These are dark days for bigotry. First, the country votes an African American into the highest office of the land. Then -- insult to injury -- that same President of the United States of America publicly supports the right of homosexuals to marry, invoking the Golden Rule as one of his deciding factors. Toss in the one-two punch of the 9th Circuit finding Prop 8’s ban on same-sex marriage to be “unconstitutional” and recent scientific studies finding that same-sex marriage is a boon to public health, and … well, let’s just say homophobes have seen better days. It can’t be fun to be thought of as an unhealthy, anti-constitutional, Golden Rule hater.
Happier and Healthier
According to a story in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, an ongoing UCLA study found that older homosexuals (men aged 44 to 75) who were legally married to their partner were mentally healthier than unmarried gay men or gay men in domestic partnerships. Data on the study’s 202 participants show married men to be more relaxed, calm and hopeful for the future.
A study in the February edition of the American Journal of Public Health showed that the health benefits of legalized same-sex marriage are not limited to married homosexuals. The Massachusetts study of 1,211 gay and bisexual men found the mental and physical health of the participants markedly improved after their state became the first to legalize gay marriage. Visits to the doctor by married, partnered and single subjects decreased overall by 13 percent after the law went into effect.
That researchers attribute much of the men's health improvements to the easing of “institutionalized forms of stigma” highlights the profound cruelty of state sanctioned exclusion and the very real health consequences of a government policy that makes people feel bad about themselves for being themselves. Imagine how good it must have felt when it stopped.
Heading in the Right Direction
As more people of influence publicly recognize the cruelty and unfairness of this un-American prohibition, and old “truths” about gay marriage -- such as its negative effect on public health -- are replaced by scientific findings, Americans will increasingly warm to the idea of allowing homosexual men and women to marry the person they love -- even in North Carolina. Already, 52 percent of our countrymen favor same-sex marriage. In 20 years, we won’t even remember what all the fuss was about.