Psych study finds custody bias against gay, lesbian, parents

Society has been moving swiftly toward general acceptance of same-sex relationships as a matter of reality. And in the past few years, state laws have begun to be modified to reflect that. At last count 17 states and the nation's capitol city have made gay marriage legal. Texas has yet to turn the corner but, as was noted in this blog recently, there are some who believe it is just a matter of time.

Despite what some call a clear sea-change on the issue of same-sex marriage, there is one area of family law in which a bias against same-sex orientation is reported to be evident. It is the area of child custody

According to psychology researchers at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, court fights over child custody in which one parent is heterosexual and the other is gay or lesbian have a way of being decided in favor of the heterosexual adult.

Not only do many same-sex parents find themselves having to mount costly battles to defend their child custody rights, but many may find their visitation rights restricted because sexual orientation remains a deciding factor in the law and the court systems.

The researchers say this is a problem because the decisions fail to consider the abundant social science research showing that parents of same-sex orientation are just as effective in their parenting roles as their heterosexual exes. The psychologists suggest the anti-gay bias threatens to undermine the viability of healthy parent-child relationships to the detriment of children's best interest.

Source: Drexel Now, "In Child Custody Disputes, LGBT Parents Face Bias in the Courts, New Drexel Review Finds," April 14, 2014

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