Nation's top psychiatric group leads way in endorsing same-sex marriage
June 14, 2005
It's Gay Pride Month, and here is one reason to celebrate: The assembly of the American Psychiatric Association recently issued a statement supporting same-sex civil marriage.
If the American Psychiatric Association directors vote to adopt the statement in July, it would be a breakthrough for the acceptance of civil same-sex marriage.
This would mark the final step in the turnaround within psychiatry and psychology. Just a little more than three decades ago, the profession considered homosexuality a mental illness. Now the nation's top psychiatric group is affirming our legal rights. (The American Psychological Association took a similar position last year.) And it is doing so "in the interest of maintaining and promoting mental health," the American Psychiatric Association statement says.
Critics of same-sex marriage often claim it would endanger the stability of our society by undermining the structure of families. Some would deny gays and lesbians the basic rights of marriage (survivorship benefits, inheritance benefits and legal protection of a couple's children) on the grounds that same-sex relationships are allegedly unstable.
The American Psychiatric Association's endorsement of same-sex marriage rebuts this belief. The group sites "the invariably positive influence of a stable, adult partnership on the health of all family members." The resolution adds that the "legal framework" of civil marriage is a "stabilizing force" for same-sex relationships.
What's more, discrimination has a detrimental effect on the emotional well beings of gays and lesbians, the organization argues.
"The state-sanctioned discrimination," experienced by same-sex couples, "can adversely affect the stability of their relationships and their mental health," the statement says.
The American Psychiatric Association's views should be considered by policy-makers in forming legislation to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians.
A loving marriage of a same-sex couple is nothing to be feared.
Kathi Wolfe is a writer and poet in Falls Church, Va. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.