One week before Freedom To Marry Day, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report encouraging its 55,000 members to support legal and legislative efforts in favor of adoption rights for a second parent or co-parent in same-sex relationships.
A press release by the academy announcing the report states “children with parents who are homosexual have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment and development as children whose parents are heterosexual.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics cites several benefits of allowing adoption by same-sex couples, including a guarantee of the second parent’s custody rights, rights to visitation and obligation of child support if the couple separates. It also ensures the eligibility for health benefits from both parents and allows for the second parent to make important decisions and creates financial security by making children eligible for certain entitlements.
It would seem that same-sex adoption is a very practical idea that has only as its prime motivation the best interest of the children of a lesbian or gay man. Barbara Howard, who was a member of the committee who created the report, said the sole intention was to protect the rights of children who have a homosexual parent, reports Jeremy Manier of the Chicago Tribune.
But others do not feel the intentions of the academy were so authentic. Family Research Council President Ken Connor called the policy, which deprives children of having a mother and a father, “unconscionable.” Connor further noted that even the American Academy of Pediatrics said its findings were based on a small and unrepresentative sample, which consisted mostly of young children rather than several age groups.
“It seems clear that the American Academy of Pediatrics has submitted to the will of homosexual activists with its ranks – at the expense of scientific honesty and the very children it seeks to serve,” William J. Maier, a child and family psychologist at Focus on the Family, said on the group’s Web site.
Despite the shortcomings of the report, much of the previous literature has conferred a higher tolerance for diversity in same-sex households. In addition, children of same-sex households were found to be more nurturing toward younger children than those whose parents are heterosexual.
But by saying children of same-sex households have similar advantages and development as those of heterosexual households assumes that same-sex partners can sufficiently replace the opposite-sex partners, which is simply not the case. Connor feels that it is a mistake to minimize the roles of fathers and mothers in a traditional family setting.
It seems the American Academy of Pediatrics’ report – whatever its intentions may be – will play an important role in how medical professionals and possibly legislators view adoption by same-sex couples. The report, however, is another stepping stone in the emancipation of all types of people in our progress toward, well, whatever we’re progressing toward.