Children with same-sex parents achieve better school results than children with heterosexual parents, according to a study by three education economists at KU Leuven.
The main explanation for the difference is that same-sex couples are more likely to have a higher socioeconomic status, according to the researchers.
If the factor of the parents' social status is omitted, however, the researchers still found a different, even though it was a small one, between children in same-sex families and children in heterosexual ones.
One possible reason for this, according to the researchers, is that gay couples are more motivated regarding education and spend more time with their children, because they have to overcome both financial and legal barriers.
The three economists, Deni Mazrekaj, Kristof De Witte and Sofie Cabus, were able to follow the school career of some 3,000 children with same-sex parents, from birth to the end of their primary education. For about a third of the children, they continued following them to the end of secondary education.
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The research focused on children in the Netherlands, as same-sex marriage and adoption have been legal since 2001 in the country, giving the researchers a lot of data to work with.
They studied administrative data of 1,204,692 children born between 1998 and 2007, provided by Dutch government institution Statistics Netherlands. Of them, 2,971 children lived with same-sex parents: 2,786 children with two mothers, and 185 children with two fathers.
Of those 2,971 children, 1,390 grew up in a same-sex family (born and lived in the family for the full 12 years), 1,531 children ended up in a same-sex family when one of their parents found a new partner of the same sex after a divorce, and 50 children were adopted.
Similar data is not yet available in Belgium, according to the researchers. "However, given the similarities between Belgium and the Netherlands, we suspect that these findings also apply to Belgium," said De Witte.
The Brussels Times