STUDY: Marriage Equality Leads To Healthier, Happier Gays

A study published last Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who are married have significantly lower levels of psychological distress when compared to their spinster counterparts.

According to the study:

Psychological distress was not significantly distinguishable among people in legally recognized same-sex or heterosexual relationships. There were, however, big differences in well-being between gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women who were married and those who were not in any sort of legally recognized union.

The study is based on the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, which includes data from more than 47,000 hetero- and homosexual men and women, ages 18 to 70, regarding psychosocial distress, legal relationship status, education and employment status, as well as self-perceived overall health.

“One one level, it’s not surprising,” study author Allen LeBlanc, a professor of sociology at San Francisco State University, told ABC News. “We know that heterosexual marriage provides a higher perception of social integration and support. It makes sense that same-sex marriages would carry some of the same benefits.”

The study comes shortly after the Supreme Court announced plans to review two marriage equality cases in the coming year, thus potentially altering the law of the land. UCLA’s Richard Wright, another author of the study, hopes the Supreme Court will take their findings into consideration.

“I think it’s reasonable to think that legally blocking people from marriage can put their mental health at risk,” Wright said. “The Supreme Court should consider this when they’re mulling over this decision.”

Photo: Nanjo29 via Wikimedia Commons

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #gaymarriage #marriageequality stories and more


  • viveutvivas

    I disagree with the implied conclusion, namely that if we can remove the obstacles to marriage, then everything will be butterflies and rainbows. While pursuing marriage rights is fine, the conclusion here should be that we should work to make things better for unmarried people, who are and likely will remain the majority, and whose concerns are increasingly being ignored by the gay organizations in this country, who mostly reflect the values and concerns of their donor constituency of mainly conservative wealthy white gay men.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Legal recognition for LGBT Americans would be beneficial for society. With legal recognition comes legal responsibilities and stronger ties to loved ones. Spouses would be more readily available to assist their other half through tough times, whether old age or job loss. Having two be legally fused together would be better for society. It would strengthen our system, not weaken it. The community hospitals and long term facilities would need to absorb fewer people. “Spouses for life” would be more inclined to be present, both emotionally and financially. These kinds of couples exist now, though we are not legally recognized, illegally so.

  • viveutvivas

    Absolutely the weakest possible argument for marriage is that it “benefits society.” That argument has been used throughout history in service of the most terrible perversions of justice and human rights.

    There are supposedly more than 1,000 rights that come attached to marriage. Gay organizations are welcome to support gay marriage but they should be fighting for extending these rights (healthcare and tax benefits, etc.) to ALL queer people, not just the married ones, or the ones who want to marry.

    Instead, the message they are sending by concentrating almost exclusively on gay marriage is that “if you don’t have a significant other, you are insignificant.” given this societal attitude, is it any wonder, then, that single people have poorer health?

    By concentrating almost exclusively on marriage rights, they are marginalizing single or unmarried gay people, including the many queer families that do not fit the normative marriage paradigm.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Single, unmarried people can go their own way when life bowls their spouses over, whereas, married couples take on legalities that some, those who are reluctant to marry and commit, would find daunting. Financial responsibility and all the protections and legal consequences that come with this type of life-long commitment are not for everyone. I have no desire to join the military, nor do I begrudge those who do and then, earn benefits for having chosen to serve. Commitment is a stabilizing element. Promoting legal pairings stabilize a society.

    We LGBT have been protecting each other, to the best of our ability, for years, when marriage was not an option. I have two friends in Costa Rica who thoroughly spelled out what was to be done with property, etc, should one of them perish. That kind of arrangement is still available, if marriage is not desired.

  • viveutvivas

    We are getting off topic. My point is that when gay organizations make marriage the be-all, end-all of gay rights, and put disproportionate resources into it, while ignoring the concerns of unmarried gay people, these organizations are actually CONTRIBUTING to the social marginalization and poor health of unmarried gays mentioned in the article.

    As I said, unmarried gays are made to feel, by the selfsame organizations that are supposed to defend their interests, that “if you don’t have a significant other, you are insignificant.” For the rich white donors of the HRC, for example, the HIV crisis is so yesterday’s news that it gets little attention, yet HIV infection is again rising among young gay men. Gay minorities, gay poor, and gay undocumented immigrants are disproportionately struggling with health and homelessness, subjects that are not even on the radar of the donors to the HRC, who are more interested in pursuing the white picket fence 1950s married lifestyle and actually want “those elements” out of their neighborhoods and out of their parades. Being able to get on your stockbroker husband’s healthcare plan and not having to pay inheritance taxes are not what most unmarried gay people desperately need, yet that is what the HRC, GLAAD, etc., are most concerned about. So my point is that gay organizations SHOULD be doing more to address the concerns and health of unmarried people, and they AREN’T, they are making the problem worse.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Largely inherent in our community is a propensity to self-destruct. The emotions we encounter, being born in a world and in a body that is shunned by the majority of the population, can have us doing tail-spins. Some make choices that lead to horrendous ends. Some choose to finish school, stay safe, avoid pitfalls, stay sober, and find like-minded souls with whom to share life. It’s not easy. Living very simply can be boring. Being queer is really rough. A day is just one, long series of choices. We are only insignificant if we believe we are. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” HRC is not going to save you from yourself, only you can do that. I wish you and those you mentioned above well and I’m sorry that you feel disenfranchised by our effort to attain equality. Each day is a new start. Resources are available, but accessing them can be mysterious at the start.

Comments are closed.