Australia | Gay Parents | News

Study: Children Raised by Same-Sex Couples Healthier And Happier


A new study from Australia's University of Melbourne suggests that the children of same-sex couples may be happier than their heterosexual couple-reared counterparts. Researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children, enquiring specifically about the subjects' "physical health and social well-being."

Doctor Simon Crouch, head researcher for the study, says the University found children raised by gay partners on average scored 6 percent higher than the general population, based on the study's metrics of family unity and general health.

The results specifically indicated a lessened reliance on stereotyped gender roles for gay parents. Said Dr. Crouch:

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... 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 well-being.

The study also found that today same-sex parented families are still often dogged by stigma. Dr. Crouch points out this can be anything from bullying on the playground to "a letter from school addressed to Mr and Mrs."

Critics of the study include Roslyn Phillips of Family Voice Australia, an organization that promotes "Christian Family Values." Phillips said: "You've got to look beyond studies like these to what happens when the child reaches adulthood." She also questioned whether there was bias at play, pointing out that Dr. Crouch and his male partner are raising a family. In response, Crouch acknowledged his background, but pointed out he is "one of a number of researchers on the paper who come from all sorts of different backgrounds."

[h/t ABC, image via Buzzfeed, Sarah Dixley for Australian Marriage Equality]

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  1. If same sex couple households turn out to be the "ideal environment for raising children" should het marriages be invalidated?

    Would be nice to have that question asked in court!

    Posted by: Glenn I | Jul 7, 2014 1:31:56 PM

  2. Breaking News - families where logic, reason, facts, understanding, education and truth are valued over dogma, hateful rhetoric and subservience to indefensible perceived cultural norms are more well-adjusted and cohesive.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 7, 2014 1:32:10 PM

  3. Would you not expect the expected outrage over this? It's not that they're "just as good as", it has to be "better". And that's going to be the headline world wide and the main reason why everyone's going to dismiss it.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 7, 2014 1:33:46 PM

  4. Every child deserves a father & a father.

    Posted by: BILL | Jul 7, 2014 1:40:17 PM

  5. Maybe same sex couples fight less and get along better. Opposite sex couples always have that male/female divide to overcome and the imposed role play that doesn't always work.

    Less tension probably equals happier households, happier children.

    Oh man, NOM's heads are going to explode!!

    Posted by: james street james | Jul 7, 2014 1:48:52 PM

  6. Adorable baby. Hideous cargo shorts.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 7, 2014 1:50:46 PM

  7. Small study, based on self-reported answers to a questionnaire...

    Yeah, sorry, I'm not real excited about this being particularly "scientific", and a 6% difference is easily well within the margin for error.

    This is not proof of anything but the tendency for people to believe what they want to believe in. Seems very "Christian" to me. Oh, we're so much better. Sounds vaguely familiar.

    I'm gay, I'm not stupid.

    Posted by: Buckie | Jul 7, 2014 1:54:43 PM

  8. I'd love to see a comparison between same-sex couples and adoptive hetero couples, because I think the differences may disappear. I'd guess the only reason the same-sex couples appear better is that their road to parenting is so clearly thought out and planned.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Jul 7, 2014 2:01:35 PM

  9. Of course they are. Gay couples choose to have children which means they are far more loved and adored than hetty couples who have children by happen-stance. BTW, check out my latest video (click on my name): The SF Fillmore Jazz Festival. Hot gay guys galore! :-)

    Posted by: Cary Chauvet | Jul 7, 2014 2:02:10 PM

  10. There is a 'self selecting bias'for gay parents, making it more likely they'll be good ones - for most gay couple it takes real work and some level of resources (through adoption our surrogacy) to have children, which means the parents will be more likely to have their sh*t together and have stable jobs, etc.

    I'm sure if researchers doing this study just looked at staight parents who adopted our used fertility treatment that they'd find similar results.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 7, 2014 2:03:06 PM

  11. Maybe the point here is that gay couples parenting children are no different than het couples? (So what that stats are showing some small increase for the gay couples, which might be within the margin of error or not.) These gay families are raising healthy, happy children. Don't have to have 'one of each' on the parenting team for a child to feel loved and secure. That's the take away message for the ignorant Christian Family Values jokers.

    Posted by: Missie | Jul 7, 2014 2:16:31 PM


    You make a very important point, little discussed and less admitted.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 7, 2014 2:36:22 PM

  13. That is not a gay couple in the picture. No gay people would wear shorts like that.

    Posted by: Merv | Jul 7, 2014 2:39:38 PM

  14. This doesn't mean heterosexuals can't be good parents.
    What it does suggest, however, is that there's some truth to the musings about gay high-order mammals being a survival advantage to their species.
    That would hold true, regardless of whether this (very small) lead of straight couples is the result of us gays only raising children because we want to or not.

    Posted by: enough already | Jul 7, 2014 2:46:42 PM

  15. This doesn't mean heterosexuals can't be good parents.
    What it does suggest, however, is that there's some truth to the musings about gay high-order mammals being a survival advantage to their species.
    That would hold true, regardless of whether this (very small) lead of straight couples is the result of us gays only raising children because we want to or not.

    Posted by: enough already | Jul 7, 2014 2:46:42 PM

  16. Just consider the emotional commitment,the discussions between two guys, the legal minefield of negotiations with an agency, with surrogates, the vast expense, ( just look up the list of contingencies to be covered ) the roller coaster ride of worry of the contractual arrangements........all in a case where guys go down that road of surrogacy.......all of this makes for some serious care and love.

    It's not just a one night stand after six pints of lager.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 7, 2014 2:49:51 PM

  17. No surprise that LGBs make excellent parents and raise wonderful kids.

    Gee, funny that we have never seen any study about transgender parenting. What ever happened to that "pregnant transman" who was in the news a few years ago? How did that baby turn out? What is it like having a "neutrois" for a parent, someone who thinks he has no gender and who tries to castrate himself? I can't wait to see the studies on these parental outcomes.

    Posted by: Devon | Jul 7, 2014 2:53:24 PM

  18. Ryan, good point about how gay parents often choose to have kids and thus have done the planning and preparation. I don't think that is selection bias, however.

    And to the extent that gays benefit statistically by being planned parents, they also suffer in the statistics because when they adopt, they are getting children who have been traumatized or disadvantaged in some way (death of parents, time spent in orphanage, trauma of constantly changing environments) that may not apply to the children born to and raised by hetero parents.

    Recently, there were 2 Canadian studies using data from that country's census. The first study showed that after 5 years, there was no difference in graduation rates for kids of gay households and straight households. An anti-gay researcher looked at the same data, but took away the 5-year waiting period and found lower graduation rates for the kids in gay households.

    The explanation: gay households are more likely to have adopted kids who are in worse shape when they first arrive. They will do worse the first few years. Over time, the gay parents help their kids overcome the disadvantage and w/in 5 years, the gap is erased.

    I think there should be a study of gay vs. straight where all the kids were adopted or were birthed by surrogates. I think the outcomes would be very similar.

    Posted by: Shelly | Jul 7, 2014 3:04:47 PM

  19. Roslyn Phillips of Family Voice Australia is
    biased on three counts: She is heterosexual, she is Christian, and she is part of an anti-gay "family" group. Therefore what she says should not be given any credence.

    Posted by: Friendly | Jul 7, 2014 3:07:13 PM

  20. good point devon. where are the studies on tranny parenting? lol! the ts are always complaining about being ignored. well here's there big chance to shine in the spotlight! lol! we all know that those studies are buried bc they would only show that ts do horribly as parents. another way that lgb's and ts are totally different.

    Posted by: Tyler | Jul 7, 2014 3:20:20 PM

  21. @"TYLER" F*** you troll.

    @"MIKE" We don't expect outrage over the results of a scientific study that shows gays are good parents because we're not anti-gay like you.
    It's not that "it has to be" better, THAT'S JUST WHAT THE RESULTS SHOWED. What would you prefer, downgrade the results of gay parenting until they're equal to that of str8 parents, just to APPEASE the lunatic anti-gay sra8s?! Um - NO! Had the results been the other way around, don't you think str8 ppl would be harping on their 6% higher results?! Yeah, they would be. But it didn't happen like that.
    So don't be such a sore anti-gay loser!
    And it's not "everyone" that'll dismiss a scientific study, just a**holes like you.

    @BUCKIE What's the matter? When it comes to showing positive results from same-sex parenting, it's got to be a meta-analysis for you? But when it's anti-gay propagandists calling themselves researchers, starting with a negative conclusion and making any s*** up to suit it is JUST FINE for you, right?! You're gay and not stupid? - Could have fooled me.

    Posted by: Anon | Jul 7, 2014 3:35:36 PM

  22. @ANON,

    just so you'll know that comment was not made by the poser who usually posts as "TYLER". It was made by this demented creature with the posting name of "RICK".

    I remember there was a movement a while ago to have Gay folks adopt kids who were thought to Gay or gender role non-conforming. They were kids who were often rejected by foster parents. They were also often harassed and abused by the other kids (foster or biological)kids in the homes where they were sent.

    I wonder what happened to that effort to match Gay kids with a Gay parent or parents. It could certainly work now with marriage equality spreading all over the country. It's hard to raise a child/teenager by yourself...I guess.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 7, 2014 3:56:29 PM

  23. Derrick from Philly -

    Huh? As an LCSW, let me tell you that your comment is pretty offensive. Why would a gay kid need to be matched with gay parents? A gay kid needs to be treated like any other kid and placed in the best available home with loving, accepting parents, not held up while adoption agencies try to match the kid's perceived sexual orientation with those of the parents. And bonus points for the homophobic stereotype of equating gender nonconforming with gay. If adoption agencies had your archaic mentality, they would mislabel straight GNCs and gay kids who are not GNC, doing a disservice to the needs of all.

    It is a good thing you don't work with children.

    Posted by: Beth | Jul 7, 2014 5:16:31 PM

  24. This is almost proof that we're equal isn't it? Pretty close anyway. Just askin.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 7, 2014 5:26:26 PM

  25. Beth, a social worker, you say?

    You appear to lack listening skills that would be critical to that role.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 7, 2014 5:26:59 PM

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