|Richard Socarides of Equality Matters
On the eve of its annual convention, the policymaking body of the American Psychological Association (APA) voted unanimously in a 157-0 vote to pass a resolution reaffirming its support for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and again calling for an end to marriage discrimination, citing a mounting body of irrefutable evidence showing the psychological harms to gay and lesbian people when denied marriage.
The resolution â€śclarifies the Associationâ€™s support for same-sex marriageâ€ť in light of new research, the group said. A similar resolution in 2004 had opposed discrimination against same-sex relationships, but refrained from a more formal policy recommendation. Dr. Clinton Anderson, APA associate executive director, said that the timing of the resolution is an indirect result of several statesâ€™ legalization of gay marriage.
â€śWe knew that marriage benefits heterosexual people in very significant ways, but we didnâ€™t know if that would be true for same-sex couples,â€ť stated Anderson, who is also director of the APAâ€™s Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns.
â€śThis is welcome news,â€ť Richard Socarides of Equality Matters told Bay Times. â€śWe see more and more leading American professional and scientific organizations speaking out and recognizing that when loving and committed families are allowed to marry, everyone benefits, and no one is harmed.â€ť
â€śThe American Psychological Association represents over 100,000 medical professionals who see day in and day out the real harms gay and lesbian people and their families experience when denied the freedom to marry,â€ť said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. â€śWith the freedom to marry in twelve countries on four continents, and most recently New York joining five other states plus the District of Columbia in ending exclusion from marriage, there is a mountain of un-refuted evidence and experience showing that extending the freedom to marry to loving, committed same-sex couples helps them and their families while hurting no one. Based on the evidence, the APA, like every other professional medical, scientific, child-welfare, and social science organization, is calling for an end to the unfair exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from marriage and its crucial meanings to families, including the safety-net it brings to couples and their kids.â€ť
The APA has been part of eleven amicus briefs filed in cases seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples since it passed a resolution in 2004 in support of the freedom to marry.
Wolfson recently testified before Congress on behalf of Freedom to Marry, urging passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. He cited the â€śmountain of evidenceâ€ť and pointed to the other leading organizations supporting the freedom to marry, which include, most recently, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
â€śThe American Psychological Association has long supported equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community based on scientific reasoning and a concern for the well-being of all people,â€ť Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. â€śThe unanimous passage of a resolution in support of full marriage equality shows once again that equality under the law is not only inherently right, but will also benefit the health of LGBT Americans.â€ť He concluded, â€śMarriage equality will strengthen families, and in doing so, will make for stable communities.â€ť
â€śMarriage equality is a civil right - we know this as a matter of justice, and now we know it as a matter of scientific reasoning,â€ť John Lewis, legal director at Marriage Equality USA told Bay Times. â€śWe applaud the APA for its unanimous vote in support of basic fairness for all.â€ť
â€śThe APAâ€™s resolution is the latest example of the building momentum for full LGBTI equality,â€ť added Stuart Gaffney, media director at Marriage Equality USA. â€śJust as the weddings in New York remind us of the beauty and joy that marriage can bring, the APAâ€™s resolution reminds lawmakers to follow the scientific evidence that shows the freedom to marry is the best thing and the right thing to do.â€ť