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WASHINGTON – Advocates of marriage equality got a huge boost when the world’s largest and most respected psychology group on Wednesday voted unanimously to support same-sex marriage.
The American Psychological Association (APA) policy-making panel voted 157-0 to approve a resolution to support marriage equality, citing an abundance of new studies that show that same-sex couples share the same goals as opposite-sex couples in building “stable, long-lasting and committed intimate relationships and are successful in doing so.”
The APA has historically supported full equality for the LGBT community, and Clinton Anderson, director of APA's Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, said the resolution will lend considerable weight to the national debate.
"Now as the country has really begun to have experience with gay marriage, our position is much clearer and more straightforward — that marriage equity is the policy that the country should be moving toward," Anderson said.
While most states do not grant marriage equality, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.
Civil unions, which provide fewer benefits and rights than same-sex marriage, are permitted in California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised the APA’s resolution.
“The American Psychological Association has long supported equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community based on scientific reasoning and a concern for the well-being of all people,” he said.
“The unanimous passage of a resolution in support of full marriage equality shows once again that equality under the law is not only inherently right, but will also benefit the health of LGBT Americans. Marriage equality will strengthen families, and in doing so, will make for stable communities,” Solmonese said.
In 2009, the APA went on record in opposition to “ex-gay” or “reparative therapy,” calling it ineffective in changing sexual orientation and dangerous to the well-being of LGBT people. The APA also supports second parent adoption for same-sex couples.
Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, applauded the APA decision.
“With the freedom to marry in 12 countries on four continents, and most recently New York joining five other states plus the District of Columbia in ending exclusion from marriage, there is a mountain of unrefuted evidence and experience showing that extending the freedom to marry to loving, committed same-sex couples helps them and their families while hurting no one,” he said.
“Based on the evidence, the APA, like every other professional medical, scientific, child-welfare, and social science organization, is calling for an end to the unfair exclusion of same-sex couples and their families from marriage and its crucial meanings to familes, including the safety-net it brings to couples and their kids.”