By Seth Huiras
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the world’s largest pediatric publisher, released a statement Thursday endorsing same-sex marriage and adoption rights in the United States no matter the parents’ sexual orientation.
Its policy statement, Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian, said research shows that no causal connection exists between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s emotional, psychosocial and behavioral development. Moreover, a two-parent family is in the best interests of children because of the security and socio-economic support it provides. This position will be a factor in the upcoming decisions about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.
The academy also said it reported that it views the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional because it “denies members of married same-gender households access and benefits equivalent to those available to households headed by married parents of different genders.”
This statement was released at a critical time when many are reevaluating their position on gay-marriage. The Boy Scouts of America, for example, are currently surveying the organization on whether gay members and leaders should be banned.
On a national level, two Supreme Court cases will decide the future of gay marriage next week. A review of same-sex marriage laws will take place centering on the benefits of DOMA and topics such as social customs and religion. The Court will also address whether a marriage is defined as only between a man and a woman — a controversial decision by the state of California known as Proposition 8.
Barack Obama became the first sitting president to publicly support same-sex marriage, and recently, other public leaders have followed suit. Last week, Hillary Clinton said the LGBT community deserves equal rights as citizens. Referring to marriage for lesbian and gay couples, she said, “I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.”
Republican Senator Rob Portman has also announced his support for gay marriage after learning his son is gay, making him the only sitting Republican senator to support gay marriage. He is not unique in his views, and many Republicans have recently asked the Supreme Court to declare gay couples’ right to marry as constitutional.
Aside from politicians, public support for gay marriage has also gained traction. A report from the Pew Research Center showed that Portman’s reasoning is the most popular among Americans for supporting same-sex marriage.
The report, titled Growing Support for Gay Marriage: Changed Minds and Changing Demographics, was released Wednesday and said that “rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past decade is among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period.” According to the center’s 2013 survey, 49 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage while 44 percent opposed it. A 2003 poll reported 33 and 58 percent respectively. A third of respondents said they changed their views because they know someone who is homosexual.
This month, a number of other associations have reinforced their support for same-sex marriage. The American Psychological Association (APA), the world’s largest association of psychologists with over 137,000 researchers and members, said same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage or the benefits of it based on scientific reasons. The association reaffirms that same-sex couples are as likely as heterosexual couples to raise healthy children. Its brief to the Supreme Court expressing scientific backing for same-sex marriage will play into the court’s decisions regarding marriage as an institution.
Not all organizations side with the AAP, however, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Love and Fidelity Network and the National Organization for Marriage. The Heritage Foundation, for example, supports the idea of traditional marriage, a stance taken to move the debate away from gay rights. The foundation’s report released last week says that redefining marriage would deny “the idea that children need a mother and father,” and it would lower incentives for a husband to stay with his family. The report also mentions how a new definition would erode religious liberties, which has been a point of contention against opponents of Proposition 8 and DOMA.
AAP Policy Statement:
AAP Press Release:
Reuters on the Supreme Court Cases:
Hillary Clinton endorses gay marriage:
Pope supports civil unions:
Pew Research Center Report:
American Psychological Association Press Release:
Heritage Foundation report on redefining marriage:
New York Times on opponents of gay marriage: