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Family

New study suggests children of same-sex couples are happier

Same sex couples raise happier and healthier children than couples in traditional family units, new Australian research suggests.

A study by the University of Melbourne, found that the kids of same-sex couples scale better "than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion."
Dr Simon Crouch and his team of researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of 315 same-sex parents (80 per cent female and 18 per cent male) to investigate the physical health and social wellbeing of more than 500 children.
Dr Crouch told the ABC that same-sex couples faced less pressure to meet traditional gender stereotypes which could promote household harmony.
"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," he said.
"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."
The study could have positive implications for the same-sex marriage movement which often contends with a push against its legalisation for the sake of a child's wellbeing.
"Quite often, people talk about marriage equality in the context of family and that marriage is necessary to raise children in the right environment, and that you need a mother and a father to be able to do that, and therefore marriage should be restricted to male and female couples," Dr Crouch told the ABC.
"I think what the study suggests in that context is that actually children can be brought up in many different family contexts, and it shouldn't be a barrier to marriage equality."
However, Daniel Nalliah - an anti same-sex marriage advocate and president of the Rise Up Australia Party - disagrees with the study and suggests people should remain cautious with it's findings.
"Firstly the researcher himself, Simon Crouch, is leading a gay relationship so obviously, like very much myself who is a person who believes in heterosexual marriage, if I were to do research possibly on my part, I might be quite bias in some way or form towards my point of view," Nalliah told The Weekly.
"He will not be able to [have] a neutral point of view because obviously, like it or not, his gut feeling is to promote the agenda of what he believes is right."
The conservative Christian minister and father-of-three, also said the results are not a true indication of how children growing up in gay households fare because respondents volunteered for the survey.
"Samples were chosen by people who were actually were volunteering to do the survey so that would possibly be people who are happy would be the only ones who would come forward rather than those who have had a problem," he said.
When these criticisms were put to Dr Crouch he told The Weekly his personal orientation had no impact on the results of the study.
"It's a really interesting way to try and criticise the research," said Crouch. "If you were to try and follow the argument to it's logical conclusion you would then have to say obviously heterosexual researchers can't conduct unbiased research about heterosexual families or somebody who is not Caucasian would not be able to conduct unbiased research about discrimination and child health.
"The personal context of a researcher may spark an interest in a topic, which obviously sparked an interest in the topic for myself, but it doesn't detract from the fact that first and foremost I am a researcher, a medical health doctor and a public health practitioner that brings objectivity to everything that I do," he said.
Dr Crouch, who worked with a team of five other researchers, says he stands by the study's findings.
"Some people will never accept that some families are different to the traditional mother-father construct and I think these people will look for any way they can to undermine research that suggests other daily settings are just as good in bringing diversity to the way children are raised in Australia," he said.

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