Marriage Equality: Pediatricians' Groups Differ On Effect, But What Do Studies Say?

Steph Bazzle

What is the effect of marriage equality on children? Two opposing groups of pediatricians expressed their opinions after Friday's ruling, and as can be expected, their were diametrically opposed. Whose side are the statistics on? The two groups opinions on marriage equality are below, followed by the results of the latest comprehensive study.

The President of the American College of Pediatricians is peeved over the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality. In a brief statement, he minimized the value of marriage for purposes other than procreation, and decried the ability of a same-sex couple to raise happy, healthy children -- despite research and evidence to the contrary.

Saturday morning, following the marriage equality decision on Friday, Dr. Michelle Cretella, in her official capacity as President of the American College of Pediatricians, released this statement.

"This is a tragic day for America's children. The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family. Just as it did in the joint Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children."

Meanwhile, the more mainstream American Association Of Pediatrics President, Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP, has also expressed a stance on marriage equality.

"Every child needs stable, nurturing relationships to thrive, and marriage is one way to support and recognize those relationships. Today's historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court supports children in families with same-gender parents. If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so."

According to American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there are more than 160,000 households in the U.S. in which a same-sex couple, married or not, is raising children. Moreover, those stats come from 2000 -- in the fifteen years since that census, adoption rights have increased, and marriage rights for same-sex couples have drastically increased -- the number of children being raised by two same-sex parents has increased accordingly. The 2000 stats are important for another reason -- they make it clear that same-sex couples raising children is not a new phenomenon.

What effects have been seen over these years of children raised by same-sex couples?

"Most research studies show that children with two moms or two dads fare just as well as children with heterosexual parents. In fact, one comprehensive study of children raised by lesbian mothers or gay fathers concluded that children raised by same-sex parents did not differ from other children in terms of emotional functioning, sexual orientation, stigmatization, gender role behavior, behavioral adjustment, gender identity, learning and grade point averages."

[Photo by:Olivier Douliery/Getty Images]