New evidence refutes a major argument of gay-marriage and adoption opponents that same-sex couples cannot properly raise children.
The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provided evidence that gay fathers who adopt through surrogacy develop the same brain patterns of both new mothers and new fathers.
In the study, according to the Huffington Post, 89 new mothers and fathers were videotaped spending time with their children at home. Afterwards the parents’ brain activity was monitored while the parents watched the videos in an MRI tube, and again while watching videos that their kids were not in.
According to ThinkProgress, new mothers, who were the primary caregivers, developed heightened emotional sensitivity while the fathers displayed greater cognitive brain activity. Gay fathers were shown to exhibit both heightened emotional and cognitive brain activity.
Neuropsychologist Ruth Feldman helped with the study.
“Fathers’ brains are very plastic,” Feldman said, according to Huffington Post. “When there are two fathers, their brains must recruit both networks, the emotional and cognitive, for optimal parenting.”
Other studies have been done before which provide evidence that children raised by same-sex couples fair just as well as children raised by opposite-sex couples. This study, however, is different in that it provides evidence that gay parents actually have the capability to give their children the same care as their counterparts.
“Fathers should engage in child care activity because this is their pathway to brain changes and attachment,” Feldman said, according to Bloomberg. “When mothers are around, fathers’ amygdala can rest and mothers do the worrying. When mothers are not around, fathers’ brains need to assume this function.”
The study could provide a breakthrough in the same-sex marriage debate.