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The Australian Psychological Society welcomes the Parliamentary vote and legislation to establish marriage equality in Australia.

The Society has long supported marriage equality on mental health and wellbeing grounds. Psychological research provides no evidence that would justify refusing same-sex partners the choice to marry, but there is ample evidence that such discrimination contributes significantly to the risk of mental ill-health among LGBTQI+ people, especially young people, and to creating or worsening social divisions in our society.

APS President Anthony Cichello said:  “While the outcome is welcomed, many people have been subject to physical and/or psychological abuse by the process of the debate and it is important that we work to heal the rift in our community, and particularly ensure that those directly affected by the outcomes of the vote are supported.”

Key Points

  • Psychologists have an ethical responsibility to work to ensure that all Australians are supported to achieve positive mental health and full social inclusion.
  • Decades of psychological research provides evidence linking marriage to mental health benefits for couples and their children, and highlighting how exclusion from socially sanctioned institutions like marriage can harm people's mental health.
  • The APS supports the full recognition of same-sex relationships, on the basis of this evidence.
  • Marriage discrimination has a flow-on effect on same-sex attracted Australians, their loved ones, and the wider community.
  • Removing all discrimination from the Marriage Act to ensure that all people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, can choose to marry will also promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity, particularly among young people.
  • While the APS fully supports marriage equality, the Society believes that the process for achieving equality should not be by means of a popular vote. Public votes about marriage equality elsewhere have been linked to increased mental health risks, particularly caused by fear campaigns and social exclusion. Marriage equality is a human rights and equal opportunity issue and should on principle, be a matter for Australian law and our parliamentary system, not a popular vote.

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