Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Parenting: An Effect of Gender

Stephanie N. Webb, Jill M. Chonody, Phillip S. Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The definition of family in Australia has been continuously changing over the past four decades. The 21st century has brought with it various images of family, with an increase of awareness to same-sex families; however, the acceptance of such family structures does not appear to be widespread and is often determined by sex. Substantive literature demonstrates differences between men and women in attitudes toward same-sex parenting, with theory suggesting that gender role norms may explain this. Despite large efforts to determine sex differences in attitudes toward same-sex parenting, little research, and even less in Australia, has been done to investigate whether there are differences in reasons behind negative attitudes toward same-sex parenting between men and women. To further this understanding, an Australian sample (N= 790) ranging in age from 18-78 completed a survey regrading attitudes toward same-sex parenting, in addition to relevant demographic information. Participants reported more positive attitudes about parenting by lesbians as compared to parenting by gay men. Reasons behind attitudes toward same-sex parenting also differed between males and females. Results suggested that the impact of socially prescribed gender norms may affect prejudice toward same-sex families. Despite an increase in tolerance for sexual minorities recently, policies that continue to discriminate against same-sex parenting rights demonstrates the importance of continuing to identify potential influences of same-sex family prejudice to reduce the potentially negative impacts associated with the prejudice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1583-1595
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


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