March 21, 2013 1:55 pm
The American Academy of Pediatrics officially backed same-sex marriage, writing that allowing a child’s parents to marry is good for kids. The group’s official statement says:
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.
This all comes from a four-year-long literature review conducted by the Academy, that looked at thirty years of research. The research found that “because marriage strengthens families and, in so doing, benefits children’s development, children should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married.”
Of course, not everyone agrees. Some say the literature review simply didn’t have enough data to make a decision on. The New York Times writes:
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.”
Finding couples to round out that nationally representative data is hard though. Studies often suffer from a lack of same-sex couples with children and have a hard time finding people to compare them to. Comparing a wealthy lesbian couple to a single mom isn’t necessarily a fair way to judge the situation. And just because the AAP thinks that gay marriage will help kids feel more stable doesn’t mean that the Supreme Court will agree. But for same-sex parents, the findings are reaffirming.
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