By: Chris O'Shea
According to stereotypes, being the child of a same-sex marriage is the worst. "You'll miss out on what [insert either mom or dad here] can provide you! You'll be tormented!" However, according to science — which relies on actual data and research — being the child of a same-sex marriage is not so bad. In fact, you might be better off and have a better relationship with your family than someone who was raised in a "traditional" family.
A study that was conducted by Australian doctor, Simon Crouch, found that kids raised by same-sex couples were healthier and had close family ties. Crouch was inspired to conduct his research because other, previous studies had taken into account only the wellbeing of parents in same-sex relationships, but not their kids. They also only considered lesbian couples, and only evaluated small amounts of people — all of which seemed to alter the results.
"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," Crouch explained in his paper. "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 wellbeing of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them."
Crouch surveyed 500 kids from over 300 same-sex marriages for his report. What he found was that kids in same-sex families scored (on average) six percent higher on measurements for healthiness and cohesion. The reason? Same-sex couples aren't hung up on society's pressure to act one way or another based on prescribed gender roles. Therefore, they just act like themselves, and do whatever they can to raise their kids well. There is no worrying from Dad if Mom makes more money. There is no pressure on Mom to be the cook of the family.
"Previous research has suggested that parenting roles and work roles, and home roles within same-sex parenting families are more equitably distributed when compared to heterosexual families," Crouch told ABC News. "The traditional nurturing role is shared, it's not one parent over another, the traditional breadwinning role is shared. So what this means is that people take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes, which is mum staying home and looking after the kids and dad going out to earn money. What this leads to is a more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and wellbeing."
Crouch's study should go a long way toward destroying stereotypes. It's quite a revelation that same-sex marriages give people freedom that those in the "typical" marriage usually don't have. And it passes along that feeling to the next generation.
[Image via Flickr - Caitlin Childs]