CHILDREN in same-sex families experience higher quality parenting and do as well emotionally, socially and educationally as those from heterosexual couple families, research shows.
An Australian Institute of Family Studies report states that “research to date considerably challenges the point of view that same-sex parented families are harmful to children”.
The report notes that a remaining area of inequality for same-sex couples was their access to adoption.
South Australia and Queensland are the only places where single people cannot adopt, which further excludes people in a committed same-sex relationship.
In Australia, about 11 per cent of gay men and 33 per cent of lesbians have children.
The children may have been conceived in previous heterosexual relationships or raised from birth by a co-parenting gay or lesbian couple or single parent.
The report says some benefits for children raised by lesbian couples, in particular, were that they experienced higher quality parenting and displayed more open-mindedness towards sexual, gender and family diversity.
“Lesbian co-parenting couples display a range of parenting strengths, for example, less authoritarian parenting styles, and report higher quality relationships with their children than matched samples of heterosexual parents,” the report says.
“They also tend to spend more time with their children.”
On the negative side, the report shows that children raised in same-sex parented families worry about being teased, harassed or bullied, particularly by peers at school.
“Despite this, children with lesbian mothers are only modestly more likely than their peers with heterosexual parents to be teased or bullied about their family composition or parents’ sexuality,” the report says.
It concludes that more could be done to develop policies and practices supportive of same-sex parented families in the Australian health, education, child protection and foster care systems.
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