August 4, 2010

APA Praises Prop 8 Decision as Victory for Science, Human Dignity

Calls attention to San Diego convention, featuring programming on marriage and mental health

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association hailed Wednesday’s ruling overturning Proposition 8, in which voters had taken away the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

“The U.S. District Court ruling today affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry in California is a victory for both science and basic human dignity,” said APA President Carol D. Goodheart, EdD. “The American Psychological Association is gratified that the court agreed that there is no justification for denying marriage equality to same-sex couples. The research shows that same-sex couples are similar to heterosexual couples in essential ways and that they are as likely as opposite-sex couples to raise mentally healthy, well-adjusted children. Thus, there is no scientific justification for denying marriage equality, when research indicates that marriage provides many important benefits.”

APA, the largest professional society representing psychology, has been a strong advocate for full equal rights for LGBT people for nearly 35 years, based on the social science research on sexual orientation. APA has supported legal benefits for same-sex couples since 1997 and civil marriage for same-sex couples since 2004. APA has adopted policy statements, lobbied Congress in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment, and filed amicus briefs supporting same-sex marriage in legal cases in Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, New York (three times), Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, and California. In California, the APA brief was cited by the state Supreme Court when it ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in May 2008.

APA holds its annual convention Aug. 12-15 in San Diego, where it will present a full program of sessions highlighting the latest and best research into same-sex couples and families. This research has been key in recent same-sex marriage court cases and other legal decisions supporting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Sessions will feature the latest scientific research into same-sex couples’ relationships and family formation among lesbian, gay and bisexual people, as well as the effect of sexual stigma on individuals and families. Experts will explain how the most recent scientific evidence and legislation support same-sex marriage and adoption and counter prejudice and discrimination. “The fact that we are meeting in California at this time has given us an unmatched opportunity to focus public attention on the scientific research into the benefits of marriage to mental health and, conversely, on the pernicious health effects of discrimination and stigma,” Goodheart said. “We hope that policymakers everywhere will avail themselves of this information as the issue of same-sex marriage continues to be considered in courts and legislatures across the country.”

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.