LOS ANGELES — A new study shows that psychological distress is lower among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who are legally married to a person of the same sex compared with those not in legally recognized unions, the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News reported in January.
Since most LGB people are denied the opportunity to legally marry a same-sex partner, they are potentially denied the positive emotional benefits of the institution of marriage and they appear to be dually disadvantaged in terms of their psychological well being, the report said.
“Same-sex or different-sex, there appear to be positive mental health benefits associated with legal recognition of one’s relationship,” said Richard Wight of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the UCLA Williams Institute. “Mental health benefits of extending marriage to same-sex couples might be derived from a heightened sense of social inclusion concomitant with the social institution of marriage.”
The study was based on data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, the nation’s largest population-based state health survey. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 70 were asked about their sexual orientation and same-sex relationship status.
The study is called “Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey” and can be read in full online.