Cliff notes: kids actually do need moms and dads.

The consensus among sociologists is nearly unanimous- children raised in the low-conflict household of their married mother and father fare best. Experts know this, because after decades of research on marriage and family, we have a mountain of data to support it. Indeed, whenever social scientists are not studying same-sex parenting, they agree on three things:

Gender matters. Men and women parent in complementary ways, bringing distinct benefits to their children. When one gender is missing, particularly fathers, we see almost predictable patterns arising in children, specifically early sexual behavior among girls and problems with the law for boys.

Biology matters. We know from decades of research on the impact of divorce and co-habitation, that biological parents tend to be the safest, most invested and most permanent in a child’s life. In contrast, non-biological caregivers tend to be more transitory, invest less time/resources, and be more dangerous to children living under their care.

It is widely acknowledged within the psychological community that children suffer trauma, and thus negative effects, when they lose one or both parents to divorce, abandonment (even if subsequently adopted), death, or third-party reproduction.

Given that every same-sex parented home will (by definition) be missing one gender’s influence, missing at least one biological parent, and thus the trauma that accompanies that loss, the claim of “no difference” merits serious skepticism.

For one thing, we don’t disparage members of the LGBT community or the kids they are raising. This is not a commentary on whether or not gay and lesbians are capable parents. One’s sexual attractions do not determine their capacity for child-rearing. A lesbian can be an exceptional mother, she just cannot be a father. A gay man can be a fantastic father; however he cannot, no matter how nurturing, be a mother. Children require and desire both.