Top child health experts call for an end to discrimination and stigma surrounding same-sex families

A review by leading child and adolescent health experts from Australia and New Zealand has revealed children raised by same-sex parents do as just well as well emotionally, socially and educationally as other children, despite the discrimination that their families endure.

Centre for Community Child Health director Professor Frank Oberklaid and colleagues from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Victorian Clinical Genetics Services, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland, reviewed the best available evidence spanning three decades from Australia and internationally.

The review concluded that it is family processes (e.g. parenting quality, parental wellbeing, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships within the family), rather than family structures (e.g. the number, gender, sexuality or cohabitation arrangements of parents), that make a more meaningful difference to children’s wellbeing and positive development.

The review comes in response to “misinformation … circulating in the public domain” as a result of the ongoing same-sex marriage debate, with the authors warning that negative, discriminatory and homophobic statements around the same-sex debate can cause serious harm to children and their parents.

“An increased public health risk exists as a result of homophobic campaign messages for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) community, including a mental health risk for same-sex couples, their children, and young people who identify as LGBTIQ+,” the authors wrote.

Key findings

The review, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on 23 October 2017, included:

  • a 2017 review of 79 studies by the Public Policy Research Portal at Columbia Law School, which concluded that there was an “overwhelming scholarly consensus, based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, that having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children”;
  • a 2014 American Sociological Association review of over 40 studies, which found that children raised by same-sex couples fare as well as other children;
  • the Australian Institute of Family Studies’ 2013 review of the Australian and international research, which found that being raised by same-sex parents does not harm children; and,
  • a 2010 meta-analysis of 33 studies, which similarly found that the gender or sexuality of parents did not adversely affect child health or wellbeing.

Read the paper

Read the article in the Medical Journal of Australia

Media

The kids are ok, The Project (see 9:21)

Same-sex marriage debate putting kids at risk, not same-sex parents, experts warn, ABC Online

Top Paediatricians Slam ‘Damaging’ Argument Of ‘No’ Campaigners In Joint Medical Journal Review, Huffington Post

Children raised by same-sex parents do as well as their peers, study shows, The Guardian

Discrimination, not same-sex parents, harms children: report, The Age

Pediatricians warn that same sex marriage debate is harming children, Herald Sun

Same-sex couples ‘make good parents’: researchers, The Australian

The kids are alright, Pursuit, The University of Melbourne

Study finds the children of same sex couples are perfectly fine, OUTInPerth

The kids are OK: Oz study quashes same-sex family myth, NZ Herald

Study Finds Children Of Same-Sex Parents Do Just As Well As Children Of Heterosexual Parents, Southern Cross Austereo

Discrimination harms children, not same-sex parents – study, NewsHub NZ

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