“Did you hear about the vote?” he asked. I didn’t need to ask for clarification. I knew he was referring to the New York State Senate’s vote, 38-24, against same sex marriage that very day. “I’m really upset,” Christopher said, although it didn’t take a psychiatrist to see he was distraught. Over the next few days, Christopher was not the only gay patient in my practice to bring up the Senate vote as a distressing bit of news.
I had previously seen patients in my practice react as Christopher did. I saw many of my patients who were upset in 2004, after the Presidential election, when eleven states passed constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. Then again in the 2006 election when another nine states passed similar constitutional amendments. Then once more in 2008 when Californians voted in favor of Proposition 8 to overturn court-ordered marriage equality. More recently, this past November, Maine’s citizens voted to repeal their legislature’s recent passage of same sex marriage and the gay patients in my practice were markedly depressed by the news that another state’s majority of voters opposed equal rights.
In recent years, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association have gone on record as supporting marriage equality. In their statements of support, the two APAs emphasize the health and mental health benefits of marriage. However an emerging phenomenon of the last decade’s debates about the social status of gay marriage is the adverse psychological impact anti-gay marriage political campaigns have on gay people. Photo
This is borne out by a study published earlier this year in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Counseling Psychology. The study, “Marriage Amendments and Psychological Distress in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) Adults,” was an online survey of more than 1500 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults. The researchers were looking for signs of psychological distress in this population following the 2006 general election…Read complete article - By Jack Drescher, MD – Advocate.com
Jack Drescher, MD, is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. Dr. Drescher is a leader in his profession. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and served as a Consultant to APA’s Committee on Public Affairs (2007-2009). He is a member of the DSM-V Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders. He is a past Chair (2000-2006) of APA’s Committee on GLB Issues and a Past President of APA’s New York County Branch. He is currently the Co-Editor of AppleSource, the newsletter of the NYC DB of the APA. He is President-Elect of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, and a Past Trustee of both the Accreditation Council for Psychoanalytic Education and the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry. He is a member of numerous distinguished psychiatric, medical and scientific organizations, including The American College of Psychiatrists and the New York Academy of Medicine. Photo
Dr. Drescher is a teacher and educator. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at New York Medical College, and Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis... Read more – Lecture Interviews, Articles Online, by Jack Drescher, MD - www.jackdreschermd.net