Pediatric group backs gay marriage because it helps children
Catherine Saint Louis writes in the NY Times:
The American Academy of Pediatrics declared its support for same-sex marriage for the first time on Thursday, saying that allowing gay and lesbian parents to marry if they so choose is in the best interests of their children.
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’s review of scientific literature began more than four years ago, and the result is a 10-page report with 60 citations.
“If the studies are different in their design and sample but the results continue to be similar, that gives scientists and consumers more faith in the result,” said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the new policy and a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Other scientists called the evidence lackluster and said the academy’s endorsement was premature. Loren Marks, an associate professor of child and family studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said there was not enough national data to support the pediatric association’s position on same-sex marriage. “National policy should be informed by nationally representative data,” he said. “We are moving in the direction of higher-quality national data, but it’s slow.”
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.
A large body of evidence demonstrates that children raised by gay or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive and social functioning as peers raised by heterosexuals, the academy said.
One study in England compared 39 families with lesbian mothers to 74 heterosexual parents and 60 families headed by single heterosexual women. No difference was found between the groups in emotional involvement, abnormal behaviors in children as reported by parents or teachers, or psychiatric disorders in them. Both mothers and teachers reported more behavioral problems among children in single-parent families than two-parent ones, whatever their sexual orientation.
A 2010 study of children born to 154 lesbian parents in the United States compared . . .
Continue reading. A very intriguing story, but it will convince only those who are swayed by evidence.