Color me not surprised by the results of this study.
Children of same-sex parents are doing as well or better than the rest of the population on several key health indicators, according to initial findings of the world’s largest study of such children.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families collected data on 500 children nationally, up to the age of 17. Of the 315 gay, lesbian and bisexual parents who completed the globally recognised child health questionnaire, 80 per cent were women.
An interim report found there was no statistical difference between children of same-sex couples and the rest of the population on indicators including self-esteem, emotional behaviour and the amount of time spent with parents.
However, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average for overall health and family cohesion, measuring how well a family gets along.
Researchers said the difference between the two groups on these measures was so strong it would only occur by chance less than one in 10,000 times.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd said the well-being of children had been ”the sole remaining obstacle” to his supporting same-sex marriage. He announced his change of heart last month.
Federal parliament was to vote this week on Greens MP Adam Bandt’s private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage. However, a vote is now unlikely before the election.
Mr Bandt said given his bill had been through a parliamentary inquiry, and debated four separate times, a vote before the election was important so people knew their MPs’ positions. The Greens released their first election television ad about same-sex marriage on Tuesday.
In his blog post on May 20, Mr Rudd referred to several American studies that found ”same-sex families do not compromise children’s development”.
The lead researcher on the Melbourne University study, Simon Crouch, said he and his colleagues were yet to determine why children from same-sex families performed better on measures such as family cohesion.
”Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying,” Dr Crouch said. ”This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.”
The study will also look at whether there is a correlation between the wellbeing of children, and the discrimination their family might experience in schools, childcare, healthcare services and via the media. ”This can range from poorly informed comments to teasing, bullying, overt homophobia and rejection,” Dr Crouch said.
Most same-sex couples are now having children through assisted reproductive technology. Dr Crouch said that 10 years ago most children came from previous heterosexual relationships.
According to the 2011 Census, there were 6120 children under 25 in same-sex-couple families. However, Dr Crouch said due to under-reporting, the true figure could be more than double this.