The American Academy of Pediatrics called for the legalization of same-sex marriage in a policy statement Thursday, claiming that doing so is in the best interest of children and their families.
“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” Benjamin Siegel, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, said in the policy statement that he co-authored. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”
The AAP is not alone in its support for gay marriage, as 49 percent of all Americans now believe that gays and lesbians should be granted the right to legally marry whomever they choose. However, the AAP’s argument that gay marriage is what’s best for children flies in the face of the persistent attacks from conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles and, by extension, a threat to children.
“The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the Academy’s support for families,” said Ellen Perrin, the policy statement’s other author, said. “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.”
The AAP represents 60,000 pediatricians around the country, but the organization also speaks on behalf of children, a demographic that is often left without representation in the country’s legislative halls.
“The Academy advocates for the health of all children, and works with government, communities and other national organizations to shape many child health and safety issues,” the organization says on its website. Further down on the page, the organization claims:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that the law ought to protect the health and well-being of children just as arduously as pediatricians do. When state legislators assemble, children’s issues deserve the same consideration as other matters.”
The AAP’s endorsement weakens the argument that gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage and broader society. Parents trust pediatricians with their children’s well-being, possibly the greatest degree of trust a parent can bestow. While it would be over-reading things to suggest that pediatricians will change the politics of America’s parents single-handedly, it does leave one less concern the next time pollsters phone about whether a voter yet supports gay marriage and why.
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