Times are changing in Philadelphia; no longer are gays and lesbians staying in marriages because they are ashamed of coming out. That does not mean, however, that there still aren't gay men and lesbians who don't marry wives and husbands, respectively, only to realize later that they are gay. Oftentimes, these men and women have children with their former spouses, which means that they need to come up with parenting plans that allocates how much custodial time each parent has with a child.
While studies show that gay and lesbian parents are not a threat to their children and that, in some cases, the children of gay and lesbian parents are actually better off than the children of heterosexual parents, these parents may not always have favorable parenting plans.
Unfortunately, a recent study by a Drexel University psychology professor and a graduate student have found that even though their sexual orientations shouldn't be a problem when it comes to creating a parenting plan, it often is for gay and lesbian parents. Not only do many judges take into account a parent's sexual orientation during a custody hearing, but they may also determine that it is in a child's best interest not to be placed with a gay or lesbian parent.
This can be problematic, especially for parents in states that don't have marriage equality, such as Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, however, it also appears to be a problem in some states that do allow same-sex couples to marry. The graduate student says that it is important that the psychologists who advise courts on the best interests of children provide sufficient background on the law and the research that says children are not harmed when raised by gay and lesbian parents.
Source: The Guardian, “For gay and lesbian parents, equality is a myth when it comes to custody cases”, Steven W. Thrasher, April 21, 2014