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5
Gay Parenting Myths

Gay marriage and parenting are still socially contentious issues.

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Opponents of gay marriage and adoption often frame their criticisms in terms of what's best for children. Allowing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples to raise boys and girls, they may attest, endangers healthy child development in myriad ways. In 1998, for instance, the Alabama Supreme Court transferred child custody from a lesbian mother to the child's heterosexual father, on the grounds that her sexual orientation morally jeopardized her ability to parent [source: Doe v. Pryor]. In that way, negative views on same-sex parenting tend to liken a couple's sexual orientation to a bacterial contagion that's passed along from adults to kids, thus altering the younger generation's self-perceptions of gender and setting them up for social and psychological problems along the way.

Certainly, since that 1998 decision, homosexuality has become increasingly accepted, and courts are less likely to rule against plaintiffs solely on the basis of their sexual orientations [source: Stacey and Biblarz]. Nonetheless, social resistance to gay parenting still simmers, often hinging on bygone stereotypes. In August 2010, for instance, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council that promotes heterosexual marriage, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that "no evidence" existed that children raised by gay parents fare as well as those raised by straight ones [source: Media Matters]. But when it comes to the following five myths about same-sex parents and their families, scientific evidence actually has told a different story. To kick things off, let's go ahead and fact-check Perkins' televised claims.

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