Press Room

April 21, 2004


Children’s Health Expert Testifies Against Federal Marriage Amendment

'Children need protections that the Federal Marriage Amendment would deny,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - A leading child welfare expert testified today before a House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution that the Federal Marriage Amendment will harm children.

"As a pediatrician, I am all too well aware of the need for health insurance, for life insurance, for Social Security benefits, for all the complex custodial arrangements required during the awful times of illness, disability, and death that can afflict us all. And I am very concerned that the Federal Marriage Amendment will cause further harm to children whose parents already face severe legal obstacles in securing the same legal benefits available to children of all other two-parent families," said Dr. Jill G. Joseph.

In her written testimony, Dr. Joseph cites Census data that reports over 600,000 same-sex unmarried partner households with approximately one-quarter of them raising children. Estimates from other sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, estimate as many as 1 million to 9 million children in the United States are being raised by same-sex couples.

"Whatever you may think about gay and lesbian relationships, this Congress must deal with the reality of American families, all families," said Dr. Joseph.

Jill G. Joseph, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology/Bio statistics George Washington University. Dr. Joseph is also the Chair and Director of Health Services and Community Research at Children's National Medical Center.

"Children need protections that the Federal Marriage Amendment would deny," said Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "Instead of devising ways to deny rights to families, Congress should focus on better health care, creating jobs and strengthening our national security."

A new report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation shows the costs to children of denying their parents the right to marry. Same-sex couples are raising children in 96 percent of all counties in the U.S., yet face the loss of Social Security survivor benefits and other protections because they are denied the rights of marriage.

"Same-sex couples work hard every day to make a good future for their children," said Jacques. "Now, President Bush and some in Congress want to undermine the Constitution and darken the future of thousands of children."

The report can be viewed online at

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.