April 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Health officials urge lawmakers to pass marriage bill
Clayton Zook, Tracy Staples, Wayne MacKenzie, gay news, Washington Blade, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, Maryland, Tilghman Island

Health officials in Chicago are urging the state to pass a marriage equality bill. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

CHICAGO — Members of the city’s LGBT Health Advisory Council sent a letter to Illinois lawmakers Monday that said legalizing same-sex marriage there will benefit public health, Chicago Phoenix reported this week. The letter came as state House members returned to session this week. It’s expected that they’ll consider the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act before adjourning May 31.

The council, formed late last month, is comprised of 16 LGBT community leaders from throughout Chicago who will directly influence the city’s LGBT health outreach, the article said.

“Civil rights are important for health because the social differences that result from inequalities — in areas such as income, education, neighborhood conditions and the experience of stigma — actually have more impact on the health of an individual than even medical care,” the council wrote. “Today, the (LGBT) population suffers from poorer health than the heterosexual population. Stigma and a long history of discrimination are at the heart of these poor health outcomes.”

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