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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Same-sex couples raise healthier and happier kids

Described as the largest study of its kind ever performed, new Australian research has found that same-sex parents do better statistically in raising children with better physical health and mental wellbeing.
baby
Image:Dubova]/Shutterstock
As part of the study, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children aged 0 to 17 from all over Australia, asking them about their physical health and social wellbeing, which also included family cohesion.
The study, published as the Australian Study of Child Health In Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) Interim Report, concluded that children from ages five to 17 raised by same-sex parents scored an average of 6 percent higher than the general population on both counts.
According to the team, led by public health doctor at the University of Melbourne School of Population Health, Simon Crouch, the measure of family cohesiveness looks at how well families get along, which has an effect on the children’s physical and mental health.
They also said another of the reasons for the increase in health and happiness in families run by same-sex couples was that the parents felt less pressure to fulfil traditional gender roles. "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 told ABC News.
"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," Crouch added. "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."
Roslyn Phillips, a research officer for Family Voice Australia - an organisation that promotes Christian family values - criticised the study for being biassed towards what the same-sex parents were saying about the health and happiness of their children. "You've got to look beyond studies like these to what happens when the child reaches adulthood, and that's the only time with independent assessment you can really say what's gone on with the parenting and then ask them how they're going in all sorts of ways, I think that would be a more relevant study,” she told ABC News.
Crouch and his team are currently undertaking the second part of the research project to survey children of same-sex couples between the ages of 10 and 18 who can report on their own health and mental wellbeing, independent of their parents’ impressions.
Source: ABC News