Everyone please gather round for today’s lesson in logic, brought to us by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you stigmatize and discriminate against a child’s parents, putting unnecessary stress on the adults, it could quite possibly have a negative effect on the children in these households. What’s more, sexual orientation doesn’t define your competency as a parent. And here’s why the academy has decided to support same-sex marriage.
While some of us (me) might think that this sounds like a pretty reasonable and easy decision to come to, the academy didn’t make their policy announcement on a whim. Turns out, pediatricians have been studying and debating the scientific information around this issue for four years now. Their policy comes with a ten-page report citing more than 60 studies. But it’s findings can be simply stated.
According to the academy:
“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.”
While not every doctor is going to agree with this group, their announcement is a huge step in support. It gives a medical backing to those who aren’t just fighting for marriage equality, but also for the rights of same-sex couples to foster or adopt children, rights that it seems unbelievable for us to deny based on sexual orientation. The academy’s announcement helps anyone fighting against the bigoted idea that a gay or lesbian couple somehow shouldn’t raise children.
While most of the talk around marriage equality focuses on the importance of benefits and a stable home, doctors also mentioned the importance of the divorce structure and how it can help children when parents split up. A co-author of the study explains, “If people can’t get married, then they can’t get divorced. That legal system that exists to protect our most vulnerable, namely children, isn’t in play.” No matter how much people might dislike family court, it sets up a system of child custody and visitation that’s important for the children of separated parents.
As the possible end to the Defense Of Marriage Act draws near, with the Supreme Court taking up the case soon, this policy and the study that accompanies it could become key pieces of evidence for marriage equality. Now, there’s more than just anecdotal accounts of amazing same-sex parents. Now, we have doctors whose primary focus is caring for children standing up to say that same-sex marriage helps, it matters to these families and that allowing it is in the best interest of the children.
It’s a logical statement, but it is also a powerful and important one that we’re thrilled to see come from the medical community.