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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a very important statement yesterday, in which the trusted organization publicly declared their support of same-gender marriage. The new AAP policy statement “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” and an accompanying technical report are being published in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics. The standout line from the report in support of same sex marriage is: “If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it’s in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.” The report also notes: “To promote optimal health and well-being of all children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports access for all children to civil marriage rights for their parents and willing and capable foster and adoptive parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation.”
Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement adds, “Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage. The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”
This is good news for alternative families, especially considering how much clout the AAP has in this country. The AAP policy statement builds on their older 2002 policy, which supported “Second-parent adoption by partners of the same sex as a way to protect children’s right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security.” The new policy is much more expansive, including AAP recommendations and support of civil marriage for same-gender couples; adoption by single parents, co-parents or second parents regardless of sexual orientation; and foster care placement regardless of sexual orientation.
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The AAP’s new policy rocks, but this isn’t the first time that the stability and usefulness of same-gender parenting has made headlines. Back in 2010 a study published in the journal Pediatrics found few differences between kids raised by opposite or same-gender parents — though surprisingly the study found that children in lesbian homes exhibited higher levels of self-esteem and confidence than kids raised by straight parents. This same study showed that kids raised by same-gender parents did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems. Other studies have shown that same-gender couples are often very involved with their kids, more so than straight parents even, according to some research, plus same-gender parents are more likely to discuss issues like diversity and tolerance with their kids early on. The new AAP policy backs up past research stating that, “A great deal of scientific research documents there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being.” In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support.”
With the above in mind, the AAP has now said that they “Support pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation…”