Clyde Phillips-Frey, left hand, and Nathan Phillips-Frey, right hand, pose for photos after being married in a group same-sex marriage in Niagara Falls, N.Y., July 25, 2011.
(CBS NEWS) -- The nation's most influential pediatrician's group has endorsed
same-sex marriage, saying a stable relationship between parents
regardless of sexual orientation contributes to a child's health and
The new policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics,
published online Thursday, cites research showing that the parents'
sexual orientation has no effect on a child's development. Kids fare
just as well in same-sex or straight families when they are nurturing
and financially and emotionally stable, the academy says.
a new national survey shows the nation's views on same-sex marriage are
more favorable -- in large part because of a shift in attitudes among
those who know someone who is gay or became more accepting as they got
older of gays and lesbians.
The Pew Research Center poll
also finds that a large group of younger adults who tend to be more open
to gay rights is driving the numbers upward.
has grabbed the national spotlight recently with the public embrace of
same-sex marriage by Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Sen.
Rob Portman of Ohio.
pediatricians' academy says a two-parent marriage is best equipped to
provide that kind of environment. The new policy says that if a child
has two same-sex parents who choose to marry, "It is in the best
interests of their children that legal and social institutions allow and
support them to do so."
The policy cites reports
indicating that almost 2 million U.S. children are being raised by
same-sex parents, many of them in states that don't allow gays to marry.
with the academy said they wanted to make its views known before two
same-sex marriage cases are considered by the U.S. Supreme Court next
"We wanted that policy statement available for the
justices to review," said Dr. Thomas McInerney, the academy's president
and a pediatrician in Rochester, N.Y.
stance is not surprising. They previously joined other national groups,
including the American Medical Association, in supporting one of the
Supreme Court cases that contends the Defense of Marriage Act is
unconstitutional. The academy also previously supported adoption by
The academy's statement notes that
several other national health groups have supported same-sex marriage.
Those are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American
Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the
American College of Nursing.
Dr. Ben Siegel, a Boston
pediatrician and chairman of an academy committee that developed the new
policy, said its focus is on "nurturing children. We want what's best
Commenting on the new national survey, the
Pew center's director, Michael Dimock, says, "We've certainly seen the
trend (in support of same-sex marriage) over the last ten years. But
we're now really in a position to talk about the combination of
generational change and personal change that have sort of brought the
country to where it is today."
Overall, the poll finds 49
percent of Americans favor allowing gay men and lesbians to marry
legally, and 44 percent opposed to the idea. That's more people now
favoring same-sex marriage than opposing it. A decade ago, 58 percent
opposed it and a third supported it.
The 49 percent who now support same-sex marriage includes 14 percent who say they have changed their minds.
When asked why, almost one-third say it's because they know someone
who is gay -- a family member, friend or acquaintance. A quarter said
their personal views have changed as they thought more about the issue
or just because they've grown older and more accepting.
of those polled said, "My best friend from high school is a gay man,
and he deserves the same rights," adding that his friend and a partner
"are in a committed relationship."
Another person attributed the shift in attitude to "old fashioned ignorance," and said, "I grew up a little bit."
Just 2 percent overall said their views have shifted against same-sex marriage.
major factor in the long-term shift in the public's view: the so-called
millennial generation of young adults born since 1980 -- today's 18- to
32-year-olds who entered adulthood in the new millennium. The survey
finds 70 percent of millennials favor same-sex marriage.
marriage has long been an issue of partisan political debate, but it
resurfaced recently with Clinton and Portman declaring their support,
and with the Supreme Court preparing to take up the issue.
Monday, Clinton announced her support for same-sex marriage, lining up
with other potential Democratic presidential candidates who favor it.
an online video released by the same-sex rights advocacy group Human
Rights Campaign, Clinton says gays and lesbians are "full and equal
citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship."
week, Portman reversed course and said he now supports same-sex
marriage. He said he had a change of heart after he learned one of his
sons is gay. "I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to
make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times
and in bad, the government shouldn't deny them the opportunity to get
married," he wrote in an op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch. His reversal
makes him the only Republican in the Senate to back same-sex marriage.
Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a challenge to a
provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines
marriage as between one man and one woman. It's also reviewing
California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.
Pew Research findings are based on a survey of 1,501 adults nationwide
conducted Mar. 13-Mar. 17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or
minus 3 percentage points.