Marriage-equality supporters gained another important ally yesterday when the 83-year-old American Academy of Pediatrics declared its support for same-sex marriage.
In a policy statement titled "Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian," the nonpartisan organization of pediatricians states that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in order to guarantee them all state and federal rights and benefits and ensure long-term security for their children. According to the AAP, "children's well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents."
"Children need secure and enduring relationships with committed and nurturing adults to enhance their life experiences for optimal social-emotional and cognitive development," the statement reads. "Scientific evidence affirms that children have similar developmental and emotional needs and receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders."
Moreover, the academy states, "If a child has 2 living and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond by way of civil marriage, it is in the best interests of their child(ren) that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so, irrespective of their sexual orientation."
While adoption and foster parenting remain options, according to the academy those options should be available regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents.
The 2010 U.S. Census report counted 646,464 households that include two adults of the same gender, altoghether raising 115,000 children. When combined with single gay parents, nearly 2 million children are being raised by gay parents.
The announcement from the organization of more than 60,000 pediatricians comes less than a week before the Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments in cases challenging California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Opponents of same-sex marriage have argued that children have a right to be raised by a mother and father, but the latest report from the AAP casts further doubts on if the sexual orientation of parents benefit children. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 64 percent of Americans believe same-sex couples can be just as good parents as straight couples, a 10 point increase from 2003.
According to Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, "This announcement is the latest in a chain of evidence stretching back years that clearly states marriage equality is good for children. As today's announcement by the AAP underscores, marriage equality’s adversaries simply have no evidence to back up their absurd claims to the contrary."
[Photo courtesy of greenmelinda/Flickr]
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