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Same-Sex 'Marriage' and Mental Health

Interview With Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons of Catholic Medical Association

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pennsylvania, JULY 22, 2005 (Zenit) - A recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Association calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage shows a political agenda that disregards scientific data, says a psychiatrist.

Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons was a major contributor to "Homosexuality and Hope," an essay by the Catholic Medical Association, and co-author of "Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope" (American Psychological Association Books, 2000).

Fitzgibbons shared his views with Catholic Online about the APA's definition of same-sex marriage as a mental health "need" for the stability of the partners and the children they adopt.

Q: Is the opinion of the APA on same-sex unions and adoption consistent with the research on the medical and psychiatric difficulties in those with same-sex attractions and on the developmental needs of children?

Fitzgibbons: No. The APA has chosen to ignore the significant medical research which has documented serious psychiatric and medical illnesses associated with those same-sex attractions and behaviors.

This research and that on the needs of children for a father and a mother have been reviewed in several important recent papers from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and the University of Utah School of Medicine.

The peer-reviewed literature demonstrates that an inability to maintain committed relationships and rampant promiscuity are the norm in the homosexual lifestyle. To illustrate this, one recent study in Amsterdam, by Xiridou, demonstrated that 86% of the new cases of AIDS came from those in committed relationships, and that those in casual relationships averaged between 16-28 sexual partners per year.

Q: What else does the research show in regards to psychiatric and medical health risks for those living the homosexual lifestyle?

Fitzgibbons: Well-designed research studies have shown that many psychiatric disorders are far more prevalent, three to five times, in teen-agers and adults with same-sex attraction [SSA]. These include major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships.

It is important to note that "homophobia" is not the cause of these disorders, as many of these studies were done in cultures in which homosexuality is widely accepted.

Another recent study has shown that a high percentage, 32%, of males with SSA have been abused by other males with SSA.

In addition, those with SSA have a shortened life expectancy. The sexual practices in the lifestyle, particularly sodomy, are associated with numerous serious medical illnesses. All this research was ignored by the APA.

Q: What do the social and medical perspectives of scientific research indicate about the needs of a child for a father and a mother?

Fitzgibbons: Dr. Reekers and Dr. Byrd's summary of some of the vast literature on child development demonstrates the vital importance of a father and a mother for the developmental needs of a child.

In effect, the social science research supports the recent statement of the Vatican that to deliberately deprive a child of a father or a mother through adoption by those in the homosexual lifestyle would inflict severe harm onto those children.

The APA's statement ignores the vast scholarship on the needs of children such as Henry Biller's "Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development," which includes a bibliography of almost 1,000 separate articles or books on the positive effects of fathers on children.

These studies were not done as part of a political campaign, but as serious scholarship to increase our knowledge of child development. The literature on the needs of a child for a mother is even more extensive, and was equally ignored.

Q: If the opinion of the APA in support of same-sex unions and adoption is not based on medical, psychiatric and social science research, then what do you think it is based upon?

Fitzgibbons: I believe that the decision is an ideological and a political one, not one based in medical science or on the protection of the health of adults or of children.

The unscientific position of the APA brings to mind the warning of Pope Benedict XVI in regards to the dictatorship of relativism in the West.

In my professional experience as a psychiatrist with expertise on the nature and treatment of excessive anger, the APA's decision is strongly influenced by a long standing bias ...

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