The North Carolina Psychological Association (NCPA) has come out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar all legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples, including marriage, civil unions and possibly domestic partnerships.

In its position statement, the NCPA denies that gay unions pose a threat to the state or its citizens and states that such amendments are an expression of anti-gay sentiment.

“Many gay men and lesbian, like their heterosexual counterparts, desire to form stable, long-lasting, and committed intimate relationships and are successful in doing so,” the statement reads.

“Empirical research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships, and an emerging research literature suggests that legally recognized same-sex relationships may also be similar to heterosexual marriages in these psychological and social aspects.”

“Thus, the only reason for according same-sex relationships a different legal status than heterosexual relationships is ultimately the fact that the relationship is homosexual rather than heterosexual. This differentiation based on sexual orientation is an expression of prejudice and leads to stigma.”

Equality North Carolina Executive Director Stuart Campbell noted that the statement shows that the amendment is “not only a legal issue for these couples, but also a public health issue for us all.”