NC Psychological Association Opposes Gay Marriage Ban


The North Carolina Psychological Association has released a position statement against the 2012 ballot to modify the state’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage, listing a number of reasons against codifying the state’s existing statutory ban.

The position statement, which you can read in full here(.pdf), lists the following as reasons why the amendment should not be enacted:

1. There is no empirical evidence that supports the denial of marriage rights to people in same-sex relationships.

Briefly, the document notes: “Mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.”

The statement concludes this first point: “Thus, the only reason for according same-sex relationships a different legal status than heterosexual relationships is ultimately the fact that the relationship is homosexual rather than heterosexual. This differentiation based on sexual orientation is an expression of prejudice and leads to stigma.”

2. There is empirical evidence that denial of marriage rights to people in same-sex relationships is damaging to their psychological health.

The Association offers that gay and lesbian people are subjected to “minority stress” which may lead to higher levels of illness and psychological distress. The position statement goes on to highlight:

“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 and gay residents of those states and may have negative effects on their psychological well-being (Hatzenbuehler et al., 2010; Rostosky et al., 2009;Russell, 2000);”

3. There is empirical evidence that opposing denial of marriage rights initiatives has beneficial psychological effects.

Supportive policies lead to positive psychological benefits — obvious, but it is worth pointing out that there is evidence to support this assertion.

The fourth reason is rather more personal:

4. Psychologists have colleagues and we have clients for whom this issue is relevant and important, andwho appreciate representation. From a social justice perspective, significant benefits accrue to all of uswhen diverse families are legally and socially sanctioned.

This policy statement is a powerful response to the North Carolina GOP who have been widely criticized for claims that gay marriage will damage so-called traditional marriage in the state, and that gay marriage will hurt children. Legislators have also claimed that gay marriage would be the same as legalizing bestiality and polygamy.

The ballot question to enshrine a statutory ban on same-sex marriage in the state’s constitution, which will be put before voters in May, has itself  been the target of fierce criticism because the language would appear to ban not just same-sex marriage but civil unions and all domestic partnerships whether between same-sex or opposite sex couples, something that legal commentators have warned could have costly and damaging repercussions for many residents in North Carolina.

Related Reading:

NC Anti-Gay Amendment Heads to the Ballot

NC House Passes Gay Marriage Ban

Facebook Co-Founder Slams NC Anti-Gay Amendment

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.


Jenny H.
Past Member 8 months ago

Thanks a lot guys you have done the great job, this post is very good. Karen Kerschmann, LCSW

Wende Anne Maunder
Wendé Maunder4 years ago

I hope this works. There is no logical reason why gays shouldn't marry.

Veronica N.
Veronica N.4 years ago

Doyle, many North Carolinians *are* those eggheads. PhDs, Masters degrees, or just a BA, the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas) is host to one of the most educated populations in the country, and many of the people living in other parts of NC *are* GLBT individuals. I sincerely hope they don't put a ban vote on the ballot since a ban shouldn't even be considered. I'd rather see a ballot measure asking North Carolinians to vote to legalize equal marraige rights in our state, since there would be a chance of something good coming from the vote, but I'll settle for dropping the ban measure...for now!

Jane H.
Jane H.4 years ago

Doyle might be right, but I am hopeful, anyway. Time will tell!
Grateful to the NC mental heath folks!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams4 years ago

Great, finally!

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley4 years ago

Good news.

Nina Anghel
Nina Anghel4 years ago


Linda T.
Linda T.4 years ago

Before you judge the North Carolina Psychological Association remember most of their funding comes from state government. Enough said.

Valarie Snell
Valarie Snell4 years ago

This makes me proud to be a North Carolinian mental health professional.

To Doyal D.: There are many Carolinians that do respect the "egg head PHD's" statements. Elon University in Elon, NC has done a broad range study that shows that 56% of North Carolinians oppose a gay marriage ban. Not all North Carolinians or other southerners are the stereotypical anti-intellectuals that some people assume. If fact, my grandfather from New York is much more anti-intellectual than my Phd southern Georgian husband.

Sharon H.
Sharon H.4 years ago

I live in NC and will make sure I"m at the voting booth for this and will start writing letters and will also contact the local people to see what I can do to help them get the word out. We have letters all the time in our local paper supporting gay marriage, so hopefully, it will be enough support to get something positive done.