A new Australian study has found that children raised by same-sex couples do as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual couples in a number of important areas.
The world's largest study on the children of same-sex parents, still under way at Melbourne University, has collected data from 500 children nationwide up to the age of 17.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families has released an initial report saying that, according to the globally-recognised Child Health Questionnaire, children of same-sex couples did as well as the rest of the population in terms of self-esteem, emotional behaviour, and the amount of time spent with parents.
The results echo similar reputable studies carried out in the US and Canada over the last decade.
The Australian study differs from the overseas studies by including children of gay dads and bisexual parents, whereas the earlier studies only collected data from children being raised by lesbian couples.
According to researchers of the 315 gay, lesbian and bisexual parents who took part, 80 per cent were women.
In a blow to those who argue that children are "better off" with a traditional "mum and dad", the study revealed that in terms of overall health and family cohesion, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average.
Dr Simon Crouch, the lead researcher on the study, said they could only theorise why it should be so.
"Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying," Crouch said.
"This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis."
Crouch said the study will also look at how children's wellbeing is affected by discrimination in such areas as schooling, child care and health services.
"This can range from poorly informed comments to teasing, bullying, overt homophobia and rejection," Crouch said.
The full results from the study are expected to be released in September.
-reprinted from the Gay News Network