With so much controversy surrounding whether children of same-sex parents fare better or worse than children raised by heterosexual parents (or whether there is no difference at all), a new study may shed some light and silence critics.

Children of lesbian parents have higher self-esteem and lower conduct problems than children of heterosexual parents, according to a study announced by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. On all other variables, including child-parent relationship and personal well-being, there was no difference at all, findings show.

This is the first time research compared adolescent-parent relationships and adolescent well-being in continuously-coupled lesbian and heterosexual families.

“By controlling for variables that might otherwise impact child outcomes, this study provides further evidence that raising children in families headed by same-sex couples is not a significant predictor of adolescent-parent relationships or of a child’s psychological adjustment,” Principal Investigator Henny Bos, PhD., a former visiting international scholar at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law and professor at the University of Amsterdam, said in a press release.

The study, which appears online in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, looked at 51 Dutch children born to lesbian parents through donor insemination compared to demographically similar children with heterosexual parents. The two groups were matched based on age, gender, education, and birth country.

Co-author of the report, Dr. Nanette Gatrell, told The Huffington Post such research shows “child and adolescent outcomes have more to do with the quality of parenting than the sexual orientation of the parents.” This is also the prevailing professional opinion of many leading child welfare, psychological, and children’s health organizations.

While the study shows that a parent’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to their abilities as a parent, there is still an uphill battle to equalize treatment of LGBT families and also address the disparities linked to social stigma, discrimination, and denial of civil and human rights. In the United States, LGBT single parents and couples face greater economic challenges than their non-LGBT counterparts, but several factors likely contribute, including that same-sex parents are more likely to be female, black, Latino/a, and young — all of these groups, on average, have lower incomes.

To read the full report, click here.

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