-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Bystanders judge
same-sex parents more harshly than straight parents, according to a
Researchers examined people's responses to the actions of gay
and straight parents, and found that gay parents were much more
likely to be viewed negatively in identical situations involving
poor parenting behaviors.
"We noted that when parents displayed favorable parenting behaviors like comforting an upset child, gay and straight parents were judged in a similar, positive manner," Sean Massey, of the interdisciplinary research group for the study of sexuality and gender at Binghamton University, in New York, said in a university news release.
"However, if parents got frustrated -- raised their voice or slapped their child on the hand -- the gay parents were judged more negatively than the straight parents," said Massey, a research associate professor.
The findings, published in the March issue of the
Journal of GLBT Family Studies, are important because
holding gay parents to a different standard adds additional stress
to the already stressful job of being parents, Massey said.
This type of attitude may also harm same-sex couples' chances of
adopting or becoming foster parents, Massey said in the news
"We feel that it is very important for social workers and adoption counselors to be made aware of the effects of modern anti-gay prejudices and they need to educate themselves and develop policies that help protect against these potential biases," Massey said.
He noted that hundreds of thousands of children in the United
States are waiting to find a foster or adopted family, but there is
a shortage of people willing to take them into their homes. Gay
parents can provide homes for these children, but this study
suggests they may be at a disadvantage.
"Raising awareness of these attitudes is a critical step in being able to utilize a potentially valuable pool of prospective adoptive and foster parents, but it is also vital to improving the day-to-day lives of our families and our children," Massey said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement
Sunday supporting same-sex marriage and restating its support for
the adoption of children by gay families.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Administration has more about
gay and lesbian adoptive parents.
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