SAN FRANCISCO, CA. February 5, 2010.
A group of leading organizations of marriage and family therapists and
other mental health professionals from across the nation have filed an
amicus brief challenging California’s Proposition 8 in the Perry v.
Schwarzenegger case in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The therapy associations agree that what matters is the quality of the
parenting, not the gender of the parents.
The 12 mental health professional organizations representing tens of
thousands of therapists, have come together for the first time in
this effort. Their brief explains children raised by parents of the
same gender do as well as children of opposite gender parents, on any
measure of adjustment or development, a fact which negates the primary
argument by those who support Proposition 8.
The brief says that the American Psychological Association and the
American Psychiatric Association agree that there is no peer-reviewed
research evidence to support the conclusion that different-gender
couples provide a preferable environment for raising children as
compared to same-gender couples.
The appellate attorney who wrote the brief, Ruel Walker of Oakland,
commented, “The fact that psychological research agrees that a child
is just as well off with same-gender parents as with different-gender
parents might be surprising to many people.”
The signing organizations say that that Proposition 8 which limited
marriage in California to one man and one woman, after same-sex
marriage had become legal in that state, was based on a false
assertion that same-gender couples are inferior parents. The brief
argues that the amendment ending lesbian and gay marriages in
California is unconstitutional because it does not advance any
The brief concludes by saying that that the discriminatory treatment
of same-sex couples would undoubtedly end some day, and it asks the
judge to bring about that day sooner rather than later, “for the
benefit of untold thousands of California families who long for it.”
The brief was written by Ruel Walker and Kelly Kay of the Law Offices
of Ruel Walker in Oakland, CA. Mr. Walker is both an appellate
attorney and a licensed marriage and family therapist.
The idea for the brief originated with Jim Walker, MFT, of Oakland,
CA, who is a member of California Therapists for Marriage Equality, an
advocacy group for this issue. “The magic of this particular brief,
Jim Walker said, “is how 12 different organizations joined together
for the first time supporting marriage and parenting equality.
Of the 12 organizations signing this particular amicus brief, the
largest were the California Division of the American Association for
Marriage and Family Therapy, the California Association for Marriage
and Family Therapists and four of its local chapters (in San
Francisco, Los Angeles, the East Bay, and Marin County), and the
American Family Therapy Academy.
Other professional psychological organizations joining the brief
include Gaylesta (the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
Psychotherapist Association of the SF Bay Area), LAGPA (the Lesbian
and Gay Psychotherapy Association of Southern California), the Women’s
Therapy Center of El Cerrito, CA, California Therapists for Marriage
Equality, and the internationally known Gottman Institute of Seattle,
California Therapists for Marriage Equality formed in 2009 to advocate
for support of marriage and family equality. CTME has been raising
awareness that marriage equality is a mental health issue that needs
the public support of mental health professionals who work with
couples, families, groups and individuals.
A member of CTME, and LAGPA, Lisa Maurel, MFT, a marriage and family
therapist in Orange County, said, “The research cited in this brief
demonstrates conclusively that denial of marriage equality for
lesbian and gay parents harms the welfare of their children and
deprives them of the protections that marriage affords the children
of heterosexual parents.”
A copy of the amicus brief is available for viewing at http://ct4me.org.
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