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Adoption in Same-Sex Couples

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Also, research shows that gay and straight parents have similar attitudes toward parenting, Perrin says, adding that all parents want to do the best they can for their children.

The child's emotional and cognitive development -- their ability to perform well in school and in jobs -- is just like other children, she says. "It's indistinguishable." Children's play and friend choices and interests are all exactly consistent with their anatomic sex," she says.

In fact, children growing up in gay homes seem to be "more tolerant of diversity, which is certainly of value in our multicultural society," Perrin tells WebMD. They also seem to develop different coping mechanisms. "The children also seem to be less aggressive, more nurturing at a young age -- in preschool and early elementary school. They seem to be able to resolve conflicts in a less-aggressive way than other children."

But are the kids more likely to be gay? Both environment and genetics do seem to help determine gender identity, says Perrin. However, two long-term studies -- in which the children are now aged 30 -- show that gay families don't produce more gay kids. While the data aren't definitive, they "would suggest there is no difference," she tells WebMD.

Children of gay parents may be more likely to experiment, however. The long-term studies show that both boys and girls indicated they would be more willing to think about the possibility of a same-sex relationship, says Perrin.

Allowing co-parents to adopt is crucial, she tells WebMD. "There are legal issues plus the emotional security of knowing they can have continuity in their caretaking relationship."

"There's a lot at risk," Perrin says. "If the one legally recognized parent gets disabled or dies, the child is left out of luck. Legally and financially, it's a very big issue. If there is a separation between the parents, there are emotional issues. One parent -- someone that child has known for maybe 10 years -- suddenly has no rights and the child will never see them again. These are big issues."

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