Monday, 25 March 2013

American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Same-sex Marriage

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a professional group representing some 60,000 pediatricians in the United States, issued a “policy statement” March 20 giving its stamp of approval on the legalization of same-sex marriage. In its latest statement the group, which first threw its weight behind adoption by gay couples in 2002, confirmed that it “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.”

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,” the pediatrics body explained, it thus supports “families in all their diversity.” It declared that children “may be born to, adopted by, or cared for temporarily by married couples, non-married couples, single parents, grandparents, or legal guardians, and any of these may be heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or of another orientation.”

The group claimed scientific evidence affirms that children 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.” Similarly, the group continued, if two individuals identified as “parents” are not available, “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 insisted that its position tracks with its history of advocacy for the “optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being of all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.”

Interestingly, the AAP's high-profile statement came just days before the Supreme Court took up a pair of cases that could determine whether or not legalized homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land in the near future. Noting the large body of evidence confirming that the best place for children is in a traditional home having a mother and father, some pro-family leaders suggested a political motive in the timing of the AAP's announcement.

“Statements like this from the AAP and other large professional organizations are clearly driven more by political correctness than by the actual state of the research on this issue,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council. “An overwhelming body of social science research has shown conclusively that children raised by their own biological mother and father, committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than children in any other family structure.”

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage expressed his disappointment in the AAP, charging that the pediatrics group had taken “the transparently political step of endorsing same-sex marriage in an attempt to influence the U.S. Supreme Court.” He added that the group had done “a grave disservice to America’s children by endorsing a policy that intentionally deprives children of either a mother or a father. Their position seems to be that the unique contributions of both mothers and fathers do not matter. Which parent can a child do without — her mother or her father?”

Brown noted that the supposed evidence the AAP relied upon for its pro-gay-marriage conclusions was based on small studies involving hand-selected participants. “None of them utilize large-sample, randomly selected participants — a key requirement to rigorous research,” Brown said. For example, he continued, “one recent large-scale random sample study that has been produced by University of Texas researchers found that [children] raised in a same-sex household fared worse than those raised in intact heterosexual families on two-thirds of outcomes measured.” Brown added that “nowhere in the AAP statement do they address the confounding scientific evidence by Regnerus, Marks, Sirota, and Allen — all published in peer-reviewed journals. The AAP simply ignores them.” noted that the AAP's endorsement of adoptions by same-sex couples in 2002 led a group of pediatricians to leave the organization and start a new professional group called the American College of Pediatricians (ACP). The AAP's statement in support of homosexual marriage prompted the ACP to release its own statement March 21 reaffirming the belief of its members that “the intact, functional family consisting of a married (female) mother and (male) father provides the best opportunity for children.” The group directly challenged that AAP's statement, arguing that the rival group ignores important research on risks to children in favor of the wants of adults.”

Den Trumbull, a medical doctor and the ACP's president, said that his group “does not support the alteration of this time-honored and proven standard [traditional marriage] to conform to pressures from 'politically correct' groups. No one concerned with the well-being of children can reasonably ignore the evidence for maintaining the current standard, nor can they or we ignore the equally strong evidence that harm to children can result if the current standards are rejected.” He charged that the AAP was ignoring “generations of evidence of health risks to children in advocating for the legality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage and child-rearing.”

Noting that a small group within the ranks of the AAP has been advocating aggressively on behalf of homosexual issues for over 10 years, Glenn Stanton, director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, said that the AAP's policy statement represents little more than “propaganda rooted in social activism regarding the family, which is the foundational unit of humanity. That such a credentialed and well-known organization would play politics with this issue should grieve all of those who are committed to the integrity of science when it comes to the future of our children. Their well-being and health is far too important an issue to play politics with, especially of such a radical nature.”

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