Marriage and Family — 12 July 2013
For Love – and for the sake of our children

The success of last weekend’s Santa Cruz Pride on Pacific Avenue was heartwarming. It was a fun, joyous and hopeful celebration tinged with the suspenseful anticipation of the upcoming US Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for California and the nation.

Those who are old enough to have witnessed the marches, speeches, debates and heated passionate struggles for civil rights in the early 1960’s, must have been struck by its resemblance to today’s fight for marriage equality. Both mirror similar aspects of human rights to liberty and justice for all.

Prior to 1964 interracial marriages were prohibited in most states. Today, same sex marriage is still illegal in 38 states. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association called on psychiatrists “to advocate for full civil rights for gays and lesbians and to work to end the discrimination they endure.” Today, The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as The American Medical Association support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Legislating who one can love or marry is a true infringement upon our basic human freedom and defies the laws of nature. It also deprives children of their right to emotional stability within families united by love and supported by laws.

The American Psychological Association, in support for same-sex marriage stated: Research has shown that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, recent empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights for same-sex couples. Additionally, children raised by same-sex couples have been shown to be on par with the children of opposite-sex couples in their psychological adjustment, cognitive abilities and social functioning.”

Though some of these findings have been disputed by Loren Marks of Louisiana State University due to data analysis concerns, the prevailing opinions of many researchers and clinicians is best stated by Rodney Croome of Australia, For the sake of the children being reared by same-sex couples, their parents should be allowed to marry.”

No one promotes the notion that children of non-married heterosexual couples are equally secure as those whose parents are married.

According to Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at the University of California, Los Angeles, “About 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000. There are 65,000 adopted children who live in homes in which the head of the household is gay and 115,000 children in the United States are currently awaiting adoption.”

For love of our children, we must enable them to have solid families, loving married parents and a chance at a better life.

For love of each other, we must support marriage choice equality.


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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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