A new study published this month by a Binghamton University research team suggests that gay parents are being judged more harshly than straight parents.
"We noted that when parents displayed favorable parenting behaviors like comforting an upset child, gay and straight parents were judged in a similar, positive manner," said Massey. "However, if parents got frustrated -- raised their voice or slapped their child on the hand, the gay parents were judged more negatively than the straight parents."
Massey says this marked difference in the study groups' reactions is significant. While no parent is perfect, the researchers believe that holding gay parents to a different standard adds additional stress to the already stressful job of parenthood. [emphasis mone]
So couples are judged more harshly if they "shouldn't" be parents...
I see a parallel to the unwritten racism that still exists and shapes judgments of people, despite overt racial discrimination being illegal and largely unacceptable.
A study found that fictitious job applicants with "white"-sounding names like Emily and Greg were 50% more likely to be called for an interview than applicants with "African-American"-sounding names like Lakisha and Jamal. Among the Boston and Chicago employers tested, the racial gap was "uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size."
I looked at the study; it points out two types of antigay prejudice.
Traditional heterosexism: overt, "old-fashioned" antigay/antilesbian attitudes, that "homosexuality is immoral, unnatural, and perverted and that, therefore, certain rights and privileges can and should be denied to homosexuals." As expected, this was associated with judging same-sex parents more harshly.
Modern prejudice: "underground" prejudice shown through "the denial of ongoing discrimination, the belief that gay people and straight people have equal opportunities for advancement, and that gay people's complaints about discrimination are unwarranted." (This type of prejudice can apply to other categories like race and gender minorities.) People holding modern prejudice are likely to discriminate "in ambiguous situations, where negative attitudes can be attributed to a non-prejudiced cause". As expected, modern prejudice was associated specifically with judging the same-sex parents' negative, frustrated parenting more harshly.
The authors point out that LGB people seeking to become foster parents or adoptive parents can be victims of "underground" prejudice, receiving unfavorable subjective evaluations that are ostensibly unrelated to their sexual orientation.