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Why AMSA Cares that Obama Came Out In Support of Marriage Equality

Carl Streed
Baltimore MD
AMSA National LGBT Policy Coordinator

Earlier today, President Obama said, "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

These words follow a impatient wait for the President to "evolve," but a wait well worth the significant impact for same-sex couples in the United States. After Vice-President Biden's remarks, many feared that the White House would distance itself from the issue in preparation for the upcoming national election; and there was some movement away from the vice-president's statements. But today, following the disappointment in North Carolina and Colorado, the President has finally aligned himself with the beliefs and wishes of millions of Americans.

Why does the American Medical Student Association care about a political and social issue some would argue is removed from health care, from the clinic, from medical education?

AMSA cares about marriage equality because it affects the lives of our patients, it affects the well-being of our communities. Without federal marriage equality, same-sex couples are less likely to have employer-sponsored dependent coverage, ("exclusion [...] from civil marriage and the failure of domestic partnership benefits to provide insurance parity contribute to unequal access to health coverage"), less likely to have access to loved-ones in hospital-settings, and less likely to be able to make medical decisions for their loved-ones. As a consequence, marriage discrimination is a significant source of health disparities.

But after decades of discrimination, the fight for marriage equality is not just about a package of benefits and protections. At its core, marriage equality is about respecting the dignity and humanity of others; values we uphold at AMSA and ones we must possess as competent and caring health professionals.

To learn more about the American Medical Student Associations' positions and policies regarding marriage equality and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender health, click here.

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