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08/11/2010

When it comes to our backs or minds, we trust credible science

by Jeremy Hooper

The latest vow of support from the APA:

AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION REITERATES SUPPORT FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Governing Council Issues Statement at Annual Convention


SAN DIEGO – The American Psychological Association reaffirmed its support for marriage equality for same-sex couples, noting that its annual convention taking place here this week provides an opportunity to call attention to the science supporting this position.

“As the world’s largest organization of psychologists, we felt it was important to make a statement here and now to demonstrate APA’s unwavering support of marriage equality,” said APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD. “With the issue playing out so prominently in California, we are using the opportunity presented by our annual convention to present the growing body of science that is the foundation for our position, and that has influenced many of the legislators, judges and other public officials who are working to achieve this goal.”

APA’s governing Council of Representatives issued this statement on marriage
equality for same-sex couples:

“The Council of Representatives (1) reaffirms the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) 2004 Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage, (2) acknowledges with pride the 11 amicus briefs that APA has filed in legal cases on marriage equality for same-sex couples, including the California Supreme Court in 2006, (3) directs staff to create and distribute informational materials to publicize APA’s history and position on marriage equality for same-sex couples and the science that supports that position, and (4) requests that the APA boards and committees consider an updated resolution on marriage equality for same-sex couples based on the evolving research.”

APA’s 2010 convention, taking place in San Diego from Aug. 12-15, includes a full program of sessions summarizing the areas of research that have been key in recent same-sex marriage court cases and other legal decisions supporting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Sessions will feature the latest scientific research into same-sex couples’ relationships and family formation among lesbian, gay and bisexual people, as well as the effect of sexual stigma on individuals and families. Experts will explain how the most recent scientific evidence and legislation support same-sex marriage and adoption and counter prejudice and discrimination.

Research has shown that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, recent empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights for same-sex couples. Additionally, children raised by same-sex couples have been shown to be on par with the children of opposite-sex couples in their psychological adjustment, cognitive abilities and social functioning.

APA has been a strong advocate for full equal rights for LGBT people for nearly 35 years, based on the social science research on sexual orientation. APA has supported legal benefits for same-sex couples since 1997 and civil marriage for same-sex couples since 2004. APA has adopted policy statements, lobbied Congress in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment, and filed amicus briefs supporting same-sex marriage in legal cases in Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, New York (three times), Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, and California. In California, the APA brief was cited by the state Supreme Court when it ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in May 2008.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., 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 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 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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