The Advocate did a story yesterday about a recent Australian study claiming that children raised by same-sex couples are healthier and happier than those with heterosexual parents. Researchers evaluated the kids’ general health and family cohesion, and reported these kids scored 6 percent higher overall. They hypothesized that the higher scores are likely due to lack of rigid gender roles in households led by same-sex couples. In other words, since the lines are blurred, it creates a stronger family unit, which in turn causes happier and healthier children. From my personal experience, I can already tell that my son is as happy as a clam and loves his family, but I have a few theories of my own as to why:
1. Gay couples who have children are older and therefore more mature.
This one is kind of obvious, but it’s true. How often do you run into a 20-something gay parent? You don’t. And that’s probably a good thing. With age usually comes maturity, and with maturity usually comes better decisions. Better decisions will lead to better parenting and so on and so forth. Additionally, older parents tend to have more money, which gives them more financial security and more options in regards to raising a child.
2. All gay parents become parents strictly by choice, whereas some straight parents become parents by accident.
Becoming a gay parent requires planning and money, and every child brought into a gay family is done so through careful measures. In stark contrast, straight couples can have a hot Saturday night and bring a child into the world. Just to play the devil’s advocate, what would happen if you compared the kids of gay couples only with the kids of straight couples who planned on having children? My guess is that 6-percentage-point gap would close almost to nothing. Bottom line, parents who pursue having children will almost always be more engaged with their children.
3. Gays really are just better parents.
Maybe it’s just that simple. Perhaps in the grand scheme of God’s plan (if you buy into that), those who get the “gay gene” also get the “good parenting gene” like a package deal. Some of us also get the “amazing decorator gene” or the “whip-smart dresser gene,” so it’s not a stretch to say that we excel in certain areas. By definition, gay means happy, and that’s for damn good reason.
We are at the beginning of the gay parenting baby boom, so it will really take decades to compile enough data for it to become relevant. Great parents all want the same things for our kids, which is to know they will grow up happy. Studies like this are reassuring and feel good to hear, though the best indicator is seeing a smiling face tucked into bed at the end of every night.