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Research shows gay and lesbian couples are good parents

More than 30 years of scientific research have shown that children do best when raised by two loving, committed parents, regardless of gender. This is the conclusion reached by a comprehensive review of virtually every study on the subject conducted by sociologists Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz in 2010.

Moreover, the so-called "studies" that claim that children of gay and lesbian parents fare worse than children of heterosexual couples have been exposed as deeply flawed by the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Baltimore Sun, among others.

Every major children's health and welfare organization, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, confirms that gay parents make good parents. The American Medical Association, the nation's largest and most well respected association of physicians, with a membership of more than 200,000, agrees.

As a physician and a parent, I know that good parents are good parents regardless of their gender. The reality is that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples in Maryland are raising children, and that those children — like all children — deserve the protections that come from having parents who are legally married.

Allowing gay and lesbian couples to get a civil marriage license from a courthouse is about treating everyone fairly and equally under the law. And religious freedom is protected. It is and always will be up to each church to decide whom to marry based on their beliefs — the same way that Catholic churches get to decide if those from other religions can get married in their church.

Marylanders believe in fairness and equality, which is why the latest polls show that 52 percent of voters will vote for Question 6, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, on Election Day.

Many of us have gay friends, neighbors, sons, daughters and other family members whom we love and respect, and who are good parents and good people. They and their children deserve to be treated fairly and equally.

Julia A. McMillan, Baltimore

The writer is a professor of pediatrics and associate dean for graduate medical education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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