I’m neither surprised at the statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsing gay marriage nor at its timing. Whether the statement adequately captures the consensus of pediatricians across the country is, of course, unknown. The report points out the strengths and weaknesses of the social science in this area, and notes correctly that causal arguments here are very difficult to make. The science on same-sex parenting remains comparatively new, unable to keep up with political and legal developments. But those few population-based studies that exist — that map what’s going on across the country — seem to foster skepticism about moving quickly or universally to deny children their right to a mom and a dad. It’s not a popular position, of course. In the end, we all want children to thrive. Many organizations and scholars assert that same-sex marriage is a step toward that end, ensuring household stability. Others remain skeptical, and wonder whether this isn’t more about parents’ wishes than those of children.
— Mark Regnerus is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a research associate with the university’s Population Research Center. He is also the principal investigator of the New Family Structures Study.