Gay Marriage

The Kids of Same-Sex Parents Do Better Than Kids in Conventional Families

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same sex parents
Philip McAdoo

Or at least they do in Austraiia, according to their parents in a new study published in the journal BMC Public Health. The study asked parents how their children are doing with respect to various psychosocial measurements. From the abstract: 

A cross-sectional survey, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, was distributed in 2012 to a convenience sample of 390 parents from Australia who self-identified as same-sex attracted and had children aged 0-17 years. Parent-reported, multidimensional measures of child health and wellbeing and the relationship to perceived stigma were measured.

315 parents completed the survey (completion rate?=?81%) representing 500 children. 80% of children had a female index parent while 18% had a male index parent. Children in same-sex parent families had higher scores on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion compared to population normative data…There were no significant differences between the two groups for all other scale scores…

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.

Regarding the problem of stigma associated with same-sex parents, the Washington Post notes:

According to the study, about two-thirds of children with same-sex parents experienced some form of stigma because of their parents' sexual orientation. Despite these kids' higher marks in physical health and social well-being, the stigma associated with their family structure was linked to lower scores on a number of scales. Crouch said stigmas ranged from subtle issues such as sending letters home from school addressed to a "Mr." and "Mrs." to more harmful problems such as bullying at school. The greater the stigma a same-sex family faces, the greater the impact on a child's social and emotional well-being, [lead researcher Simon] Crouch said.

However, according to a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics last year that analyzed three decades of data, children raised by gay and lesbian parents showed resilience "with regard to social, psychological and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma."

"Many studies have demonstrated that children's well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents' sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents," said Siegel, co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics report.

This new study basically bolsters the findings that I reported in my Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Science of Same-Sex Marriage," last year.

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  1. I’m sure they have accounted for all meaningful variables.

    1. What, is “various psychosocial measurements” not scientificacious enough for you? *Studies* were done, man! DATA was collected! Family *cohesion* was measured? When’s the last time you measured your own cohesion, eh? Maybe you could use a little gay in your life.

    2. ” ….according to their parents….”

      What variables?

      1. Same-sex parents don’t have kids by accident, or at least not while staying monogamous.

        I do wonder if they accounted for that; it’s the first thing I thought of.

  2. Probably because Gay’s who adopt tend to be more affluent than most conventional families.

    1. are you actually stating that there is such a thing as correlation that is not causative? Why don’t you share this knowledge with the media? Surely they are unaware, based on their reporting.

    2. I imagine anyone who goes all the way through an adoption process really really wants to be a parent vs people who “get” pregnant and figure they are required to be a parent.

      1. I was raised by a single, hetero mom, but I was adopted at birth. Libertarianism aside, I turned out pretty well. Suck on that one sociologists.

        1. antecedal evidence is no match for the power of this study.

          1. “This study is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use it.

            1. this study is insignificant to the power of group think.

        2. RBS confirmed my hypothesis, now all I need is consensus and the matter is settled for all time.

          1. I second your hypothesis.

            Matter settled.

          2. Seconded.

            1. Dear god, that’s 3. It’s now a certainty.

      2. My first reaction was that all this says is that gays are more likely to think their kids are better off. So maybe it’s a matter of optimism, for some reason.

        But this is an interesting point. I wonder how adopted children in general do compared to children raised by their birth parents (though preferably on some objective measurement). Perhaps we should mandate adoption for all newborns!

        1. You know why Rifkin was a serial killer? Because he was adopted. Just like Son of Sam was adopted. So apparently adoption leads to serial killing.

          1. We should update that list to include Dexter.

              1. Whachoo talking ’bout, Francisco?

        2. If the state is doing the adopting (rearing all our children at some sort of camp, for instance), then this is an idea I can truly get behind.

          1. You know who else could get behind gays?

            1. We didn’t say anything about the forced adoption plan involving gays…

              1. I’m saying it!

                Having kids accidentally is a fundamental human right.

                One random forced adoption in the gay community for every 20th unwanted birth.

                Demand the state create equality; expect the state to create some fucking equality.

            2. Senator Larry Craig?

            3. Um, other gays?

        3. Considering the stigma current gay adults went thru as youth, I think their baseline may be skewed.

    3. That was my thought, Idle. The strongest correlation with childhood well-being is socio-economic status.

      Single parents tend to be lower on the scale. Being married or at least coupled up gives an advantage over the universe of children. Being well-off gives yet another advantage.

      Correct for those variables, and we can talk.

  3. Immigrants, weed, and now gays. We’ve hit the trifecta! Any Reason writer wanna’ parlay that into the abortion superfecta?

    1. At least the print edition still covers a wider variety of topics.

      1. I’m like 3 issues behind. There is so little downtime in the summer.

        1. Me too, I should have added a disclaimer.

    2. ITS STILL MONDAY AM

      Plenty of time.

      1. It’s taking a little longer, because it’s a double-length article about the role of abortion in Game of Thrones.

        1. Hopefully it’s at least 6 pages, just for Ted S.

        2. *golf clap*

        3. Would there have been a War of Five Kings or problems with incestuous madness if the people of Westeros would just circumcise their children?

          1. We should discuss this….over a deep dish pizza.

            *runs from room laughing hysterically*

    3. I don’t see an abortion piece, but today’s non-interventionist piece should about round us out and exhaust the Reason staff arsenal.

    4. Why is no one talking about the Ground Zero mosque anymore?

      1. Because conservatives have realized the First Amendment applies to all US citizens?

        1. Hahahahahaha

          *buckles over, falls out of chair*

          ahahahahaha

        2. Fat chance.

      2. Meh. Just keep burying assorted pig parts on the site if you really want to put a dent in the plans. It’s what all those upstanding and tolerant Euros are doin.
        http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/12/…..nd-mosque/

        1. Who cares, it’s Switzerland. It’s not like they have the same freedoms spelled out like we do – they just think they do. In Germany (eg) they still tax you to support Christian churches and teach religion in public schools, FFS.

          1. Is the German government still solidly intertwined with the Lutheran church? I was under the impression that they had become quite secular.

            1. solidly intertwined with the Lutheran church

              I doubt it – half of Germany is Catholic.

              had become quite secular

              Dunno about today, but in the 80s they taxed you and gave the money to your church. Definitely applied to Lutherans and Catholics, maybe Muslims too since even then there were a lot of Turks.

              1. Interesting. How they justify any of those taxes is beyond me.

          2. You are only taxed if you declare membership in a tax supported church.

    5. Smoking immigrant weed turns you gay. Smoke local! Stay straight, homies.

      1. Immigrants smoking local weed makes you homicidal*

        *NYT 1925: “Mexican, Crazed by Marihuana, Runs Amok with Butcher Knife.”

        1. I’m so confused.

          1. So is the NYT c. 1925, so you’re in venerable company.

        2. My iphone keyboard insists on auto-correcting marijuana to “marihuana” when I type it out. It all makes sense now.

          /adds another layer of foil to hat

  4. Well, self reporting is always reliable…

  5. Cosmo trifecta before lunch, good job guys. Also, the article seems to reference what is basically a second hand self reported survey.

  6. some further background by one of the researchers:

    http://researchconnect.wordpre…..o-studies/

    When researching child health in same-sex families the first problem is identifying, and then recruiting, such families. In Australia there is only one way that this can be achieved: through convenience sampling. Overseas, attempts have been made to draw representative samples from population surveys. While perhaps removing the volunteer nature of the sample these studies do suffer from small sample sizes, as the same-sex parent population within any population sample will be very small. This strategy is not an option in Australia where there are no population datasets that capture parent sexual orientation. Thus the volunteer sample is the only option. This is where the first criticisms of our study have been leveled.

    It is argued that only parents with a vested interest in promoting positive health outcomes will volunteer. While this cannot be discounted as a possibility there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

    1. Convenience sampling should instantly raise a red flag with respect to any statistical inferences. And the sample size is uninspirational.

      It is argued that only parents with a vested interest in promoting positive health outcomes will volunteer. While this cannot be discounted as a possibility there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

      Aside from the irritating passive voice, does the claim that there is no evidence to suggest the case of selection effects just mean that the researchers avoided looking for those effects? One should begin each day’s perusal of the news with a certain and abiding faith that confirmation bias is endemic in social sciences.

      Finally, I scan the study and do not see how the authors controlled for the effects of income, urban residence, and schooling and other possible factors. The sample of “same sex family” children appears highly skewed to the wealthier, city-dwelling and well-educated.

    2. It is argued that only parents with a vested interest in promoting positive health outcomes will volunteer. While this cannot be discounted as a possibility there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case.

      Even more obvious: why would any gay couple with a screwed-up marriage and/or kid want to volunteer to have their family studied?

  7. All: Can no one detect my cocked eyebrow when I report social science studies?

    In any case, as the Post article reported:

    “I can tell you we’re never going to get the perfect science, but what you have right now is good-enough science,” Siegel[co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics report] said. “The data we have right now are good enough to know what’s good for kids.”

    1. It would help if you typed “social science studies” instead of social science studies…

      We can’t always infer air quotes…

    2. I can’t read that paragraph without thinking of Al Franken.

      But in response to your question, the sarcasm quotient is so high in the comments that subtle mockery is lost on most of us.

      1. Perhaps “mockery” is not the correct word. I’ll substitute “apprehension”.

      2. I have to keep upping the dose to get my fix!

    3. “Good enough science” — the off-brand version of “science”.

      1. For some reason, this reminds me about American Cheese. If it says “American Cheese” on the package, then it’s American Cheese. If it just says “American”, then it probably says “Processed Cheese Product” in tiny letters underneath.

        Choose the former, eschew the latter.

      2. “Good enough science” – That’s a hell of a sales pitch there. Its what passes for excellence in the good ‘ol US of A! “Its not just good, Its good enough!

    4. NEEDS MOAR DISCLOSURES

    5. “The data we have right now are good enough to know what’s good for kids.”

      Does this also need a sarc meter tune? Because we have no such thing.
      From directly above your post: “While this cannot be discounted as a possibility there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case.”
      If it cannot be discounted, it *must* be counted.

    6. “good enough” = “doesn’t contain any obvious howlers, and supports the conclusions I was looking for”

    7. You need to invent a cocked eyebrow font.

    8. “good-enough science”

      “Eh, close enough for government work. Time to hit the pub!”

  8. Look, gays are the best parents. If the data don’t show that, then the data are flawed. If the data do show it, then the data are homophobic and have to be thrown out.

    Now that is settled, can we move on to more puppycide, weed, or something more interesting? Isn’t it time for another game thread?

    Today is sort of a crazy day. I had crazy dreams all night, woke up in a fog. One of the dreams was that someone at Reason said Obama is a libertarian, or something like that, just imagine…

    1. Reason should have another homebrew thread.

      Or a thread where all the commenters just play some sort of game.

      1. oh oh! I spy with my little eye……..fuck.

  9. An anecdote:

    I had a friend in HS who – along with his brother – raised by three lesbians. He was your average heavy metal listen’ pot smoker, but ended up in the army doing munitions work. Last I heard he married a girl over in Britain.

    Anyway, aside from the confusion of getting possibly three different sets of orders, he seemed perfectly normal to me – eg, just as fucked up as the rest of us going through the throes of teenagedom.

    1. Anyone who grew up having 3 women as parents and is in the least bit normal, is one fortress of fortitude. Your friend should receive a medal and a Nobel prize of some sorts… no wait, he should receive ALL of them.

      1. OK, I’m reporting you to Jezebel!

    2. Holy crap. I grew up with three big sisters and no brothers, but I can’t imagine the hell of three moms and no dad. Did he ever learn to pee standing up?

      1. poor guy he squats when he pees.

  10. It seems to me this correlates with the fact that the children of gay couples are wanted. After all, gay couples must jump through a lot of hoops to either adopt or produce a child via invitro or surrogate so they most likely really really want to be parents.

  11. I have no particular reason to think that children of same-sex couples do worse than children in traditional families. But the methodology described:

    The study asked parents how their children are doing with respect to various psychosocial measurements

    Is bullshit. Surveying parents in a demographic who have a vested political interest in overstating how well-adjusted and high-performing their kids are is “science”?

  12. Well, obviously this is true. Anyone who at all questions this must be motivated by hatred of gay people. That’s the only possible explanation.

  13. Parent reported.

    So not at all valid.

  14. letters home from school addressed to a “Mr.” and “Mrs.”

    OMG! Microagreession! Trigger warning!!

    1. A friend of mine had a working mom/stay-at-home dad. Her mom goes by Joey (short for Josephine). The teachers and administrators assumed she was being raised by a gay couple (WA state) and hilarity ensued when her mom eventually showed up for a school event.

  15. Seems legit. Let’s pass a law requiring any heterosexual parent to turn in their children to the nearest homosexual couple willing to raise the child.

    1. Do we get to pick from the pool or are they assigned? I’ll have to partner up accordingly if I’m going to end up with kids that potentially have The Sports Gene, an interest in musical theater, or some underlying genetic predisposition to math.

      1. think of it like a draft lottery circa Vietnam. So you’ll get the prudish jesus-freak and the senators son will get Lebron James.

        1. I can work with prudish Jesus-freak. My parents or sister would be delighted to take spawn of mine to their extremely conservative church. I can take my sister’s kids to Disneyland periodically and she can take mine to church weekly.

          I’ll put in an order for a World’s Best Uncle t-shirt now.

      2. I’m thinking they’ll dance for your amusement first, followed by feats of athleticism and heroism. That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

    2. darn, I should have read the other comments before posting.

  16. What if you have two hot moms and you are a hetero male? WHAT THEN?

    1. Utterly confused puberty

    2. They’re your adopted parents so it’s okay.

    3. What are the odds that both women in a lesbian couple are hot? Outside of porn, I’d say 1 in 50, at best.

  17. You might be able to erase the difference by weeding out all the parents of unwanted offspring that are a common side effect of heterosexuality.

    1. Dear god I agree with you.

    2. You would know, wouldn’t you.

    3. Re: Tony,

      You might be able to erase the difference by weeding out all the parents of unwanted offspring that are a common side effect of heterosexuality.

      Having children is a side-effect of heterosexual sex? Will wonders never cease.

      Also, how else can all those homosexual couples aspire to having family if not for those “unwanted” children – as you so lovingly called them?

    4. Re: Tony,

      You might be able to erase the difference by weeding out all the parents of unwanted offspring that are a common side effect of heterosexuality.

      Having children is a side-effect of heterosexual sex? Will wonders never cease.

      Also, how else can all those homosexual couples aspire to having family if not for those “unwanted” children – as you so lovingly called them?

      1. Stupid bouncy button…

      2. “Having children is a side-effect of heterosexual sex? Will wonders never cease.”

        Well, getting hit by a bus can do it too!

      3. You are entirely too emotional about this.

        1. Re: Tony,

          You are entirely too emotional about this.

          Ha ha! Wow, great comeback Tony! Very Soviet of you!

    5. “unwanted offspring that are a common side effect of heterosexuality”

      There you go again, talking about yourself all the time…

      1. You guys are terrible at positive reinforcement.

    6. Relax, Tony. You don’t have to. This study is bogus.

      Within the last six months a meta-study was completed, using all the studies that have come out in the last twenty years. The outcomes for kids raised in gay parent situations is really, really, really bad. Two lesbians = single Mom households, in terms of outcomes. Two gay guys, way, way, way worse.

      Of course, the study had to be attacked. Even though it had no conclusions. And, all it did was compile other studies that had been done. The researcher was criticized for being Christian. He said, ‘I’m not drawing any conclusions. But, look at the raw data.’

  18. Parent-reported, multidimensional measures of child health and wellbeing and the relationship to perceived stigma were measured.

    So according to the parents, the kids are alright?

    1. “So according to the parents, the kids are alright?”

      Close.
      ‘My kids are better than your kids!’

  19. The Kids of Same-Sex Parents Do Better Than Kids in Conventional Families — The study asked parents how their children are doing with respect to various psychosocial measurements.

    What this tells me is that heterosexual parents are more honest and forthcoming than homosexual parents who will have a very high incentive to lie: “What? You want me to give more ammunition to those bigots by confirming that my kids are miserable wrecks? Never!”

    Which is why I regard any social science that relies heavily on polling as nothing less than voodoo.

  20. Kids should be taken from their biological parents and redistributed to gay couples….for the children.

  21. However, according to a report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics last year that analyzed three decades of data, children raised by gay and lesbian parents showed resilience “with regard to social, psychological and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma.”

    Wouldn’t that same resiliance be present in the children of heterosexual parents as well, making any comparison in the happiness of children of diverse families an exercise in futility? Or what sort of game are we playing here now?

    1. The game is played by imagining the most victimized scenario for a kid to grow up in and concluding that said kid is the best because of all of their built up resilience to othering and triggering and phobias.

    2. Kids from gay households might have more resilience. How well do they do in regards to other outcomes? University education, arrests, drug addiction, depression, suicide, etc.

      Not well at all, it turns out.

  22. This should not be surprising, because of the selection effect: Same sex couples with kids really, really want to be parents, while opposite sex couples may merely fall into parenthood by default.

  23. I’ve read studies where boy children of two male parents have 7x the suicide rate of heterosexual couples.

    I’ve also read studies that say children with lesbian parents have about the same outcomes as single Mom households. Children with gay male parents have significantly worse outcomes than single Mom households, and lesbian couples. This is in terms of university attendance, police records, drug addiction, and suicides.

    But, apparently, in Australia gay parents, self-reporting, say their kids are doing great.

  24. Come on Ronald, you can do better than this. Using a sample of same sex parents so different on social economic metrics than the general population sample they are being compared to is not very meaningful. Research like this is needed to help people be more comfortable with the growing number of same sex parents and when you point to studies like this without pointing out such skewing factors then it just sets any progress back.

    Look at table 4 in the study. Same sex parents tertiary education 68%, general population tertiary education 23%. 80% income over 100K, the same sex attracted parents had less than half the percentage of single parent families in the general population side..

    Again, this research is needed but when one side is significantly older, wealthier, better educated and in more stable relationships then it calls into question the trustworthiness of the research process. The researchers and those propagating the study should be the ones pointing these differences out and describing the impact of same.

  25. I agree and interested with many opinions, thank you for the comments. I respect everyone`s opinion and decision but you know, I have my own children, and I don`t want them to think that it is a norm. I teach them that there are different people but I want them to realize that they should have a family and children but not lesbian girlfriend. All in all I send them to school to get knowledge and write papers ( this website presents best writing papers ) and I want to be sure that they see this World in a good way.

  26. Yes I also think about this point, the partner is in same sex they can mutually understand easily. The most important point is they don’t have any ego so that they will love without any condition or limit. Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. You can use this website for your checking review of any essay writing service reviews

  27. I don’t think so. Kids from same sex parents will not get the culture of both women and men. If they are from conventional they can study about both men women. (I am from clazwork admission essay writing service)

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  29. great article but is it good idea to let a child live with bisexual parents ?

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  30. great article but is it good idea to let a child live with bisexual parents ?
    is it a good example for the child?

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