Yet another study finds gays make great parents

A new Australian study has found children in same-sex families are developing normally and are in good physical health.

The study, called the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS), is a fairly large one, gathering data from over 300 same-sex families and 500 children from those families.

The children ranged in age from newborns up to age 17. In general, the children from same-sex families scored higher in terms of general health than children of opposite-sex parents.

They also had fewer negative behavioral issues than children from opposite-sex parents. The authors write, “Australian children with same-sex attracted parents score higher than population samples on a number of parent-reported measures of child health.”

The ACHESS data joins information from other studies that basically reinforce each other. Children raised in same-sex (or “non-traditional”) families are certainly not being harmed by not having opposite-sex parents. They are being nurtured and developing normally.

(Good guy) protesters outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on the gay rights cases involving DOMA and Proposition 8 in March, 2013. © John Aravosis 2013

A gay couple and their kids outside the Supreme Court, and across from the US Congress, for the oral arguments on DOMA and Proposition 8 in March of 2013. © John Aravosis 2013

Information from a few of the studies that have looked at same-sex couple parenting and the children involved follow. Unequivocally, the data show that children raised by same-sex parents are doing well when compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents.

Here are some points made by studies concerning same-sex parenting and the children’s well-being.

The American Academy of Pediatrics:

Results confirm previous studies in this current body of literature, suggesting that children raised by same-sex parents fare equally well to children raised by heterosexual parents.

Demographics 2013:

I use U.S. census data to perform the first large-sample, nationally representative tests of outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples. The results show that children of same-sex couples are as likely to make normal progress through school as the children of most other family structures. Heterosexual married couples are the family type whose children have the lowest rates of grade retention, but the advantage of heterosexual married couples is mostly due to their higher socioeconomic status. Children of all family types (including children of same-sex couples) are far more likely to make normal progress through school than are children living in group quarters (such as orphanages and shelters).

And another study from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

The 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts… Within the lesbian family sample, no Child Behavior Checklist differences were found among adolescent offspring who were conceived by known, as-yet-unknown, and permanently unknown donors or between offspring whose mothers were still together and offspring whose mothers had separated… Adolescents who have been reared in lesbian-mother families since birth demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment.

The Journal of GLBT Family Studies:

Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma. Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. Lack of opportunity for same-gender couples to marry adds to families’ stress, which affects the health and welfare of all household members.

These studies, among others, state clearly that children do not need to be raised by an opposite-sex parent couple to develop normally, to grow and mature, be happy and healthy. And they don’t need a mother and father to have a good family structure.

This flies in the faces of statements of what the Mormon, Baptist and Catholic churches profess. It contradicts the dogma from the National Organization for Marriage, that preaches that same line about the need for a female-male dyad as the only stratum in which to be able to raise well-adjusted children. That is just not true.

These organizations, and others, maintain that the “traditional family” is necessary for children’s well-being. Yet multiple studies have shown that isn’t the case. Often the only “evidence” that they have to support their claim is the debunked Regnerus study. And that has been thoroughly discredited by other researchers and professional organizations. Unfortunately, they continue to cling to Regnerus’ work and drag it out, like a moldering zombie anytime that they want to cite research. Equally unfortunately, their base continues to believe them and focus on it as they ignore information to the contrary. I’m sure that for many of them, no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds.


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Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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