Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The American Academy of Pediatrics says same-sex marriage is good for kids and good for society

By Nancy Jane Moore

A special article in the July 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics -- the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- provides a wealth of statistical and analytical support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The article, "The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children," not only points out that children raised by same-sex parents do as well as those raised by heterosexual couples, but also enumerates the risks to children posed by the lack of legal relationships. Here are just three of the problems they list:

  • children's right to maintain a relationship with a nonbiological/not-jointly-adopting parent in the event of the death of the other parent
  • surviving parent's right to maintain custody of and care for nonbiological/not-jointly-adopted children
  • Social Security survivor benefits for a surviving partner and children after the death of one partner

And here are some percentages they list that show the importance of the issue:

  • 33.4 percent of lesbian couples are raising children.
  • 22.3 percent of gay male couples are raising children.
  • 45.6 percent of married heterosexual couples are raising children.
  • 43.1 percent of unmarried heterosexual couples raising children.
  • And same gender couples live in 99.3 percent of all U.S. counties and are raising children in at least 96 percent of those counties.

That is, the lack of same-sex marriage is an issue that affects children everywhere.

There's much more detail in the article -- reading it will give you a thorough understanding of the importance of recognizing same-sex marriage. And among other things, it suggests that the US will get more tax income if gay couples are legally married and file taxes jointly.

Further, it moves the argument away from the silly demagogic appeal of "marriage is between a man and a woman" by providing clear evidence that children of gay and lesbian couples are getting the short end of the legal stick.

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