The American Academy of Pediatrics announced Thursday that it supports marriage equality for same sex couples. According to the New York Times, the AAP released a policy statement Thursday morning saying that marriage is in the best interests of children living in households headed by same sex parents.

"All children need support and nurturing from stable, healthy, and well functioning adults to become resilient and effective adults," read the report's introduction. "On the basis of a review of extensive scientific literature, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) affirms that “children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents.”

Thursday's statement said that same sex marriage strengthens families' access to rights and benefits and increases those families' long term stability. The AAP drew on years of scientific study from a number of sources and found that what they all had in common was that whether a child's parents were the same or mixed gender couples, "no causal relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral development" could be found.

"Many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic supports," the report continued.

“If the studies are different in their design and sample but the results continue to be similar, that gives scientists and consumers more faith in the result,” Dr. Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the policy statement and pediatrics professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, told the Times.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell, lead author of a 2010 study that compared children growing up in homes with lesbian parents to a representative sample of children growing up with heterosexually married parents, said, "Marriage strengthens families and benefits child development, and it also increases a parent’s sense of competence and security when they are able to raise children without stigma."

[image via lev radin /]