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Professional News
Pediatric Group Condemns Same-Sex Parenting
Psychiatric News
Volume 45 Number 21 page 9-9

A pediatricians' organization has taken a position counter to almost all major medical organizations and issued a statement condemning gay parenting and gay adoptions as harmful to the children raised by same-sex parents.

The American College of Pediatricians, a group formed in 2002 by former members of the American Academy of Pediatrics upset with positions on gay-related issues taken by the 60,000-member academy, has gone on record stating its belief that "there is significant risk of harm inherent in exposing a child to the homosexual lifestyle" and that it is "potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or reproductive manipulation." It maintains that such a position "is rooted in the best available science."

The American College of Pediatricians states that among its "core values" is promoting the idea that "the fundamental mother-father family unit, within the context of marriage" is the "optimal setting for the development and nurturing of children."

The American College of Pediatricians' statement says that the science that the American Academy of Pediatrics, APA, the AMA, and other organizations have used in developing positions that endorse the concept that children raised by same-sex parents are at no more risk of harm or developmental problems than peers raised by opposite-sex parents is neither "comprehensive" nor "conclusive."

The organization maintains that "over 30 years of research confirms that children fare best when reared by their two biological parents in loving, low-conflict marriage." The American College of Pediatricians says that its review of the research showed that children raised by homosexual parents "may be at increased risk of emotional, mental, and even physical harm," and that children reared in such households, since same-sex partners are prone to promiscuity "with serial sexual partners," are more likely to "engage in risky sexual experimentation and later adopt a homosexual identity."

The American College of Pediatricians statement added that "individuals who practice a homosexual lifestyle are more likely than heterosexuals to experience mental illness."

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Ubaldo Leli, M.D.: "The accumulated research of the last three decades strongly supports exactly the opposite of the position taken by the American College of Pediatricians." 

Ubaldo Leli, M.D., president of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, disagreed vehemently with the American College of Pediatricians' stance.

"The accumulated research of the last three decades strongly supports exactly the opposite of the position taken by the American College of Pediatricians," he told Psychiatric News. "Using many mental health measures, multiple studies indicate that children raised by gay parents generally do as well as those raised by straight ones. Sexual orientation of a parent, either in the case of same-sex parents or of parents of different genders, does not make a difference."

Child psychiatrist David Fassler, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, stressed that the American College of Pediatricians' perspective "is not shared by most practicing pediatricians or psychiatrists. The literature clearly demonstrates that children raised by gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents don't differ significantly from children whose parents are heterosexual. Ultimately, the presence of consistent, loving, and supportive parents is much more important than their sexual orientation."

The American College of Pediatricians' position on gay parenting, Leli added, seems to be "politically motivated and presents distorted findings to the general public."

Fassler pointed out that the American College of Pediatricians' stance is also "inconsistent with the positions developed and adopted by the major professional organizations in the field."

The American Academy of Pediatrics urges its members to offer nonjudgmental, factual information, and, in some cases, counseling to patients who may have concerns about their sexual orientation and to be "attentive to various potential psychosocial difficulties" in gay youth and those who are questioning their sexuality.

The academy has also stated in its document "Where We Stand: Gay and Lesbian Parents" that "[A] growing body of scientific literature reveals that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents will develop emotionally, cognitively, socially, and sexually as well as children whose parents are heterosexual. Parents' sexual orientation is much less important than having loving and nurturing parents." The academy has backed the availability of gay adoptions.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) adopted a similar policy in 2008, which states, "[T]here is no evidence to suggest or support that parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are per se different from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns, and parentchild attachments when compared with heterosexual parents." AACAP is also on record opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation when it comes to adoption or foster care.

APA too has a position statement, passed by the Board of Trustees in 2002, indicating its support for "initiatives that allow same-sex couples to adopt and coparent children and . . . the associated legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities that arise from such initiatives." blacksquare

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Ubaldo Leli, M.D.: "The accumulated research of the last three decades strongly supports exactly the opposite of the position taken by the American College of Pediatricians." 

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