The Psychological Society of Ireland



The Psychological Society of Ireland,
Floor 2, Grantham House,
Grantham Street, Dublin 8, D08 W8HD.


Press release issued on Monday 02/03/2015

Psychological Society of Ireland President warns of the detrimental emotional consequences the Marriage Equality Debate may have


Today, Dr Paul D’Alton, President of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), the professional body for psychology in Ireland, representing over 2,000 Irish psychologists, has issued a warning about the ‘potential detrimental psychological and emotional impact’ the debate surrounding the Marriage Equality Referendum may have on children, adults and families. Dr D’Alton expressed serious concern for people’s well-being arising from what the PSI believes is the inappropriate use of psychological research that is contrary to the agreed positions of many professional bodies worldwide.

In particular, the PSI has firmly distanced itself from the use of psychological research in the materials distributed by The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM). As the professional body for Psychology in Ireland, the Society expressed concern about psychological research cited by ADFAM in their promotional literature. Dr D’Alton said; “Information in the ADFAM’s leaflet is outdated and contrary to the position of professional psychological bodies such as the world’s largest representative body of psychologists, The American Psychological Association (APA). In 2012, the APA said: “On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the APA and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.” He also draws attention to the guidelines of his own professional body which conclude; “Empirical studies have failed to find reliable differences between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples with regard to their gender identity, gender role behaviour, sexual orientation, mental health, or psychological and social adjustment.”

Dr D’Alton urged great caution when using psychological research particularly when related to minority or vulnerable groups in our society. He said; “research can have far reaching implications, especially for the many children of gay parents, and the lesbian and gay adolescents and families who are at the centre of the marriage referendum. These young people are so sensitive to what they hear from friends and media.” He continued, “Debate and conversation are absolutely essential, but psychological research must be accurately represented. The conclusions reached by representative bodies such as the APA and the PSI should be the primary reference point when discussing the psychological evidence during the Marriage Equality debate.”

Dr D’Alton concluded, “Historically, psychological research has been used to justify the unjust treatment of minorities, and the PSI is committed to ensuring that psychological research is not used, inadvertently or otherwise, to repeat such injustices. The Psychological Society of Ireland is calling for those engaged in the ongoing public debate to do so with respect for the psychological and emotional impact on young people and families at the heart of the issue.”


To view news articles relating to this press release please see below:

  • Irish Times 03/03/2015: please click here;
  • EILE Magazine, 02/03/2015: please click here;
  •, 03/03/2015: please click here.


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