Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Is a Constitutional Right


This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 decision that states do not have the right to ban or outlaw same-sex unions—giving same-sex couples the right to legally marry in every state across the nation.

"In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. "It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage," the ruling continued. "Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The ruling extending from the case Obergefell v. Hodges also mandates states to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when legally married in another state.

"Today’s ruling strikes a blow to inequality and discrimination throughout the nation, and that’s good for Americans’ mental health," said APA President RenĂ©e Binder, M.D. "APA has a long history of supporting the rights of same-sex couples, and we have long noted that there is no scientific or medical reason to deny these couples the right to marry. This decision is a landmark step in ensuring equality and happiness for every American."

APA joined a coalition of the nation’s top health care associations including the AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others in submitting an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage.

“The claim that allowing sex-same couples to marry undermines the institution of marriage and harms children is inconsistent with the scientific evidence,” Binder said. “In fact, the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality and that gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships equivalent to heterosexual couples.

“But this issue goes well beyond the scientific evidence,” said Binder. “It is about what is the right thing to do and the fact that everyone should be free from discrimination.”

Over the past several decades, APA has issued a number of position statements on antidiscrimination policies related to the LGBT community. Those positions were consolidated in a 2013 Position Statement on issues related to homosexuality.

“Today is a watershed moment for equal rights in America,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “We at APA are proud that our country—after a long period of seeking equal rights—now sees that everyone has the constitutional right to marriage.”

(Image: dencg/Shutterstock.com)

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