By: Shannon Ralph
This week the American Psychological Association (APA), the world’s largest body of psychologists, has called for state and federal officials to lift the bans on gay marriage. Members at the group’s annual meeting voted unanimously on Wednesday to back “full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
The organization’s policy-making panel cited evidence showing that marriage affords the same health benefits to gay people that it does to straight people. 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.”
The resolution also states 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.”
It should come as news to no one that being discriminated against and being banned from participating fully in the rights and privileges afforded to other Americans would have a negative effect on a person’s psychological health. Trying to explain to my children why their fellow Minnesotans will be voting in 2012 on whether or not our family is a “valid” family causes me a great deal of stress. No child should have the legitimacy of his family challenged. And no parent should have to shield her children from hateful rhetoric playing on her own television set in the comfort of her own home. It should be common sense that this places undue psychological stress on a person.
I realize, however, that common sense is not standard operating procedure in politics. Therefore, I applaud the APA coming forward with this landmark declaration of support. It will no doubt aid in our continued struggle for marriage equality.