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We especially thank Clinton Anderson, Director, Office on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, who worked diligently with committee members and staff to move this manuscript toward publication. Harper, Ph D, MPH Office on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Robin A. I also offer warm thanks to Natalie Eldridge, Patricia Falk, Mary Clare, Larry Kurdek, April Martin, Vera Paster, and Roy Scrivner for their helpful comments on the first version of this manuscript and to the anonymous reviewers for their insightful help in updating the current version. Patterson, Ph D Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Summary of Research Findings By Charlotte J.Patterson, Ph D Like families headed by heterosexual parents, lesbian and gay parents and their children are a diverse group (Arnup, 1995; Barrett & Tasker, 2001; Martin, 1998; Morris, Balsam, & Rothblum, 2002).In what follows, efforts will be made to highlight the extent to which the research literature has responded to such criticisms.One criticism of this body of research has been that the research lacks external validity because samples studied to date may not be representative of the larger population of lesbian and gay parents (Belcastro et al., 1993).We hope the publication will be useful to clinicians, researchers, students, lawyers, and parents involved in legal and policy issues related to lesbian and gay parenting.

The decision to narrow the focus was made because the need for the publication seemed to be primarily in the forensic context.

Unlike heterosexual parents and their children, however, lesbian and gay parents and their children are often subject to prejudice because of their sexual orientation that can turn judges, legislators, professionals, and the public against them, sometimes resulting in negative outcomes, such as loss of physical custody, restrictions on visitation, and prohibitions against adoption (ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, 2002; Appell, 2003; Patterson, Fulcher, & Wainright, 2002).

Negative attitudes about lesbian and gay parenting may be held in the population at large (King & Black, 1999; Mc Leod, Crawford, & Zechmeister, 1999) as well as by psychologists (Crawford, Mc Leod, Zamboni, & Jordan, 1999).

Research on lesbian and gay adults began with Evelyn Hooker's landmark study (1957), resulted in the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 (Gonsiorek, 1991), and continues today (e.g., Cochran, 2001).

Case reports on children of lesbian and gay parents began to appear in the psychiatric literature in the early 1970s (e.g., Osman, 1972; Weeks, Derdeyn, & Langman, 1975) and have continued to appear (e.g., Agbayewa, 1984).

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