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Same-Sex Marriage Position Statement

The National Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) reaffirms the Association's support for same-sex marriages, and strongly opposes any attempt to pass federal legislation or amend the United States Constitution to discriminate against same-sex couples or prohibit governmental recognition of these relationships.

Specifically, the Board of Directors supports working toward implementation of domestic partnership and marriage legislation at local, state, and national levels that includes lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. The Board also endorses the development and dissemination of model anti-discrimination, domestic partnership, and marriage legislation, which may be used in municipal, state, and national legislatures.

This statement arises from the following fundamental principles, articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics , as well as from positions adopted in various policy statements by numerous delegate assemblies (the policy setting body of the National Association of Social Workers):

The NASW Code of Ethics states:

"Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability."

"Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, or mental or physical disability."

NASW encourages the adoption of laws that recognize inheritance, insurance, same-sex marriage, child custody, property, and other rights in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships. The Association firmly believes that all federal protections and responsibilities available to legally married people in the United States should be available to people who enter same sex unions (including domestic partnerships, civil unions, and same sex marriages).

Furthermore, NASW promotes equal protection under the law, and strongly supports the full implementation of existing civil rights legislation and its application to women; to people of color; and to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. And, because we believe that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity — regardless of age, disability, gender, language, race, religion, or sexual orientation — NASW endorses local, state, and federal policies and programs that give all people equal access to the resources, services, and opportunities that they require.  

It is imperative that social workers advocate for the rights of vulnerable people. It is equally critical, NASW believes, that social workers condemn policies, practices, and attitudes of bigotry, intolerance, and hate that put any person's human rights in jeopardy, including — but not limited to — violation of human rights based on sexual orientation.

REFERENCES
National Association of Social Workers. (1999). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers . Washington, DC: Author.
National Association of Social Workers. (2003). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues. Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy statements, 2003–2006 (6th ed., pp. 224–235). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
National Association of Social Workers. (2003). Civil liberties and justice. Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy statements, 2003–2006 (6th ed., pp. 37–45). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
National Association of Social Workers. (2003). Affirmative action. Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy statements, 2003-2006 (6th ed., pp. 16-19). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
National Association of Social Workers. (2003). International policy on human rights. Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy statements, 2003-2006 (6th ed., pp. 209-217). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

 

 
 
   

Click here for a pdf version of the Same-Sex Marriage Fact Sheet

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