American College of Pediatricians: Gay Marriage Ruling ‘Tragic’ for Children

By Abigail Wilkinson | June 30, 2015 | 3:45 PM EDT


Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the Florida-based American College of Pediatricians.

( -- “This is a tragic day for America’s children,” Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, said Friday in a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

“The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family.

"Just as it did in the joint Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children,” Cretella said.

The American College of Pediatricians is “a nonprofit organization of pediatricians and health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.”

The College filed an amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which led to the legalization of gay marriage in the United States. The brief examines scientific studies on same-sex parenting conducted during the past 20 years.

“Despite being certified by almost all major social science scholar associations -- indeed, in part because of this -- the alleged scientific consensus that having two parents of the same sex is innocuous for child well-being is almost wholly without basis,” the brief states.

The brief maintains that the “alleged consensus” that the children of same-sex couples do not suffer any disadvantage is the result of “intense politicization of research agendas” -- not of objective science.

It references the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 1991 guidelines on Avoiding Heterosexist Bias in Psychological Research. The guidelines define “heterosexism” as “conceptualizing human experience in strictly heterosexual terms and consequently ignoring, invalidating, or derogating homosexual behaviors and sexual orientation, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships and lifestyles.”

“How can a researcher who has discovered negative outcomes for children with same-sex parents publish such findings without ‘invalidating (or being perceived as invalidating) lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships?’ the brief asks. "Even worse, how can a researcher who suspects that he or she may find such outcomes find funding or support for the research?” the amicus brief asks.

According to the court document, some studies that reported no difference between children raised by same-sex couples and children raised by heterosexual couples were later found to be invalid.

For example, in the three often-cited studies of adolescents raised by lesbian mothers conducted by Dr. Jennifer Wainright of the University of Virginia, for "27 of the 44 'lesbian mother' couples" she cited, "the responding adolescent reported that one of the parents in the household was his or her male father," the brief noted.

"Wainright et al's three studies compared a group of heterosexual parents with another group of (mostly) heterosexual parents. It is not surprising they found 'no differences' in child outcomes betweeen these groups..."

When Dr. Paul Sullins, an associate professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America, re-analyzed Wainright’s data, with the sample corrected to include only same-sex couples, he found that 87.7 percent of children with married same-sex parents exhibited symptoms of depression, compared to 47.2 percent of children with married opposite-sex parents.

One third (32.4 percent) of children with married same-sex parents reported feeling fearful or crying almost every day, compared to 3.1 percent of children with married opposite-sex parents, according to Sullins’ study.

Adolescents who reported that they had already had sexual intercourse were asked if they had ever been forced to have sex against their will. More than two thirds (70.5 percent) of adolescents with married same-sex parents responded “yes” to this question, dropping to 10 percent of those with married opposite-sex parents.  

However, Sullins’ data also suggests that “same-sex parents are just as loving and caring, perhaps more so, than are opposite-sex parents” and that negative results are not the result of any stigma attached to the children of same-sex parents.

The brief states that “special consideration must be given to the states’ interests in the well-being of children, who are uniquely vulnerable and have little recourse against harm,” asserting that state laws preventing same-sex marriage have a “rational basis” and that it would be “imprudent” for the courts to restrict these laws.

“Although it is disappointing only four of the nine justices heeded the scientific findings in the College brief,” Cretella  added, "the College will continue to proclaim the important unique contributions of both mothers and fathers to the optimal nurturing of all children.”

Related: Adults Raised by Gay Couples Speak Out Against Gay 'Marriage' in Federal Court

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