What makes a same-sex parented family?

Simon R Crouch, Ruth P McNair, Elizabeth B Waters and Jennifer J Power
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (2): 94-96. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.11234

In 2011, we saw the Australian Census of Population and Housing recognise same-sex marriages for the first time.1 However, we have also recently witnessed the winding back of civil union legislation in Queensland, which had previously allowed for legally recognised unions between same-sex couples, and there have been suggestions that same-sex couples should be written out of surrogacy legislation in that state. It is in this contradictory context that we are aiming to capture complete data on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Australian children with at least one same-sex attracted parent through a national research project, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families (ACHESS).2 In developing this study, we considered what makes a same-sex parented family and how many of these families there might be in Australia. Here, we bring a fresh perspective to the concept of same-sex parented families in Australia by posing key research questions and drawing from the history of same-sex parenting and the present experience of these families in Australia. In the process, we identified that this group comprises a very diverse range of family types, with possible implications for health care delivery.

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  • Simon R Crouch1,2
  • Ruth P McNair3
  • Elizabeth B Waters4
  • Jennifer J Power5

  • 1 McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing,University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Sydney NSW
  • 3 Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 4 School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 5 The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC


This research is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship, the John and Allan Gilmour Research Award, and the Jack Brockhoff Foundation.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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