The results of existing research comparing gay and lesbian parents to heterosexual parents and children of gay or lesbian parents to children of heterosexual parents are quite uniform: common stereotypes are not supported by the data.
Researchers estimate that the total number of children nationwide living with at least one gay parent ranges from six to 14 million. So far only one state, Florida, totally bans gay adoption. Nine states allow for openly gay and lesbian couples to adopt jointly: California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C. It is more common for one partner to adopt and then for the second to apply as the second parent, or co-parent. Second parent adoption creates a second legally recognized parent for the adoptive children. This is the only way for gay couples to both become legal parents of their children. Second parent adoptions have been granted by the courts in twenty-one states as well as D.C. These states include - Alabama, Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. In general, state agencies and courts now apply a "best interest of the child" standard to decide these cases. Under this approach, a persons sexual orientation cannot be the basis for ending or limiting parent-child relationships unless it is demonstrated that it causes harm to a child. Today social workers must make a difficult decision: should a gay couple be permitted to adopt? In fact, gay men and lesbians have always adopted, though in the past they usually hid their sexual orientation. Today, as they have become more visible in all aspects of society, they are determined to be considered seriously as potential adoptive parents.