American Psychological Association Supports Marriage Equality by Unanimous Vote

Last night, the policy-making body of the American Psychological Association (APA) took a stand in support of full marriage equality.

The APA approved the resolution unanimously, 157-0. The resolution cites an ever-growing body of social science research to support its position. Findings of this research suggest that statewide campaigns denying legal marriage to lesbian, gay and bisexual couples prove to be a significant source of stress for those couples, and can have negative effects on their psychological well-being.

The APA has long been a supporter of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and has widespread influence with more than 154,000 members. M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute of UCLA, commented on the contributions psychology has made to equality, saying, “Psychologists have been very important in helping to keep the discussion at a fact-based level and not let it steer off into stereotypes.” Badgett’s own research on marriage equality across cultures is cited in the APA’s resolution.

Psychological research and policy resolutions have the potential to affect decision making in a court of law as well, according to clinical psychologist Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University. Hatzenbuehler, whose research is also cited in the resolution, added that courts tend to look at such policy resolutions from organizations like the APA because, “they’re really looking to see what social science research says about the influence on [marriage equality] and marriage bans on a whole host of outcomes.”

Currently, six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont) and the District of Columbia allow marriage equality. GLAAD commends the APA for supporting marriage equality and citing credible scientific research in their recent resolution.

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