Miami Symposium: Newsletter 4

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 May 27, 2013



In our last issue, we discussed pay inequality based on
gender. This time we will focus on same-sex-marriage. wave of increasing support for gay
marriage in America among younger generations, introduces the debate of
same-sex-marriage in the political arena across America.

For the first time in the history of the United States,
the President of this country spoke out about gay marriage. He said: "I
have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to
friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff
who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex
relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those
soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my
behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone,
because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain
point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go
ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get
married." — ABC News interview, May 9, 2012. Read more: 




 well as the journalist Chris Hayes indicated
this was “a momentous moment, and it was certainly a reason for optimism
among those who believe that being able to marry the person you love is a
basic human right.” For more information you can check at Chris Hayes:
Obama on gay marriage presidential statement and many others
voices, have encouraged the debate and the activism at the federal level. In
fact, recently the Supreme Court had to address this matter. The Supreme Court ruled on two
hearings dealing with same-sex marriage for two consecutive days. These were
filled with oral arguments on two cases involving gay couples' rights, and
“the justices left open multiple options for rulings that are expected in
June.” The interesting game changer in this civil fight is that “[a] decade
ago, opponents of same-sex marriage were lobbying for a nationwide ban on gay
nuptials. They now seem resigned to the reality of a divided nation in which
the debate will continue to splinter families, church congregations


The Huffington Post highlighted how Supreme Court Justice
Sonia Sotomayor “left the lawyer defending California’s Proposition 8
grasping for words with a question about whether the state law banning gay
marriage amounts to discrimination.” In this sense, Justice Sotomayor was an
important card in this battle. She introduced a theoretical question that
touches the core of the debate at the Constitutional level: “Outside of the
marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a
state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits?
Or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other decision-making that the
government could make — denying them a job, not granting them benefits of
some sort, any other decision?” Don’t miss this concern has touched the scholar
environment as well. For example, you can find someone like Chase Dimock, a
PhD candidate in Comparative and World Literature at the University of
Illinois, quoting Jacques-Alain Miller’s article regarding same-sex marriage:

Yet, one unlikely voice
of support for the bill came out last month as Jacques-Alain Miller,
representing the psychoanalytic community, authored an op-ed in Le Point
titled, “
Non, la psychanalyse n’est pas
contre le mariage gay
”. I say this
is “unlikely” not because it would be unexpected for a psychoanalyst to
support lgbt rights, but because it is uncommon for psychoanalysis to weigh
in on current political issues.
In this article, Miller (who is
Jacques Lacan’s son-in-law and one of the most widely published analysts
still active today) does not come out in
explicit support of gay marriage, but instead lambastes
conservatives who have misrepresented and instrumentalized psychoanalytic
research and theory in their campaign against gay marriage. As Miller
promulgates, ’we Psychoanalysts are obligated to declare that nothing in the
Freudian experience will validate an anthropology that is authorized by the
first chapter of Genesis’.”

Dimock continues indicating that he found that Miller
“makes a bold statement against any kind of normative moralizing and instead
stresses the fluidity of gender, sex, and desire as a guiding feature of
psychoanalytic practice and research.” put it into numbers: In recent days, NPR
(National Public Radio) commented on research done by “Mark Hatzenbuehler, a
psychologist at Columbia University who studies the health effects of social
policies, [and who] analyzed the data gathered before and after the bans to
determine how the mental health of people who identified themselves as gay,
lesbian or bisexual had changed in those states:

"Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who lived in
the states that banned same-sex marriage experienced a significant increase
in psychiatric disorders," Hatzenbuehler pointed out.

“There was a 37 percent increase in mood disorders 
a 42 percent increase in alcohol-use disorders, and —I think really
strikingly— a 248 percent increase in generalized anxiety disorders.” He
remarks that “his larger point is really that policymakers, judicial leaders
and ordinary citizens need to remember that social policies are also health
policies.” Look for more information at /bans-of-same-sex-marriage-can-take-a-psychological-toll

For her part, Professor Audrey Bilger affirms that women
are more affected than men by marriage inequality “because female couples account for roughly two-thirds
of existing legal same-sex marriages”.   She states that “in
California, 65 percent of ¨legally registered
same-sex couples¨ are female pairs.”
Read more info at

Encore… A treat:

Statistics are speaking
also about New Forms of Family. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a
technical report “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay
or Lesbian” Yes… it is true! “Extensive data available from more than 30 years
of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have
demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual
health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma. Many studies
have demonstrated that children's well-being is affected much more by their
relationships with their parents, their parents' sense of competence and
security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than
by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. Lack of opportunity
for same-gender couples to marry adds to families’ stress, which affects the
health and welfare of all household members. Because marriage strengthens
families and, in so doing, benefits children’s development, children should
not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married. Paths to
parenthood that include assisted reproductive techniques, adoption, and
foster parenting should focus on competency of the parents rather than their
sexual orientation.”

Don’t miss…

What Lacan knew about women? The
Miami Symposium 2013

Editors:  Juan
Felipe Arango and  Isolda Arango-Alvarez



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