To promote optimal health and well-being of all children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports access for all children to (1) civil marriage rights for their parents and (2) willing and capable foster and adoptive parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation. The AAP has always been an advocate for, and has developed policies to support, the optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being of all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. In so doing, the AAP has supported families in all their diversity, because the family has always been the basic social unit in which children develop the supporting and nurturing relationships with adults that they need to thrive. Children may be born to, adopted by, or cared for temporarily by married couples, nonmarried couples, single parents, grandparents, or legal guardians, and any of these may be heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or of another orientation. Children need secure and enduring relationships with committed and nurturing adults to enhance their life experiences for optimal social-emotional and cognitive development. 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. If a child has 2 living and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond by way of civil marriage, it is in the best interests of their child(ren) that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so, irrespective of their sexual orientation. If 2 parents are not available to the child, adoption or foster parenting remain acceptable options to provide a loving home for a child and should be available without regard to the sexual orientation of the parent(s).
All children need support and nurturing from stable, healthy, and well-functioning adults to become resilient and effective adults. On the basis of a review of extensive scientific literature, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) affirms that “children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents.”1
Families’ structural forms are varied. In 2010, married adults were raising 65.3% of all children in this country.2 The other 34.7% of children (25.9 million of 74.63 million children) were living in a variety of situations. Many were being raised by parents who were single or cohabiting, either by choice or by circumstance. Growing numbers of grandparents are stepping in as parents to 2.5 million children when necessary.2 When none of a child’s biological relatives is available or able to provide necessary nurturing and support, other arrangements exist to nurture children. Foster parenting and adoption are substitute arrangements that can provide financial, emotional, social, and legal support for children. In 2007, >400 000 children were in foster care, and 130 000 children were adopted by unrelated adults.3,4
Increasing numbers of same-gender couples are raising children today, and the numbers are likely to increase in the future. The US 2010 Census reported that 646 464 households included 2 adults of the same gender.5,6 These same-gender couples are raising ∼115 000 children aged ≤18 years and are living in essentially all counties of the United States.5,6 When these children are combined with single gay and lesbian parents who are raising children, almost 2 million children are being raised by gay and lesbian parents in the United States.7
Civil marriage is the legal and social institution in modern society that serves as the basic building block for family structure and child-rearing. Marriage is generally considered the optimal relationship between 2 adults who share responsibility for children. Marriage brings 2 extended families together to provide long-term security and social and emotional support to all members of the newly formed family. Marriage offers many legal rights and responsibilities, including the joint responsibility to care for children and to make decisions (including medical decisions) for them. A report from the AAP Task Force on the Family noted that married couples have more financial and social resources to nurture and raise children.8 Additionally, “married men and women are physically and emotionally healthier and are less likely to engage in health risk behaviors . . . than are unmarried adults.”8 A number of studies have documented “a positive relationship between the quality of marital life and family functioning.”9 The Task Force report emphasized: “As we move forward, the Academy and pediatricians stand ready to serve all children in all families, regardless of the family structure in which they live.”8
There are few social or legal restrictions limiting the ability of 2 unrelated adults to marry in the United States. These include (1) age: states have different age limits before which parental permission is required for marriage; (2) numerosity: there is a long-standing prohibition on bigamy/polygamy; (3) the existence of blood relationships; and (4) cognitive capacity to consent. The only other exception applies to adults seeking same-gender relationships (in most states).
There is extensive research documenting that there is no causal relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral development.1,10,–19 Many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic supports. Indeed, current research has concluded that “In all, it is now well-established that the adjustment of children and adolescents is best accounted for by variations in the quality of the relationships with their parents, the quality of the relationship between the parents or significant adults in the children’s and adolescents’ lives, and the availability of economic and socio-economic resources.”19
Therefore, the AAP has endorsed, for more than a decade, a policy supporting the benefits of both parents in a same-gender couple having legal rights and responsibilities for their child(ren), for example, through second-parent or coparent adoption.20 A special article in Pediatrics in 2006 reviewed the legal issues associated with civil marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership and noted a number of disparities for children growing up in various legal arrangements.10 The American Medical Association has recently noted the disparities that exist for parents of the same gender who lack marriage equality as well as for their children.21 Many other professional organizations have adopted policies urging legislative changes and legal mechanisms, including adoption, foster parenting, and civil marriage, for gay and lesbian adults who wish to be parents.* Civil unions and domestic partnerships do not confer the same legal rights, protections, and benefits to children that civil marriage provides.10
Public policy related to marriage and family is largely a state function. Consequently, the laws across the country that regulate marriage, adoption, and foster parenting by gay men and lesbians are an inconsistent patchwork. Even civil marriage in a state that permits it does not ensure access to federal benefits. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (1996; Pub. L. No. 104-199) denies members of married same-gender households access and benefits equivalent to those available to households headed by married parents of different genders, such as (1) Social Security and related programs, (2) housing and food stamps, (3) federal civilian and military service benefits, (4) employment benefits, (5) immigration and nationality status, (6) remedies and protections for crimes and family violence, and (7) certain loans and financial guarantees.10,21 For this reason, the AAP has joined with other national organizations in support of the position that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.†
A core mission of the AAP is to support the best interests of all children, regardless of their home or family structure, on the basis of the common principles of justice. If a child has 2 living and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond by way of civil marriage, it is in the best interests of their child(ren) that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so. If 2 parents are not available to the child, adoption or foster parenting remain acceptable options to provide a loving home for a child and should be available without regard to the sexual orientation of the parent(s).
The AAP works to ensure that public policies help all parents, regardless of sexual orientation and other characteristics, to build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children. In particular, the AAP supports:
Marriage equality for all capable and consenting couples, including those who are of the same gender, as a means of guaranteeing all federal and state rights and benefits, and long-term security for their children.
Adoption by single parents, coparents adopting together, or a second parent when 1 parent is already a legal parent by birth or adoption, without regard to the sexual orientation of the adoptive parent(s).
Foster care placement for eligible children to qualified adults without regard to their sexual orientation.
The authors and the committee thank James G. Pawelski, MS, for his valuable contributions to the development of this policy statement.
Benjamin S. Siegel, MD
Ellen C. Perrin, MD, MA
Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2012–2013
Benjamin S. Siegel, MD, Chairperson
Mary I. Dobbins, MD
Arthur Lavin, MD
Gerri Mattson, MD
John Pascoe, MD, MPH
Michael Yogman, MD
Ronald T. Brown, PhD—Society of Pediatric Psychology
Mary Jo Kupst, PhD—Society of Pediatric Psychology
D. Richard Martini, MD—American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Barbara Blue, MSN, RN, CPNP, PMHNP-BC—National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Terry Carmichael, MSW—National Association of Social Workers
George J. Cohen, MD
Stephanie Domain, MS, CHES
National organizations that support marriage equality: American Civil Liberties Union (June 1998), National Association of Social Workers (June 2004), American Psychological Association (July 2004), American Psychiatric Association (May 2005), American Psychoanalytic Association (January 2008), American Bar Association (August 2010), American College of Nursing (July 2012), and American Academy of Family Physicians (October 2012). National organizations that support gay and lesbian parenting and the nurturing of children: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Medical Association, Child Welfare League of America, National Adoption Center, National Education Association, North American Council on Adoptable Children, and Voice for Adoption.
This document is copyrighted and is property of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its Board of Directors. All authors have filed conflict of interest statements with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Any conflicts have been resolved through a process approved by the Board of Directors. The American Academy of Pediatrics has neither solicited nor accepted any commercial involvement in the development of the content of this publication.
Amici Curiae: Brief of the American Psychological Association, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its Massachusetts Chapter, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Nos. 10-2204, 10-2207, and 102214 in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts v the United States Department of Health and Humans Services et al, November 3, 2011; Brief of the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its New York City and State Chapters, and the New York State Psychological Association. No. 12-2335(L), 12-2435(Con) in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Windsor v United States of America and Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the US House of Representatives; Brief of the American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its California Chapter, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychoanalytic Association, Nos. 12-15388 and 12-15409 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Golinski v United States Office of Personnel Management and Berry and Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the US House of Representatives.
The recommendations in this statement do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.
All policy statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics automatically expire 5 years after publication unless reaffirmed, revised, or retired at or before that time.
AAP's Policy Redefines and Weakens Marriage, Makes Parents Irrelevant, and Ultimately Harms Children
The issue at hand has been improperly framed as one of equality; that's not the core issue regarding same sex 'marriage'. What is being proposed, perhaps unwittingly, is not equality but instead a redefinition of marriage, the final result of which is a casting off of the one institution which has provided children the most security in exchange for a system where a child's mother and father are ultimately unnecessary and hence irrelevant.
We need to begin by defining what marriage is and is not. The goal of marriage is the provision of stability to families so that mothers and fathers stay together to support each other, have children, and raise them. To this end, marriage incorporates elements of exclusivity, permanence, and stability, but these merely serve as a framework to support this primary mission. Because of the resultant benefits to the child and the community, societies provide incentives to parents to stay married. I think all would agree that, ceteris paribus, the people best suited to raise a child are his parents: the intact, two parent, biological mother and father, familial arrangement. Marriage exists to help this happen.
If the idea of procreation is removed then marriage is reduced to something purely based on feelings. Not that these are to be ignored or devalued, but they are not the basis of a marriage nor is there an identical societal benefit in supporting them. A marriage is more than a sexual or romantic or emotional or domestic partnership. Marriage is about parents staying together to have and raise their children.
We also need to be clear that homosexual unions cannot produce children. To consider such a union a marriage is to remove marriage's goal of having and raising children, replacing it with a focus on the relationship of two adults, whoever they may be. The societal structures which attended the creation and support of the child remain, but as a hollow shell devoid of its intended purpose, and the benefits intended to keep the parents together have been offered instead to any two people who want them.
Thus, in supporting the idea of same sex marriages, and hence in redefining what marriage is, the AAP has undermined the strength of the one institution specifically designed to keep children with their parents, the one thing which provides the most benefit to children, and in its place proposed a suboptimal system where anyone is equally capable of caring for a child and parents are no more or less important than anyone else who wants to raise them. I don't believe this was the intent of the Policy's authors, or those at the Academy who supported it; the ideals of equality they've worked from are noble and reasonable. But the course of action they endorse has wider consequences than they may have intended or foreseen, and the logical conclusion to their suggested action leads us to a devaluation of parents, mother and father, and their primacy in the lives of their children.
Conflict of Interest:
In support of Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian
I applaud the American Academy of Pediatrics for its policy statement and technical report on Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents are Gay or Lesbian. It is a courageous stance to take in this charged political climate, and is the right one to take in light of the protections for children that will be made available if marriage equality becomes a reality in the United States in the near future. Anyone who has worked with children can attest that they are negatively affected by instability in their families. It therefore follows that, as a society that aims to protect its children, we should do everything we can to promote family stability - which in this situation, includes extending the rights associated with civil marriage to same gender couples. Fostering a stable and loving home environment also bolsters the resiliency required of children of gay and lesbian parents to overcome the lingering stigma against LGBTQ individuals that is still so pervasive in society. There is a clear risk that children of gay couples will encounter stigma and heterosexism. However, this is not a reason to decry that LGBTQ individuals are unfit as parents: the pathology here is with society. National legislation protecting LGBTQ families and children may herald a sea change in what it means to be a gay American, and I am grateful to the AAP for their part in this movement.
Lauren Elizabeth Faricy, M.D.
Conflict of Interest:
In Support of the Policy Satement Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents are Gay or Lesbian
As a general pediatrician and the President of the Maine Chapter of the AAP, I would like to express my gratitude and support for the policy statement promoting the well-being of children whose parents are gay or lesbian. I have had several children of same sex couples in my practice through the years and this policy statement is one that reaffirms the importance of family, principles of non-discrimination and one that gives these children and parents an authoritative source (the AAP) to rely upon when questions are raised or if they encounter bias. Maine recently adopted a same sex marriage statute, so for our state this policy statement is particularly timely. Our Chapter supported and endorsed the referendum behind the legislation and we view the policy statement as one that takes an appropriate stance on the issue of same sex parents. The policy statement reflects our mission statement of... "improving the lives of children and adolescents in Maine" and serves as recognition of the importance of psychological health as a key component to overall health. I feel that the statement is well-crafted and quite consistent with national AAP sentiment on the importance of nurturing all children. Thank you for formally recognizing that the composition of families can be very diverse and may include same-sex couples, while at the same time stressing the importance of a loving two-parent household.
Steve Feder DO FAAP, FACOP President, Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Edgecomb, ME
Conflict of Interest:
Supporting the Health of Children from Diverse Families
The mission of GLMA (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association) is to achieve equality in healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and equality for LGBT health professionals. For more than 30 years, GLMA has brought the expertise of health professionals to education, policy and advocacy efforts to improve the health and well-being of LGBT people, and to advance LGBT equality overall.
A prominent component of GLMA's advocacy has been marriage equality and in particular the negative health consequences of the denial of marriage to same-sex couples and their families. GLMA's 2008 publication, Same-Sex Health and Marriage, (2) cites the prevailing research on the health consequences of marriage for same-sex couples and their children. In addition, our friend-of-the-court briefs in Hollingsworth v. Perry and US v. Windsor, which were argued last month before the US Supreme Court, similarly use scientific research to support the freedom to marry for same -sex couples.
We understand this concept--using scientific and medical evidence to address policy that improves health--to be at the core of AAP's support for marriage equality and of the organization joining outstanding friend- of-the-court briefs in the marriage equality cases described above.
Unfortunately, those who argue against same-sex marriage will continue to cite literature, including that of dubious quality, which affirms their point of view. To illustrate, the Dr. Trumbull et al. letter references a paper by Mark Regnerus, whose research methodology was noted to be scientifically flawed by over 200 health professionals, researchers and academics (3). A 2012 analysis of same sex parenting by AJ Perrin et al found that that the evidence presented does not support rejecting the "no-differences" claim, and therefore the study does not constitute evidence for disadvantages suffered by children of same-sex couples. The state of scientific knowledge on same-sex parenting remains as it was prior to the publication of Regnerus (4). As cited in the recent amicus brief the AAP joined, science has consistently shown that gay and lesbian parents "are as fit and capable parents as [heterosexual parents] and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted."(5)
As GLMA leaders and/or active members of both GLMA and the AAP, we are proud to see the growing number of mainstream and respected health professional associations addressing issues of LGBT health, including marriage equality. We thank you again for your leadership and use of scientific evidence to guide the AAP in its recommendations for the care of all children inclusive of same-sex parent structures.
References: 1. Policy Statement: Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH Pediatrics 2013; 131:4 827-830; published ahead of print March 20, 2013, doi:10.1542/peds.2013-0376
2. Same-Sex Marriage and Health, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Marriage Equality Initiative. September 2008. (Accessed April 20, 2013).
3. Trumbull D, Benton T, Cretalla MA, Zanga J. Same-Sex Unions: Promoting the Wants of Adults, Ignoring the Well-Being of Children. [E- letter] Pediatrics (April 5, 2013). http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/4/827/reply#pediatrics_el_55419.
4. Perrin AJ, Cohen PN, Caren N. "Are Children of Parents Who Had Same-Sex Relationships Disadvantaged? A scientific evaluation of the no- differences hypothesis." Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health just- accepted (2013). doi: 10.1080/19359705.2013.772553
5. Brief for the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, et al. as Amici Curae in Hollingsworth v. Perry on the Supreme Court of the United States. (Accessed on April 22, 2013.)
Pediatrics GLMA eLetter Signatories
Principal author: Henry Ng, MD, MPH, FAAP, FACP
Desiray Bailey, MD
Greg Blaschke, MD MPH FAAP
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Oregon Health & Science University
Bradley Bullock, MD, FAAP, FACP
Leslie A. Caren, M.D.,FAAP
Andrew C. Dietz, MD, MS, FAAP
San Diego, CA
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UCSD
Medical Directory Long-Term Follow-Up Program
Rady Children's Hospital
Wayne H. Franklin, MD, MPH, FAAP
Chief, Pediatric Cardiology
Children's Hospital University of Illinois
University of Illinois College of Medicine
Travis A. Gayles, MD, PhD
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
GLMA Board of Directors
Kenneth Haller, MD, FAAP
Saint Louis, MO
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
GLMA Past President
Christopher E. Harris, MD FAAP
Los Angeles, CA
Director of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
GLMA Past President
Lynn Hunt, MD, FAAP
Laguna Beach, CA
University of California, Irvine
GLMA Past Treasurer and Vice President for Lesbian Health Fund
Jesse Joad MD, MS
Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus
University of California, Davis, California
GLMA Vice President for Education
Andrew C. Jorgensen, MD, FAAP
Instructor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Daniel Reirden, MD, FAAP, AAHIVMS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director, CHIP Youth Program
The University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
The Children's Hospital Colorado
Sections of Adolescent Medicine & Infectious Disease
Franklin Trimm MD, FAAP
Residency Program Director
Professor and Vice-Chair Pediatrics
University of South Alabama College of Medicine
Hector Vargas, JD
GLMA Executive Director
Conflict of Interest:
I am the President-Elect of GLMA: Health Profesionals Advancing LGBT Equality
Re:In supporting gay marriages, AAP reaches correct conclusion, wrong process
In response to the letter from Dr. Mogul, we agree entirely that the criteria that are important for a family to promote children's well-being have nothing to do with the gender or sexual orientation of the parents. We believe, as stated in the recent Policy Statement and Technical Report, that "children's well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents' sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents" (Promoting the Well-being of Children Whose Parents are Gay or Lesbian, Policy Statement and Technical Report, Pediatrics, April 2013). We do not need more data to know this. We understand, agree with and respect your perspective. It has been the AAP's mission from its inception to support and advocate for the needs of all children and their families.
As evidenced in the recent SCOTUS hearings, considerable disbelief and prejudice continue to surround the notion that parents of the same gender can promote the well-being of their children. Social science and experience have demonstrated that convincing data provide an effective way to combat unfounded prejudice and doubt. We presented the science that has shown convincingly that gay and lesbian parents have been very successful at parenting, despite their persistent stigmatization and their exclusion from the legal protections of marriage. With access to marriage, equal rights, benefits, protections and privileges that support families will be realized.
An even more effective instrument than research and data is the power of personal relationships. As courageous gay and lesbian individuals/parents become known to their families, colleagues, and the public, true equality in all spheres will continue to move closer to being a reality.
Conflict of Interest:
Re:In supporting gay marriages, AAP reaches correct conclusion, wrong process
I disagree totally. God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Adam or Eve and Eve to procreate. This is totally against any biblical belief. Since we all have freedom of speech, I feel it is necessary to speak my belief and not based on people's opinions. I believe in empirical data which is definitely from God's word. Thank you.
Conflict of Interest:
Same-Sex Unions: Promoting the Wants of Adults, Ignoring the Well-Being of Children
The recent American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) official statement advocating for the redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex relationships marginalizes the natural family to the detriment of all children. This statement focuses on short-term economic benefits primarily to the adults of same-sex households while ignoring the long- term risks to the children. With this report, the AAP opens the door to legal recognition of households of any and all configurations. This approach further devalues the nuclear family (a married man and woman) as the standard, and erodes a significant incentive for biological parents to stay together, even for the proven benefit to their children. This destabilizing effect is contrary to the report's acknowledgement that children need "stable and enduring" relationships within the home. Alternative parenting arrangements have not proven over many years of evaluation to provide an equivalent environment for children. Same-sex partnerships in particular are much less stable than heterosexual ones, with lesbian households on average three times less stable than married heterosexual households.(1) We ask then, "Where is the child's best interest in all of this?" Clearly, the AAP has chosen to place the wants of adults above the needs of children.
The authors also ignored significant quality research demonstrating the poorer outcomes for children in same-sex parenting arrangements, and chose instead to base the statement on an assortment of studies of inadequate design, including non-random, non-representative, and/or small convenience samples, with biased analysis. A 2012 study analyzing a large nationally representative sample of 3000 individuals, ages 18-39, found that children with parents in same-sex relationships had less favorable adult outcomes than those reared with their married biological parents.(2) These outcomes included poorer mental and physical health, poorer relationship quality with current partners, lower levels of employment, and higher levels of smoking and criminality. These results are in harmony with earlier studies that indicated children with same-sex parents have higher rates of sexual confusion, a greater incidence of high risk sexual practices, and a significantly greater likelihood of claiming a non -heterosexual identity.(3) For example, a 2010 study found that nearly 60% of older teen daughters with lesbian parents claimed a gay identity. This fact alone has profoundly negative implications for the health of these children since the homosexual lifestyle is associated with significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, substance abuse, and a shortened life span even in homosexual-affirming societies.(4)
Furthermore, endorsing same-sex parenting deliberately deprives a child of the developmental and psychosocial benefits of having both a mother and a father from the beginning. Numerous studies show that children derive unique developmental advantages from fathers and mothers, which is the natural design for the family.(5) To advocate for anything less is not in the best interest of children, and certainly not supportive of their optimal development.
1. Schumm, Walter R. 'Comparative Relationship Stability of Lesbian Mother and Heterosexual Mother Families: A Review of Evidence.' Marriage & Family Review. 2010; 46 (8):299-509.
2. Mark Regnerus. How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research. 2012; 41 (4): 752-770.
3. American College of Pediatricians. Homosexual Parenting: Is it time for change? Position Statement, 2013.
4. Sandfort, T.G.M., de Graaf, R., Bijl, R.V., Schnabel. Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 2001; 58: 85-91.
5. Byrd, Dean. "Gender Complementarity and Child-rearing: Where Tradition and Science Agree." Journal of Law & Family Studies. University of Utah. 2005; 6(2).
Conflict of Interest:
In supporting gay marriages, AAP reaches correct conclusion, wrong process
Dear Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health:
I was wonderfully surprised to hear that your committee specifically, and the AAP in general, has agreed to come out in favor of gay marriage. Clearly, it is important for an organization as well-respected as the AAP to support all strong families, whether parents be gay, lesbian or gender- queer. At the same time, I find it deeply troubling that the approach that is used is one that depends on "scientific evidence." To my knowledge, no other demographic is concurrently facing a comparable test of suitability; although scientific evidence may exist that certain demographics provide varying degrees of ability to develop strong families, I am not aware of any systematic attempt to question, undermine, or allow these other groups in this pursuit. As such, linking your recommendation to data suggests that data is necessary to rule for, or against, gay families. This demand is holding gay families to a different standard and is therefore a prejudice in and of itself.
While it is fortunate that the Committee felt the preponderance of evidence supports a recommendation of equality, this approach misses the point entirely while opening up the critique that more data is needed (see New York Times article March 21, 2012). More information is not necessary to reach the conclusion that equality for gay, lesbian, and gender-queer families should be supported in every sphere. If people want to prove that any demographic is harmful to children and that equality should be ignored, the onus is on those individuals - not the other way around. Otherwise, our founding documents demand that all people are treated equally.
Sincerely, Douglas Mogul MD MPH
Conflict of Interest: