Same Sex Unions
Approved by the Board of Trustees, December 2004
Approved by the Assembly, November 2004
"Policy documents are approved by the APA Assembly and Board of Trustees…These are … position statements that define APA official policy on specific subjects…" -- APA Operations Manual.
"The American Psychiatric Association supports the legal recognition of same sex unions and their associated legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits, and responsibilities.”
The APA expresses a valid interest in the well being of heterosexual married couples in such areas as children's mental health and other aspects of family life. Heterosexual relationships have a legal framework for their existence, which provides a stabilizing force.
In the United States, with the recent exception of Vermont, Massachusetts, and a few other jurisdictions, same sex partners are currently denied the important benefits and responsibilities of legal marriage. Same sex couples therefore experience several kinds of state sanctioned
discrimination that affect the stability of their relationships.
The children of gay and lesbian parents do not have the same protection that legal marriage affords the children of heterosexual couples. Adoptive and divorced lesbian and gay parents face additional obstacles. An adoptive parent who is lesbian or gay is presumed unfit in many U.S.
jurisdictions. Furthermore, when couples do adopt, usually one parent is granted legal rights, while the other parent may have no legal standing.
These obstacles occur even though research has shown that the children aised by lesbian and gay men are as well adjusted as those reared within heterosexual relationships.
The American Psychiatric Association has historically supported equity, parity, and non-discrimination regarding legal issues affecting mental health. Educating the public about lesbian and gay relationships and supporting efforts to establish same sex legal unions is consistent with the Association's advocacy for other disadvantaged minority groups.
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