The American Psychological Association, the world’s largest organization of psychologists, voted unanimously this week on a resolution to support same-sex marriage.
The 157-0 vote came on Tuesday, the eve of the association’s annual convention in Washington.
The group, with more than 154,000 members, has long supported full equal rights for gays, based on social science research on sexual orientation. Now the nation’s psychologists — citing an increasing body of research about same-sex marriage, as well as increased discussion at the state and federal levels — took the support to a new level.
“Now as the country has really begun to have experience with gay marriage, our position is much clearer and more straightforward — that marriage equity is the policy that the country should be moving toward,” says Clinton Anderson, director of APA’s Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.
The resolution points to numerous recent studies, including findings that “many gay men and lesbians, like their heterosexual counterparts, desire to form stable, long-lasting and committed intimate relationships and are successful in doing so.”
It adds that “emerging evidence suggests that statewide campaigns to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage are a significant source of stress to the lesbian, gay and bisexual residents of those states and may have negative effects on their psychological well-being.”
The APA’s decision to codify its support for allowing same-sex marriage as a means to emotional well-being, and in such strong terms, is however, a landmark.
This move is expected to have an impact on state battles to legalize same-sex marriage and no doubt could be used in ongoing federal cases on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal ban on same-sex marriage recognition, as previous statements made by the APA have been used in other cases.