The current legal standing of homosexual parents seeking custody of their children remains precarious. Courts determine custody and visitation on the basis of the "best interests of the child." Current judicial rulings reflect a bias against awarding custody or granting visitation rights to homosexual parents, favoring the heterosexual parent or heterosexual relative of the child(ren). Should the sexual orientation of the parent play a part in the determination of custody or visitation in order to protect the child? This meta-analysis summarizes the available quantitative literature comparing heterosexual and homosexual parents as well as the children of those parents on a variety of measures. Data were generated by the child or by an adult (parent or teacher). The analysis included examination of parenting practices, emotional well-being of the child as well as the sexual orientation of the child. Results demonstrate no differences on any measures between the heterosexual and homosexual parents or children of those parents. Data fail to support the continuation of a bias against homosexual parents by the courts. The paper includes two tables of data: one which compares children's classroom behaviors, and a second which compares children on the basis of IQ and other measures of intelligence; and a list of court cases. Contains 70 references. (Author/RS)
Paper presented at the International Network of Personal Relationships Conference (Iowa City, IA, May 1994).