At its meeting held during APA's 2004 Annual Convention in Honolulu, APA's Council of Representatives adopted a resolution stating that it is "unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and its attendant benefits, rights and privileges." Council adopted the resolution based upon the recommendation of the APA Working Group on Same-Sex Families and Relationships, which council appointed last February. The working group, composed of researchers who study same-sex relationships and parenting, concluded that there is no research that suggests same-sex couples should be denied marriage rights. A second resolution, also based on the literature review, calls for joint and second parent adoption rights for gay parents. Council also adopted a new dues schedule to help relieve financial pressures on newly graduated and early-career APA members.
"Early-career members are disproportionately represented among those members leaving the association, and from member opinion surveys we know that early-career members feel the particular financial squeeze of building their careers while also having to manage education debt," states Janet Matthews, PhD, chair of the APA Membership Committee.
The new dues schedule lengthens the time that early-career members enjoy reduced dues. Before the change, the dues "ramp-up" for new members was spread over four years. With the new schedule, new members' dues ramp up over eight years.
Council also established a continuing Committee on Early Career Psychologists to focus more attention and products and services on the needs of those entering the discipline.
In additional action, council:
Adopted a resolution on outpatient civil commitment, which called for "psychologists to continue to promote and engage in the development of evidence-based clinical methods for determining risks and dangerousness, including risk associated with accepting or not accepting mental health services."
Received the report of the Task Force on Psychology's Agenda for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. The task force was charged with developing an action plan in response to the September 2000 Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health. The action plan would focus APA resources in support of specific priorities as identified by the APA Working Group on Children's Mental Health, including improved mental health system infrastructure and access and increased public awareness of children's mental health issues.
Passed the 2005 association budget, which includes a small dues increase tied to the annual consumer price index, or CPI. This inflationary dues increase will be $6 next year.
Presented the first annual Raymond D. Fowler Award to Dr. Fowler. The award will be presented annually to a member of the association to recognize long-standing service to the association and to psychology.