Children with same-sex parents progress at the same rate as peers

Australian children with same-sex parents progress emotionally, socially and educationally at the same rate as other children, a new report has found.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has released a report, Same-sex couple families in Australia, which highlights some of the key trends in same-sex couple families in Australia.

Increased acceptance

While same-sex families still face many challenges around equality, the report shows society’s attitudes towards them have greatly improved.

“Acceptance of the equality of same-sex couples is steadily increasing, and is strongest among women and young people,” the report explains.

“Public support for equal rights between same-sex and heterosexual couples has increased from 38 per cent in 2005 to 51 per cent in 2011.”

It is just as well because, as the report explains, the number of same-sex couple parented families in Australia is also growing.

“It is estimated there were 48,000 same-sex couples in June 2015 (0.9 per cent of all couple families). This is an increase from 0.3 per cent of all couple households in 1996,” the report states.

The figures were taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which also noted the rise could be more of a reflection of an “increasing willingness for same-sex couples to disclose their relationship”.

“It could also be the case that same-sex partners are now more prepared to form a couple household, rather than to maintain separate homes,” the AIFS report explains.

Children with same-sex parents do well

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As the AIFS study clearly points out: “The evidence does not support the view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children.”

This is not the first time a study has shown children of same-sex parented families aren’t at a disadvantage.

In 2014, University of Melbourne researchers even found children of same-sex couples were happier and healthier than kids from traditional families.

Regardless of this positive move toward acceptance, the AIFS report explains the perceived stigma of having same-sex parents still has a negative association with a child’s mental health.

“Parents who reported perceived stigma related to their same-sex attraction (e.g., being the subject of gossip, social exclusion) provided a poorer assessment of their child’s outcomes in physical activity and emotional development, and poorer family cohesion compared with other same-sex attracted parents,” the report explains.

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