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Same-sex parenting


A meta-study commissioned by a Liberal federal
government and then suppressed by the following
(Conservative) federal government in Canada

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About the study:

The province of Ontario, Canada became the first jurisdiction in North America to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM). This was ordered by a decree of the Ontario Court of Appeals in mid-2003. The federal Liberal party was in control of Parliament at the time. Concerned about the possibility of adverse effects by SSM on Canadian society, in 2003 the government commissioned a massive meta-study by a research team headed by Dr. Paul Hastings. It is 76 pages long and is titled: "Children's Development of Social Competence Across Family Types." 1 Data was extracted from over 100 existing research papers that had studied the quality of parenting among the various types of families found in North America.

Two years later, during 2005-JUL, in spite of a massive effort by religious and social conservatives to halt the spread of SSMs, federal bill C-35 was signed into law. This made marriage available to loving, committed same-sex couples across the entire country with the exception of Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island. The government of that province claimed that they did not know how to handle the marriage of same-sex couples. The imminent filing of a lawsuit by a lesbian who wanted to be married in the province motivated them sufficiently to find a way to bring marriage equality to the province. Marriage by same-sex couples then became available across all of Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories. This was at a time when the only state in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriage was Massachusetts.

Marriage equality raised major concerns among political conservatives and within conservative Christian, Jewish, Sikh and other religious communities in Canada about the potential damage that SSMs might make to the institution of marriage and to the culture itself. Many conservatives feel that it is self-evident that children need both a mother and a father in order to be properly socialized.

At the next federal election, the Conservative party gained control of parliament. They censored the report that the earlier Liberal government had commissioned. Some feel that the reason for the suppression was that the report contradicted the beliefs and expectations of the Conservative Party and of other social and religious conservatives in Canada.

In late 2006, the Conservative government attempted to reopen debate on SSM in the hopes of restoring the original one-man, one-woman definition of marriage, and restricting same-sex couples to some form of civil union. When this effort was defeated, religious and social conservatives urged the federal government to conduct a study into the effects of SSM on society. They were apparently unaware that the study had already been commissioned, written, and then buried. 2

When the study was resurrected by its lead author under Canada's Freedom of Information laws, it revealed that same-sex parents are equal or superior to opposite-sex parents in the raising of their children.

Religious and social conservatives have not asked the government to fund additional studies since this study surfaced.

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The study concluded:

"The strongest conclusion that can be drawn from the empirical literature is that the vast majority of studies show that children living with two mothers and children living with a mother and father have the same levels of social competence. A few studies suggest that children with two lesbian mothers may have marginally better social competence than children in traditional nuclear families, even fewer studies show the opposite, and most studies fail to find any differences. The very limited body of research on children with two gay fathers supports this same conclusion." 2


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Topics covered in this section:

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A related section in this web site:

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References used:

  1. "Children's Development of Social Competence Across Family Types", Department of Justice, Canada, 2006-JUL at:

  2. Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell, "Harper shoves family study into the closet. Cons[ervatives] & Christian extremists don't want you to know," Equal Marriage, 2007-MAY-09, at:

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Copyright 2008 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JUN-19
Latest update: 2014-APR-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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