By ANGELINE ACAIN
President Bush recently did a disservice to gay and lesbian parents. Said Bush: "Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."
Actually, many studies show that children do just as well with gay and lesbian parents.
One recent study was of 44 adolescents raised by female same-sex parents and conducted by psychologists at the University of Virginia and the University of Arizona. This study concluded that the 44 girls and boys from lesbian-parent households were no more confused or moody than a group of adolescents from similar but heterosexual parent households.
In 2001, the American Sociological Review published "[How] Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" by Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz of the University of Southern California. Stacey and Biblarz re-examined the findings of 21 studies that compared children of lesbian or gay parents with children of straight parents. They concluded that while there were no significant differences between gay or straight parents or their children, the differences some studies did report could be regarded as advantages.
For example, one of these studies found lesbian mothers less concerned about their children conforming to gender roles and stereotypes. Another study reported daughters of lesbians aspiring to a wider range of careers, including astronaut and engineer.
I'm a gay parent of an 8-year-old, and I've also chosen to make gay parents my professional life as well by publishing GayParent magazine since 1998. I know -- both personally and professionally -- that parents, gay or straight, share the same basic interests in child rearing.
Although gay and lesbian parents are now an integral part of contemporary American culture, discrimination still exists, as evidenced by Bush's remark.
The ideal family situation need not depend on the presence of parents who are a legally married male and female. Rather, within all family structures, the focus should be on providing children with a loving, nurturing environment.
X Angeline Acain is publisher of Gay Parent magazine and New York Gay Parent Guide. This was written for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.