APA-Declaration on "gay marriage"
documented by PlanetOut Network

"The American Psychological Association (APA), the largest association of psychologists in the United States, said it will take a leadership role to help repeal laws that make marriage for gay couples illegal. The group said the fact that gay couples can't marry could psychologically harm the couples and their relationships. The APA made the announcement Wednesday at its annual convention in Hawaii. In a resolution put together by the Working Group on Same-Sex Families, the group also affirmed its support for gay and lesbian parents. '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, chair of the Working Group and a private practitioner in Chicago.

'Discrimination of all kinds takes a toll on people's health and psychological well-being', Cerbone said. '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.'

The resolution counters common arguments used by opponents of legal marriage for same-sex couples -- gay couples don't want long-term relationships, gay relationships are dysfunctional or unhappy, or they're unstable. The resolution cites studies which suggest almost half of gay people are in relationships, many of which are long-term, and that despite the discrimination gay couples face, the number of gay couples who consider themselves happy are about the same as the number of straight couples.

With that basis, the organization said it would take a leadership role to encourage 'the repeal of all discriminatory legislation against lesbians and gay men' -- including anti-marriage laws. The resolution also said it would provide educational and scientific research to better inform public discussion and to create better public policy.

The resolution also brought good news for gay parents. The APA found that the parenting abilities of same-sex couples and straight couples were remarkably similar in their effectiveness. The APA concluded that a child's psychological well-being is unrelated to a parent's sexual orientation.

Gay rights organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign and the Family Pride Coalition, commended the APA for its endorsement of marriage equality."