Extra Credit: An Article Review

Published: 2021/11/11
Number of words: 624

Article: Mazrekaj, D., De Witte, K., & Cabus, S. (2020). School outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents: Evidence from administrative panel data. American Sociological Review85(5), 830–856.

The article under review is about the school outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents. Proponents of marriage equality have gained recent victories by being permitted to adopt children. This is after the legalization of same-sex marriages in every state in the USA. Moreover, those against same-sex marriage claimed that these institutions would provide harmful environments for children’s growth and undermine the strength of families. There is uncertainty on the consequences of equality of marriage on the development and nurturing of children. The article elaborates on these consequences from an educational perspective looking at longitudinal data drawn from the Netherlands. In analyzing the report, relations are drawn between the research findings and fundamental sociological paradigms: the functionalist perspective, conflict perspective, symbolic interactionism perspective, and feminist perspective. The functionalist perspective postulates that families fulfill certain functions that keep the society operating smoothly, such as regulating sexual behavior, giving status, emotional support, protection, care, socialization, and reproduction. According to Durkheim, organic solidarity serves as the adhesive holding together complex societies.

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The battle viewpoint sees the family as a vehicle to support male patriarchy. This view cannot be applied to same-sex marriages due to the apparent lack of male figures in female-female unions. The symbolic interactionist perspective states that families are social reproduction sites where family members negotiate and maintain meanings. The bonds made by activities done by families are thus the essence of the institution since they convey the sense. This is the most widely acknowledge view of family. The feminist perspective also views the family as a unit that promotes sexual inequality. Feminism opposes the predetermined roles assigned to women as mothers and primary caregivers. Unlike previous studies that involved small samples, this cross-sectional study lacked this specific bias. The study involved 2971 children raised by 185 gay couples and 2786 lesbian couples. Another advantage of the article under review was that it could distinguish children who lived with different sex relationships at some point from those raised by same-sex couples from birth. In the research, children nurtured by same-sex parents from birth bettered children raised by different-sex parents. This is an exciting observation that lends credence to the functional integrity of same-sex families under the structural-functionalism perspective. On the other hand, children who moved from different-sex couples to same-sex couples performed worse than those raised by different-sex couples from birth, probably due to the negative effect of the change.

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It is possible that the same-sex couples involved in the experiment were of higher economic status due to the legal challenges and procedures required before teams can be allowed to adopt the children legally. They are thus able to offer better conditions for children hence better outcomes.

This study essentially implies that same-sex families are just as functional as different-sex families when nurturing and taking care of children. This may be due to the intentional care given by same-sex parents. These families are just as capable of instilling culture and creating well-integrated members of society as different-sex families. Qualities deemed essential to families such as class and ethnicity are also conveyed by the families. Same-sex families, however, cannot conduct the biological role of reproduction of new members to replace dying ones. It also challenges the sociology of motherhood and the assertion that motherhood is based on a traditional concept. Overall, the article is highly informative and offers valuable insights into existing sociology paradigms on families.


Mazrekaj, D., De Witte, K., & Cabus, S. (2020). School outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents: Evidence from administrative panel data. American Sociological Review, 85(5), 830–856.

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