The Irish debate over same-sex marriage, and the related issue of same-sex surrogacy, have raised the visibility of studies on the effects of same-sex parents on developing children. Most studies prove ‘no differences in children’ raised by gay or heterosexual couples. Instead, the quality of parenting is noted as the ‘single most important thing for a child’.

surrogate_mothersClinical psychologist Dr Maureen Gaffney has said she was so troubled by how some on the No side in the same-sex marriage referendum campaign were conducting themselves that she had decided to review the published data. On the implication “direct and indirect that children would be the sufferers if they were to come next, nigh or near gay parents”, she looked at studies from as far back as 1971 and found no differences in children raised by gay or heterosexual couples.

“I can say without hesitation that there is not one study in literature that shows any difference in the emotional, education and social development of children who are reared by gay and lesbian couples. The things that matter to children are emotional security, someone at your back. Gender has no bearing on how well or how badly you do that,” Gaffney said in an interview with the Irish Times.

The totality of available studies show that parenting was a function of quality, not of color, not of income, not of race, not of gender, and not of sexual orientation. “You will not find anywhere a piece of literature that proves or establishes, or even raises a question mark, about some of the assertions that have been made by the No campaign in this referendum,” the Irish Times said.