Children's Health Expert Testifies Against Federal Marriage Amendment

A leading child welfare expert will testify 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 1-9
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, MD, PhD, 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 www.hrc.org/childrenreport.

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