Children's advocacy group back same-sex marriage - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Children's advocacy group back same-sex marriage

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To children who are raised by same-sex couples, pediatricians see health benefits when their parents are allowed to marry.  Research prompted America's top pediatrics group to release a statement in support of same-sex marriage.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics says marriage gives the children a feeling of permanency and security.  It's the same advantage the children of straight couples get when their parents are married.  The statement's co-author, Dr. Ellen Perrin, says marriage gives those children confidence that their family is just like the families of kids they know in school.  

The academy's new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says almost two million kids are being raised by gay or lesbian parents.  The academy's statement notes that several other national health groups have supported gay marriage. Those are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American College of Nursing.

A large body of evidence demonstrates children raised by same-sex parents fare as well as peers raised by heterosexuals, according to the academy.  A study out of England compared 39 families with lesbian mothers to 74 heterosexual parents and 60 families headed by single heterosexual women.  Groups showed no difference in emotional involvement, abnormal behaviors in children as reported by parents or teachers, or psychiatric disorders in them. Both mothers and teachers reported more behavioral problems among children in single-parent families, regardless of sexual orientation.

A 2010 study of children born to U.S. lesbian parents compared mothers' reports of their 17-year-olds to a national sample of age-matched peers.  The data, collected by reports from the moms, indicated their children had high levels of competence and fewer social problems than their peers.

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