The largest association of psychologists in the world has unanimously approved a resolution calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised in the US.

The resolution was passed by the American Psychological Association (APA), which represents 154,000 members, ahead of its annual convention in Washington.

The resolution calls for all US states to repeal measures barring same-sex couples from marrying “and to enact laws to provide full marriage equality to same-sex couples”.

It also urges the federal government “to extend full recognition to legally married same-sex couples, and to accord them all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities that it provides to legally married different-sex couples”.

All 175 members of the APA Council of Representatives voted in favour of the resolution, citing growing research that shows that “many gay men and lesbians, like their heterosexual counterparts, desire to form stable, long-lasting and committed intimate relationships and are successful in doing so”.

The resolution added that “emerging evidence suggests that statewide campaigns to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage are a significant source of stress to the lesbian, gay and bisexual residents of those states and may have negative effects on their psychological well-being”.

Speaking to USA Today, Clinton Anderson, director of APA’s Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, said: “Now as the country has really begun to have experience with gay marriage, our position is much clearer and more straightforward — that marriage equity is the policy that the country should be moving toward.”

The preamble of the resolution notes that “Homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexual orientation that poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, including the capacity to form healthy and mutually satisfying intimate relationships with another person of the same sex and to raise healthy and well-adjusted children…”

Same-sex marriage is legal in six US states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont) and the District of Columbia. The federal government does not recognise these marriages.

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