Friday, September 3, 2010

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists - Support of Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Marriage – 2005

Support of Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Marriage
Approved by the Assembly, May 2005
Approved by the Board of Trustees, July 2005

"Policy documents are approved by the APA Assembly and Board of Trustees…These are … position statements that define APA official policy on specific subjects…" -- APA Operations Manual.

As physicians who frequently evaluate the impact of social and family relationships on child development, and the ability of adults and children to cope with stress and mental illness, psychiatrists note the invariably positive influence of a stable, adult partnership on the health of all family members. Sustained and committed marital and family relationships are cornerstones of our social support network as we face life’s challenges, including illness and loss. There is ample evidence that long-term spousal and family support enhances physical and mental health at all stages of development.

This position statement is about the legal recognition of same-sex civil marriage, not religious marriage, and it does not pertain to any organized religion’s view of same-sex marriage.

Heterosexual relationships have a legal framework for their existence through civil marriage, which provides a stabilizing force. In the United States, with the exception of Massachusetts, same-sex couples are currently denied the important legal benefits, rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. Same-sex couples therefore experience several kinds of state-sanctioned discrimination that can adversely affect the stability of their relationships and their mental health.

The children of unmarried gay and lesbian parents do not have the same protection that civil marriage affords the children of heterosexual couples. Adoptive and divorced lesbian and gay parents face additional obstacles. An adoptive parent who is lesbian or gay is often prejudicially presumed as unfit in many U.S. jurisdictions. Furthermore, when unmarried couples do adopt, usually one parent is granted legal rights, while the other parent may have no legal standing. These obstacles occur even though no research has shown that the children raised by lesbians and gay men are less well adjusted than those reared within heterosexual relationships.

Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Marriage - Research Summary 
American Psychological Association – 2004
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