Sexual Orientation & Military Service
Adopted by the APA Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004.
Whereas the American Psychological Association (APA) has long opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and
Whereas the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy as mandated by Title 10 of the U.S. Code (Section 654) discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, and has caused many qualified personnel to be involuntarily separated from military service solely because of their sexual orientation; and
Whereas in light of the enactment of 10 USC § 654 in 1994, APA’s 1991 resolution U.S Department of Defense Policy on Sexual Orientation and Advertising in APA Publications needs to be revised; and
Whereas there is a long history of collaboration between psychology and the military (Dunivin, 1994; Yerkes, 1921); and
Whereas the law creates ethical dilemmas for military psychologists and it is APA’s responsibility to address these concerns (American Psychological Association, 2002); and
Whereas empirical evidence fails to show that sexual orientation is germane to any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention (Belkin, 2003; Belkin & Bateman, 2003; Herek, Jobe, & Carney, 1996; MacCoun, 1996; National Defense Research Institute, 1993); and
Whereas comparative data from foreign militaries and domestic police and fire departments show that when lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are allowed to serve openly there is no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness (Belkin & McNichol, 2000-2001; Gade, Segal, & Johnson, 1996; Koegel, 1996); and
Whereas when openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces (Cammermeyer v. Aspin, 1994; Watkins v. United States Army, 1989/1990), there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness; and
Whereas the U.S. military is capable of integrating members of groups historically excluded from its ranks, as demonstrated by its success in reducing both racial and gender discrimination (Binkin & Bach, 1977; Binkin, Eitelberg, Schexnider, & Smith, 1982; Kauth & Landis, 1996; Landis, Hope, & Day, 1984; Thomas & Thomas, 1996);
Therefore be it resolved that APA reaffirms its opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation; and
Be it further resolved that APA reaffirms its support for our men and women in uniform and its dedication to promoting their health and well-being; and
Be it further resolved that APA recognizes and abhors the many detrimental effects that the law has had on individual service members, the military, and American society since its enactment in 1994; and
Be it further resolved that APA take a leadership role among national organizations in seeking to eliminate discrimination in and by the military based on sexual orientation through federal advocacy and all other appropriate means; and
Be it further resolved that APA act to ameliorate the negative effects of the current law through the training and education of psychologists; and
Be it further resolved that APA disseminate scientific knowledge and professional expertise relevant to implementing this resolution; and
Be it further resolved that this resolution replaces the 1991 resolution “U.S. Department of Defense Policy on Sexual Orientation and Advertising in APA Publications;” and
Be it further resolved that APA reaffirms its strong commitment to removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual and bisexual behavior and orientations; promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and youth; eliminating violence against lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members; and working to ensure the equality of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, both as individuals and members of committed same-sex relationships, in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodation, licensing, parenting, and access to legal benefits.
American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.
Belkin, A. (2003). Don’t ask, don’t tell: Is the gay ban based on military necessity? Parameters, 33(2), 108-119.
Belkin, A., & Bateman, G. (2003). Don’t ask, don’t tell: Debating the gay ban in the military. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Belkin, A., & McNichol, J. (2000-2001). Homosexual personnel policy in the Canadian forces: Did lifting the gay ban undermine military performance? International Journal, 56(1), 73-88.
Binkin, M., & Bach, S. J. (1977). Women and the military. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Binkin, M., Eitelberg, M. J., Schexnider, A. J., & Smith, M. M. (1982). Blacks and the military. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution.
Cammermeyer v. Aspin, 850 F. Supp. 910. (W. D. Wash, 1994).
Dunivin, D. L. (1994). Health professions education: The shaping of a discipline through federal funding. American Psychologist, 49(10), 868-878.
Gade, P. A., Segal, D. R., & Johnson, E. M. (1996). The experience of foreign militaries. In G. M. Herek, J. B. Jobe, & R. Carney (Eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 106-130). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Herek, G. M., Jobe, J., & Carney, R. (Eds.). (1996). Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kauth, M. R., & Landis, D. (1996). Applying lessons learned from minority integration in the military. In G. M. Herek, J. B. Jobe, & R. Carney (Eds.), Out in force: Sexual orientation and the military (pp. 86-105). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Watkins v. United States Army, 875 F.2d 699 (9th Cir. 1989), 498 U.S. 957 (1990).
Yerkes, R. M. (1921). Psychological examining in the U.S. Army. Official Report of the Division of Psychology, the Surgeon General's Office. In R. M. Yerkes (Ed.), Memoirs: Vol. 15. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences.
Please cite this policy statement as:
Paige, R. U. (2005). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from the World Wide Web http://www.apa.org/governance/. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)