On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two historic decisions affirming the right of same-gender couples to marry. The American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated that civil marriage for same-gender couples is the best way to guarantee benefits and security for their children. 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.
Stable relationships with caring adults are important for children, and so are financial security, social support and access to health care. Scientific evidence shows that there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being. Indeed, in writing the majority opinion striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: ‘(DOMA)… humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.’
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a long history of advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents—regardless of sexual orientation—build and maintain strong, stable and healthy families that meet the needs of their children. The Court’s decisions today affirm such policies and have paved a new way forward for all children.
Thomas K. McInerny, MD, FAAP, is president, American Academy of Pediatrics.