I received the following press release and thought I would share.
VIRGINIA’S PEDIATRICIANS SAY “MARRIAGE AMENDMENT” WOULD HARM CHILDREN
The “Marriage Amendment” will be harmful to Virginia’s children, said Dr. Colleen Kraft, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Virginia Chapter today. “The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking Virginians to critically evaluate the consequences of the Marriage Amendment on the rights of children in our Commonwealth. This Amendment clearly, albeit unintentionally, divides children’s rights based on the marital status of their parents.”
Dr. Kraft announced the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the following statement:
“The American Academy of Pediatrics, Virginia Chapter, firmly believes that the family is the principal caregiver and center of strength and support for children.
Children do not choose their parents or their families.
Many children in Virginia have been and will continue to be raised in nontraditional families, regardless of laws prohibiting or recognizing these families. The issue at stake is whether these children will benefit from being raised by parents who have the rights, benefits, and protections that are considered crucial to all other parents.
Children in nontraditional families often experience economic and legal insecurity as a result of the absence of legal recognition of their relationship to nonbiological parents.
By approving a marriage amendment to the Virginia constitution, legal recognition of nontraditional families will be denied and children will risk:
- losing legal recognition of their relationship to both of their parents
- losing health insurance and other benefits from their parents
- losing the right to have both parents present for their care and comfort in hospitals and other medical settings
- losing the protection that comes from both parents’ ability to be involved in medical and educational decisions
- losing their ability to travel with a nonadoptive parent
- losing the right to stay with their surviving parent and if their other parent dies
- losing inheritance rights and benefits from a deceased parent
Discriminatory practices against these children are based on the assumption that their parents are different from other parents in ways that are detrimental to their well-being.
For the sake of children, it is important that all Virginians support the important link between the health and well-being of all children, the support and encouragement of all parents, and the protection of strong family relationships.
The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics urges all Virginians to vote “NO” on Amendment #1.
Beverley Bayes, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician in Northern Virginia, comments, “Twenty five years of research has shown that there is no relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and any measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial and behavioral adjustment. Restrictions on the civil rights of children in non-traditional families, such as not allowing visitation in a hospital ICU by the non-adoptive parent, or the right to remain with the surviving mother or father in the case of death can result in devastating loss and incredible anguish for these children.”
The data supporting this statement can be found in an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the July 2006 issue of PEDIATRICS, “The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-Being of Children”. This article concludes that “Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.”
The Virginia Chapter of the Academy has distributed a one-page summary of the harmful impact of the amendments to all pediatricians in Virginia and has encouraged them to discuss the amendment with the parents of their patients.
Senator Janet Howell (32nd District), the American Academy’s National 2006 Child Advocate of the Year, urged all Virginians to vote against the amendment. “The so-called ‘Marriage Amendment’ is really an Anti-Child Amendment. Until today, the impact on children has been overlooked. All Virginia’s children deserve legal protections. No child should suffer because a poorly worded constitutional amendment takes away their rights and protections. Virginians are kind and want to help all children. For the sake of children, please vote “NO” on November 7.”