Things May Be looking up in the US.
- Psychiatric Association Calls For Gay Marriage Recognition
by The Associated Press
Posted: May 23, 2005 12:01 am ET
(Atlanta, Georgia) Representatives of the nation's top psychiatric group approved a statement urging legal recognition of same-sex unions, on Sunday.
The statement, if approved by the association's directors in July, would make the American Psychiatric Association the first major medical group to take such a stance.
The statement, approved on a voice vote, supports same-sex marriage and benefits "in the interest of maintaining and promoting mental health."
The psychiatrists approved the statement Sunday, the first day of the APA's weeklong annual meeting in Atlanta.
The vote goes beyond the association's 2000 statement supporting same-sex civil unions and continues a history of recognizing "that gay men and lesbians are full human beings who should be afforded the same human and civil rights," said Margery Sved, a Raleigh, N.C., psychiatrist and member of the assembly's committee on gay and lesbian issues.
The position paper cites the "positive influence of a stable, adult partnership on the health of all family members." It says the lack of access to health insurance, pension payments, death benefits and other rights for same-sex couples hurts the stability of their relationships and their mental health.
The document clarifies that the association is addressing same-sex civil marriage, not religious marriages. It takes no position on any religion's views on marriage.
A clear majority of the assembly's roughly 250 members present Sunday approved the measure.
Joseph Berger, a psychiatrist from Toronto, Canada, voted against it for what he called political reasons. He cited gay marriage votes in several states last year where voters overwhelmingly sided against the institution.
"It's very unusual for an organization like ours to take on an issue so contrary to where public sentiment is," he said. "It's a little bit like poking your finger in the eye of the public when so much of the public seems to be against it."
Forty states bar same-sex marriages, including some that prohibit same-sex couples from enjoying many of the legal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy.
Last year, Georgians voted 3-to-1 for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Some psychiatrists pushed a boycott of this week's conference because of the vote, but most APA members opted to attend, officials said.
Other mental health groups have adopted similar positions on gay marriage in the past year. In July, the American Psychological Association adopted a position statement that said research showed that discrimination based on sexual orientation "detrimentally affects the psychological, physical, social and economic well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals."
)Associated Press 2005