Social Work News

Tuesday, August 10

NASW calls Proposition 8 decision “a great day in the struggle for human rights.”

WASHINGTON –The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) lauds this week’s decision to overturn the ban on same sex marriage in California.

“It’s a great day in the struggle for human rights,” says NASW President James Kelly, PhD, ACSW. “The decision in the U.S. District Court marks a major milestone in our country’s march toward full equality for all. ”  

NASW is a long-time advocate for marriage equality.   NASW’s support for the rights of same-sex couples to marry and have equal recognition of familial rights is based on the NASW Code of Ethics’ prohibition on discrimination based on sexual orientation and social workers’ traditional advocacy for exploited and vulnerable people.  NASW’s policy statements support advocacy for equal rights for gay and lesbian people (NASW, 2009) and the NASW Board of Directors specifically re-affirmed the association’s support for same-sex marriage in 2004 (NASW, June 2004).

NASW’s involvement as a “friend of the court” on same-sex marriage cases has been substantial.  NASW has filed or joined amicus curiae briefs addressing same-sex marriage rights in California, Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Oregon, New Jersey, Maryland, Nebraska, and Connecticut, as well as numerous cases seeking recognition of the best interests of children to maintain their relationships with gay and lesbian parents’ who seek custody and/or visitation of their minor children in the event of a domestic separation or dissolution.

Until recently, same sex couples in committed relationships have not been afforded basic benefits, rights and protections granted heterosexual couples under state and federal laws. Although same sex couples live in relationships that are based on principles of strong and loving commitment to another, mutual responsibility, and a right to enter into a marriage with their partner of choice, they continue to be denied the human rights and legal and economic stability provided by the recognized institution of marriage.

“NASW believes that discrimination and prejudice directed against any group is damaging to the social, emotional, and economic well-being of the affected group and society as a whole,” adds Kelly.   “This decision by the Court affirms that LGBT persons in California be granted all rights, privileges, and responsibilities that are granted to heterosexual people, including the right to marriage.”

For more information about NASW’s advocacy work on this important issue:

NASW amicus brief in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

NASW amicus brief in In re: Marriage Cases

LDF “Legal Issue of the Month”, Social Workers and the California Same-Sex Marriage Cases (July 2008):

Posted on 08/10/10 at 11:48 AM


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