Pediatrics Group Supports Same-Sex Marriage, Says Beneficial to Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement, co-authored by a Tufts Medical School professor, saying same-sex parents marrying benefits the couple's children.

Wedding rings

Wedding rings photo via Shutterstock.

Tufts Medical School Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Ellen Perrin co-authored a statement this week with the The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), saying that same-sex parents getting married is good for the overall well-being and best interests of the couple’s children.

AAP reviewed scientific studies for four years, and the result is a 10-page report with 60 citations. The report’s abstract says:

Many studies have demonstrated 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.

Perrin voiced her support of the decision in a New York Times article about the proclamation:

“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.

The report says children benefit from having married parents in many ways: emotional support and stability, guarantees to rights and benefits, and even allowing for divorce, which comes with mechanisms for guaranteeing custody and visitation rights that non-married parents don’t have to adhere to if they split up. AAP also looked at studies that say children raised by same-sex parents are just as well-adjusted and functional as teenagers as peers who were raised by heterosexual parents.

As is to be expected with such a controversial issue, AAP’s statement has not been embraced unanimously. The Times article mentions several experts who believe the studies cited are too small, or otherwise flawed. The article quotes Loren Marks, who says AAP’s statement is a bit early:

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.”

Whether or not the data is premature, it is refreshing to read about scientific research on same-sex marriage. In a debate so often controlled by sweeping statements and highly emotional arguments, we welcome an academic, scientific take on the issue.