Federal Affairs DepartmentThe American Academy of Pediatrics
Dear AAP Leaders and Policy Makers,
While we support the right of anyone who wants to marry to be able to do so, your endorsement has perpetuated the myth that only legally married couples can be good parents. Here is what you stated:
“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement.
It is patently untrue that only legally married couples can offer stability. With over 47% of adults in the U.S. being unmarried, and unmarried parenting on the rise, you cannot say that a legal marriage makes a good parent. Children need love, support, and a commitment to their well-being to thrive. Certainly many unmarried parents offer these in abundance.
You even contradict yourself when you state, “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.” We agree - all parents deserve the same recognition and benefits as any others, regardless of whether or not they are married.
Rampant marital status discrimination not only deprives unmarried couples and parents of their equal rights, but it deprives children of the benefits they should receive whether or not their parents have a marriage license. Please revise your language to include these committed, capable parents. To ignore them is to undermine our country's commitment to fairness and equality for all.