Pediatrics essay on child wellbeing in the homogamy debate

The medical journal Pediatrics has a nice, short essay on the child wellbeing argument over homogamous (same-sex) marriage.

The authors, Jeremy R. Garrett and John D. Lantos, write:

Our primary goal in this article has been to provoke or reinforce skepticism about the conceptual, empirical, and normative adequacy of opposition to same-sex marriage on the basis of claims that such marriages are detrimental to the well-being of children.

And they suggest three principles for the state’s role in family structure regulation or support. In my paraphrase:

  1. Provide necessary support to ensure parents have the resources they need to raise children.
  2. For family living arrangements, set a minimum threshold rather than a maximal ideal, because family structure categories are not reasonable or effective means of identifying good or bad situations for children.
  3. After setting a low bar for family structure, be vigilant in protecting or supporting children if things are not working out.

Just as we don’t (or rather shouldn’t) punish criminals based on the social category they belong to but rather by the nature of their crime and individual qualities, so we shouldn’t legislate family categories but rather child wellbeing itself.

As we approach the Supreme Court decisions on homogamous marriage rights, this essay might be a good resource for the child wellbeing aspect of the debate.

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