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.