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Study: Children raised by same-sex couples happier, healthier

Sunday, July 6, 2014
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A new study conducted by the University of Melbourne in Australia finds that children of same-sex parents enjoy better levels of health and wellbeing than their peers from traditional family units.

Described as the largest study of its kind in the world, researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children about their physical health and social wellbeing, and found that in general, children of same-sex partnerships do just about the same as children of the general population on most health categories like “emotional behavior and physical functioning.”

But, according to lead researcher Dr. Simon Crouch, MPH, children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6 percent higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion, “even when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income.”

Couch said same-sex couples faced less pressure to fulfill traditional gender roles, which led to 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.”

Crouch says the study findings could have implications for those who argued against marriage equality for the sake of children.

“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.”

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