The nation's largest pediatricians' group said Thursday that it supports gay marriage, noting that, to a child, the parents' sexual orientation is not as important as other elements related to family well-being.
If a child has two living and capable parents who want to marry, it is in the best interests of the child that legal and social institutions allow and support the parents to do so, "irrespective of their sexual orientation," the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in its new policy statement.
Therefore, AAP "supports marriage equality for all capable and consenting adults, including those who are of the same gender, as a means of guaranteeing all federal and state rights and benefits and long-term security for their children."
Adoption placements and foster parenting also should be conducted without regard to sexual orientation of the parents, the academy added.
The announcement comes less than a week before the U.S. Supreme Court considers two cases that will determine whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, which each define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, are constitutional.
Supporters of gay marriage from many sectors of society have been urging the high court to strike down the laws and, in effect, legalize gay marriage in the U.S., while supporters of traditional marriage are calling for the court to uphold the laws.
The AAP policy was developed by its committee on psychosocial aspects of child and family health, led by Dr. Benjamin S. Siegel, a pediatrics professor at Boston University School of Medicine.
"On the basis of a review of extensive scientific literature," AAP affirms 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," said the policy, which will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics.
"Civil unions and domestic partnerships do not confer the same legal rights, protections and benefits to children that civil marriage provides," the AAP said.
In a companion paper, "Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents are Gay or Lesbian," Dr. Ellen C. Perrin, Dr. Siegel and other committee members detailed their reasons for the new policy.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Proposition 8 on March 26 and DOMA on March 27.
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.