By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com July 07 2014 4:11 PM ET
Children raised by same-sex couples are healthier and happier than those raised by opposite-sex pairs, says a new study out of Australia, adding to the growing body of research indicating positive outcomes for these children.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne, led by Simon Crouch, surveyed 315 gay parents with a total of 500 children, up to age 17. Kids from gay-headed families scored 6 percent better, on average, than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion, Crouch and his team reported in the journal BMC Public Health. On other health measures, there was no difference between children of gay and straight parents.
The higher scores are likely due to lack of rigid gender roles in households led by same-sex couples, Crouch said. “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 told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“The traditional nurturing role is shared, it’s not one parent over another, the traditional breadwinning role is shared,” he continued. “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.”
Crouch added, “Quite often, people talk about marriage equality in the context of family and that marriage is necessary to raise children in the right environment, and that you need a mother and a father to be able to do that, and therefore marriage should be restricted to male and female couples. 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.”