Monday, May 23, 2005

Shrinks Expand

Down in the annual conference in Atlanta, the American Psychiatric Association's advisory group urged support of same-sex marriages. If the APA's board approves this as expected in July, it will be a boost to the cause. It would become the first major medical association to do so.

[It was not that many years ago – until 1987 – that the APA classified homosexuality as a mental illness.]

The advisors are the 250 representatives in the APA's Assembly. Five years ago, they recommended and the board passed support for civil unions. The key idea behind both is that discrimination is bad for mental health.

This weekend's amplification was evolutionary, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
In the wake of Vermont's adoption of civil union and Massachusetts' same-sex marriage, it became clear that the two notions are not equal, said psychiatrists who voted for gay marriage.

Same-sex marriage supporters say a civil union is tailored by each state, comes with fewer benefits and is not recognized by other states with the same measure. Marriage, theoretically, is recognized universally even though states do not accept Massachusetts' approval of gay marriage at the moment.

"Civil unions are more restrictive to strengthening the couple and family. They're not transportable. Marriage is transportable from state to state, from country to country," said Jack Drescher, a New York City psychiatrist in charge of the assembly's committee on gay issues...
Yet while a sizable majority of the shrinks approve, some are gun-shy and not too eager to offend. The article quotes a West Virginia psychiatrist F. Joseph Whelan as saying, "Marriage has a lot of Judeo-Christian connotations" attached..."Many of us did not see it was appropriate for APA to be a vanguard to change that."

Those many were outvoted.

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