Gay and lesbian parents drew an unwelcome attack earlier this month from presidential hopeful Rick Santorum as he campaigned in New Hampshire.

Gay parents, Rick Santorum said, are “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.You may rationalize that that isn’t true, but in your own life and in your own heart, you know it’s true,” according to the Los Angeles Times. (Nikki Kahn/THE WASHINGTON POST)

He also cited “research” to suggest that children of lesbian parents were worse off than children with a father in prison.

Given that statement, maybe it’s a good time to cite some other research:

A new study has found that teens raised by lesbian parents report the same quality of life as teens raised by heterosexual parents.

The study was published in this month’s Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

Quality of Life of Adolescents Raised From Birth by Lesbian Mothers,” is part of a long-term study of American lesbian families called the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which is supported by The Williams Institute at UCLA Law, a research center specializing in sexual orientation law and public policy.

Researchers followed 78 17 year olds with lesbian mothers who were matched on gender, age, parental education and ethnic background with adolescents in heterosexual-parent families that were drawn from a representative statewide sample.

The adolescents in both groups gave a numerical score (on a scale of zero to 10) to each of a series of statements such as, “I feel I’m getting along with my parents/guardians,” “I look forward to the future’’ and “I feel good about myself.” The adolescents with lesbian mothers responded generally in the same way as the teenagers with heterosexual parents.

“Our new data demonstrate that 17-year-olds raised from birth by lesbian mothers are as happy as their peers,” the study’s co-author, Loes van Gelderen, wrote.

Another interesting finding:

Among teens with lesbian mothers, researchers found no difference in the quality-of-life assessment between those who had been conceived by known or unknown donors, those who reported that they had experienced discrimination or whether their mothers were still together or had separated.

Nanette Gartrell, who initiated the long-term study, suggested the results might be “a reflection of good parenting by mothers who prepared their daughters and sons for the prospect of adversity.”

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