Liberal MP Kevin Andrews stated in an interview on Sky News (where else?), that children are better off with a mother and father rather than same-sex parents. He said: “Optimally, you’ve got the input from both [mother and father] and the children brought up in those circumstances are, as a cohort, better off than those who are not” and added “ whether it’s in terms of health outcomes, mental health, physical health, whether it’s in terms of employment prospects, in terms of how this is generated from one generation to another, the social science evidence is overwhelmingly in one direction in this regard”1.
The Conversation fact checked this1, and found the following:
- There is a large body of evidence that shows a stable family life is beneficial for children, but these benefits tend to be associated with higher income and education levels. These studies didn’t compare same-sex with opposite-sex married couples.
- One analysis indicated that children raised by same-sex parents were more than twice as likely to experience emotional problems than those in opposite-sex marriages, but this study did not take into account family stability. In addition all same-sex couples were grouped together, whereas opposite-sex couples were put into several categories.
- There has been comparatively little research on male same-sex families because of the small number of these families.
- One study between 95 female same-sex families and 95 opposite-sex families found no difference in general health, emotional difficulties, coping behaviour and learning behaviour.
- One large meta-analysis (an analysis of 40 other analyses) found that children in same-sex families fared as well as children in opposite-sex families in academic performance, cognitive development, social development, psychological health, early sexual activity and substance abuse.
- Another large meta-analysis (of 33 studies) found no evidence that children in female same-sex families fared worse than children raised by opposite-sex couples in security of attachment to parents, behavioural problems, self-perceptions of cognitive and physical competence, and interest, effort and success in school.
- An Australian study found that children and adolescents raised by same-sex parents fared as well as children of opposite-sex parents, and better on measures of general behaviour, general health and family cohesion. However, they did fear anxiety because of discrimination1.
The study often used by same-sex marriage opponents (the Regnerus study; item 2 above) has been heavily criticised because of its poor design. A reanalysis of the data using different criteria for categorising respondents, found the results inconclusive1.
Like most people foaming at the mouth at the concept of same-sex marriage, to Kevin Andrews, veracity means nothing. This seems to be endemic among those opposed to same-sex marriage. They either lie or, in their ignorance, cherry pick any result of a study supporting their view, no matter how flawed it is; and this is while ignoring all other studies. If there are no suitable results, then they just invent non-existent problems, in the same way as Tony Abbott2,3 and the Australian Christian Lobby do4.