Discrimination harms children, not same-sex parents - study

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As the postal vote on same-sex marriage draws to a close in Australia a new study has been released debunking one of the Vote No campaign's arguments against marriage equality.

One parent of each gender being vital to children's development is one of the core arguments used by the Vote No campaign, with signs saying "a child has a right to a mother and a father" a common sight at protests.

However, research has shown that children raised by same-sex parents do just as well as those raised by opposite sex parents.

The report, entitled The Kids are OK: It is Discrimination Not Same-Sex Parents that Harms Children, analysed several international studies on how well-adjusted children raised by same-sex parents are.

It aimed to correct misinformation that has been widely circulated during the postal vote in Australia.

"The findings of these reviews reflect a broader consensus within the fields of family studies and psychology," researchers said.

"It is family processes - parenting quality, parental wellbeing, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships within the family - rather than family structures that make a more meaningful difference to children's wellbeing and positive development."

The study's lead author, Professor Frank Oberklaid, also found that LGBTQI+ young people experience some of highest rates of psychological distress in Australia.  

"Young LGBTIQ+ people are much more likely to experience poor mental health, self-harm and suicide than other young people," he said.

"Sadly, this is largely attributed to the harassment, stigma and discrimination they and other LGBTIQ+ individuals and communities face in our society."

Voting on the same-sex marriage survey closes on November 7, with results expected on November 15.