Same Sex Marriage: The Issue is About the Well-Being of Children
I was recently asked by a local news channel if I would be willing to talk on the point of same sex marriage, as the Academy of Pediatrics had just issues a new policy statement on the topic. Right before the interview, I was canceled, with the statement that the Academy of Pediatrics had directed them (the news reporters) that the AAP would select who could speak on the topic. Apparently I wasn’t approved, although I think for the most part they got it right on this one.
I would like to state from the get go that tolerance and love should guide us, that one’s philosophy and beliefs are really a personal choice, and that we must all learn to live together in this world. I find it divisive and sad that so often we exclude others due to their race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, beliefs, or other personal choices. I see children with HIV being shunned or avoided. I see immigrants being treated as second class citizens or my own adopted children from Africa being stopped in our neighborhood and being told they do not belong there! I see parents who choose not to vaccinate their children being excluded from play groups due to fear that they may carry diseases!
We live in a world where there are so many orphans, and even in the traditional family of a husband and wife, there is a divorce rate of about 50%. Children benefit when there are loving parents, and the more the better! I recall growing up in Zimbabwe and having many surrogate parents as my own were so busy with their mission work. Attending high school in Swaziland with my parents 1000 miles away was like being an orphan. There were no phone calls, and I learned to find parent figures who cared about me.
When marriage rights are given to couples regardless of sexual orientation, this provides stability for those children involved, regardless of whether the children were natural children of the couples or adopted. This is a positive situation for these children. I’ve raised many and my heart goes out to the single parents as there are no greater challenges.
If you are struggling with this topic, that’s natural. We are raised with so many prejudices that it can be difficult for many of us to really understand true love and tolerance and not just the rules society taught us. We are indeed products of our local upbringing and the norms of the society we live in. A look at different cultures, countries, and religions makes that point clear.
Remember the children. As a pediatrician, I find I keep siding with the children. If you are in doubt, imagine what that newborn would want, or that orphan or child that has lost a parent or both parents, and now has the option of two loving parents. Babies just don’t judge when faced with love. Neither should we.