Children Same-Sex Parents: New Study Says Gay Couples Have Happier And Healthier Kids
Children of same-sex parents are more likely to get along with their parents and to be healthier, says a new study from Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, kids of gay parents scored just as high as or better than the rest of the population on many key indicators of health.
The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families is the world's largest study on same-sex parenting and children's well-being. Researchers collected data on 500 children up to 17 years of age in Australia. The children represent 315 gay, lesbian and bisexual parents who completed the questionnaire. While self-esteem and amount of time spent with parents did not differ from that of children from straight parents, on overall health and family cohesion, children of same-sex couples scored higher than the national average.
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''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,'' Dr. Simon Crouch, the lead author of the Melbourne University study, said. ''This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.''
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 there were roughly 34,000 same-sex couples in Australia, representing a 32 percent increase from 2006. Like most Australian families, the majority -- 99 percent -- of same-sex couples lived in single family households. Eighty-six percent of same-sex couples lived together without other relatives or children in the home. About one in 10 same-sex couples had kids living with them in the home, the majority of these families headed by female couples.
In the U.S., there are an estimated 152,335 same-sex married couples and 440,989 same-sex unmarried partners. D.C. has the highest proportion of same-sex couple households in the U.S., where gay couples account for 4 percent of all households. Other states with higher same-sex couple households include California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Rhode Island.
Of the roughly 594,000 same-sex couple households, about 115,000 have children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
When it comes to same-sex couple adoption, the inconsistencies in the law vary wildly across U.S. jurisdictions. Full joint adoption by same-sex couples is currently legal in 23 states and the U.S. territory of Guam. Stepparent adoption, in which one parent adopts the biological child of another parent, is legal in Pennsylvania and Montana. In some states, including Louisiana, Utah, Mississippi and Michigan, joint adoption is illegal.
The research from Australia on children of same-sex couples supports earlier studies from 2010 that found that children raised by lesbian parents became psychologically healthier teenagers with fewer behavioral issues.
According to one researcher from the University of California, studies found that 17-year olds scored higher in psychological adjustment in areas of competency and lower in problem behaviors than kids of families with one mom and one dad.
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