A group of top US paediatricians on Thursday announced its endorsement of equal marriage, as a way of ensuring that children receive security and benefits in their upbringing.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is well-known, and the opinions of which are considered influential by many, went on to endorse full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, irrespective of sexual orientation.

Benjamin Siegel MD FAAP, of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, said: “Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,

“The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”

The AAP’s statement read that the sexual orientation of a child’s parents does not have any impact on the wellbeing of the child.

The statement said: “In fact, 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 support.

“Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.”

Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the policy statement, alongside Siegel, said: “If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it’s in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.”

In 2010 the AAP supported second-parent adoption for same-sex partners, as a way to ensure that children’s rights to maintain relationships with both parents, financial security and eligibility for health benefits, were protected.

Last year, the author of a US study which appeared to link an increased likelihood of negative life experiences in adults who grew up with a gay parent compared with those who grew up with married, straight parents defended his study in the face of strong criticism.