The rainbow lobby's narrative, heard all too frequently in Australia, that children raised by same-sex couples end up being no worse off than those from opposite-sex parents has been challenged in a new USA study.

The study, by Paul Sullins, found that children raised by same-sex couples had a higher depression rate in early adulthood. Coupled with a more frequent history of abuse victimisation, parental distance, and obesity, the study casts serious doubt over the frequent claim that children are unaffected by the type of relationship their parents have.

While there have already been dozens of studies alleging “no differences” in outcomes between children raised by same-sex parents and those raised by opposite-sex parents, this new study will be a challenge for the rainbow lobby driving the push for redefining marriage in Australia to brush off.

This new study, titled Invisible Victims: Delayed Onset Depression among Adults with Same-Sex Parents, looked at outcomes over a significant timeframe with the subjects being measured three times when they were aged approximately 15, 22, and 28. By the time those raised by same-sex parents were 28, they had more than twice the risk of depression compared to those raised by man-woman parents.

Significant sampling and design problems exist in many of the studies alleging “no differences”, particularly because very few use large, random samples. The Sullins study employed representative and longitudinal US National Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health data, taking into account changes occuring over time. It was limited, however, by a small sample size - a challenge for any study of this type.

While the study should be interpreted with caution and balance, the findings do cast yet further doubt on the claim that there are “no differences” in outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents compared with opposite-sex parents.

  • D. Paul Sullins, “Invisible Victims: Delayed Onset Depression among Adults with Same-Sex Parents,” Depression Research and Treatment, vol. 2016, Article ID 2410392, 8 pages, 2016. doi:10.1155/2016/2410392