During yesterday’s Fox News Sunday showdown with Ted Olson, Tony Perkins declared that social science has conclusively proven that children do best in households headed by opposite-sex parents. The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact was quick to rate Perkins as a big fat liar.
The American Psychological Association produced a comprehensive review of studies going back three decades. The most relevant section focuses on research that compares the children of lesbian or gay parents. The studies looked at children in terms of their school performance, their relations with their peers, intelligence, self-esteem and a number of other variables. According to this review, “the belief that children of lesbian and gay parents suffer deficits in personal development has no empirical foundation.”
Perkins said that based on social science, we know “that children do best with a mom and a dad.” The research cited on the website of Perkins’ group, the Family Research Council, does not provide any support. It relies on books rather than peer-reviewed research, it quotes selectively or mischaracterizes from the work it cites, or at best, challenges the quality of the methodology behind findings that go against its position. In contrast, we found recent peer-reviewed social science research that finds that at the very least, children of lesbian parents do as well as other children.
We rate Perkins’ claim False.