Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 485–502 | Cite as

Child Well-Being in Same-Sex Parent Families: Review of Research Prepared for American Sociological Association Amicus Brief

  • Wendy D. ManningEmail author
  • Marshal Neal Fettro
  • Esther Lamidi


Recent legal cases before the Supreme Court of the United States were challenging federal definitions of marriage created by the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s voter approved Proposition 8 which limited marriage to different-sex couples only. Social science literature regarding child well-being was being used within these cases, and the American Sociological Association sought to provide a concise evaluation of the literature through an amicus curiae brief. The authors were tasked in the assistance of this legal brief by reviewing literature regarding the well-being of children raised within same-sex parent families. This article includes our assessment of the literature, focusing on those studies, reviews and books published within the past decade. We conclude that there is a clear consensus in the social science literature indicating that American children living within same-sex parent households fare just, as well as those children residing within different-sex parent households over a wide array of well-being measures: academic performance, cognitive development, social development, psychological health, early sexual activity, and substance abuse. Our assessment of the literature is based on credible and methodologically sound studies that compare well-being outcomes of children residing within same-sex and different-sex parent families. Differences that exist in child well-being are largely due to socioeconomic circumstances and family stability. We discuss challenges and opportunities for new research on the well-being of children in same-sex parent families.


Gay Lesbian Review of literature Children Same-sex parents Legal brief 



This research was supported in part by the Center for Family and Demographic Research, Bowling Green State University, which has core funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R24HD050959). Additional support was provided by the American Sociological Assosication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy D. Manning
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marshal Neal Fettro
    • 1
  • Esther Lamidi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Center for Family and Demographic ResearchBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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