The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children
In 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Board of Directors commissioned the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, the Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, the Committee on Adolescence, the Committee on State Government Affairs, the Committee on Federal Government Affairs, and the Section on Adoption and Foster Care to develop an analysis examining the effects of marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership statutes and amendments on the legal, financial, and psychosocial health and well-being of children whose parents are gay or lesbian.
In developing this analysis, the involved committees and section held before them the AAP's core philosophy—that the family is the principal caregiver and the center of strength and support for children. Together with this philosophy, contributors recognized the reality that our gay and lesbian patients grow up to be gay and lesbian adults. Because many pediatricians are fortunate to care for 2 or more generations of a family, we are likely to encounter and remain involved with our patients, regardless of sexual orientation, as they mature and mark the milestones of establishing a committed partnership with another adult, deciding to raise a family, and entrusting the health and well-being of their own children to us.
This analysis explores the unique and complex challenges that same-gender couples and their children face as a result of public policy that excludes them from civil marriage. In compiling this report it became clear to the contributing committees and section that the depth and breadth of these challenges are largely unknown to the general public and perhaps even to many pediatricians. As such, the AAP Board of Directors approved the broad dissemination of this analysis to assist pediatricians with addressing the complex issues related to same-gender couples and their children.
It is important to note at …
Address correspondence to James G. Pawelski, MS, 141 Northwest Point Blvd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. E-mail: