The Results Are In: Same-Sex Parents Are Still Good Parents

gay parents, children, gay marriage, same-sex parents

The world’s largest study of children raised in same-sex families shows they may have better health and family cohesion than those raised by heterosexual couples.

Opponents to gay marriage and gay rights have historically liked to bring up same-sex parenting as a point of contention, claiming that families with gay parents are unstable and provide bad environments.

The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, however, puts that tall tale to rest. In a study of 500 children in Australia, the largest study yet, self-esteem, emotional behavior, and time spent with parents were observed and compared between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples. In these cases, there was no statistical difference between the two groups.

“However,” says Vince Chadwick of The Age, “children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well a family gets along.”

Dr. Simon Crouch, the lead researcher on the study, hypothesized that this was because these families face discrimination and are therefore more open to talking through those tough times. ”Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying,” he said.

This study brought former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd into the open as a supporter of gay marriage. His concern before had been about the well-being of the children of same-sex couples, but with this study, his concerns have been laid to rest. Although the Australian Senate did not pass a marriage equality law last year, this fall’s general election will likely take up the issue again and be met with approval.

Photo: Mone/AP

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About Abigail Ortlieb

Abigail is a graduate student at Emerson College in Boston. While she pursues her MA in electronic publishing and writing, she works as a freelance writer and editor and writes for the browser-based game, Alteil.


  1. I didn’t see a link to the underlying research. While it is possible that the researchers chose to define family cohesion in such a manner that divorce rates play no factor in that determination, it would be hard to argue that self esteem, emotional behavior, and time spent with parents (the three factors called out in the article) are not impacted by divorce.

    As long as kids have loving stable homes, that is what most important. I would just like to hope that Australia has reliable, non agenda driven information before the government change policy. On the surface, this appears to not be consistent with previously published information.

  2. I wonder how the researcher came to the conclusion that “health and family cohesion” were greater in gay and lesbian couples, when other studies have found they divorce at 50% and 167% greater rates than heterosexual couples.

    If this is true great but I’m a bit of a skeptic based on the below research.

  3. If Rudd buys these numbers based on 500 couples and other skwed studies across the globe, he is foolish. Most participants in these studies are from higher socio-economic backgrounds. Children with more familiy protective factors usually fair well in self-esteem and family involvement scores. These studies do not factor in the middle to lower socio-economic individuals.

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