In this series we’re debunking the 10 top myths about gay marriage. Hopefully by the end everyone will realise that gay marriage won’t lead to incest, homeless teachers, the apocalypse, traumatised adopted children or heterosexual couples ripping up their marriage certificate. The only thing that will happen is gay people will get married.
Myth: Marriage must remain a heterosexual institution to protect children
Busted: Critics are worried that redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples will weaken the idea of a mother and a father for every child. Opponents to same-sex marriage say same-sex parenting harms children as they miss out on either a mother or a father. Yet the first study into how children and parents in non-traditional families fare compared with heterosexual households, found that fears of children adopted by gay and lesbian couples doing less well in life are completely unfounded. The experiences of 130 gay, lesbian and heterosexual adoptive families in Britain, with children aged four to eight, were examined – focusing on the quality of family relationships, how parents cope and how children adjust. Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Cambridge centre and report co-author, said: “What I don’t like is when people make assumptions that a certain type of family, such as gay fathers, will be bad for children. The anxieties about the potentially negative effects for children of being placed with gay fathers seem to be, from our study, unfounded.”