A Scientific Case For Gay Marriage (And Against Divorce): It Makes You Happier

Two gay grooms

Reviewing an astounding 34,493 people over 15 countries (or, rather, reviewing studies of those people), clinical psychologist Kate Scott has some great news for newlyweds: You’re in for a lifetime of happiness. Just don’t fuck it up.

Risks of depression, drug abuse, and anxiety plummet when two people get married, regardless of gender, Scott’s research finds. And it doesn’t even matter if the bride’s mother-in-law wore white to the wedding, or nobody bought that new flatware set off the gift registry.

Just don’t separate or divorce, because then the Sads will return.

“What makes this investigation unique and more robust is the sample is so large and across so many countries and the fact that we have data not only on depression… but also on anxiety and substance use disorders,” Scott said in a statement.

“In addition, we were able to look at what happens to mental health in marriage, both in comparison with never getting married, and with ending marriage.”

Scott said that the study found that getting married, compared to not getting married, was good for the mental health of both genders, not just women, as previous studies had found.

The study, however, did find that men are less likely to become depressed in their first marriage than women, a factor Scott said was probably linked to the traditional gender roles at home, as other WMH surveys have shown that as women get better educated, depression rates tend to fall.

The other gender difference the study found is that getting married reduces risk of substance use disorders more for women than for men. Scott said this may be explained by the fact that women are usually the primary caregiver for young children.

However, the downside of marriage, the University of Otago study shows, is that ending it has a negative impact on both genders.

“What our study points to is that the marital relationship offers a lot of mental health benefits for both men and women, and that the distress and disruption associated with ending marriage can make people vulnerable to developing mental disorders,” Scott said.

But seeing as how marriage equality opponents do not, by definition, want what’s best for gays, it’s not like they’re going to get behind marriage to improve homos’ mental health.

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  • boarderthom

    Economic issues matter and marriage is an economic issue. Studies show that married people are slightly healthier (less costs) and wealthier (pay more taxes) than their single counterparts and this is true for gay people as well. Therefore, it is in the state’s best economic interest to grant marriage equality. This is because there are thousands of rights and responsibilities that come with the legal contract of marriage (yes, marriage is a legal contract). Gay people deserve these rights and responsibilities.

  • Lucas

    this isn’t a scientific study for gay marriage; it doens’t claim gay marriage is either good or bad, or that gay marriage has any kind of societal consequence. it doesn’t delve into same-sex marriage at all. the title of the article is misleading and the article itself basically a gratuitous offense.

  • Tommy

    I think a good marriage is great for your mental health. However, nothing is worse for your mental health than a lousy marriage.
    I”m all for equal rights to marriage, but I hope we won’t become like the heterosexual community where there is pressure to get married and to stay in bad marriages to fit in to the norm.
    Marriage doesn’t make everyone happy.

  • onefish

    Tommy, I don’t think it is marriage that makes people happy. It is the effort of committing to another person, trying to be good to them, and getting along with them. Marriage without commitment is not marriage, it’s just deception. Yes, people in bad marriages should break up (if they don’t have children), and people in very bad marriages should break up regardless, but what I see around me is almost all my friends and family members breaking up without any good reason except that they didn’t feel like trying to make it work any longer. It’s not just that such an attitude is wrong, it is wrong because it is based on a selfish world view that hurts children, if there are any, and that makes any kind of real happiness impossible. A good marriage is not something that happens when you find the magically right person. A good marriage is something that happens when you start taking your responsibilities seriously and realize that love is something you do and not something you feel. Good feelings are the by-product of the good actions, not the other way around.

    I think some people would be surprised how good and satisfying a relationship becomes once you commit yourself and start trying to make your partner’s life better instead of your own.

  • Robert, NYC

    BoarderThom…..married couples may pay more taxes collectively but individually, they are taxed at a lower rate than single people who bare the brunt of those lower tax breaks.

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