President Obama took a stand yesterday in favor of the right of same sex couples to marry. Politically, it probably wasn’t necessary. He would have gotten the votes of the vast majority of people who support marriage equality even if he didn’t endorse it. But he did the right thing morally, and he did the right thing for the mental health of the country.
Here are ten reasons to applaud President Obama for supporting gay marriage, and for other leaders and citizens to follow his lead:
1.Discrimination frays the human spirit.
2.Making committed human connections is good for physical and mental health.
3.Forming families, traditional or not, is good for the soul.
4. Marriage is a basic human right and an individual personal choice and the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry.
5. Homosexuality is a normal variant of adult sexuality; gay men and lesbians possess the same potential and desire for sustained loving and lasting relationships as heterosexuals, including loving and parenting children. This is supported by hard data, not just opinion.
6. Discriminatory marriage laws deprive gay and lesbian couples of over 1000 federal rights and benefits
7. Deprivation of these benefits has demonstrable negative psychological and social impact on same sex couples, their children and families.
8. Change and adaptation make for a stronger and psychologically richer society
9. Same sex couples can teach heterosexual couples how couples in relationships lacking gender based power dynamics often solve problems and make decisions with more respect and mutuality.
10. Ending discrimination enhances the human spirit and makes all our lives better.
(Some of these reasons are taken from the position statement of the American Psychoanalytic Association on gay marriage approved in 1997 and revised in 2008. To read the entire statement and other American psychoanalytic Association position statements on gay rights and other social issues, go to http://apsa.org/About_APsaA/Position_Statements.aspx)