University of Melbourne researchers have found that children of same-sex parents enjoy better levels of health and well-being than their peers from traditional family units, in what is described as the largest study of its type in the world.
Australian researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children about their physical health and social well-being.
Children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6 per cent higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion, said lead researcher Doctor Simon Crouch.
“That’s really a measure that looks at how well families get along, and it seems that same-sex-parent families and the children in them are getting along well, and this has positive impacts on child health,” Dr Crouch said.
ABC Australia reports:
Dr Crouch said same-sex couples faced less pressure to fulfil traditional gender roles, which led to a more harmonious households.
“Previous research has suggested that parenting roles and work roles, and home roles within same-sex parenting families are more equitably distributed when compared to heterosexual families,” he said.
“So what this means is that people 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.
“What this leads to is a more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and wellbeing.”
Rodney Chiang-Cruise, a parent raising three boys with his same-sex partner, agreed with the study’s findings.
“The traditional nurturing role is shared – it’s not one parent over another; the traditional breadwinning role is shared,” Mr Chiang-Cruise said.
“My personal view is that I think it teaches the child that everyone contributes in an equal way and you all have to contribute to the family.”
Dr Crouch said the study findings had implications for those who argued against marriage equality for the sake of children.
“Quite often, people talk about marriage equality in the context of family and that marriage is necessary to raise children in the right environment, and that you need a mother and a father to be able to do that, and therefore marriage should be restricted to male and female couples,” Dr Crouch said.
“I think what the study suggests in that context is that actually children can be brought up in many different family contexts, and it shouldn’t be a barrier to marriage equality.”