study gay dads 01

A New Study Shows Gay Fathers Are Better Than Straight Dads in One Very Important Way

This post is also available in: French

Andrew Leland, a PhD candidate at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education, has spent a great deal of time studying the social, emotional and cognitive outcomes of children raised by two fathers and recently shared some of his findings about how gay dads differ from heterosexual ones.

The most recent data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey estimates that almost 40,000 U.S. households consist of two fathers raising children.

Leland interviewed fathers from 20 two-father families living in the Northeast and has done a lot of scholarly research on same-sex families. While his interviewees are hardly a representative sample of all two-father families, his interviews and other research still yield some interesting conclusions:

Father couples fall in (and out of) traditional work/home roles

Generally, Leland has observed that two-father households can fall into “traditional” roles where one dad is the primary income provider and the other handles domestic tasks or where the children go to a caretaker while the two men work full-time jobs.

However, many two-father families also divide household and work tasks based on each man’s individual strengths rather than just resigning each to all the “homemaker” and “breadwinner” roles, regardless of one’s talents.

Gay dads are more involved in school and community than straight parents

A 2008 study of 588 LGBT parents conducted by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that gay dads were more likely than heterosexual dads to be involved in school-based activities like being a classroom parent, teacher’s assistant, book reader, PTA member, event organizer or school board member.

Leland and other researchers conclude that this increased participation may come in part from the fathers’ desire to counter bias and assert same-sex visibility and inclusion in schools.

“Gay dads prefer schools and communities that are safe and inclusive,” Leland said. “They want [anti-gay] judges … and lawmakers bent on barring them from fatherhood to see that two-dad families are for the most part just like any other family.”

(Featured image by CREATISTA via iStock Photography)

  • beethovens10th


  • Commentator8

    We can show anti gays that we are “just like them” but it won’t matter. They will be anti gay whether you are flamboyant or not, it only matters that you are romantically and sexually attracted to men and their attitude becomes even more anti gay towards you

    We can’t change these bigots by experience all the time.

  • Tatami53

    I do not see the point or purpose of this article. What is the “one very important way”? You list three: 1) Father couples fall in (and out of) traditional work/home roles. 2) Gay dads are more involved in school and community than straight parents. 3) Gay dads prefer schools and communities that are safe and inclusive. And “Leland interviewed fathers from 20 two-father families living in the Northeast.” Wow. “20” two-father families. And based on this you are saying that “Gay Dads are Better than Straight Dads in One Very Important Way”?

    This type of article is pointless and divisive. We cannot say “gay dads” are better in any way. We can only judge parents on how well they bring up their children. Did Mr. Leland do a comparative study of 20 “straight” couples in the “Northeast”? Because if he didn’t, what is he comparing his interviews to?

    I was raised by heterosexual parents. They were involved in every aspect of my life. I am grateful every day for two people who loved me, raised me to respect others and to value my education. In this day and age, I think most couples “fall in and out of traditional work/home roles.” There isn’t any young couple I know that is doing it “old school.” Everyone shares in chores and child-raising. And I would say across the board that most fathers are much more active in their children’s lives. And… what parent wouldn’t want a school and community that is “safe”?

    My only concern for a child is if they are loved and cared for. As for the people who do that job, it is also my humble opinion that the child should have a mix of female/male guardians. That is not to say a child cannot be raised by gay parents. The bottom line is: if people are taking care of a child properly, then hats off to them. I do not think we can every say that “Gay dads” are better in any remote way. The proof is in the pudding: If the child grows up to be a responsible, productive, loving human being, then that is what is important, not whether one group is “better” than another.