APA files two briefs in support of same-sex couples
APA has filed two friend-of-the-court briefs — one in the U.S.
1st Circuit Court of Appeals and
one in the Montana Supreme
Court — that support the legal
rights of same-sex couples. The
cases are significantly different in
their arguments before the court,
but the briefs rely on the same
social science research showing
that homosexuality is a normal
expression of human sexuality and
that same-sex couples are not any
less fit or capable than heterosexual
parents and that their children are
no less adjusted.
“The briefs are part of a
straightforward effort to reduce
discrimination by promoting the
research on same-sex relationships
and the influence of same-sex
parents on children,” says Clinton
Anderson, PhD, associate executive
director of APA’s Public Interest
The 1st Circuit case stems from
a Massachusetts lawsuit, Gill v.
Office of Personnel Management.
The plaintiffs, a group of same-sex
couples, widows and widowers from same-sex relationships, say
the federal Defense of Marriage Act definition of marriage as a
union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.
That provision, they say, bars the federal government from
recognizing marriages of same-sex couples who are legally
married in their home states. It also prevents the couples from
receiving any of the federal benefits of marriage awarded to
opposite-sex married couples.
APA’s brief in the Gill case addresses the assumption,
stated by the judge from the Massachusetts appeals court, that
Congress was motivated by hostility toward same-sex couples
when it passed the Defense of Marriage Act.
“The brief argues that the research clearly shows that there
is no justification for that animus,” says Anderson. The brief
states that “the claim that legal recognition of marriage for
same-sex couples undermines the institution of marriage
and harms their children is inconsistent with the scientific
The brief was co-signed by the Massachusetts Psychological
Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the
American Medical Association, among others.