APA President Carol Goodheart, EdD, kicked off a special block of programming at APA's Annual Convention highlighting the role of psychological research in supporting the right of gays and lesbians to full marriage equality.
While APA has been a strong advocate for equal rights for gays and lesbians for nearly 35 years, efforts more recently have focused attention on the benefits to mental health of marriage equality, and the damaging effects of denying it to same-sex couples, Goodheart said.
"It is so clear that there's a growing body of solid research, and this research is the foundation of APA's position, and it has had an impact," she said.
Greg Herek, PhD, a professor at University of California, Davis who testified as an expert witness for plaintiffs seeking to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage earlier this summer, said that marriage brings benefits of resources, special rights and privileges, greater relationship stability and social support and recognition for married couples.
Not extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is an expression of stigma against same-sex relationships, Herek said.
"Domestic partnerships and civil unions don't offer the same benefits, and society doesn't consider them equal," he said.