A new study provides a counter-argument to Rick Santorum, who suggested that children of lesbian parents were “worse off than children with a father in prison.”

The new study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, has found that teens raised by lesbian parents report the same levels happiness and quality of life as teens raised by heterosexual parents.

This new research comes just weeks after a campaign in New Hampshire where presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, said gay parents “rob children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.”

He called upon research to suggest that teenagers raised by heterosexual parents have a better quality of life than those raised by lesbian parents.

The new study followed 78 17 year olds, who were matched in age, gender, ethnicity and parental education to a sample of teens raised by heterosexual parents.

A co-author of the study, Loes van Gelderen, Msc. wrote: “Consistently, over the past three decades, researchers have found that the daughters and sons of same-sex parents are psychologically well-adjusted. And now our new data demonstrate that 17-year-olds raised from birth by lesbian mothers are as happy as their peers.”

The study not only focusses on quality of life for teenagers with lesbian parents, but also ‘provides insight into positive aspects of mental health of adolescents with lesbian mothers.’

This research is part of a long term study initiated by Nanette Gartrell of the National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study, the largest and longest-running study of mothers and children in planned lesbian families.