American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

AOA Policy: Same-Sex Relationships and Healthy Families

WHEREAS, the Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment calls upon osteopathic physicians to provide compassionate, quality care to patients and to partner with them to promote health; and

WHEREAS, the American Osteopathic Association Code of Ethics, Section 3, states that the physician should not refuse to accept patients for reasons of discrimination, including, but not limited to, the patient's race, creed, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or handicap; and

WHEREAS, the American Osteopathic Association opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity (H438-A/10); and

WHEREAS, the American Osteopathic Association has adopted a zero tolerance policy for all forms of patient discrimination; and in concert with other healthcare organizations, and the federal, state and local governments will monitor, correct and prevent any future negative bias towards one or more patient groups (H209-A/04); and

WHEREAS, other health care organizations have adopted policies recognizing that denying civil marriage based on sexual orientation is discriminatory* and

WHEREAS, families of same-sex couples face unique challenges that directly impact the health of their children, particularly health-related outcomes associated with health insurance**; and

WHEREAS, children with same-sex parents are less likely to have private health insurance than children with married opposite-sex parents***; and

WHEREAS, disparities in private health insurance coverage diminishes when children live in states with legal same-sex marriage and civil unions or second-parent adoptions for gay and lesbian couples****; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association recognizes that discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identification, carries stigma that harms members of same-sex households, including children of same-sex couples, and should not be tolerated; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association recognizes the need of same-sex households to have the same access to health insurance and health care as opposite-sex households and supports measures to eliminate discrimination against same-sex households in health insurance and health care; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association supports children’s access to a nurturing home environment, including through adoption or foster parenting without regard to the sexual orientation or gender identity of the parent(s); and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the American Osteopathic Association recognizes and promotes healthy families by lessening disparities and increasing access to healthcare for same-sex marriages and civil union and the children of those families. 

*Representative medical professional organizations supporting marriage equality include: American Medical Association; American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

**Gonzales G, and Blewett LA, “Disparities in health insurance among children with same-sex parents,” Pediatrics 2013; 312: 1-9. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/09/11/peds.2013-0988.full.pdf. Accessed on March 21, 2014.

***Ibid., p. 707.

****Ibid., p. 707.


AOA Res. No. H-403

Subject: Same-Sex Relationships and Healthy Families

Submitted by: Bureau on Scientific Affairs and Public Health / Council on Women, Men, and LGBTQ Health Issues

Referred to: Committee on Public Affairs

HOD Reference Committee Explanatory Statement:

To clarify and emphasize the promotion of healthy families regardless of their family structure.

Action taken: Approved as amended.

Date: July 20, 2014