The attitudes of Australian heterosexuals toward same-sex parents

Charmaine Morse, Suzanne McLaren, Angus McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This is the first study of attitudes of Australian heterosexuals toward heterosexual, gay male, and lesbian parents and the children raised by these parents. A sample of Australian heterosexual males and females read one of six vignettes describing a family situation. Participants assessed the parents' emotional stability, responsibility, and competence; how loving, sensitive, and nurturing they were; the amount of quality time they spent with their child; and their ability to be good role models. Results indicated participants held negative attitudes toward gay male and lesbian same-sex parents. Participants believed that children raised by same-sex parents are more likely to experience confusion over their sexual orientation and gender identity, more likely to be homosexual, and more likely to experience strained peer relationships as well as stigma and teasing than children raised by heterosexual parents. Level of sexual prejudice was the key predictor of attitudes toward same-sex parents and the expected outcomes for their children. Being male, older, and having fewer children were additional predictors of attitudes towards same-sex parents, whereas being older and less religious was associated with expected negative outcomes for the children. Substantial attitudinal shifts are required before gay male and lesbian parents and their children are fully accepted into Australian communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-455
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'The attitudes of Australian heterosexuals toward same-sex parents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this