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Same-Sex Marriage a Huge Step Forward, but Critical Issues Remain for LGBT Community

     

A year ago this Sunday, June 26, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges guaranteed that the millions of same-sex couples all over the nation would have the fundamental right to marry. The landmark decision was the culmination of a decades-long effort by activists to achieve “equal dignity under the law” for same-sex couples. The prevailing hashtag after the decision was “#LoveWins,” and it did, at least on that day.

It is impossible to reflect on the massive achievement that the legalization of same-sex marriage represents without also thinking of the recent tragic shooting that occurred in Orlando that targeted patrons of a gay nightclub. It is easy to feel helpless and discouraged in the face of such terrible tragedy, and yet I found myself overwhelmed by the love and support shown to the LGBT community in the wake of the shootings. That was the same spirit of community and acceptance that turned the fight for marriage equality into a national movement, and eventually into the law of the land.

I believe that things such as the same-sex marriage ruling, laws that give millions of citizens in our country the very freedoms that all Americans deserve to enjoy, represent our country at its absolute best."

Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.
APA CEO and Medical Director

Last year we took an enormous step forward for the LGBT community, but there is still plenty of work to be done. The recent legislative season brought with it an unfortunate spate of state legislation aimed at discriminating against the LGBT community under the guise of religious liberty. APA took a stand by sending letters to the governors of the states where the discriminatory legislation was introduced, petitioning them to veto those bills.

Another issue that must be addressed is the false idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder. APA’s Immediate Past-President Dr. Renee Binder and I co-signed a letter to the Indonesian Psychiatric Association urging them to reconsider their classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. That assumption is one that is simply not backed up by science. In fact, the prevailing opinion within the scientific community is that there is a strong biological component to sexual orientation.

One major success this past year was New York’s move to ban so-called “conversion therapy.” APA applauded New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his plan to ban the practice of reparative or “conversion” therapy in the state. Any treatment that purports to treat and even “cure” people of homosexuality has no basis in actual science, is not ethically appropriate, and often results in substantial harm to the recipient of the treatment. APA has been vocal in its opposition to this so-called treatment, and will continue to do so in the future.

I believe that things such as the same-sex marriage ruling, laws that give millions of citizens in our country the very freedoms that all Americans deserve to enjoy, represent our country at its absolute best. While we have plenty more to do to ensure equality for LGBT people in this nation, I really believe that together we can achieve what seemed impossible just 20 years ago. As psychiatrists, we are leaders in the fight for equality for the LGBT community and we stand against discrimination in all of its forms. The support of you, our members, is crucial to our efforts in that regard and for that I thank you.

     

CEO Blog

 

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