U.S. psychologists endorse gay marriage

Prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is discriminatory and unfairly denies such couples, their children and other members of their families the legal, financial and social advantages of civil marriage says the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Council of Representatives in a new resolution. The APA also opposed discrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.

From American Psychological Association :
APA SUPPORTS LEGALIZATION OF SAME-SEX CIVIL MARRIAGES AND OPPOSES DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LESBIAN AND GAY PARENTS

Denying Same-Sex Couples Legal Access to Civil Marriage is Discriminatory and Can Adversely Affect the Psychological, Physical, Social and Economic Well-Being of Gay and Lesbian Individuals

Prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is discriminatory and unfairly denies such couples, their children and other members of their families the legal, financial and social advantages of civil marriage says the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Council of Representatives in a resolution adopted today. The APA also opposed discrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.

Both policy positions were adopted at the recommendation of an APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships. The Working Group, appointed by the APA Council of Representatives in February 2004, was charged with developing policy recommendations for APA that would guide psychologists in the current public debate over civil marriage for same-sex couples. The Working Group was directed further to base its policy recommendations on the research on same-sex relationships and families.

This seven-member team of psychologists with a combination of both scientific expertise in family and couple relations and professional expertise with lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations summarized the research that discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation detrimentally affects the psychological, physical, social and economic well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, that same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.

”The APA recognizes the importance of the institution of civil marriage which confers a social status with important legal benefits, rights and privileges,” said psychologist Armand R. Cerbone, who is a private practitioner in Chicago and chair of the working group. ”Discrimination of all kinds takes a toll on people’s health and psychological well being. In the context of the huge social and political debate that is currently going on, APA and psychologists had to grapple with the issue of what psychology believes is in the public interest in this controversy.”

Given what research tells us about the impact of discrimination and given that the research further provides no justification for discriminating against same-sex couples in marriage or in parenting, the Working Group strongly recommended that APA support states in providing civil marriage to same-sex couples and fully recognizing the parental rights of lesbians and gay men. As a benefit for human welfare, it is important to point out that permitting same-sex couples to marriage may especially benefit people who also experience discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and gender identity, religion and socioeconomic status, said Cerbone.

According to the United States Accounting Office (2004), over 1,000 federal statutory provisions exist in which marital status is a factor in determining a person’s eligibility to receive various benefits, rights and privileges.

APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships: Armand Cerbone, Ph.D., Chicago, Illinois; Beverly Greene, Ph.D., St. John’s University; Kristin Hancock, Ph.D., Graduate School of Professional Psychology at John F. Kennedy University; Lawrence A. Kurdek, Ph.D., Wright State University; Candace A. McCullough, Ph.D., Bethesda, Maryland; Letitia Anne Peplau, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Full text is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/releases/gaymarriage_reso.pdf.

Reporters: Armond Cebone, PhD can be by phone at (773) 755-0833 or by Email, and Anne Peplau, PhD be reached by phone at 818-990-2688 or by Email

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The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

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