As same-sex marriage becomes a growing possibility for the United States with the U.S. Supreme Court decision looming, many are beginning to question same-sex parenting. While some may be claiming same-sex parenting negatively impacts child development, evidence is growing in the contrary. In fact, one study conducted by the University of Melbourne last year found that children of same-sex couples may actually have better general behavior and health, most likely due to the equitable division of roles among parents. A recent study conducted by the University of Colorado adds to claims in favor of same-sex parenting, finding that children of same-sex couples have “no difference” on range of social and behavioral outcomes.

Publishing their findings in Social Science Research, Jimi Adams and colleagues found more social science based evidence in favor of gay marriage. After examining thousands of peer-reviewed articles discussing same-sex parenting, and looking at the citations of research these articles were using, Adams found a trend. Many of these articles were using the same research that supported the conclusion of there being no difference in child development.

Adams then looked to find if a scientific consensus was achieved by examining citation networks to discover content shifts. He found a trend developing in favor of same-sex parenting around 1990 which was solidified in 2000, as researchers had reached an “overwhelming” consensus on the issue.

Both Adams and his co-author, Ryan Light of the Department of Sociology at the University of Oregon, believe that their approach could provide courts with objective, scientific evidence of a trend in favor of same-sex parenting. This can ultimately help to answer legal questioning in the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

“As same-sex marriage has been debated in courts across the country, there has been the lingering question about the effects of same-sex parenting on children,” said Adams in a recent press release. “I want to analyze the research from the past decades to determine if there was consensus among researchers about that effect. I found overwhelming evidence that scientists agree that there is not a negative impact to children of same-sex couples.”

By establishing trends toward positive attitudes about same-sex parenting, Adams and his team are bringing us one step closer to legalizing gay marriage nationally.

Source: Adams J, Light R. Scientific Consensus, the Law, and Same Sex Parenting Outcomes. Social Science Research. 2015.

Crouch S, Waters E, Power J, et al. Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health. 2014.