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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 28
Landmark study on same-sex parenting released
Section One
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Landmark study on same-sex parenting released

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

A landmark new study finds that children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than children raised by heterosexual parents - a finding that major media has largely ignored.

On July 4, researchers at the University of Melbourne unveiled the results of a study that looked at how children of same-sex and heterosexual couples fare on a variety of health and wellness measures. The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS) is the largest study of its kind to date. Controlling for factors like socioeconomic status and parental education, researchers examined 500 children of 315 same-sex parents.

An estimated 80 percent of the children were raised by female parents, with 18 percent raised by male parents.

The Guardian reports, 'The children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6% higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion. They were equivalent to those from the general population on measures of temperament and mood, behavior, mental health and self-esteem.'

However, researchers identified one hurdle often met by children of same-sex parents: anti-LGBT stigma, which about two-thirds of the children reported experiencing.



Highlights include:

o Fifteen percent of children were born overseas and 11% speak a language other than English at home.

o The ACHES collected data on 500 children aged 0-17 years from 315 index parents.

o On measures of general health and family cohesion children ages 5-17 years with same-sex parents showed a significantly better score when compared to Australian children from all backgrounds and family contexts. For all other health measures there were no statistically significant differences.

o From the children of same-sex parents, a range of sexual orientations were described including homosexual, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer.

o Ninety-three percent of parents are currently in a relationship.



The children in the study came from all states and territories in Australia, with the exception of the Northern territory.

Not surprisingly, the study has gained little attention from mainstream media. According to an Equality Matters analysis of print, broadcast, and cable news coverage, the study has received one mention on MSNBC and been the subject of one blog posts each from The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Previous, smaller studies have found that children of same-sex parents fare just as well as those raised by opposite-sex parents, but the claim that same-sex parenting is damaging for children has nonetheless figured prominently in recent litigation over marriage equality. Bigots in Utah, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida have avowed that the supposed superiority of heterosexual parents excuses their states' ban on Gay marriage.

When the Reagan-appointed U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman smacked down anti-same-sex parenting arguments as 'entirely unbelievable' and 'not worthy of serious consideration' while striking down Michigan's marriage equality ban, the LGBTQ community celebrated. But & at the end of the day, we've had little proof of what we know to be true: LGBTQ people make great parents. This study seems to shore up the argument.

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