American Academy of Pediatrics Backs Marriage Equality as 'Best Interests' of Kids

The influential group said it released the policy change so that the Supreme Court justices would be able to consider it.

BY Lucas Grindley

March 21 2013 6:20 PM ET

Dr. Paul Melchert, son, Emmett,  partner James Zimerman, right, holds twin, Gabriel, during a news conference in St. Paul, Minn., where lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.

In time for the Supreme Court to consider next week, the influential American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time issued public support for marriage equality today, arguing its in the "best interests" of children.

“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, chairman of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the new policy statement issued today.

The statement concludes, "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." In other words, science has found no difference between children from homes with LGBT parents compared to straight parents.

Washington Post columnist George Will, a prominent conservative voice, had recently written a column claiming no one knows if having same-sex parents who are legally married could harm children. His case, headlined "The Shaky Science Behind Same-Sex Marriage," was widely criticized as homophobic and unaware of actual research.

Along with its policy change, the Academy of Pediatrics also published online a lengthy technical report today in the journal, Pediatrics. It cites "more than 30 years of research" to make its case that children are put in no danger by having same-sex parents and are actually better off if their parents are legally married.

The new policy statement encourages pediatricians to call for marriage equality, saying 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.”

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