Same-Sex Marriage And Mental Health

Same sex marriage is getting a lot of press and attracts some high emotion.  Leaving emotions aside (when have you ever heard a psychologist say that!), let’s look at same sex marriage from a mental health perspective.  Married couples get the benefit of certain rights and privileges, enjoy great stability and receive social support. This contributes to their well-being.  When we deny same-sex couples the same rights, we contribute to stigma and the dangerous impact that prejudice brings with it, for example, lack of social support, confusion, secrecy, all of which leads to an inauthentic life and isolation.

Laws that exclude gays and lesbians cause stress that has a negative impact on mental health. Being unable to express who you are has bad effects.   Civil unions and domestic partnerships do not carry the same weight or provide the same social support as legal unions. There are implications that go beyond marriage or sexual preference.  Stigma, whatever it is about, is bad for mental health.

Material taken from Psychology’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage by Munsey, C. in the Monitor, Oct, 2010, V 41 #9 pp.46-48

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