Study: Kids of Same-Sex Parents Happier, Healthier Than Average

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday June 6, 2013

A new study found that children of same-sex parents are doing equally well, and in some areas, better than kids from heteronormative families. The results come from what is apparently the world's largest study on the issue, the Australian newspaper the Age reports.

Researches from Melbourne University in Australia collected data on 500 children, up to the age of 17, across the country. Based on a number of key health and well-being indictors the study, called the "Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families," found that children who are being raised by same-sex parents matched pretty equally when it came to self-esteem, emotional well-being and the amount of time they spent with parents.

When it came to overall health and family cohesion, however, the children of same-sex parents scored higher than the national average.

''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,'' lead researcher Dr. Simon Crouch said. ''This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.''

LGBT couples are allowed to jointly adopt children in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Western Australia. In all states, except for South Australia, LGBT people are allowed to adopt individually. Regions, including Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, Northern Territory and South Australia, do not allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Last year, another study gained national attention for claiming the opposite, stating children of gay parents are worse off than kids raised by straight parents. The research for that study was in part funded by organizations with ties to the Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage. Though the religious right and ultra conservatives praised the findings from that study, it was sharply criticized by LGBT groups and social scientists, which said the study, called "New Family Structures Study," is misleading and flawed.

In a joint statement, GLAAD, the Family Equality Council and the Human Rights Campaign said the study "doesn't even look at same-sex couples raising a child together in a long-term committed relationship."

Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council echoed the groups' sentiments and in a statement said, "Flawed methodology and misleading conclusions are all driven by a right-wing ideology. That alone should raise doubts about the credibility of this author's work. But on top of that, his paper doesn't even measure what it claims to be measuring."

Mark Regnerus, the study's author, is a conservative professor from the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It was also reported that the Witherspoon Institute, an organization connected to the National Organization for Marriage, funded the study.

"Regnerus' study is bad science. Among other errors, he made egregious yet strategic decisions in selecting particular groups for comparison," Debra Umberson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas, and three colleagues wrote in the Huffington Post.

Regnerus later admitted to Focus on the Family's Citizen magazine that his findings are flawed, and that he would be more careful about the language he used in his findings in the future. Still, he said he supports his research.

"I said 'lesbian mothers' and 'gay fathers,' when in fact, I don't know about their sexual orientation; I do know about their same-sex relationship behavior." he said. "But as far as the findings themselves, I stand behind them."

The professor has gone on to make other bogus "studies" regarding the LGBT community, including one that suggests that straight men who watch porn are more likely to support gay marriage.

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