Against the Amendment: Paul Melchert, M.D.

By Lavender September 20, 2012

Categories: Causes, Featured - Home Page, Our Affairs

James and Paul with their preschoolers. Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Dr. Paul Melchert is a pediatric physician who cares exclusively for hospitalized patients. He was formerly a pediatrician with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. An alumnus of the University of Minnesota and St. Olaf College, his professional interests include: LGBT families, children with special healthcare needs and premature infants. Paul and his husband James are raising twin three-year-old boys who started preschool this month.

LM: How has your work shaped your beliefs about the proposed amendment?
PM: I am a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP is a national organization with over 60,000 pediatricians as members. We are committed to attaining the best physical, mental, social health and wellbeing for all children, from infants to young adults. Academy members are proud to provide the same excellent medical care to all families, regardless of their backgrounds. We believe all families are entitled to respect. It is disappointing to hear claims that people from different families are not worthy of equal respect, equal love and equal laws. From my perspective, it is clear that the proposed marriage amendment threatens children’s access to health insurance and health services. That is a perspective shared by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In August, they unanimously voted to join the Minnesotans United for All Families coalition.

LM: There is a lot of science that proves a parent’s sexual orientation is inconsequential with regard to raising healthy and successful children. What would you say to a person who still thinks only a heterosexual couple can raise healthy children?
PM: Children watch how we interact with each other. They learn respect and tolerance from watching us respect and be tolerant of others. They learn how to disrespect and bully others from watching us disrespect and bully others. There is substantial evidence, supported by the leading medical organizations in the country, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association, which demonstrates that children who are raised in same-sex households turn out just as well – in all areas – as those raised by heterosexual parents. In fact, children raised by same-sex parents tend to be more nurturing toward younger children and tolerate higher levels of diversity.

LM: What actions have you taken to defeat the proposed amendment?
PM: Last year, I testified before the State Senate and House Judiciary Hearing Committees against the amendment. I have also volunteered by participating in phone banks in the Minneapolis office. The phone-banks have been calling voters to have conversations with them about voting no. I talk to my neighbors, relatives and friends all the time to make sure they know the importance of voting no and encourage them to talk to their neighbors, relatives and friends. I asked my parents to put a yard sign out in Chaska. They were a bit reluctant at first, but I got a text message from them asking for another because their next-door neighbor wanted one.

LM: Based on your experience, how should Minnesota promote stronger and healthier families?
PM: The proposed marriage amendment strengthens no families. We should focus on policies that actually strengthen all families. An example would be improved access to and affordability of excellent healthcare for all children. Another would be eliminating the existing achievement gap in our education system and increasing access to pre-K programs. The AAP has identified that there is a strong link between the health and well being of children and the support and encouragement of all parents and strong family relationships.

10 Responses to Against the Amendment: Paul Melchert, M.D.

  1. Kristen says:

    Isis and I miss you Dr Melchert! We are going for her 4 year appt this Fri, so we were thinking of you and how she has never really seen another dr…except when your twins were born and you were out on leave (and we were not real thrilled with the dr we had to see :)). Keep up the good work…and I will also keep talking to people about how important it is to Vote NO!

  2. Darrell Cope says:

    Do you have an email address I can correspond with Dr Paul and his husband for support?
    Darrell Cope
    Jacksonville Fl

  3. irwin says:

    A fundamental question of procreation remains unanswered for me.

  4. john says:

    So, Irwin, do you have that same “fundamental” question for infertile opposite-sex couples, or older couples where the woman has reached menopause, or a sterilized men or women who wish to marry?

    Didn’t think so.

  5. Simon says:

    Ditto, Irwin. That fundamental question being, why the hell didn’t your parents use birth control?

  6. Drew says:

    Be nice to Irwin guys! Tens of millions of sperm were released during his conception. Sadly his was the fastest swimmer!

  7. Andrew says:

    Just watched Paul’s speech. What a lively little squirt he has!
    Now folks, John’s response to Irwin is great, offers alternatives and suggestions based on real life situations an facts. Attacking Irwin about him being the lucky sperm and how his parents should have used birth control is self-defeating. Educate, don’t retaliate!

  8. Drew says:

    Cummon Andrew. Don’t wreck our fun.

  9. Mike Murphy says:

    Should read the Bible Leviticus 18:22 20:13 Romans 1:26

  10. Chris says:

    Mike the bible has been misinterpreted quite often on meaning. It can’t always be taken for literal meaning. People need to research, educate themselves on these things. I wish people could think intelligently and not always have to quote the bible as if that is the only truthful answer. Logically why would someone choose to be with the same sex. It is a natural part of one’s being and whatever people think the bible says cant be true since ones sexual makeup is as natural as breathing. Think about it if you were told the bible says being with the opposite sex was wrong and it was naturally what you had been all your life, could you actually keep yourself from being that way. No. I don’t think so.

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