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Study: Gay Parents Judged More Harshly than Straight Parents

Gay parents are judged more harshly than straight parents for the same behavior, a new survey finds.

Researchers from Binghamton University's Interdisciplinary Research Group for the Study of Sexuality and Gender conducted a study of people's reactions to the parenting behaviors – both positive and negative – of gay and straight parents.

The findings, which were published in the March issue of the Journal of GLBT Family Studies, show that gay parents were much more likely to be viewed negatively when engaging in bad parenting behavior than straight parents.

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"We noted that when parents displayed favorable parenting behaviors like comforting an upset child, gay and straight parents were judged in a similar, positive manner," Research Associate Professor Sean Massey said in a press release. "However, if parents got frustrated – raised their voice or slapped their child on the hand, the gay parents were judged more negatively than the straight parents."

This attitude can have negative consequences on same-sex couples that seek to adopt or become foster parents. “Same-sex couples that are considering becoming parents, and who are scrutinized by adoption caseworkers, court-appointed special advocates, and family court judges among others, could become victims of [prejudice],” the researchers wrote in the findings.

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According to results from the 2008 general social survey, 19 percent of gay and bisexual men and 49 percent of lesbians and bisexual women are parents.

Do you find yourself judging same-sex parents differently than straight parents? Leave a comment and let us know.