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In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has come out in favor of same sex marriage, saying that partners who are raising children together can offer better benefits and security for their children if they are married.

"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. "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."

The AAP's previous policy statement, which was last affirmed in 2010, supported second-parent adoption in cases where one member of a couple had a child, but stopped short of calling for the legalization of gay marriage.

"The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the Academy's support for families," said Ellen Perrin, MD, FAAP, co-author of the policy statement. "If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so."

The AAP cited scientific research that indicates no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and the well-being of children in the policy statement.

Image: Same sex couple with child, via Shutterstock