A new study reveals children in same-sex families are doing well when it comes to health, family cohesion and measures of general behavior.
The report focused on the social well-being and mental condition of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents and examined the potential impact of the social stigma of living with a same-sex couple.
"It has been suggested that children with same-sex attracted parents score well in psychosocial aspects of their health, however questions remain about the impact of stigma on these children," states the report's introduction.
"Research to date has focused on lesbian parents and has been limited by small sample sizes. This study aims to describe the physical, mental and social well-being of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them," notes the report.
The study reveals children in such homes scored higher, 6 percent, than the general population in terms of health and family unity. Children with either two mothers or two fathers managed to outscore the general population on measures of health and family cohesion.
"Stigma can be subtle, such as letters home from school addressed to Mr. and Mrs., or it can be overt and very harmful, in the form of bullying and abuse at school," said corresponding author Simon R. Crouch. "What we have found is that the more stigma these families experience, the greater the impact on the social and emotional well-being of children."
The research involved studying 390 parents in Australia who self-identified as same-sex and were taking care of children from ages 0 to 17 years old.
"Australian children with same-sex attracted parents score higher than population samples on a number of parent-reported measures of child health. Perceived stigma is negatively associated with mental health. Through improved awareness of stigma these findings play an important role in health policy, improving child health outcomes," states the report.
Yet some say the study is inconclusive at best.
"I wasn't surprised that these parents who volunteered for the study all thought their children were doing well," Family Voice Australia research officer Rosyln Phillips told ABC Radio Australia. "You've got to look beyond studies like these to what happens when the child reaches adulthood, and that's the only time with independent assessment you can really say what's gone on with the parenting."