A recent study has caused controversy and received strong rebuke after seeking to prove that same-sex couples and regular heterosexual couples are the same when it comes to raising children.
Marriage advocates have criticized the study and disagreed with the findings. Andrea Lafferty, President of the Traditional Values Coalition, has instead insisted, "Gender makes a very big difference."
Abbie Goldberg, a psychology professor at Clark University in Mass., conducted a study with 35 lesbians over the course of several years and concluded that their children were at the same risk as other kids of heterosexual parents of having a problematic childhood.
Gay parents "[tend]to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because they chose to be parents," Goldberg claimed to Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience.
However, her claims have sparked uproar from many Christians and marriage advocates. "It's an untrue statement; most parents choose to be parents," said Lafferty.
"Children want a mother and a father," Lafferty told The Christian Post. "Gender makes a very big difference."
National Organization for Marriage, an organization in support of traditional marriage, expressed similar sentiments on its website. "Two men might each be a good father, but neither can be a mom. The ideal for children is the love of their own mom and dad. No same-sex couple can provide that," reads the site.
Still, gay marriage advocates cite a major issue – adoption – as a reason same-sex couples should be allowed to marry; to allow them to be more "eligible" for adopting a child. A 2007 report by the Urban Institute found that 2 million gay people - about 50 percent of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians - hoped to eventually adopt.
"The goal is to increase the pool of available, interested and well-trained individuals to parent these children," David Brodzinsky, research director at the Adoption Institute, told The Huffington Post.
For Lafferty, however, redefining marriage to include homosexuals would not improve gay adoption, because they are two different issues altogether.
"Single people can adopt," she said simply.
Lafferty's stance is supported by the book, "Clinical and Practice Issues in Adoption," which states that 80 percent of child placements become legalized, and that figure jumps to 98 percent once paperwork is done - whether the parent is single or not.
Those statistics seemingly contradict gay activist claims that their chances of adopting are hurt by the traditional definition of marriage not including homosexuals, especially when there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption, according to LiveScience.
Another argument some same-sex couples have used is that children of homosexuals turn out no different than children raised by a man and a woman. Christian and marriage advocates rebuked this idea as well, citing data supporting the opposite stance.
A U.K. study has been highlighted, which researched the lives of 12-year-olds raised by lesbian mothers, and found that the boys were as masculine as other young boys - but also far more feminine; clearly showing having same-sex parents would have an effect on the child.
Goldberg acknowledged that having same-sex parents could affect a young girl's sexuality as well. "The girls are more likely to be open to same-sex relationships, to say, 'I can imagine it'," the researcher told GazetteNet.com in a 2009 interview.
Some say that this would mean children raised by homosexual parents are more likely to form homosexual relationships - something diametrically opposed to traditional Christian beliefs.
"Every text in Scripture treating sexual matters … presupposes a male-female prerequisite for all sexual activity," wrote Robert A. J. Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, in a contribution piece to The Christian Post.
Gagnon in that piece, also goes on to discuss the "root harm" homosexuality can do to couples, and society as a whole.
Lafferty agreed, citing the difficulties children face when they are adopted by same-sex parents.
"These kids have enough going on in their lives," said Lafferty. After being taken in by people living a harmful lifestyle, "what are the chances of this kid having a normal life?" asks Lafferty.