The Kids Are Alright
A study conducted by the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health found that children growing up in Australian same-sex parent families score higher than average on several measures of child health. The study was the largest ever conducted of its kind.
315 parents completed the survey representing 500 children between the aged 0-17 years. Children in same-sex parent families had higher scores on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion compared to the general population.
What could be the reason for these results? The lead author of the study, Dr. Simon Crouch told ABC News in Australia that previous research suggested that same-sex parents don’t feel pressured into gender roles, but adapt more freely to the needs of the family. “[P]eople take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes, which is mum staying home and looking after the kids and dad going out to earn money,” Crouch said. “What this leads to is a more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and well-being.”
The perceived stigma of growing up in a same-sex parent family, however, is the cause of lower scores for mental health, family cohesion and physical activity. These stigmas ranged from other people’s gossip to exclusion of same-sex parents at social gatherings.
The Australian study is not the first to find the children of same-sex parents can fare just as well as other children. A (small) study conducted by the Williams Institute of UCLA’s School of Law found that lesbian parents could be just as capable as opposite-sex parents. The biggest hurdle against same-sex parents, other studies suggest, are typical parenting issues, such as financial security and the health of the child-parent relationship, instead of the parents' sexual orientation.