extracurricular activities. They sometimes do additional volunteer work for social justice groups.

CBSNews.com by Andrew Leland – June 5, 2017

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