Pediatricians Say Children Helped by Gay Parents’ Marriage

Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 12:52 PM

By Cyrus Afzali

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The American Academy of Pediatrics threw its support behind same-sex marriage Thursday, ending a four-year review of scientific literature on the issue.

The doctors’ group says allowing gay parents to marry is in the best interest of children.
The academy formulated a new policy statement that says gay marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits, and long-term security for children. When marriage is not an option, the academy said anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, should be allowed to foster or adopt a child.

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The New York Times reported Thursday that the academy’s endorsement does not have universal support, with some calling the endorsement premature. Loren Marks, an associate professor of child and family studies at Louisiana State University, said too little national data existed to support the academy’s position. She said better national data is emerging, although at a slow pace.

In its report, the academy said research showed a child’s wellbeing is affected much more by the strength of family relationships and the economic and social resources available to the family than the sexual orientation of parents.

The academy also cited evidence that claims to show children raised by gay and lesbian parents performed as well in cognitive, emotional, and social functioning as peers raised by heterosexuals. One such study in England that compared 39 families with lesbian mothers to 74 heterosexual parents and 60 families headed by single heterosexual women found no difference in the children’s emotional involvement and identified no abnormal behavior in the children.

Both mothers and teachers found more behavioral problems among children in single-parent families than two-parent ones, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation.

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