American Academy of Pediatrics: Same-sex marriage good for kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics dove headfirst into the same-sex marriage debate issuing a policy statement last week that “allowing gay and lesbian parent to marry if they choose to do is in the best interest of their children,” according to The New York Times.

From The New York Times:

“The academy’s new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation….”

“The academy cited research finding 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 academy said…”

“ ‘Marriage strengthens families and benefits child development, and it also increases a parent’s sense of competence and security when they are able to raise children without stigma,” said Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the lead author of the study and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.”

The academy reviewed scientific literature for more than four years summarized in a 10-page report with more than 60 citations. (See the story for examples of the studies.)

Dissenting doctors said there was not yet enough national data to support this position on same-sex marriage.

So what do you think (and let’s try to keep it civil and respectful):

  1. Does marriage for any couple create a better, more stable environment for children?
  2. Would same-sex marriage create a more a better home for children of gay and lesbian parents?
  3. Do you think this is something the American Academy of Pediatrics should have an opinion on?
  4. Do you think benefits of marriage can be viewed through a medical lens?
  5. What do you think about the quantity and quality of the medical studies?

75 comments Add your comment

Greg

March 25th, 2013
5:19 am

What it proves is what I’ve seen with my own eyes. I know gay couples with children, and they’re just like my own kids. They’re raised in loving and stable homes. They have all the same problems and growing pains we go through. What they lack are the legal protections of marriage that my wife and I enjoy. There is no valid reason to deny the children or their parents the same rights we have. In all other respects they are exactly the same.

FCM

March 25th, 2013
5:23 am

Sudies show children benefit from having loving, caring people who provide structure, stability, and dicipline in their lives. This true if the grandparents or other family raise the child instead of bio parents. So why would it matter if it were same gender people?

AAP can have an opinion & advise but you don’t have to follow it. They can only state generalities. As every parent of multiple offspring knows, each child is different and one size approach doesn’t work.

A stable homelife with 2 parents is opitimal. However that does not mean single patents are wrong worse parents. My children are better off with 2 parents who love them, and we can all sit & talk. The. distrust, arguing, and spousal abuse that marked the last year of marriage would not be a place for kids to grow up.

dc

March 25th, 2013
6:11 am

It would be a much easier solution if the Govt just got out of the business of marriage. Why are they in it anyway? Treat everyone as the individual that they are, and stop all this divisive madness.

Govt policies are punishing marriage as it is…so we are getting much more of it. A married couple pays more taxes than if they were just living together. How is that remotely sane?

Mother of 2

March 25th, 2013
6:47 am

Marriage provides greater financial stability, I think everyone agrees on this point. It shouldn’t matter if the couple is gay or straight. The AAP provided a scientific review of the data and is an unbiased group of professionals dedicated to the health and welfare of children; it is for this reason I am happy that they weighed in on this topic. I’m not sure that they are viewing the topic through a medical lens, a scientific lens is probably more like it.

Some people believe that being gay or lesbian is deviant. These people will be hard to convince that having gay or lesbian parents is ever okay. However, I am happy that data is being discussed in the above article.

Jeff

March 25th, 2013
6:49 am

If 2 people can find each other and care enough about each other to want to make the commitment, then good for them. And yes, kids with 2 parents are better off than those with one parent.

Worried about the “sin” aspect of it? It’s their sin to answer for, not yours. Are you as worried about those with the “sin” of gluttony or lust and how it impacts their children? What about the sin of adultery? Want to take the kids away from those parents? My guess is no.

Mayhem

March 25th, 2013
7:12 am

I agree with Jeff 100%!!!

FCM

March 25th, 2013
7:25 am

“Marriage provides greater financial stability” that was true before the recent economic crisis. I have read that families are stuggling to stay afloat financially.

@ dc…Marriage licenes started in the Middle Ages as special license from the King or Archbishop of Cantabury if the the marriage would otherwise be able to be annulled or declared illegal. (Romeo and Juliet could have likely gotten one if they applied for example).

@ Jeff…Agree.

Two parents better than one?

March 25th, 2013
7:30 am

Not necessarily, but I get your point…and, did anyone check the sexual orientation of the people who did this study?

Aquagirl

March 25th, 2013
7:32 am

Dissenting doctors said there was not yet enough national data to support this position on same-sex marriage

The alternative is either a one-parent family or two people shacking up. Exactly how much data is required of gay couples to prove marriage is better than the default situation?

Common Sense

March 25th, 2013
7:39 am

Given that homosexual relationships seem to be just about as dysfunctional (if not more) than most heterosexual relationships, what difference does it make. The bottom line is that either neither of these people is the biological parent or only one of them is. As such, unless both are ALLOWED and step up to the plate to take FULL financial, etc. responsibility (adoption) then the kids are going to end up worse off when the relationship fails (50% is the current rate for heterosexual marriages, can’t imagine anything better if homosexual marriages are fully allowed).

I wonder if the Roman Empire faced the same degeneration of their society as their empire was coming to an end?

Real Life

March 25th, 2013
7:54 am

I am good friends with 2 gay couples who adopted and are rearing their children. The kids are successful in school, play sports, volunteer in their community (2 are now teens) and attend church weekly. Their parents have been partners since college and are now in their late 40s. The couples are loving, involved parents. They are open-minded and their children are open-minded. These two couples would like to marry—but are told it would destroy the sanctity of marriage for them to do so.
If those opposed to gay marriage were concerned about preserving marriage then they should be supporting strict requirements (age, income, counseling, etc) to obtain a marriage license, divorce would be harder to get and re-marriage for the divorced would be almost impossible. Child rearing, when parents are divorced, should be overseen by an impartial supervisor. Everyone should be allowed to marry no more than twice—after all, the argument is that gay marriage will undermine the institution of marriage.

Most opponents of gay marriage have very narrow views of what is acceptable in regards to marriage. They overlook the fact that stable loving homes have a very positive influence on children as they grow. And that love and stability are not determined by sexual orientation at all.

DebbieDoRight - A Do Right Woman

March 25th, 2013
7:54 am

1) A Happy marriage — yes.

2) A Happy marriage — yes.

3) Yes

4) A Happy marriage — yes.

5) I think its great.

Me

March 25th, 2013
8:53 am

I think the stable and happy part outweighs the gay marriage vis-a-vis conventional marriage argument — The happier and more stable the environment, the better it is for all involved; parents and children alike.

Progress

March 25th, 2013
9:06 am

Lots of compassionate, reasonable opinions here so far. Surprising, as this is not a topic that normally elicits those types of opinions.

MiltonMan

March 25th, 2013
9:13 am

“Worried about the “sin” aspect of it? It’s their sin to answer for, not yours.”

Ah yes, gotta love those that try the Bible reference without really knowing the Bible. Do you think the “innocent” people who suffered because of the apostasy of the Hebrews in their sinful behaviors would agree with you???

DB

March 25th, 2013
9:14 am

I look at this from the other end of the spectrum — what is an ideal home for a child? To me, an ideal home for a child is a home where a child is raised by a loving and mature father and mother who are in a stable, committed, loving and monogamous relationship. That’s the ideal. It provides necessary stability and structure, and provides a framework for sexual identity and relationships as the kids grow and establish their own relationships.

Does that mean that every child has the ideal? Ha. There are plenty of children being raised by single parents due to divorce,death, etc. There are plenty of kids caught in the middle of acrimonious marriages. I think the title of this blog is a big misleading — to say that gay marriage is “good” for kids. Good compared to . . . bad? Is it BEST for kids? I don’t think so — but it’s better than a whole lot of other ugly alternatives.

Here’s what I see: My kids went to a private Christian school. Most families were mom and dad. There were a few single parents, and a few divorced parents, but it was definitely the minority. Then they ended up at large pubic universities. My daughter called me about two months into her freshman year and said, “Did I ever thank you for being boring?” Huh? Apparently, they had been sitting around one night, and she was the ONLY one out of five or six students whose parents were a) still married, and b) happily married. She sat with her mouth opened as the other kids casually discussed their dysfunctional family lives — multiple divorces, drug and alcohol use by the parents, kids who weren’t sure if this year’s stepfather was #4 or #5, dad was in rehab and couldn’t make it for orientation, hadn’t seen dad (or mom) for years, one was worried about keeping mom and dad apart because mom had stabbed dad one time in anger over child support . . . they looked at her, expecting her to share her story, and she spread her hands, shook her head and said, “I’ve got nothing — compared to you guys, my parent are the most boring people in the world!” A couple of the kids sighed enviously. “Boring is GOOD,” one of them assured her.

A simple guy

March 25th, 2013
9:27 am

The American Academy of Pediatrics is making a political statement, not offering a medical opinion. Call it a ’study’ –it started with a politcal opinion and then a methodical search for evidence to support that opinion. Personally, I don’t think a marriage certifcate matters, all other things being equal. If you want children for YOUR benefit, to make you feel better about yourself, then your children have a near zero chance of not being mentally insecure in some way. And don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, this applies to straights and gays. Having children may make you feel better about your screwy life, but it doesn’t help the children. Love is NOT all you need, it’s only a start.

Devil's Advocate

March 25th, 2013
9:28 am

1. Yes
2. Probably
3. Everyone is entitled to an opinion as long as it is not presented as a fact
4. No conclusively. Plenty of married couples produce messed up kids. Plenty of single parent families have produced great kids.
5. Life is too complex for us to control in absolute fashion. It’s reasonable that lower stress, higher quality environments should produce healthier people. But working hard to earn a high quality lifestyle often comes at the price of stress in work-life balance.

The government giving every family $1 million per child and free comprehensive healthcare would be in the best interest of children too. Think of the lower stress of just living knowing you can have every illness treated and plenty of cash to make sure your children have all the material things they need to enjoy their young lives. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea though…

jarvis

March 25th, 2013
9:33 am

As I posted on another forum last week, I’m not particularly interested in gay marriage.

It’s a total distraction from what I’d like to be talking about politically like long-term debt and an inflated Federal employee population. I’m not gay and I’m not a movie star trying to make myself sound socially important. The outcome of this has very little impact on me.

If I was at the polls for something else, and their was a general referendum dealing with the topic, I’d vote for its legalization. Freedom of choice for all (as long as it hurts no one else), but I’m not that passionate about it (or really any other social issue).

q

March 25th, 2013
9:58 am

dc- gov’t in marriage is not the problem, like all things, it is religion.

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
10:01 am

Hmmmmm, so if “traditional” marriage is not an option, and a person is NOT gay….would they also endorse a polygamist family????

Ann

March 25th, 2013
10:06 am

@ Two parents better than one? – The four year review covered multiple studies (over 60 citations), not just one. The AAP’s policy reviews are based on scientific literature.

This policy is consistent with most other medical organizations. The following groups also support gay marriage: American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American College of Nursing.

And, the American Medical Association also supported one of the Supreme Court cases, which contends the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Valerie Lyons

March 25th, 2013
10:11 am

I’m with Jarvis on this topic.

Ann

March 25th, 2013
10:29 am

@ Jarvis – I understand the issue is not a “priority” for you, as you view other things more important at this time for policy discussion. But, doesn’t the stability of children, in general, (and the resulting behaviors and problems that go with instability) impact us all? How many times would you say you have complained or commented on “other children not being raised or taught well” on this blog over the years? Two parents and a stable home life certainly help in that regard.

You state you are “not gay”, implying no need for an opinion. Some people have an opinion on the issue regardless of their personal family experience. Others are like Senator Portman or Dick Cheney, their views change when they experience the issue through the eyes of their children, whom they love. Profound personal experience can alter or enhance your views and foster empathy, whether it be about gay marriage, cancer or anything else. I am not gay either, but I do have empathy regarding the situations of others. And, I realize that my family life may potentially be impacted in the future by policies such as this, since we can’t typically predict the sexual preference of our children or grandchildren.

Warrior Woman

March 25th, 2013
11:38 am

1.Usually, but depends on details of the marriage
2.No.
3.No
4.No
5.Inadequate – The studies involve extremely small sample sizes and lack nationally representative data.

This is not a pronouncement, as some have said above, by an unbiased group driven by data. This is a policy statement driven by political expediency.

Grasshopper

March 25th, 2013
12:02 pm

We have more than enough data to support the contention that divorce hurts kids. Yet divorce is allowed, accepted and commonplace.

Let gays marry. It is good for families. End the hypocrisy and double standards.

jarvis

March 25th, 2013
12:19 pm

@Ann, I’m sorry I don’t care more. I just don’t.
In a list of problems facing our country, whether or not gay people can marry is not in my top 25.

I think politicians drawing a line in the sand around it is a lot of wasted energy that could be better spent elsewhere. That said, if they are hell bent on getting it on a ballot or before the Supreme Court, I’d back the gay marriage side.

C from Marietta

March 25th, 2013
12:49 pm

Let gay folks marry and move on. This issue is just something to distract us, while they rob you blind. Letting gays marry will not be the end of the world as the Eric Erickson’s of the world you lead you to believe. They aren’t hurting anyone. If anything a child could learn from committed loving adults.

Ann

March 25th, 2013
12:53 pm

@ jarvis – Some politicians draw a line in the sand for moral reasons, on one side of the issue or the other. Other politicians spend time and focus on the issue due to “votes” and their constituents. 5% of the voters in the 2012 presidential election identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. This translates to almost 6 million voters. Of that group, 77% voted for Obama. 5% of the voting population is a powerful number that can tip the scales of elections when there is an issue that rallies the population one way or the other. As a group, the gay and lesbian population is higher educated than the general population, yet salaries are lower, possibly due to discrimination. For these folks, these issues do often fall under the “economics” category.

Steve

March 25th, 2013
12:58 pm

As long as both parents are named Steve, I see no problem with it.

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
1:09 pm

….well I’m a proud polygamist….I’m being persecuted….I wanna adopt children too…..blah blah blah

jarvis

March 25th, 2013
1:42 pm

Polygamy can be directly linked to the oppression of women. Find a country on Earth that practices it, and you’ll find a country that oppresses women.

That and the Supreme Court already weighed in on it. In Reynolds v. United States, the SC said that allowing polygamy under the guise of religous freedom would be like allowing human sacrifice.

Voter

March 25th, 2013
1:46 pm

“Some politicians draw a line in the sand for moral reasons, on one side of the issue or the other. Other politicians spend time and focus on the issue due to “votes” and their constituents.”

Let me rephrase that for you Ann -

Some politicians draw a line in the sand for “monetary” reasons, on one side of the issue or the other. Other politicians spend time and focus on the issue due to “lobbists” and their MONEY.

99% of politicans don’t really care what you or I have to say, especially the Democrats. What they care about is how much MONEY you or I give them for their campaigns.

It’s all about the almighty dollar, not what the populas wants.

Ann

March 25th, 2013
2:00 pm

@ Voter – I agree with you about the money. When I referred to “votes and constituents”, I was including donations in that. You contradict yourself, however. First, you say that 99% of the politicians don’t care – then, you add, especially Democrats. So, Democrats are 99% and Republicans 1%? You started out making some logical arguments, then you fell off the partisan cliff into extreme untruths. Money talks across all parties. Lobbyists in Georgia target Gov. Deal and other Republicans as much as Democrats. You are naive if you don’t think that is the case.

Ann

March 25th, 2013
2:08 pm

@ Jarvis – I agree with your comments on polygamy. Well said.

@ Maximus – Why would a polygamist need to adopt when they have 100 children with 30 wives? Oh, maybe because the children (and wives) keep escaping from the abusive community. This blog article is about the union between two people. Polygamists treat women as if they are cattle to be bought. You must get your thrills from tossing out an extreme comment meant to inflame. I’m glad to see that most of the commentators today had respectful, reasonable debate points, on one side or the other, giving everyone “food for thought”.

dd

March 25th, 2013
2:23 pm

I personally agree with Jarvis but would like to address one thing. So many comment here about how well the children of same sex couples grow up into productive citizens and I’m sure many do. However, I know a female same sex couple with 2 children that are just the opposite. One boy age 18 is in prison now for theft by taking and the other child (14) was taken by the father of the child so not all cases are as peachy as those mentioned above. As with every child, it’s a case by case basis and I don’t believe the same sex couple have any outcome in it just like any other couple doesn’t .

Voter

March 25th, 2013
2:28 pm

I should have put:
…”99% of the politicians don’t care (especially the Democrats)…”

Ann

March 25th, 2013
2:51 pm

@ Voter – you rephrased and said the same exact thing. If 99% don’t care, that’s plenty of Republicans, too, since they represent around 50% of the politicians. I guess you are saying that 99% of politicians “dont’ care”, but Democrats “don’t care” more than Republicans “don’t care”. “Don’t care” is pretty straightforward. It’s not like a scale of “I don’t care” just a little bit.

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
3:00 pm

Who says polygamy only involves men with multiple wives. How about a woman with multiple husbands?? How does that oppress women?? You OK with that??

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
3:12 pm

So @ Jarvis, imagine 2 bisexual men and an “open minded” woman who all want to be married. All 3 are good citizens, pay taxes, and are not criminals. They want to adopt an underprivileged orphan. They all have jobs, in fact, they have THREE incomes to support their adoptee. Will you exclude them from adopting? Should we allow them by law? Make exception? Who decides? What are the limits?

Doesn’t seem like an “extreme” scenario to me….

Ann

March 25th, 2013
3:21 pm

@ Maximus – How about sharing some facts on what percentage of polygamists in the history of U.S. have been women with multiple husbands? Less than 1% perhaps?

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
3:43 pm

So if less than 1% of family households fit my scenario, are their “rights” not worthy enough to fight for??

So are you in favor of legalizing polygamy and allowing “loving” polygamists to adopt? Because in my view, if you say no….you’re a hypocrite

FarTrain

March 25th, 2013
3:48 pm

Ann, Maximus has a valid point even though I am not a proponent of either lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1% or 30% as the main argument of the LGBT crowd is “equality” and acceptance the same as “straights”. You cannot offer equality to one segment and not another, therefore it’s not “equal” now is it? Your saying it’s a very small number would also equate to homosexuals as the last number I saw was only about 4-5% of the US population. (Although from the liberal and biased media lately one would think it’s at least 60-70%) On another valid point one would think that if two parents are as good, or even better, then 4 or 5 loving parents would be ideal. I am afraid this is going to open up a whole “new can of worms” and who knows where it will stop. I am not usually one to say I told you so, but I did inform ye thusly.

Dolores Williams

March 25th, 2013
4:17 pm

Doctors not only have a right to comment on a child’s environment and it’s benefits – they have an obligation to do so. As for the marriage thing why not? No one seems to be able to answer that question? Really answer the question WHY NOT same sex marriage? (and you can’t use the word Bible in your answer.)

Ann

March 25th, 2013
4:50 pm

@FarTrain – You say “It doesn’t matter if it’s 1% or 30% as the main argument of the LGBT crowd is “equality” and acceptance the same as “straights”. You cannot offer equality to one segment and not another, therefore it’s not “equal” now is it?”

So, you are saying that because the LGBT crowd wants equality and acceptance the same as “straights” that somehow means polygamists should have rights. Really? The key thing is the “same as straights”. Uh, straights don’t have polygamy rights. It is illegal for “all” in all 50 states. So, if one group wants marital rights, in your eyes, that means that “anyone and everyone” regardless of circumstances or legality would then need the same. Uh, would that apply to pedophiles who may want to marry children, then?

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
5:15 pm

So Ann, by your reasoning, polygamists shouldn’t have rights to adopt children because polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. That is correct. But if you are true to your beliefs of equality for all, shouldn’t you fight to overturn those laws. In fact just until last year, wasn’t inter-racial marriage still “illegal” in the state of Mississippi??

My point is, if well meaning, kind hearted, genuine polygamist want to adopt orphans, shouldn’t a “equal rights champion” such as yourself be on the mountaintop proclaiming how unfair it is that polygamy is “illegal? Much like interracial marriage once was ?

Ann

March 25th, 2013
6:29 pm

@ Maximus – Where did I make any statement about “equality for all”. My statements are about marriage between two people (heterosexual or homosexual). I find it interesting that most people who are opposed to gay marriage support the “defense of marriage” act efforts that outline marriage as between a man and a woman. Currently, the majority of our society, Congress, the government, the populous in general, the Mormon church, etc., view polygamy as “harmful” to women and children. The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with most other medical associations, have stated that gay marriage is “not” harmful to children. When major medical and societal organizations come out with a similar policy statement on polygamy, perhaps you will have your wish.

Maximus Desimus Meridius

March 25th, 2013
6:59 pm

There was a time in our society when interracial marriage was considered “harmful” to this country. Do you believe polygamy amongst good people is harmful? If not, why is that any different from gay marriage?

Lets take that a step further… What about marriage between committed first cousins, siblings, even father-daughter, mother-son, father-son, mother-daughter…. If these people have genuine love, why should they be excluded. Are the any more “deviant” then gay or lesbians?

See what I mean by “slippery slope”?

Progress

March 25th, 2013
7:19 pm

I think that being born was a slippery slope to stupidity for Maximus. He builds a false equivalency between gay marriage and polygamy (a criminal act), incest (a criminal act), and interracial marriage (???). Any intelligent adult with a reasonable sense of ethics understands why polygamy and incest are detrimental to society and why interracial marriage is no different from any other type of marriage. The fact that Maximus is having such difficulty understanding the distinctions would suggest either 1) he is lacking in intelligence, 2) he has an underdeveloped sense of ethics, or 3) both 1 and 2.

Ann

March 25th, 2013
7:24 pm

Are you kidding? Marriage between all the “family member” pairings that you list is against the law because it is considered harmful to children, along with other societal reasons. It leads to more children born with genetic disorders and disabilities.

Most polygamists in the U.S. historically were Mormon. The Mormon church changed it’s view on the practice, in large part due to the complaints of women within the church.

Your use of the word “deviant” tells us your frame of mind.