In June , the U. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that every American has the constitutional right to marry the person they love. When reporting on marriage for same-sex couples, preferred terminology includes marriage equality and marriage for same-sex couples. Note, the terms "gay marriage" and "same-sex marriage" should be avoided, as they can suggest marriage for same-sex couples is somehow different than other marriages.
Same Sex Parents and Their Children
FactCheck: are children 'better off' with a mother and father than with same-sex parents?
Using data from the American Community Survey, this report provides estimates of the number of same-sex parents in the U. In , an estimated , United States households were headed by a same-sex couple 1. Between and , 2 Based on household counts, there were an estimated , same-sex couples raising children in , including 28, male same-sex couples and 86, female same-sex couples not shown. Married male same-sex couples with children were the most likely of all couples with children to be raising adopted and foster children Table 2. Percentages are averaged across the weighted , , and American Community Survey data and counts may not sum to totals due to rounding. Percentages are averaged across the , , and weighted American Community Survey data.
Growing up with gay parents: What is the big deal?*
A very large body of social science research going back decades has documented the vital and unique role of mothers and of fathers in childhood development. These studies have also demonstrated the negative psychological, educational, and social effects on children who have been deprived of growing up in a home with both biological parents who are married to each other. A very brief summary of findings on the mothers' unique and crucial role in childhood development would include these points:. Clinical experience would suggest that motherlessness, while not studied as extensively as fatherlessness, causes even greater damage to a child, because the role of the mother is so crucial in establishing a child's ability to trust and to feel safe in relationships. The extensive research on the serious psychological, academic, and social problems in youth raised in fatherless families demonstrates the importance of the presence of the father in the home for healthy childhood development.
Studies estimate that between 1 and 9 million children in the United States have at least one parent who is lesbian or gay. There are approximately , same-sex partner households, according to the Census, and there are children living in approximately 27 percent of those households. It is difficult to obtain an accurate count of same-sex parent families because many lesbians and gay men are not open about their sexual orientation due to fears of discrimination, such as loss of employment, loss of child custody, and antigay violence. Some same-sex couples may decide to have a child within their relationship, while others may bring children from previous heterosexual or same-sex unions. The rise in same-sex parenting is partially due to the increase in options available for same-sex couples to become parents.