A study released last week by researchers at the University of Melbourne found children raised by gay and lesbian couples are healthier and happier than the general population.

Researchers surveyed 500 children being raised by 315 same-sex parents.

On average, children raised by gay couples scored 6% higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.

“That's really a measure that looks at how well families get along, and it seems that same-sex-parents families and the children in them are getting along well, and this has positive impacts on child health,” lead researcher Doctor Simon Crouch told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Dr. Crouch said the findings counter the arguments of marriage equality opponents who say gay parenting hurts children.

“Quite often, people talk about marriage equality in the context of family and that marriage is necessary to raise children in the right environment, and that you need a mother and a father to be able to do that, and therefore marriage should be restricted to male and female couples,” he said. “I think what the study suggests in that context is that actually children can be brought up in many different family contexts, and it shouldn't be a barrier to marriage equality.”

Roslyn Phillips of the Christian conservative group FamilyVoice Australia questioned the objectivity of Dr. Crouch, who is a gay parent.

“I acknowledge that I am from a same-sex-parent family, however I am one of a number of researchers on the paper who come from all sorts of different backgrounds,” Dr. Crouch said. “There's a wide range of research across many different areas; first and foremost I'm a researcher, I'm a medical doctor and I'm a public health practitioner, and the objectivity I bring to this study doesn't depend on my own personal situation.”