The study reports "...the absence of child abuse in lesbian mother families is particularly noteworthy, because victimization of children is pervasive and its consequences can be devastating. To the extent that our findings are replicated by other researchers, these reports from adolescents with lesbian mothers have implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, social service agencies, and child protection experts who seek family models in which violence does not occur."
The study was made by Nanette Gartrell, M.D., Henny Bos, Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam), and Naomi Goldberg of The Williams Institute. The chief investigator, Dr. Gartrell, is a 2010 Williams Distinguished Scholar and an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco.
While I encourage you to read more in the findings, two points crystallize.
. Even though we know all forms of abuse are generally under-reported in private and government studies, the results here are compelling. They are striking because even if the number of children who reported abuse by lesbian parents in this 24-year study--zero--is somehow low--and I am not saying this study is incorrect--the actual total would almost certainly still be remarkably small.
. There will be follow-up, longitudinal studies. By the time marriage equality is law across our nation, there is every chance these findings will largely have been confirmed.
Now, I am not making the case that lesbian mothers are fundamentally more decent, less naturally given over to anger, or have inherently far greater self-control than, say, straight women do. Nor does the study suggest that. I am saying that perhaps...and this is the opinion of a gifted psychologist, a friend whose practice has for decades welcomed the challenges LGBT teens and families face...that lesbian moms' socialization teaches, among other lessons, that any lapse in self-restraint can give ex-husbands an excuse to challenge custody arrangements.
Whether or not you buy the results of this ground-breaking study--and, again, I hope you'll read the details before you decide--this ought to make it clear that anti-equality rhetoric as to lesbian moms is, at best, emotional, mostly religiously-inspired claptrap that has nothing whatever to do with the lives of lesbians and their children.