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AAP supports marriage equality as beneficial for kids

Thursday March 21, 2013
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The American Academy of Pediatrics has officially stated its support of civil marriage for same-gender couples, and for full adoption and foster-care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation, as the best ways to guarantee benefits and security for their children.

The AAP policy statement, "Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian," and an accompanying technical report were published March 20 on the website of the journal Pediatrics.

"Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage," Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chairman of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement, said in a news release. "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."

In a previous policy statement, published in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2010, the AAP supported second-parent adoption by partners of the same sex as a way to protect childrenís right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security. The 2013 policy statement and accompanying technical report add recommendations in 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.

"The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the academyís support for families," said Ellen Perrin, MD, FAAP, co-author of the policy statement. "If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, itís in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so."

Many studies have attested 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, according to the AAP. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination and childrenís exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities. The sexual orientation of parents does not have an effect, according to the statement.

The AAP "supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children," according to the policy statement.

A link to a PDF of the policy statement is available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0376.abstract. A link to a PDF of the technical report is available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0377.abstract.

The American Academy of Nursing last summer issued a statement of support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. See the PDF of the statement at http://bit.ly/MZm7Po.


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