Human Rights

New Study: Gay Parents Raise 'Healthier, Happier' Kids

A large study from the University of Melbourne found the children of gay couples are thriving.

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Social conservatives devoted to family values should be heartened to learn that the children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than kids raised by straight parents, despite the stigma and bigotry they face (from, say, social conservatives who vilify their families).
A new study from the University of Melbourne measured the health and well-being of children parented by same-sex couples, while weighing the damaging impact of stigmatization; from subtle forms of discrimination like school letters addressed to Mr. and Mrs. to bullying in school, according to lead researcher Dr. Simon Crouch. 
The survey of 315 parents found that in most categories of well-being, kids raised by same-sex parents function as well as their peers, while scoring slightly higher (6%) on measures like "general behavior, general health and family cohesion." 
Interestingly, the results held up even when researchers accounted for socioeconomic factors like income and parental education. 80% of the couples were female and 18% were male. 
The lead researcher offered a fascinating theory about why kids raised by same sex couples seem to do better:

Interestingly, there is growing evidence to suggest that the structure of same-sex parent families, particularly in relation to work and home duties, plays an important part in how well families get along. Same-sex parents, for instance, are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than heterosexual-parent families.

It is liberating for parents to take on roles that suit their skills rather than defaulting to gender stereotypes, where mum is the primary care giver and dad the primary breadwinner. Our research suggests that abandoning such gender stereotypes might be beneficial to child health.

What is not beneficial to child health is the stigma that two thirds of the families reported facing, which can lead to mental health problems. Crouch concludes, "Instead of criticising these loving family units perhaps it is time to see what we can learn from them – for the benefit of all our children."


Tana Ganeva is a reporter covering criminal justice, drug policy and homelessness. Follow her on Twitter @TanaGaneva.

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