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Topics In the News
American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Marriage Equality
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/21/13
Last updated on: 03/21/13
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On March 21, 2013, in a policy statement entitled "Promoting the Well Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian," the American Academy of Pediatrics has forcefully endorsed marriage equality. Noting that marriage strengthens families, the ten-page report authored by Drs. Ellen C. Perrin and Benjamin S. Siegal concludes that marriage equality is in the best interest of the children of gay and lesbian parents.

The report also contends that a child's well-being is much more affected by the strength of relationships among family members and a family's social and economic resources than by the sexual orientation of the parents. "There is an emerging consensus, based on extensive review of the scientific literature, that children growing up in households headed by gay men or lesbians are not disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents," the report declares.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is the nation's largest professional organization of pediatricians. It was founded in 1930 and has so 60,000 members in primary care and sub-specialist areas.

As the report declares, the mission of the Academy is to promote optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Hence, the Academy has historically worked, through its educational, research, advocacy, and policy efforts, to highlight the powerful connection between children's well being and the functioning of their most enduring source of support and inluence--their parents.

It is in this context that the Academy notes that "Children whose parents are gay and lesbian have historically been subjected to laws, social policies, and disapproving attitudes that create social distance and ostracism and challenge the stability of their families as well as their optimal social and psychological development."

The report asserts that "Because marriage strengthens families and, in so doing, benefits children's development, children should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married."

It adds, "Paths to parenthood that include assisted reproductive techniques, adoption, and foster parenting should focus on competency of the parents rather than their sexual orientation."

In her New York Times article on the Academy's endorsement of marriage equality, Catherine Saint Louis also notes that, in addition to the benefits of marriage for the children of same-sex parents, the Academy endorses marriage equality because divorce law provides for a legally structured arrangement for visits and custody if parents decide to separate.

She quotes one of the co-authors of the Academy's report, Dr. Ellen Perrin, who observes, "If people can't get married, then they can't get divorced. That legal system that exists to protect our most vulnerable, namely children, isn't in play."

The report's exhaustive review of literature is significant as well for its disdainful dismissal of the fraudulent report by Mark Regnerus that purported to find that children of same-sex parents lagged significantly behind children of married heterosexual parents.

The Academy's report may be found here.

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