The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children who are born to, or adopted by, one member of a gay or lesbian couple deserve the security of two legally recognized parents. A new AAP policy statement supports legal and legislative efforts that provide for the possibility of adoption of those children by the second parent, or co-parent, in same-sex relationships.

The statement says there is a considerable body of professional literature that suggests children with parents who are homosexual have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development, as children whose parents are heterosexual. Coparent or second-parent adoption protects a child’s right to maintain continuing relationships with both parents in a same-sex relationship.

According to the AAP, co-parent or second-parent adoption in a same-sex relationship provides for the following:

  • Guarantees that the second parent’s custody rights will be protected if the first falls ill or dies.
  • Protects the second parent’s rights to custody and visitation if the couple separates.
  • Establishes the requirement for child support from both parents in the event of the parents’ separation.
  • Ensures the child’s eligibility for health benefits from both parents.
  • Provides legal grounds for either parent to provide consent for medical care and other decisions.
  • Creates the basis for financial security for children by ensuring eligibility to all appropriate entitlements, such as Social Security survivors’ benefits.

The AAP recommends that pediatricians become familiar with professional literature regarding gay and lesbian parents and their children; support the right of every child and family to the financial, psychological, and legal security that results from having both parents legally recognized; and, advocate for initiatives that establish permanency through co-parent or second-parent adoption for children of same-sex partners.