WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent support of “gay marriage” is drawing criticism from those who argue that it disregards evidence about the well-being of children of same-sex couples.
Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, noted that there are “at least four reviews or studies in peer-reviewed literature that contest the claim that children do equally well with same-sex parents.”
None of these studies were “mentioned by the American Academy of Pediatricians in their endorsement of gay marriage,” she wrote for National Review Online.
On March 21, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a statement entitled “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” as well as a report supporting same-sex “marriage” as a family structure that is beneficial for children.
Benjamin Siegel, chair of the organization’s Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, said that the academy “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 press statement and report endorsed “gay marriage,” adoption by single parents and adoption by the homosexual partner of a child’s parent.
While advocating for these changes, Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the policy statement, said that the “updated policy reflects a natural progression in the academy’s support for families.”
The statement said that research indicates “there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics policy.”
Gallagher criticized the statement and its dismissal of studies finding that children raised by same-sex partners face disadvantages.
She said that the academy “cannot cite a single scientific study in a peer-reviewed journal showing children with gay parents are better off if their parents are considered legally married.”
“How serious are we about children’s well-being in this country?” she questioned.
Last summer, University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus published one of the first studies based on a large, random and representative sample of children raised in different situations. It found that children raised by same-sex couples experienced less stability and faced more problems in a variety of areas than those raised by their biological mother and father.
Soon after it was released, the study was criticized as being limited and “anti-gay,” with accusations of ethical violations and scientific misconduct raised. However, an official inquiry conducted by the university rejected these charges, finding them to be unsubstantiated.
Regnerus said in an article for National Review Online that he was “neither surprised at the statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsing gay marriage nor at its timing.”
“Whether the statement adequately captures the consensus of pediatricians across the country is, of course, unknown,” he added.
He cautioned that the science “on same-sex parenting remains comparatively new” and that the studies that do exist “foster skepticism about moving quickly or universally to deny children their right to a mom and a dad.”
“In the end, we all want children to thrive,” said Regnerus. “Many organizations and scholars assert that same-sex marriage is a step toward that end, ensuring household stability.”
“Others remain skeptical and wonder whether this isn’t more about parents’ wishes than those of children.”