Ten years ago, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and I rejoiced. This past week, the United States became the 21st country to do the same. I -- along with many human rights supporters, LGBTQ, straight and other -- was elated.
This Pride week, LGBTQ and heterosexuals rejoiced in this landmark move that will allow millions of people to legally join in marriage, as equals. Many of these couples will go on to have children and I couldn't be happier.
I admit it -- I have some all-time favourite patients and families. It's only natural I think. I am lucky to have become friends with many of the families I care for, and am fortunate to get to know some families very well. I know the parents, children, and many grandparents as well. Some bring the aunts, uncles and siblings to appointments regularly. I have met many same-sex couples and their children over the years and they are some of my favourite families to care for.
Let's celebrate fantastic parenting and teach our children about tolerance, respect and love. This comes in different shapes and sizes, orientations and genders.
Why is this? A few reasons, and they are backed by research:
1. Same-sex parents are more committed.
Evidence shows, and I find this to be true, that same-sex parents tend to be highly motivated, involved,and committed, as they "chose" to be parents and often did a lot of work to become parents. Same-sex parents rarely become pregnant by accident, compared with approximately 50 per cent of accidental pregnancies among heterosexual partners.
Children of gay parents may have advantages in open-mindedness, tolerance and equality, though of course many kids of heterosexual parents may have the same (I hope my kids have these characteristics!). For those that are wondering, research shows that kids of gay parents have few differences in mental health, social functioning and school achievement and some studies show these kids score higher on these measures. Kids with gay parents, by and large, grow up well-adjusted and successful, at the same rate as kids of heterosexual parents.
2. Gender roles are not important.
No more, "women in the kitchen" bull. Studies show that kids of same-sex couples learn duties around the house have nothing to do with gender, but are determined by skill alone.
3. Open-mindedness and tolerance are highly valued.
Most of us value open-mindedness, empathy and tolerance. Same-sex parents foster these more on average than traditional parents.
4. Nurturing kids.
A 2010 study demonstrated that kids of same-sex parents are more nurturing to those around them, especially children younger than themselves. With tolerance levels being so high in this cohort, nurturing seems part of the natural equation.
Other amazing things same-sex parents are known for: adopting and being foster parents to tons of needy kids. Same-sex parents are more likely to adopt and foster kids with special needs and children from minority groups, kids that suffer more prejudice and who are adopted at lower rates than other children.
5. Children raised by lesbian parents are academically superior (at least in a few studies).
What is the magic trick? We aren't sure yet, but a few studies have found that kids who are raised by either one or two lesbian parents do better academically than kids from other families. These same kids are also less likely to have behavioural problems.
Though the tides are changing when it comes to acceptance, there is still an upward battle for the LGBTQ community. The battle for acceptance, equality, and perseverance, teaches children about resilience and determination.
At the end of the day, we know that having great parents is the best a child can hope for. Cheers to all you amazing parents out there, single, straight, gay or anywhere in between.
Let's celebrate fantastic parenting, and teach our children about tolerance, respect and love. This comes in different shapes and sizes, orientations and genders. Happy Pride!
MORE ON HUFFPOST: