APA joins amicus brief in support of the freedom to marry in CA case

Posted on medicalnewstoday.com:

"Citing the importance of stable, committed relationships and the benefits of the institution of marriage, the American Psychiatric Association has joined several other mental health organizations in submitting an amicus curie brief in a case challenging California's ban on the freedom to marry.

"The brief cites the scientific evidence concerning sexual orientation and family on key points, including that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality; sexual orientation is not the result of voluntary choice; lesbians and gay men have stable, committed relationships similar to heterosexual couples in key aspects; and many same-sex couples are raising children and there is no evidence that gay and lesbian parents are any less capable than heterosexual parents.

"'Denying gay and lesbian men and women the institution of marriage denies them the benefits of marriage, including the social, psychological, and health benefits that are associated with marriage,' said James H. Scully, Jr., M.D, APA medical director and chief executive officer. While marriage does not guarantee greater health and happiness, married men and women generally have higher levels of happiness, psychological well-being, and physical health than unmarried men and women.

"'This friend-of-the-court brief represents a continuation of APA's efforts to call courts' attention to the scientific literature relevant to this important policy question,' said Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., chair of APA's Committee on Judicial Action. 'We have previously participated in similar cases in Maryland, Connecticut, and California, and before the U.S. Supreme Court.'

"The APA joins the American Psychological Association, the California Psychological Association, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger before the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case challenges California's voter-approved Proposition 8 which essentially banned marriages of same-sex couples. Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court and that ruling is now being appealed.

"The brief concludes that 'there is no scientific basis for distinguishing between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples with respect to the legal rights, obligations, benefits, and burdens conferred by civil marriage.'

"Submission of the brief, approved by the APA Board of Trustees, is consistent with APA's previous involvement in marriage equality cases and longstanding position in support of marriages of same-sex couples as stated in its 2005 position statement, Support of Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Marriage.

"The case is expected to be heard this fall [opening arguments on December 6]..."

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