The Advantages of Gay Parents: Examining the Outcomes of Children of Same and Different-Sex Parents


  • Karmen J McNamara Thompson Rivers University


gay straight lesbian bisexual trans transgender gender sex sexuality children parenting child parent family families international Canadian sociology outcomes health education


In Canada, approximately 0.8% of couples are of the same sex, and there are approximately 10,000 children living with a same-sex couple (Statistics Canada 2015). At this time, there are no Canadian studies examining outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents compared with their peers raised by different-sex parents. Given that mental health, physical health, and educational outcomes among children from Western nations are generally comparable, it follows that data from multiple American, European, and Australian studies may be expected to predict trends for outcomes in Canadian children. A remarkable number of studies on the topic have emerged in recent years in the United States, Europe, and Australia. This paper reviews international studies on various outcomes of children of same-sex parents, and seeks to apply the findings in a Canadian context. Specifically, this paper will review outcomes of children with same-sex versus different-sex parents on measures related to three broad categories: psychological well-being, physical health, and education. After adjusting for socioeconomic factors such as income and education, no significant differences are discernible in health and development between children of same-sex couples versus children of different-sex couples. Additionally, some scholars have noted that children of same-sex couples outperform their peers on matters of education and civic engagement. Perceived differences between the two groups are more likely attributable to secondary factors such as parental income, level of education, and parental engagement with their children. Reference: Statistics Canada. 2015. Same-sex couples and sexual orientation... by the numbers. Retrieved from: