FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jill Epstein
858-292-2638
marketing@camft.org

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Issues Statement Supporting Marriage Equality

San Diego - September 2009. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, after its September 2009 Board of Directors meeting, issued the following statement supporting marriage equality:

CAMFT’s Ethical Standards state that Marriage and Family Therapists do not condone or engage in discrimination or refuse professional services to anyone on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or marital status.  While the language of this broad statement does not specifically address the issue of marriage equality, its spirit and intent are clear.

The CAMFT Board of Directors reaffirms CAMFT’s broad and long-standing prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or marital status by endorsing marriage equality.  By doing so, the CAMFT Board of Directors recognizes and affirms traditional and contemporary configurations of marriage, and recognizes and affirms traditional and contemporary definitions of families.

Supporting Documentation

CAMFT Bylaws

Article III—Objectives and Purposes 

The objectives of this corporation shall be:

To advance marriage and family therapy as an art, a science and a mental health profession.
To serve and represent the common professional standards for marriage and family therapists.
To set and maintain professional standards for marriage and family therapists.
To advocate and work to achieve public and private policies for the advancement of family life.
To engage in such other lawful activities as is allowed by law and/or as is set forth in the Articles of Incorporation of this corporation.

CAMFT Website

What is CAMFT?

CAMFT is your organizational advocate and representative.  We monitor and work cooperatively with your regulatory board (BBS), the state legislature and others.  We sponsor bills and get laws passed to benefit you and the public.

CAMFT Strategic Plan

Goal I:  Professionalism

The Association will maintain and promote high standards of professionalism, competence, accountability, inclusiveness, and ethics. 

Objectives:

The Association will develop and enforce ethical standards consistent with the evolving profession.
The Association will develop and advocate for legal standards consistent with the evolving profession.  
The Association will create and administer certification programs and quality educational opportunities beneficial to the profession.
The Association will be an inclusive and accessible organization by proactively attracting and retaining a diverse membership and leadership
The Association will encourage its members to be proactive, sensitive, and responsive to the needs of a diverse and changing population. 
The Association will promote current professional research and best practices. 

CAMFT Ethical Standards

Part I, Section 1.1, Responsibility to Patients

Non-Discrimination—The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) has an established non-discrimination policy whereby Marriage and Family Therapists do not condone or engage in discrimination, or refuse professional service to anyone on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, gender expression, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic, or marital status.  Marriage and family therapists make reasonable efforts to accommodate patients who have physical disabilities.

Part I, Section 3.6, Professional Competence and Integrity

Cultural Sensitivity—The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) maintains that Marriage and Family Therapists actively strive to identify and understand the diverse cultural backgrounds of their clients by gaining knowledge, personal awareness, and developing sensitivity and skills pertinent to working with a diverse client population.

Part I, Section 3.7, Professional Competency and Integrity

Therapist Cultural Values—The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) maintains that Marriage and Family Therapists make continuous efforts to be aware of how their cultural/racial/ethnic identity, values, and beliefs affect the process of therapy.

Part I, Section 7.6, Responsibility to the Profession

Developing Public Policy—The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) maintains that Marriage and Family Therapists are concerned with developing laws and regulations pertaining to Marriage and Family Therapists that serve the public interest, and with altering such laws and regulations that are not in the public interest.

The Therapist,January/February 2007 

A quote from “The Building of a Profession:  A Profession Created, Crafted, and Adopted Through Legislation,” by Mary Riemersma

 “Early issues in which the organization took an interest, outside those issues that affected MFCC rights to practice, included:  Marriage dissolution, rape, incest, domestic violence, child abuse reporting, custody, child pornography, and some other societal issues.  These interests were both perceived as having an impact on the profession, and by demonstrating an interest in these relevant issues, it helped to counter-balance the appearance of self-interest.”

The Current Situation

Same-sex couples are denied equal access to civil marriage (Eskridge, 1999). 
Same-sex couples who enter into a civil union are denied equal access to all of the benefits, rights, and privileges provided by federal law to married couples (United States General Accounting Office, 2004) (Eskridge, 2001; recent legislation, Act Relating to Civil Unions, 2001; Strasser, 2000).

The benefits, rights, and privileges associated with domestic partnerships are not universally available (Allison, 2003), are not equal to those associated with marriage (Shin, 2002; Strasser, 2002).

The denial of equal legal benefits to same-sex couples constitutes discrimination (Attorney General Opinion, 2009).

Peer reviewed research has found that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has detrimental effects on psychological, physical, social, and economic wellbeing (Mays, 2001; Cochran, 2003).   

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (“CAMFT”) is opposed to discrimination with regard to the legal benefits, rights, and privileges afforded same-sex couples and their children.

About CAMFT

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, with 27 chapters throughout California, is an independent professional organization, representing the interests of licensed marriage and family therapists.   For more information about CAMFT, please call 858- 292-2638 or visit www.camft.org.


References

Allison, Gary D. (2003). Sanctioning sodomy: The Supreme Court liberates gay sex and limits state power to vindicate the moral sentiments of the people. Tulsa Law Review, 39, 95-153.

Attorney General Edmund J. Brown. (2009). Opening Argument to the Supreme Court of California.

Cochran, S.D., Sullivan, J.G., and Mays, V.M. (2003). Prevalence of mental disorders, psychological distress, and mental health services use among lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in the United States. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(1), 53-61.

Eskridge, W. N., Jr. (1999). Gaylaw: Challenging the apartheid of the closet (pp. 134-135). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Eskridge, W.N., Jr. (2001). Equality practice: Liberal reflections on the jurisprudence of civil unions. Albany Law Review, 64, 853-881.

Mays, V.M. and Cochran, S.D. (2001). Mental Health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1869-76.

Shin, Eileen. (2002). Same-sex unions and domestic partnership. Georgetown Journal of Gender and Law, 4, 272-278.

Strasser, Mark. (2000). Mission impossible: On Baker, equal benefits, and the imposition of stigma. William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 9, 1-27.

Strasser, Mark. (2002). Some observations about DOMA, marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Capital University Law Review, 30, 363-386.