Abstract

In recent years, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has debated and developed organizational stances on issues as varied as nuclear disarmament, gay marriage, policing, and climate change. This article considers the relationship of “political” policies to the ongoing maintenance of this professional association over time. The author describes transitions in the organization's policies from broad, neutral statements to more explicitly politicized social policy statements and then discusses debates around the establishment of an organizational policy on same-gender marriage. Results indicate that members use concerns about the maintenance of the organization over time as a lingua franca during debates. However, while members routinely interpret policy in terms of its relationship to the maintenance of the organization, they articulate conflicting visions of maintenance, with those in favor of the policies describing maintenance primarily in terms of external legitimacy and those in opposition describing maintenance primarily in terms of internal cohesion.

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